The Svord Peasant Mini is incredibly simple in design, but pretty much indestructible as a result. The high carbon blade takes a keen edge and is easy to keep sharp too. Though it is a little rough around the edges, particularly in terms of overall fit and finish, this little knife has an undeniable charm.
Simple but effective design
No blade half stop
Basic fit and finish
Carbon steel susceptible to corrosion
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The Svord Peasant Mini was designed and made in New Zealand, with the first knives being tested to destruction in the bush – a tough proving ground, if ever there was one. It’s a utility knife, in every sense. As a classic ‘beater’ knife, it is made to be used and abused, hence the cheap and cheerful construction. With very few parts – namely, a one-piece pivoting steel tang blade, two plastic scales, a brass retaining pin and two screws to hold it all together – there isn’t much to break or go wrong. That makes it virtually indestructible, so this is a great knife for those who are hard on their kit.
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Admittedly, it is a little rough around the edges, but at this price point you can hardly complain. Ours arrived with a decent enough edge, with only a light strop required to put it into excellent shape. The grind was a little uneven, but fortunately the high-carbon stainless steel blade sharpens very easily, so it’s easy enough to reprofile if necessary. You can also adjust the tightness of the bottom screw to hold the blade more firmly in the closed position as required. With only minor tweaks, we were soon ready to test it in the field.
• RRP: $23.45 (US) / £17 (UK)
• Weight: 46g / 1.6oz
• Blade length: 6.4cm / 2.5in
• Overall length: 17cm / 6.7in
• Closed length: 10.6cm / 4in
• Materials: High carbon stainless steel blade, plastic polymer scales
• Features: Convex grind; drop point blade
In the field
The Svord Peasant Mini is a basic friction folder, so has no backspring like a conventional slipjoint pocket-knife. However, the extended rear tang raises above the pivot point, which means that when the blade is opened, it feels surprisingly safe and is extremely unlikely to close on your fingers. As such, we trusted it to a wide variety of camp tasks, and it performed admirably. The short, squat blade has surprising cutting power, slicing easily and cleanly through 550 paracord. It’s perhaps not quite so well suited to food prep or similar camp chores though, owing to the limited blade length and relatively wide belly.
On the flip side, we appreciated the textured plastic handle’s high-visibility orange colour, which gave us confidence that we were unlikely to lose it in the undergrowth, even if we happened to put it down somewhere around camp. If orange isn’t your thing, it comes in a wide range of colours, as well as a premium wood finish if you are willing to spend just a little more.
This knife is reasonably comfortable to use, with a curved handle that feels pretty good in the hand, though that protruding tang does cause a slight hotspot. In the same way, it pokes out of the top of the knife when closed, which looks and feels a little clumsy, adding bulk to your pocket. On the other hand, that does make it easy to grab and pull out quickly.
Despite some minor shortcomings, we soon found ourselves becoming quite fond of this little knife. There’s no denying its charm or its usability, and for those reasons alone it would make a good companion for life on the trail. The fact that you can pick one up for under 25 bucks (or around 20 quid in the UK) only makes it all the more attractive.
An outdoors writer and editor, Matt Jones has been testing kit in the field for nearly a decade. Having worked for both the Ramblers and the Scouts, he knows one or two things about walking and camping, and loves all things adventure, particularly long-distance backpacking, wild camping and climbing mountains – especially in Wales. He’s based in Snowdonia and last year thru-hiked the Cambrian Way, which runs for 298 miles from Cardiff to Conwy, with a total ascent of 73,700 feet – that’s nearly 2½ times the height of Everest. Follow Matt on Instagram and Twitter.