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Is This Sleek Pocket Knife as Useful as It Is Attractive?

I was drawn to The Carter due to its curb appeal, but wanted to know if the brawn matched the beauty. Here's what I found.

the james brand the carter
Hayley Helms

An EDC kit can get out of hand quickly, unless it's pared down to just the essentials. There are plenty of accessories available to fill your pockets with these days, but all you really need is a pair of sunglasses, a wallet, a small notebook and pen and of course, a knife.

Choosing which blade will make the everyday carry cut is an exercise in restraint — what fits best into your lifestyle? Personally, I use a blade for opening up boxes, taking tags off new garments, doing small repairs or mods on the go and removing stray strings and thread from clothing... everyday stuff, really. I'm not whittling tree branches, or bushwhacking my way to camp on the daily, so I'd like a knife that works for my activities, and looks good, to boot.

That's why I decided to give The Carter a try: it's the most advanced EDC option from The James Brand, but isn't over-the-top by any means. After testing the pocket knife out for a couple weeks, here's what I thought.

What I liked about The Carter

woman holding the carter knife
Hayley Helms
woman holding the carter knife
Hayley Helms

It's minimal

As The James Brand puts it, the Carter is a mix of "brawn and beauty," and that description is dead-on. The Carter doesn't have the bells and whistles of a multi-tool, or the girth and presence of a bowie knife or bushcraft blade. Smart, simple design characterizes this blade: what you see is what you get.

It's well-designed

The Carter is a great knife for the type of person that requires tools that are simple and beautiful in form, capable and hard-working in function. The knife is just the right size: made of corrosion-resistant VG-10 stainless steel, the drop-point blade is 2.8 inches long, while the overall length when open is 6.5 inches.

At three ounces, the Carter's slim silhouette is enough of a knife to get a variety of tasks done, without weighing you down or taking up too much room in your pocket. My favorite detail of the knife is the ambidextrous thumb disc — on the black-on-black colorway, it's a satisfying lime green, and adds just enough flair to the knife to make using it fun.

woman holding the carter knife
Hayley Helms
woman holding the carter knife
Hayley Helms

What I would change about The Carter

It's tough to maneuver with one hand

The Carter features one-handed open capabilities, and a slide-lock mechanism for easy opening and closing. While the knife feels stable and smooth upon opening, even the medium size was too big for me to open comfortably with one hand. After days of practicing with it, I could engage the slide lock and flip the knife open singlehandedly, but I wouldn't feel comfortable performing that maneuver in an emergency.

The Verdict: The Carter's primary appeal is its beauty, not necessarily its brawn

woman holding the carter knife
Hayley Helms

There are plenty of sharp knives on the market, and certainly more rugged ones than The Carter, but that's not the point of this pocket knife: The Carter, like all of The James Brand offerings, is a thing of beauty, a mix of form and function. Its primary appeal is one of an aesthetic nature; the cherry on top is that it also happens to be a well-engineered, capable blade. If you're an aesthete with a penchant for handiness, pick up The Carter today.

The James Brand
The James Brand The Carter
thejamesbrand.com
$139.00

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