Pen Knives and Kids

Camping, hiking, or just out and about, a pocket knife, penknife, swiss army knife, or multi-tools as they are frequently called, are undeniably a useful bit of kit. But are they still legal? And can kids still have them?

Pen Knives and Multi Tools

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 blade
The 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 unfortunate as a locking blade 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.

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

teach your kids to angle the blade away from themselves
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).

make sure the folding blade doesn’t close on their fingers
Getting your kids a penknife with a saw means they can help cut sticks to an appropriate size for cooking over the fire. They can then use the knife to strip the bark from sticks, before using the sticks as tools to cook food over the campfire. (Click here to see how to do this by making campfire bread twists).

Whittling Beginners Book
You may want to take up whittling with your child. Click here for a guide on how to do whittling and the correct way to use a knife safely.

Recommended Pen Knives for Kids

Victorinox, a name you probably recognise in the world of penknives, makes entry-level, pocket tools suitable for children.

Here’s a table below of the two main contenders.

My First Victorinox - Kid's Penknife Victorinox Duke of Edinburgh Pocket Tool
Price £16.79 £21.00
Buyer Reviews
Blade Lockable No No
Blade Size 58 mm
Bottle Opener Yes Yes
Brand Victorinox Victorinox
Can Opener Yes Yes
Key Ring Yes Yes
Multi Purpose Hook Yes
Phillips Screwdriver Yes
Rounded Child Blade? Yes Yes
Scissors Yes
Screwdriver 5mm Yes Yes
Toothpick Yes Yes
Tweezers Yes Yes
Wire Stripper Yes Yes
Wood Saw Yes No
Units: Height, Length and Weight are in cm; Weight is in kg
Prices and review ratings last updated on November 28, 2015

My First Victorinox penknife for kids

The entry level pen knives from Victorinox are the My First Victorinox models, with one model having a saw.

We recommend getting the one with the saw as this will get your kids into practice when sawing large twigs or small branches for the campfire and is a good option for younger children (say 6-8) that want to start learning how to do a few things with a penknife.

My First Victorinox Box
The My First Victorinox comes in three colours: red, blue, and pink.

Victorinox Duke of Edinburgh Award pocket knife

DofE Victorinox penknife tools
 The DofE Award scheme teamed up with Victorinox to create the official DofE Pocket tool.

This penknife has many tools that could prove useful on a DofE expedition but also features the rounded blade tip for additional safety.

It’s not much more expensive than the My First Victorinox and you do get more tools though you do use the little saw.

This is our recommended penknife that’s ideal for older children.

Where’s the Wenger Scout Junior Pen Knife?

Wenger used to have an entry level knife designed for the Scouts that also had a rounded blade.

Unfortunately, this is no longer available and I have seen the Scouts website recommending the D of E penknife shown above.


Join thousands of other parents who, like you, want to get their kids outside and active.
You'll receive a regular newsletter to your inbox, bringing you ideas and inspiration for getting out with your kids.
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.
Gav Grayston
Father to 3 kids, who loves getting out and about (hiking, running, camping, cycling, canoeing...) Co-founded Get Out With The Kids to help other parents enjoy the outdoors with their family.
Gav Grayston


Family adventures, activities, camping, holidays, and days out.
@ashby_tim The name says it all then, sounds lovely. Have a good weekend and fingers crossed for some autumn sunshine. - 9 hours ago
Gav Grayston
Gav Grayston

Latest posts by Gav Grayston (see all)

There are 3 comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please enter an e-mail address

Welcome to Get Out With The Kids.

We help parents just like you get their family enjoying the benefits of the great outdoors.

Join over 15,000 other parents in the GOWTK community. 
twitter  facebook  Google+  YouTube  pinterest