Blade lock release is initially tough to find (push the emblem)
Awl is tough to get out of the closed position
Saw blade does not lock
The Victorinox Swiss Army RangerWood 55 is a full-sized knife, so I wouldn’t recommend you choosing it as your everyday carry in your pocket. In fact, it would be cherry if the RangerWood 55 came with a sheath, but – otherwise, you can pop this tool into your backpack and have the warm feeling inside your soul that you will be able to rely on it for anything you need in the wild.
When I get these knives to test, I usually don’t get any supporting documentation with them – and if I do, I don’t read it because half of the fun of a new tool is figuring out its functions. Halfway through testing of the Victorinox Swiss Army RangerWood 55 I just hated the fact that I needed to dig into the frame to release the reverse liner-lock, and then I pushed on the emblem. It was spongy and, when pushed completely, it revealed itself as an ultra-modern blade lock release. It was like angels singing.
Victorinox made the right decision in keeping the RangerWood 55 around when they picked up the Wenger line earlier this year. It’s a full-sized, action-packed knife that I initially didn’t care too much for, but after testing it out and figuring out how to release the blade lock—I’ve got to say, this knife will do you right on your next adventure.
Construction & Materials I’m always a fan of wood handles, but I worry about them drying out over time. I don’t think this will be the case here as the material is a stabilized walnut. The frame is bulletproof, as expected from Wenger or Victorinox. I’m amazed at the innovation of the blade lock release button, which I initially thought was a loose emblem sticker; a great design.
Ease of Use For the most part, the RangerWood 55 functions like any other Swiss Army knife your grandfather gave you—nice and smooth. The one hang-up in this case would be the awl, which requires significant force to open. Additionally, the saw does not lock, and though I didn’t have any issues with it, someone who is unfamiliar with non-locking saws needs to keep this in mind.
Steel Quality & Edge Retention The steel used in Swiss Army Knives is about as stainless as it gets, but the knife blade is a wee bit soft and will require a few passes across a whetstone after a few voyages in the wild. But, that’s not to say that this blade isn’t razor sharp out of the box. The saw blade is pretty aggressive and holds up like a champ due to its double-cut design.
Durability If the RangerWood 55 were going to break on me, it would have. The handle took a little abuse in testing, but nothing that won’t smooth over in time (being that its wood). I’m almost certain the standard plastic handle scales would have cracked or come off if they were installed on this stoic bastard.
Value Usually when a company ups their game and uses wood for their handles it drives up the price. That could be the case here, although—the complex push button blade lock release may have added some cheddar to the final price. If you can pick this up for under $100, you’re in for a real treat worth your money.