Camping, hiking, or just out and about, a pocket knife, pen knife, swiss army knife, or multi-tools as they are sometimes marketed as, are undeniably a useful bit of kit.
Pen Knives and the Law
Are they legal? Can kids have them? Yes, and yes. 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.
Pen Knives and Kids
Remember to teach kids to angle the blade away from themselves when using, 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.
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.
The entry level pen knives from Victorniox 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.
Victorinox however have a slightly more featured knife in the Duke of Edinburgh Award model. This also features a rounded blade, and is our recommended pocket knife for (older) children as for only a fraction more money you get a lot more tools, though you do loose the very useful saw.
Wenger also have entry knives but they tend not to be as well reviewed and recommended as Victorinox. However, the junior edition they have created for the Scouts easily compete with the D of E Victorinox. (Wenger also have a senior Scout knife, that doesn’t have the rounded blade and has a few more tools).
Our Recommended Pen Knife for Kids
If your child is younger (say 8-12), starting them on the My First Victorinox, Blue Translucent would be the best, and they will make use of the saw. However, when they are a bit older, the Duke Of Edinburgh Pocket Tool will be provide a few more functions that may be useful on longer trips.
Recommended for younger children
Recommended for older children
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.
Other Types of Pen Knives Available
Victorinox are pretty much the leader in pen knives, along with the Wenger Swiss Army knife a close second, although both provide high quality. You can browse more pen knives and multi-tools here.
If you are worried about carrying a knife then you might want to consider the credit card sized toolset from Victorinox.