The Essential Item that can save your life

Once upon a time I went camping, I thought I'd packed everything. I had food, tins of beans, soup, noodles, sachets of sauce, a block of cheese, bread. I had beer, wine, all the essentials.

I arrived at the campsite. Pitched my lovely tent. Sat for a while in my camp chair to rest and take stock. Then I realised a beer would be nice. I took a bottle from the cooler and...yikes! No bottle opener! Panic...then the decision to move to wine and seek the bottle opener later...but corkscrew! Lordy this day was going from bad to worse! I made a cup of tea and decided to have some bread and cheese...but what's this? only plastic cutlery? Nothing to slice with? Grrr I shall have to warm a can of beans and ...NO CAN OPENER!!!

That's it! This has gone far enough! This camping lark will be a disaster unless someone has a device that can open beer, wine bottles, cans, slice cheese..

and so ladies and gentlemen of the camping world may I present...the Swiss Army knife(aka penknife). I had previously had no idea this item had a purpose beyond being on the wish list of 8 year old boys for the mysterious purposes of whittling and possibly, skinning rabbits (yes the 8 year old boys I know are pretty blood thirsty)

So I immediately bought myself a Swiss army penknife, I paid huge amounts of money for it in a camping shop...and lost it one day later. Luckily I found a replacement in Asda for a pound. Yes really - and yes I was furious at myself for a) spending fortunes on the first one and b) losing the first one. I promptly attached a long colourful lanyard to the replacement knife. (a similar knife is currently £3.73 on Amazon)

If there is one thing I advise you to take camping, it's a multifunction penknife. They can be bought cheaply but you won't regret the purchase...I have scissors on mine, a tooth pick, tweezers (great for splinters) a tiny saw (for cutting twigs for the fire) a knife - for whittling marshmallow sticks, as well as booze opening essentials, a screwdriver and a can opener, and probably a thing for getting stones out of horses hooves. There is nothing more vital for the camper.

Oh and saving your life? well wine obviously - but also I sleep with it in the sleeping bag next to me, in case I need to escape from the tent in case of bear attack and need to cut my way out.(Unlikely in the UK but you can't be too careful, now pass me that beer)

Picture credit Woodland Park Zoo

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