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How to Choose an EDC Knife

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You carry it every day. It serves many purposes. The EDC knife is always on your side. Choose wisely.

Spyderco Dragonfly II in ZDP-189
$75 Spyderco Dragonfly II in VG-10 or in ZDP-189, my all time favorite knife

The first and primary rule of choosing an EDC knife is simple: pick a knife you want to carry every day. If your knife meets that single criteria it could be a $5 knife with Wolverine’s claws for steel and it doesn’t matter. Chose a knife you want to carry.

First and foremost, that means choosing a knife you don’t mind getting messy or dirty. Second, chose a knife that is easy to carry. And third, chose a knife that is fun and practical to use.

After reviewing hundreds of knives and handling thousands more including five-figure blades, I am not too precious with my knives.

Cold Steel Golden Eye Knife
$96 Cold Steel Golden Eye Spear Point after a thrashing in the woods

I use all of them for food prep, whittling, and box busting. I don’t put my high-end knife through that all of the time, but everything else, including $900 customs, will end up with tape residue on the blade after a while.

If you can’t put your ideal EDC through that, then it’s not your ideal EDC. Pick a knife you won’t hesitate to use.

EDC: How Will You Really Use It?

Think about how you will carry it and what you will do. If you are a smokejumper with a Mystery Ranch chest rig, a fixed blade in a quick-access sheath is an option. If you are a chinos-wearing office dweller most of the time, it’s not.

For me, I want a knife with a blade over 2.5 inches that weighs as little as possible. The lighter and easier to carry the knife is, the more likely you are to carry it.

$75 AG Russell Light’n Bug weighs just 1 ounce

Technical Considerations

Finally, you want a knife that performs well. Don’t bother with knives thicker than your smartphone. All they will do is frustrate you. Find a knife with thin, high-performing steel. Make sure it is comfortable in the hand, well-balanced and responsive. There is real visceral joy in using a knife that slices an apple clean or parts soppressata with ease.

CRKT Batum Knife
The $37 CRKT Batum with some homemade soppressata and some honey crisp apples

Once you experience it, you will look for it again and again. If you have the right knife, the one that gives you that feeling, it will always be a pocket companion.

Price, steel, handle material, weight, blade length, legal restrictions, and deployment method are worth considering but secondary.

Price and steel type are often closely linked. Consider if you need a high-priced super steel, or if something more modest will work. You probably won’t be batoning this knife regularly unless your everyday includes bushcraft. So, as noted above, be honest with how you will use it.

Blade length is closely tied to legal restrictions. For most urbanites or others who will carry the blade primarily in public places, a blade under 2.5 inches is usually under any length restrictions. The modest blade is also less likely to freak people out if you use it in a public place.

Deployment method is a matter of personal preference. There are many great options on the market. Enjoy a field trip to a dealer and handle a bunch to see what you like in the hand. Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, and other stores all have a nice selection of blades to inspect.

That’s the starting point for finding the ideal EDC knife. Now go explore some Crucible datasheets on grain uniformity in nitrogen-based metals. LN200 C is calling you.

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