Mike Horn Ranger: Spare on accessories, stout on essentials
Wenger has long been regarded as one of the elite cutlery manufacturers in the world. The name is synonymous with durability and superb engineering. The company is one of the two proud manufacturers of the world-famous Swiss Army Knives. One of Wenger’s most popular models, the Ranger, has recently undergone remodeling to create the ultimate outdoors survival tool. Wenger’s newest model, the Mike Horn Ranger, is more than an ordinary Ranger with a face-lift. This knife was specifically designed to aid world-renowned adventurer Mike Horn on his three year Pangaea expedition.
The Mike Horn is not your ordinary Swiss Army Knife made to dangle from one’s key chain. This knife was designed with the intent of enduring the elements and performing in every clime and place. The Mike Horn lacks the bells and whistles of the average city-dwelling Swiss Army Knife such as toothpicks, scissors, and tweezers. This knife sports only the bare essentials for wilderness survival. These features, however, are made with the highest quality materials and flawless engineering to ensure superior performance in every situation.
There are two stainless steel blades on the Mike Horn SAK made for one-handed opening. The first blade is a locking serrated edge blade slightly less than 4 inches long. Closing the serrated blade can be achieved by pressing on the red Wenger emblem alongside the handle. The second blade is a non-locking straight-edged blade of equal length. Both blades are sure to slice through any material encountered in the wilderness and are sharp enough to perform surgery.
One of the knife’s most impressive features is the stainless steel set of pliers. These pliers are well-placed in the center of the knife in
between the two blades. This mechanism folds outward to reveal a set of needle-nose pliers, wrench, and wire cutter. The handle of the pliers are spring loaded which allow for a gorilla-grip squeeze. The handle of the knife itself is beefy at 1¼ inch thick which can make it difficult for those of us cursed with dainty hands. The handle is impressive though, constructed from recycled wood and plastic just as environmentalist Mike Horn had wished.
The knife also sports a razor-sharp can opener at the base, metal file, and awl/leather puncher at the rear. There is no screwdriver built into the knife, but rather a ¼ inch bit-holder located along the handle. The Mike Horn SAK comes with both flathead and Phillips head bits which can be locked in place in the bit-holder. Though there are many benefits for having an interchangeable bit holder rather than one particular screwdriver head, this feature requires the user to carry multiple parts which may become difficult in the wilderness.
Fresh Air Junkie has tested Mike Horn SAK on hikes, camping excursions, and various wilderness outings. Though this knife can be used in any outdoor adventure, it was made specifically for survivalists and extreme athletes. This knife is intended to save lives while scaling mountains in Nepal or trudging through snow banks in Antarctica. That is not to say that it will not assist you on a weekend camping trip at the beach, but it lacks the luxuries and packs the essentials. The Mike Horn SAK does not come with tweezers or toothpicks because adventurers such as Mike Horn have much bigger concerns in the wilderness than splinters and broccoli between their teeth.
The simplicity of the knife’s features are not limitations but rather allow one’s creativity to thrive. This knife is so widely adaptable to circumstances that it unleashes one’s inner McGuyver. For example, the zipper of one of our tents was broken on a recent camping trip in Palm Springs, and would open spontaneously with any slight gust of wind. We were able to use the needle-nose pliers on the Mike Horn SAK and a rubber band to cinch the ends of the tent flap down throughout the night.
We were especially impressed with the can opener on the Mike Horn SAK. Can-openers have become a standard feature on SAKs though many are sub-par to say the least. Can-openers of lesser, city-dwelling, models are often untenable and result in a struggle between can vs. opener. The Mike Horn SAK, however, is by far one of the sharpest and sturdiest can-openers we have ever used and slices through aluminum clean and efficient.
With a retail price of $175.00, it would be an absolute nightmare to lose this knife somewhere along the trail. Fortunately, Wenger
has provided a few different features which allow for easy transportation. There is a small key loop at the base of the knife in case one wants to dangle their keys from the knife. However, Wenger includes a nylon carrying case complete with a belt loop for easy transportation. The large size of the knife makes it a cumbersome key-chain and quite large for pocket carry. Wearing the Mike Horn knife on ones belt provides easy access and looks stylish. The holster has a front compartment which holds the flathead and Phillips head screw bits.
By Kevin Varner
– Overall Length: 5.1 inches (closed) nine inches (open)
– Blade Length: 3.9 inches
– Width: 1.25 inches
– Weight: 8.8 oz.
– Origin: Switzerland
– Materials: Swiss Stainless Steel and Recycled Plastic & Wood
– MSRP: $175.00