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Carrying a knife through multiple countries in Europe

Discussion in 'Travel' started by TomInOregon, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. TomInOregon

    TomInOregon Loaded Pockets

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    So obviously I can't carry my pocketknife, a multitool or handtools to Europe next year when we go for vacation since we are using the "one bag" approach and only taking 1 carryon each. We will be there for 3-4 weeks traveling with a tour group through multiple countries. I honestly can't see myself going that long without a pocketknife and a multitool or some hand tools since they will likely be needed at some point. My plan right now is to purchase a pocketknife and either a multitool or some handtools in the Netherlands when we land, then carry them with us through Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and France. When we are ready to fly back, I will either gift them to a local or mail them back to myself. Does anyone know if there will be any problems with this plan? I doubt I would get into any trouble over a pocketknife or tools, but that's why I am asking, to find out. Does anyone know if the various countries have restrictive knife laws that would prevent this?
    Thanks,
    Tom
     
  2. nuphoria

    nuphoria Loaded Pockets

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    I honestly can't remember all the different laws across Europe but I think if you stick to a knife that is no bigger than 2.5", non-locking and not one hand opening, you might get away with it!

    You cold also mail it to yourself when leaving :)
     
  3. jag-engr
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    jag-engr Semper Bufo!
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    If you want to get a knife, just get a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife. They are almost universally accepted. You might also be able to find the French-made Douk Douk locally available. It would cost a little more, but you could mail it to yourself as a souvenir of your trip.

    Alternately, you could carry some small, cheap folding scissors with you. They should clear US customs going to Europe, but don't be surprised if they don't clear customs coming back. They won't be quite as handy as a knife, but they can either suffice or even excel at many of the tasks for which you might find yourself using a knife.
     
  4. RGNY

    RGNY Empty Pockets

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    SAK. those red handles put just about everyone at ease.

    and a nice "throwaway" could be an Opinel, which shouldn't be hard to find cheap.
     
  5. Mad_Maxx

    Mad_Maxx Loaded Pockets

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    germany allows either non locking folders if OH and locking if 2 handed
    Italy needs a "motivation" so here you can't actually carry a knife

    with a sak you should be fine anywhere and if you're in a group it's even better, being a tourist may be a "plus"
    Maxx
     
  6. kanis mesomelas

    kanis mesomelas Loaded Pockets

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    I live in the Netherlands and never had a problem. I stay out of trouble.
    As I've traveld around europa and beyond. I never had problems. I dropped my Knives in the luggage wich goes in the belly of the big silver bird. CRKT M16 -14T, extrema ratio bf tanto, divingknives, sak. khukri.
    I see a lot of people walking around with lm or sak or wearing a larger folding knife in a beltpouch.

    I wear my knives in my right front trouserpocket with a clip so It can be seen. and never had a question. When I visit a place where they (frisk?)search your body for weapons (like festivals and such) a leave my knife or I ask if there is a return policy. if not I try to find a nice hidingplace for it or i dont go.

    I sometimes forget about my knive carying habbit. and find myself in a place where no weapons are allowed. and you know what? I had a search on my person. It happend to me twice this year and I was carring atleast three knives. one as edc in my pocket and two in my backpack. so the security in the Netherlands is not verry good. But on the other hand; we dont have a lot if crazy f*cks walking around.

    Buying knives in the Netherlands is no problem. almost every big city has a DUMP (military surplus store) you can get the same knives as in the USA. should you come to the city of Arnhem in the Netherlands I can show you some nice small shops. and you can leave all knives at my home ;-)
     
  7. Narcosynthesis

    Narcosynthesis Loaded Pockets

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    As long as you respect the local laws which can differ between countries you should be fine - <3" blade, non-locking, non-OH opening should be legal carry throughout the main European countries, though obviously there can be specific exceptions (certain public places or attractions that band knives specifically). As long as you are travelling overland and not flying you should have no problems.

    Beyond that common sense prevails - a lot of Europe is not particularly knife friendly (whatever the laws) so try not to wave it around in crowded places, and keep yourself to yourself and don't make a scene and you should never have any troubles with local law.

    Something like a SAK is probably your best bet - they should be fairly easy to find (the easiest place is generally camping or 'outdoors' shops), relatively cheap and give you a useful range of tools for your trip in one compact tool.
     
  8. Xapalambos

    Xapalambos Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks for the offer. I leave a SAK and a Spyderco tenacious in a drawer at my house in Greece so that I don't have to think about carrying them between countries.
     
  9. TomInOregon

    TomInOregon Loaded Pockets

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    Wow, they search you for weapons when entering some festivals? I didn't think about that possibility. There is some good advice in everyone's replies. I'll stick to a small (under 2.5 inch) folder and keep it out of sight since I don't know what reactions I would get in each country.

    Thanks,
    Tom
     
  10. Narcosynthesis

    Narcosynthesis Loaded Pockets

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    All of the festivals I have been to have been more concerned with alcohol and illicit substances, though at the same time I can't see them being particularly happy with knife carry - remembering the main aim of the search, a lot of people are going to be in no state to carry such an item, and it is easier for a blanket ban to prevent the chance of idiot drunks making (more of) a mess... Same reasoning it is a pretty dumb idea to be carrying anywhere the drink is flowing - bars, clubs, gigs and so on.
    I should say that many festivals will allow you knives as part of your cooking equipment, but those won't be allowed outwith the camping areas, and banned from the arenas.

    I will admit to having had a small SAK with me at most of the festivals I have been to, and have yet to ever had it found - all of the security personnel have been much more interested in the bag of camera equipment I have been carrying (attending as a photographer), or if I have had a bottle of water. The SAK being carried for minor repairs on the run, so it does have a genuine reason to be on my person beyond me being stubborn.

