A Pocketful Of Nostalgia For $20: Sarge Knives Boy Scout Knife

Image courtsy Sarge Knives

Before the age of Spydercos and Swiss Army Knives, ‘most every Boy Scout carried a knife like this one (but with faux stag scales.) They didn’t have tweezers, toothpicks or Victorinox Rostfrei steel: just a pair of blades and a pair of tools with a lanyard loop at one end. They weren’t fancy, but they did their jobs and hundreds of thousands of young Scouts earned their Totin’ Chip cards and carved their walking sticks with them . . .

Most classic Boy Scout knives were made by Camillus, but production ceased when they went out of business in 2007. The Sarge Boy Scout Knife pictured above is updated with 440C stainless blades and stained Birch scales.

This classic Boy Scout knife design is pretty dated today, and in the grand scheme of things it’s probably somewhere between ‘retro’ and ‘obsolete.’ There are many better and safer knife designs available today, and the main reason to pocket a knife like this is probably nostalgia.

Several of my own Boy Scout knife mishaps were the result of slipjoint blades closing on my fingers. Lockbacks like the Buck 110 and 112 weren’t that common among Boy Scouts in the 1970s, but I can’t imagine giving a young Scout any knife without some kind of blade lock today.


  1. Matt in FL says:

    A knife without a lock is no different than a gun without a safety. There’s nothing wrong with a non lock-back knife, as you pointed out, millions of Boy Scouts learned with them. Were there injuries? Sure. But in the vast majority, they were “learning experience” injuries, not crippling ones. The solution, as always, is education.

  2. jwm says:

    I started with a Barlow. When I became a Boy Scout I got one of these scout knives. Now I have a couple of SAKs. Nothing at all wrong with non locking pocket knives. These are fairly light duty and camp chore tools. When i’m in the non urban environment I usually carry 2 knives. 1 for light duty chores and the other for the others.

  3. Sam L. says:

    Just checked: This is the same price as the Scout Knife on the BSA’s Scout Stuff shop, but made in the USA, not China.

    1. PubliusII says:

      Neither the Official Scout nor the Sarge Scout/camper knife is made in the USA, at least if the images are to be believed. Use the zoom function on the catalog pages of both, and you’ll see that the blades are marked “China.”

      Doesn’t mean they’re bad. But for those prices, it’s all but impossible to get a made-in-USA knife with this blade set. That’s just the way of the manufacturing world these days, as opposed to the 1950s-60s.

      Chinese manufacturers can make excellent knifes, and often have unusual designs. SanRenMu, for example, and both Bee and Enlan brands — google ’em and check eBay too — are interestingly designed.

      As far as I can see, China is now in about the same manufacturing position as Japan was in the 1950s to 70s. After all, that was when the Japanese camera industry destroyed the European camera industry almost totally, leaving behind just a few “jewelry” brands such as Leica.

      1. Sam L. says:

        I couldn’t see China on the picture. I see the non-BSA knife shown at Sarge’s is also at Duluth Trading Co., and their site says IMPORTED. Missed that. Thanks for correction.

  4. Aharon says:

    The BSofA is one of the greatest of all American institutions.

  5. PubliusII says:

    Obsolete? By what standard? The Wenger Swiss Army Standard Issue and the Victorinox Soldat/Soldier have the same blade set as this Scout, as does the Victorinox Pioneer.

    It’s the classic “camper” design and just as useful as it was when introduced a century ago.

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A Pocketful Of Nostalgia For $20: Sarge Knives Boy Scout Knife

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