Two timeless icons of the outdoors have come together to craft an artful multi-tool. The 100th Anniversary EvoWood Swiss Army Knife is a celebration of both Swiss engineering and 100 years of a little Maine outfit called L.L. Bean.
In 1911, avid Maine outdoorsman Leon Leonwood (yep, there’s your “L.L.”) Bean employed the help of a local cobbler in crafting a better pair of hunting boots. He was disenchanted with his own boots after a hunting trip left him with cold, wet feet. He believed that he had a better idea, and the Maine Hunting Shoe was born. A year later, he put together a four-page mailer and sent it out to local hunters, forming the foundation of a business now known all but universally in the outdoor community. The Maine Hunting Shoe itself wasn’t immediately successful, but more importantly, L.L. Bean responded to consumer complaints and built a name for reliable, satisfaction-backed products and service. That name has lasted 100 years.
L.L. Bean hasn’t been shy about celebrating its 100th anniversary. It’s been enjoying a lavish birthday celebration throughout 2012. Earlier this year, it toured in a large, drivable boot and built a world record-sized modular kayak.
The anniversary knife invites customers to get involved in the celebration. More than the typical utilitarian Swiss Army knife or multi-tool, the L.L. Bean EvoWood is a piece of functional art. Its ornate wooden handle is crafted from reclaimed Swiss walnut and whittled into an ergonomic form that rests naturally in the hand. An L.L. Bean 100th Anniversary logo is tattooed on top.
Wenger introduced the Evolution series in 2005, in response to the growing environment of eco-friendly design. The EvoWood line uses walnut left over from other manufacturing products, putting to use what would otherwise be waste.
Of course, like any Swiss Army knife, this collector’s edition is more than just a pretty pocket accessory. The knife is stocked with a total of seven tools and 11 functions. It has a flat screwdriver, large knife blade with 100th Anniversary logo, bottle opener, wire bender, nail file, nail cleaner, corkscrew, can opener, small cross head screwdriver, key ring and a reamer/awl.
The 100th Anniversary EvoWood isn’t the most useful Swiss Army knife in terms of overall functions, and Wenger says that EvoWood knives are only good for “light outdoor use,” but few knives make such versatile gifts– even if you’re shopping for yourself. The 100th Anniversary EvoWood comes in an L.L. Bean anniversary gift box and retails for $59. We can’t think of many knives that will look better accenting a backpack, work space or mantle. Though the knife is a collector’s edition, its retail price is in line with standard Wenger EvoWood knives.
The L.L. Bean EvoWood is just one of many other 100th anniversary gear items. The line ranges from coffee mugs to canoes.