Camping, hiking, or just out and about, a pocket knife, pen knife, swiss army knife, or multi-tools as they are often called, are undeniably a useful bit of kit. But are they still legal? And can kids still have them?
Pen Knives and the Law
I suspect that most of us had a pen knife when we were kids. But things have changed since then.
So the big question: Are pen knives legal? Are kids allowed pen knives?
Yes, and yes.
under 3 inches and no locking bladeThe UK law states that you can carry a knife under 3 inches if it has a folding blade without a locking mechanism, and can be carried by those under 18.
I can understand why they don’t allow a locking blade, but it’s actually unfortunate as a locking blade actually makes a penknife safer for your kids to use as you know the blade won’t fold up onto their fingers.
Pen Knives for Scouts
The Scouts policy on pen knives is that they should be looked after by an adult when at Scout HQ, and if travelling to camp, should be securely stowed in the middle of the scout’s backpack.
Essentially the pen knife should only be used when you need to use a pen knife, and should not be carried around by children ‘just in case’ they need it.
You can read more on the Scout Pen Knife policy here.
Pen Knives and Kids – Useful Tips
Remember to teach your kids to angle the blade away from themselves when they are using a knife, and watch how they use the folding knife so that the blade doesn’t close on their fingers. (A good idea to teach first aid on cuts as well).
If you got them a pen knife with a saw, then they could help cut sticks to an appropriate size for cooking over the fire, and use the knife to strip the bark from sticks to cooking with.
You may want to take up whittling with your child (see this guide to whittling and knife skills for more info).
Recommended Pen Knives for Kids
The two leading pen knife manufacturers, Victorinox and Wenger, both produce child friendly pen knives, which all have a rounded blade to reduce the risk of injury.
My First Victorinox penknife for kids
Victorinox Duke of Edinburgh Award pocket knife
Wenger Scout Junior Pen Knife
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If you are worried about carrying a knife then you might want to consider the credit card sized toolset from Victorinox.
Where to buy an (adult's) pen knife (these are not necessarily for kids)?
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