This story is part of our end-of-year series This Year in Gear, rounding up the most notable releases of 2022. For more stories like this, click here.
"Use the right tool for the job." A staple of common sense phrases, it seems our favorite knife and EDC manufacturers took it to heart this year: 2022 was a treasure trove of new and updated knives and tools, meant to address any situation where a pocket knife, carabiner or multi-tool was needed. Quality materials, responsible. manufacturing and respect for both past and future defined the knives, EDC gear and accessories of 2022.
The following 20 knives, multi-tools, pens and accessories speak simultaneously to the need for specialization and do-it-all resourcefulness. Any one of these items could be used for a variety of situations, but like any self-respecting EDC enthusiast will tell you: there's always a right tool for the job. Check them out for yourself; we've got a feeling you'll find exactly what you're looking for (and then some).
The James Brand The Redstone
Perhaps it's fitting that the Redstone's colors call to mind Hawaii's classic T&C Surf Designs, because it's all about the islands. Specifically, those isolated pink and blue pods, which allow a finger to rest betwixt, providing superior grip when using the slide-lock design to deploy the Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel blade. That comes in handy whether you're whittlin' wood or, sure, scrapin' surf wax.
CRKT Scribe Blackout With D2 Blade Steel
Boise, Idaho-based knife designer T.J. Schwarz is known for crafting blades that offer more than meets the eye, and the Scribe is a perfect example. It hides in a pocket-clipped thermoplastic sheath that resembles a USB drive, until you need it. Then just pop off the cap, which attaches to the pummel to extend the handle, and you're ready to slice everything from apples to packages.
Phoozy 2.8L TechCapsule
As streamlined as our smart gear has gotten, one element that continues to be clunky is our always-growing collections of cords, cables and chargers. This EDC pouch seeks to sort out the mess with intuitive storage for digital detritus. Bonus: the TechCapsule's Chromium Thermal Barrier shields electronics and accessories from heat, cold, rain, snow, mud and more.
This long-awaited non-locking friction folder is WESN's most compact and lightweight knife ever. Intended for food prep out on the trails, the Samla features a 2.45-inch sheepsfoot blade made of strong, corrosion-resistant Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel. Titanium or wood scales and phosphor bronze washers round out a wilderness-ready package that looks as fine as it functions.
Leatherman Mr. Crunch
The first tool out of Leatherman's experimental new Garage recalls a feature that proved too costly and complex to produce in the '70s: badass double-pliers that snap into place when deployed. That's one of 21 functions, all swinging into action with one hand via the brand's revolutionary, magnet-based FREE tech. Unfortunately, Mr. Crunch sold out in less than 24 hours, but you can sign up to be notified of the next Garage release — and cross your fingers this one returns.
Gerber Devour Titanium
Gerber's mastery of campsite cutlery is no secret: the brand makes loads of clever, space-saving stuff that goes far beyond the spork. The Devour snaps together nine key tools — including can and bottle openers, flathead drivers and your classic spork utensils — and this new titanium iteration weighs no more than an ounce.
Zippo Yellow Flame Butane Lighter Insert
Why spring for this new type of insert? Simple: It's compatible with any classic Zippo lighter case while boasting a couple of advantages. Not only does the directional, odorless flame burn cleaner, but it also requires fewer refills. While your classic single torch butane insert delivers 100 lights per refill, mellow yellow over here is good for 125.
Lucas Burnley is a legend in both the knifemaking and everyday carry worlds, and the Butte is a glimpse into why. Available in two versions — the standard D2 steel and G10 edition and a highly-upgraded S35VN steel and shredded carbon fiber one — this unmistakably Burnley knife boasts Flavio Ikoma's unbeatable IKBS ball-bearing system for buttery-smooth flipper deployment, a sturdy and unique Deadbolt lock and an EDC-friendly low-profile design.
GP's love for Gerber's humble Shard is well documented. The also aptly named Chonk offers many of the same capabilities — including small and large flathead drivers, wire cutter and bottle opener. But you also get more leverage in the pry bar, plus a nail puller, a pocket clip and, frankly, a bit more style.
The James Brand x VMP: the Abbey
A utility blade made specifically for opening vinyl records might be the most niche knife around, but that doesn't mean the James Brand x VMP Abbey isn't brilliant. Frankly stunning in its minimalist design and with materials to match (AR-RPM9 steel with reclaimed vinyl LP scales, plus a leather sheath), it's like a smaller and more portable desk knife. No surprise, then, that the $79 blade quickly sold out upon release. But you've got holiday luck on your side: the blade is back, baby.
