If lighter is faster, then the newest backpacking blade from French knife-maker Baladeo, the aptly-named 22 GRAM, is a speed freak! The $30, fully stainless, locking-blade pocketknife weighs an insubstantial 22 grams — light enough for even the most hardcore weight weenies.
For the last few months, I’ve tested the forgetably light knife from the woods to the dinner table, and it has performed like any good pocketknife should. For light-duty jobs like slicing summer sausage, cording, packaging, or even fashioning roasting sticks for s’mores, the knife has been more than adequate. Some will frown on the skinny handle, especially for any type of serious or sustained cutting chore. But that’s not what the knife was designed for.
While it is merely a handle and blade — no sheath to fold into — the blade lays close to the handle when closed and does not pose a cutting danger when not in use. It locks securely and closes easily. Folded, the knife is about 3.5 inches long and it unfolds to about 6.7 inches with the blade out.
Though it’s made from 420 stainless steel, typically a low-grade, the well-machined blade has held up better than expected. However, straight from the box it lacked the sharpness I expect from a new knife. A few passes on a whetstone brought it up to spec. And when dulled, the edge was quick to sharpen once again — one perk of the 420 stainless.
One improvement I’d like to see is either a thumb post or fingernail groove along the blade to aid in opening the knife. And for the record, this knife is made in China, though not all of Baladeo’s knives are. At the $30 price point, I think it is a good buy for the serious backpacker whose mantra may read something to the tune of: “Less is more.”
—T.C. Worley will confess that he has cut multiple toothbrushes in half to save weight in his backpack.