    Those are admittedly just the festivals I have personally been to, which have mainly been on the smaller end of the scale (the biggest being Rockness for any Brits), and rules and regulations may vary wildly depending on festival rules and the knowledge and work being put in by the security staff.
     
  11. MedusaOblongata

    MedusaOblongata Loaded Pockets

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    Before I went to Europe I researched the laws and it looked like tools were allowed, but weapons were not. So I got a LM Charge and Victorinox Swiss Rescue Tool - both obviously tools, yet both have decent sized one hand opening blades. That's the route I'd go if I were in your situation now.
     
  12. TomInOregon

    TomInOregon Loaded Pockets

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    I'm actually wanting a few basic tools more than I am wanting a knife, since, in my experience, there is always something that needs to be fixed. The knife is more for general cutting, but I could probably get by for 3 weeks with scissors, wire cutters or my teeth. I may pick up a Swiss Rescue Tool, since I have been kind of looking at them anyway. I'd like to see how it does on windows and windshields in real life.

    Thanks,
    Tom
     
  13. wobbles

    wobbles Empty Pockets

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    ey tom i dont think that they will give you a hardtime over a multitool but with a folder or a fixed blade, the blade itself has to be a certain length otherwise its conciderd a weapon,

    makes no sense...

    by the way iam talking about the netherlands right know..
     
  14. Getahl

    Getahl Loaded Pockets

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    Something like a LM Charge or Vic Rescue Tool might not be a great idea. A few countries have laws against locking knives, one handed openers, or both. Britain, for example, has the "knives you carry must be under 3 inches and non-locking, unless you have a really good reason to be carrying it" law. And I think it's Denmark that has the no one handed opener law (Spyderco makes the DKPK, which is effectively a two handed slippie...I'm assuming they made it with good reason).

    That said, research the carry laws where you're going to be traveling. The American Knife and Tool Institute or Bernard Levine's sites might have laws and regs posted, and BF has a Knife Law subforum as well.
     
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  15. Narcosynthesis

    Narcosynthesis Loaded Pockets

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    Obviously it depends on the country in question, and I can only speak for the UK laws with any knowledge...

    As UK law stands, *any* blade that locks open or is over 3" in length is illegal, whether you would class it as tool, weapon or anything else. So based on that, the rescuetool is illegal on both counts, as I believe would be the charge.

    The exception you may have heard about is that you are allowed to carry otherwise illegal items, but only if you can provide adequate reason to do so (which is judged by the officer you speak to in question, and if necessary, the courts). Examples would be things like a builder carrying a stanley or other work knife to site as part of a toolkit, or a chef carrying a set of kitchen knives to his place of work. Carrying for self defence or 'just in case' will almost certainly not be allowed and cause for arrest and further problems.

    Certainly something like a Leatherman wave or charge won't draw the same looks due to its 'tool' nature compared to a big scary knife, but is still technically illegal - a lot will come down to the particular people you are interacting with, their knowledge, opinions and how particularly they stick to the written law.

    I would definitely recommend sticking to within the laws and not pushing them - you are on holiday, you don't want any issues, so why push it?
    For a basic tool set, there are options like the various SAK's, Leatherman kick, juice or squirt series, a small slipjoint and a couple of separate tools and so on.
     
  16. TomInOregon

    TomInOregon Loaded Pockets

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    It sounds like it's not worth the hassle. I can get by with a couple of screwdrivers, needlenose pliers, slip-joint pliers and vice-grips. I may end up not even using them at all, but I would rather have them and not need them than need them and not have them. As far as the knife, I guess I will get by without one.

    Thanks,
    Tom
     
  17. hest

    hest Loaded Pockets

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    Tom, I live in Europe, travel across Europe, and carry a knife and/or multi-tool all the time (all my life basically). You won't have a problem. Just remember: Europe is not the US, so belt-carry is strongly discouraged. A sensibly-sized blade (say 3") in your pack will not cause you any trouble, and the normal-sized SAKs are definitely considered office-compatible.

    Have a good trip!

    PS: multi-tools in general are ridiculously overpriced in Europe.
     
    Journo likes this.
  18. dovk0802

    dovk0802 Loaded Pockets

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    A few suggestions:
    I haven't found a decent pair of folding scissors & anything pointy can cause trouble with TSA. However, I'm a huge fan of EMT shears.

    I posted on the virtues of the Gerber EAB http://edcforums.com/showthread.php/72642-Carry-on-knife

    If you want to bring a multi tool, consider the Leatherman Fuse http://www.leatherman.com/product/Knifeless_Fuse

    There was some discussion previously http://edcforums.com/showthread.php/73099-What-to-do-knife-or-no-knife that included some suggestions such as mailing a suitible knife/tool (maybe one of the pocket/keychain multitools) to your first stop over.

    I also commented on an experience with European (German) security rules http://edcforums.com/showthread.php/73588-Beware-crazy-Germans-(well-German-airport-security)

    Enjoy your trip I'm looking forward to the same dillema this summer.
     
  19. Ivars Duntavs

    Ivars Duntavs Empty Pockets

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    If you guys come to Latvia, you can carry whatever knife you want, in my country all knives legal 18+ of course no knives to concerts and festivals, no knives to nightclub but in daily city carry, all your spydies, Victorinox, Kershaw, crkt, Esee's are legal from 18+,of course police can stop you to check why you carry Esee junglas in a city UT there's no problemd to carry midsized to large-size folder on your pocket. What I would suggest is to take inexpensive knife with you, or buy one in local store.
     
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  20. Moshe ben David

    Moshe ben David Loaded Pockets

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    Even with that short list of venues where your knife could be a problem, seems to me that edc of a blade is therefore a problem, especially for a tourist who is likely to want to go to those venues!

    L'chaim!

    Moshe ben David