An-D, I loved those photos!
For me the smallest I’ll go is the Gerber LST ( the bigger version ).
It’s a heck of a knife and has served me well for a very long time as EDC and for backpacking.
I’m very impressed with what it can easily do, including field dressing a deer and light batoning. It’s also reasonably priced!
The swiss army classic is a great and very useful knife, but when I carried one backpacking it went in my backpack and my Gerber LST still rode in my pants pocket, I just couldn’t leave it behind.
My Classic has a G.I. P38 can opener on the key ring making it even more multipurpose. Typically it does toe nail and finger nail duty at the end of the day, or is broken out to open the rare can of tuna or what-not, and that’s about it, but I reckon it is a useful backup.
The Gerber gets used several times a day and is always close at hand in my pocket.
A knife I have just gotten this summer is the Wenger Evo 17.
This handy little tool has a nifty saw, scissors, a great nail file ( the main reason I got this knife over similar Victorinox offerings ) a locking main blade ( pretty cool on a swiss army knife ) in addition to the usual can opener, bottle opener/screw driver, crock screw ( essential since I drink wine ), awl, tooth pick and tweezers.
I figured this knife has everything a backpacker could ever want, but it is slightly heavier than my old Gerber LST / Swiss Classic / P38 combo, and a little bulky in my pocket.
I’ve been carrying it alone on trips this summer. The nail file got used a very great deal it seems either my wife or I was always breaking a nail!
I’m still a little on the fence about it, part of me still prefers the slender-yet-very-robust-Gerber.
John Coyle, I find it interesting you brought up the one-handed GAK.
I also purchased a black handled version of that knife this summer, also with an eye towards backpacking, and am very impressed by it.
It’s heavy, but rides in a back pocket well. The saw is awesome and the blade locks very sturdily. I think this is an excellent choice for fieldcraft.
My wife has used a Victorinox Spartan for twenty years now. I’m pretty sure it was the first decent pocket knife she ever owned, and she has no complaints or desire to upgrade.