Tactile Turn Ultem Bolt Action Pen
Tactile Turn is well known in the everyday carry world for its exceptional, durable, reliable pens. While this Blade HQ exclusive offering sticks to those tenets, it's also been done up in a unique semi-transparent amber colorway, lending it a bit more style that's sure to please Jurassic Park fans. It's also compatible with Schmidt EastFlow 9000 medium refill cartridges, has a buttery-smooth deployment mechanism and is available in a larger size, as well.
WESN x Pioneer Microblade & Global Pouch
It's not often two EDC brands as impactful as WESN and Pioneer come together for a collaboration, but the results are almost always magnificent. That's true for this take on the Microblade, which benefits from a steel upgrade to S35vn (from D2) and a uniquely milled titanium handle boasting Pioneer's signature hatch pattern. The whole thing is topped off with a carry pouch made from Pioneer's proprietary 10XD fabric, one of the strongest synthetics on the planet.
Dango Carabiner and Shackle
Featuring the brand's signature industrial-inspired design cues, Dango's tough-as-nails, lightweight aluminum Carabiner & Shackle is the perfect traditional keychain alternative for anyone who doesn't want a lump of keys and keychain accessories mussing up their pockets. The Shackle can also be detached for more compact carrying, while still keeping your keys in order. Oh yeah, and it was made right here in the USA.
Benchmade 945-221 Mini Osborne
Any time Benchmade upgrades one of its most historically significant silhouettes, people should take notice. That's the case with this Gold Class Mini Osborne, which boasts a gorgeous (and durable) Damasteel blade, a marbled "Arctic Storm" carbon handle, anodized bolsters that match the thumb stud and more. At $700, it's a hell of an investment, but we wouldn't be surprised to see this thing sell out thanks to collectors who know what's in front of them.
Reylight Pineapple Mini Flashlight
As amazing as smartphones are, they often leave a bit to be desired when it comes to the flashlight function. Enter this keychain-sized option, which features three modes (0.1 lumens, 15 lumens, and 125 lumens) to provide all the quality illumination you need. Its craftsmanship is also admirable, precision machined from solid Mokume (a.k.a. woodgrain metal), with pineapple-inspired knurling, for superior style and durability.
VSSL Insulated Flask
VSSL's products tend to pack more than meets the eye, and the brand's latest vessel is no exception. With a Speaqua premium Bluetooth speaker endcap, this flask can deliver five hours of tunes around the fire — and pair with another unit for stereo sound. You also get a magnetic, multi-use carabiner drink cap that simplifies carrying and double-walled vacuum insulation to serve the original purpose: keeping drinks cold (10 hours) and hot (five hours).
The James Brand The Palmer
No sense burying the lead. The James Brand's latest had us so curious, we tried it out as soon as we could. Highlights include anodized aluminum handles (in six colors) and a patent-pending quick-change system that makes swapping blades a snap. While our tester had her qualms, including the lack of a thumb guard, these words sum it up: "The Palmer strikes a balance between a functional EDC item you won't want to leave the house without, and an everyday piece of art you'd be just as comfortable displaying on the wall as having in your pocket."
Gerber Center-Drive Custom
With 14 functions, highlighted by the full-size center-axis screwdriver, the Center-Drive has been one of Gerber’s coolest multi-tools since its introduction five years ago. It’s now part of the Gerber Custom program, so you can truly make it your own, thanks to nine color options, one-of-a-kind laser engravings and four tool packs suited to different tasks. Jump on the site to build yours — even uploading your own graphics — and it’ll be on its way to you in a couple of weeks.
Opinel Limited Edition No.08 Black Palm Wood Folding Knife
Opinel’s No.08 Folding Knife is a timeless classic. This new iteration is extra special, thanks to a handle made of wood sustainably sourced from Guyana — specifically the Black Palm Tree, aka Patawa — highlighted by black leopard-like spots on the heel. Variable veining makes each of the 500 knives produced truly one of a kind, while a stainless steel blade and locking ring with a matte anthracite finish ensure reliable performance. Comes in a beautiful gift box too.
Get in on the ground floor with a knife that marks a couple of firsts for our friends at WESN. Soon to launch on Kickstarter, the Bornas is the brand's first fixed blade and the first one made in Sweden (ancestral homeland of WESN founder Billy Chester). So far all we know is that it's about six inches long, featuring a 2.6-inch blade, and will be available with both wood and G10 scales. Sign up at the link below for the latest info and a 40 percent off discount on the retail price.