You may have missed it, but there was a week back in April that we referred to unofficially within Gear Patrol as "knife week." It's sort of like Shark Week, except instead of airing fictional documentaries, we revamped loads of our coverage on knives — there were substantial updates to our guide to the best fixed-blade and bushcraft knives and our guide to knife blade shapes and new content on the best pocket knives available plus a discourse on so-called super steel.
Knife week is unofficially over, but the knife coverage keeps coming with our monthly blade bulletin. For May, we see a new mini model from Benchmade, a notable CRKT upgrade and more.
Given that many multi-tools try to jam as many implements into a single set of handles as possible, it's refreshing to see a new one come along that's more pared down. With only 14 tools, Leatherman's new Bond is an homage of sorts to its very first multi-tool, the PST. The list includes well-known standards like a knife, pliers, bottle opener, screwdrivers, ruler and more.
The James Brand The Barnes
Before sticker shock sets in, know that The James Brand's newest pocket knife, The Barnes, is an integral. An integral is an uncommon type of knife with a handle made of a single piece of material which, in this case, is titanium. The Barnes also packs a Bohler M390 super steel blade that, along with the handle, propels it to the pinnacle of the company's collection.
Buchanan-Smith's Axe Handbook
Buchanan-Smith calls it a handbook, but that designation only applies to the practical nature of the information inside; at over 200 pages, the project is a tome of axe lore. Fear not, however — there are plenty of gorgeous images and helpful illustrations interspersed amongst the pages.
Benchmade Mini Osborne
As part of a 20th-anniversary celebration of its Osborne design, Benchmade is introducing this pint-sized version of the popular folder. Whereas the original Osborne has a 3.4-inch blade, the Mini's is 2.92, and total weight savings amount to nearly a full ounce. All the good stuff remains, including CPM-S30V steel, a reverse tanto blade, sliding lock, thumb stud and pocket clip. The Mini also includes titanium handle scales, a noteworthy upgrade over the aluminum featured in the full-size model.
You don't see many new friction folder pocket knives these days, though that's the design WESN chose for its most compact EDC knife to date. Called the Samla, the non-locking pocket knife is available with titanium or rosewood handles and features a 2.45-inch sheepsfoot blade. WESN imagined this one for use outdoors, though it's sleek enough to act as a daily driver too.
CRKT CEO Blue
In 2019, a panel of industry judges selected CRKT's slim CEO as one of the best pocket knives of that year. Now the company is giving it a couple subtle upgrades. The more apparent one is a new blue handle made of canvas Micarta, but the more substantial change is a swap to CPM S35VN blade steel, a premium type that balances steel qualities.
Filson Bird & Trout Knife
Filson recently stocked its knife shop with new USA-made blades that feature classic Americana patterns. Among the new batch is this fixed blade, which Filson made for anglers and wing shooters in need of a sharp and corrosion-resistant tool that they can use in the field. It has a full-tang construction and Micarta handles, and it comes with a leather sheath.
Hydro Flask Flatware Set
The simplest way to wean yourself off plastic forks and knives is to ensure you always have a set of reusable ones in your bag. Hydro Flask released just the thing as part of its new outdoor kitchen collection — each utensil is made of 18/8 stainless steel and comes in a small pouch, though they also have circular cutouts that allow you to toss them onto a keychain too.
Craighill Offset Keyring
Speaking of keychains, Craighill recently cooked up this minimalist belt hook. With a carabiner-inspired design, it's made of stainless steel and features one compartment that locks closed for your keys and another that stays open for quick hooking and unhooking to a belt loop or key fob.
The James Brand The Midland
The James Brand also recently revealed its take on the belt loop keychain. The Midland is one piece of solid titanium that also places a hook atop a closed loop for safe key carry, but it also includes a bottle opener.