This roundup is part of This Year in Gear, a look back at the year’s most notable releases. To stay on top of all the latest product news, subscribe to our daily Dispatch newsletter.
Designed by Paul Alexander, a Ph.D.-holding mechanical engineer and a lifelong knife enthusiast, Spyderco’s Ikuchi is a long and skinny pocket knife that looks quite different from the brand’s other knives. The folder features a satin-finished CPM S30V stainless steel blade modeled after a scalpel – very precise. When closed, the blade completely disappears into the curved handle.
Krudo Knives Karsino10
Louis Krudo, the designer and founder behind Krudo Knives, sketched the first iteration of the KARSIN010 on a napkin. That drawing eventually became two knives, both of which use what’s perhaps the most apparent feature: a full-sized thumb stud that Krudo calls a “thumb wedge.” Practicality is the goal here, but the result is a pocket knife that might’ve come out of the pages of a steam-punk graphic novel.
The James Brand Chapter
From: Gear Patrol Store
In 2019, The James Brand upgraded its very first blade, the Chapter. The new version looks identical to the old one, but it includes some crucial upgrades. First off, its blade is made of Crucible S35VN steel, a high-end material prized by custom makers for its corrosion resistance and edge retention, which adds to the blade’s longevity. The James Brand also added ceramic bearings for a smoother open and close, and a lockface to add durability to the framelock mechanism that the knife uses.
For the Allman, WESN used premium materials like S35VN steel and titanium or G10 handle scales in a construction that’s both pretty and simple. The folder uses a flipper tab for quick deployment and a liner lock for in-use security.
Alliance Designs Ice Lite
Alliance Designs works with makers to produce custom designs on a mass scale. It created the Ice Lite with Brian Efros, whose designs are clean, refined and well-suited to contemporary everyday carry trends. The knife’s shape is best described as a straight back (characterized by a straight spine and an edge that curves up to meet it at the tip).
What’s really striking about Civivi’s Plethiros is how well it preserves knife designer Elijah Isham’s style. The use of various materials, the sharp angles within them and the somewhat-offset blade are all hallmarks of his, and they help make the knife feel unique and futuristic.
Quiet Carry Current
Many fixed-blade knives come with a specific purpose — filleting a freshly caught fish, hacking through dense vegetation — buy Quiet Carry aims for versatility with its everyday take on the category.
Spyderco Dragonfly 2 Emerson
Spyderco modified one of its popular compact pocket knives, the Dragonfly 2, with a unique and uncommon feature called an Emerson Opener. An Emerson Opener is a small hook built onto a knife’s spine that’s positioned close to the handle. To use it, the wielder simply clips the knife onto a pocket in a tip-up position, and when he or she draws it out, the hook catches on the fabric, and the blade opens.
The James Brand Hell Gap
Can a fixed-blade knife be considered EDC? That depends on your definition of “everyday.” “In looking at the idea of everyday carry, we had to open up our aperture. For a bunch of people, everyday carry does mean a fixed blade knife,” admits Ryan Coulter, The James Brand’s founder, noting that a primary reason for making the Hell Gap was customer demand. “We can be a little bit more open-minded than we had initially been.” The Hell Gap is meant to complement the folding knife that you already use, not replace it.
Horizon Knives Lyra
Closed, the Lyra doesn’t look like a knife at all. It’s flat-ish and sort of circular, and with a two-inch diameter, it isn’t much larger than a coin. Instead of pivoting backward out of a handle like traditional folding knives, the Lyra launches forward on its hinges, transforming from its circular shape to a Z shape and then to a full-handled blade.
Benchmade EDC Edge Maintenance Tool
Benchmade’s Edge Maintenance Tool has everything you need to quickly put an edge on your favorite knife – including a ceramic rod and a leather strop – in a compact, pocketable form. It even has a clip, just like your favorite knife.
Helle is a Norwegian knife brand that’s been in operation since 1932, but it didn’t release a truly EDC-focused blade until the Kletten. The folding pocket knife has a 2.1-inch drop-point blade made of Helle’s triple laminated stainless steel and a handle made of curly birch wood, and it weighs just three ounces.
Leatherman Free T Series
Leatherman’s T Series should be considered as a contemporary Swiss Army Knife. The T2 ($40) boasts eight tools, including a straight blade, package opener and multiple screwdrivers. Then there’s its big brother, the T4 ($60), which adds handy staples such as scissors, tweezers and a nail file for a total of 12.
CRKT made the XOC — pronounced “shock” — in a limited batch of 200. Each one is huge. Its blade, which is made of CTS-XHP steel, a type that emphasizes a practical balance between corrosion resistance and hardness, is 4.258 inches long. That may not sound too substantial until you handle the thing: launch it open with its flipper tab to extend it to its full 10.375-inch extent, and you feel like a toddler holding your dad’s favorite hunting knife.
Cut Throat x WRKMN Moon Landing Knives
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, Cut Throat Knives teamed up with WRKMN to create two moon landing knives, one for the kitchen and one for the pocket, with handles made of resin featuring imagery from an actual scan of the moon’s surface.
Filson Mesquite Collection
Filson released a collection of folders that lean steadily on classic American hunting knife designs. One is a small fixed blade, and the other is a drop-point folder that comes in two lengths — one with an EDC-oriented 2.75-inch blade and the other with 3.75 inches of steel for more serious work.
GiantMouse ACE Clyde
GiantMouse blends the aesthetic of two highly regarded custom knife makers, Jesper Voxnaes and Jens Ansø, into premium production models that don’t cost as much as a custom but have a far higher degree of quality than what’s typically produced en masse. The Clyde is a perfect example of what that looks like.
The James Brand Duval
The Duval is the perfect example of a gentleman’s knife (a knife with a slim profile, relatively short — under three inches — blade, high-quality materials and elegant aesthetic). It’s a folding pocket knife with a 2.6-inch sheepsfoot blade made of Crucible S35VN stainless steel. The James Brand built it with a handle that tapers gently into the blade and is available with rosewood, green Micarta or titanium scales.
Another CRKT limited run, the Panache was designed by the revered Ken Onion. His inspiration for the knife comes from the angled contours of stealth bombers, a notion that materializes in hard, geometric angles in the spine of the blade, its titanium handle and the grippy carbon-fiber inlay.
The James Brand Ellis G10
Previously, the Ellis’s unadorned handle scales were only available in anodized aluminum, but The James Brand recently revealed a new option that uses grippy G10.
Victorinox Outdoor Master
Victorinox, the maker of the famous Swiss Army Knife, revealed the Outdoor Master, its first fixed blade. (Technically, the company’s kitchen knives are fixed blades, but this is its first utility-driven multi-purpose tool.) The knife comes in two sizes — one with a 3.4-inch blade and another that measures out to a smaller 2.8 inches.
Opinel No. 8 Ebony Ellipse
Pocket knives don’t get much more basic than Opinel’s No. 8, but simplicity is precisely why it has become a classic. Opinel created a limited-edition version of the No. 8 called the Ellipse that features an ebony handle with an aluminum leaf inlay. Ebony is an exotic hardwood prized for its durability and dark hue (it’s commonly used for fingerboards in guitars for those same reasons).
The James Brand Carter
Even at $139, the Carter is a bargain. Why? Because it comes with machined G10 or Micarta handle scales, a clip that seats the knife low in a pocket (or an included loop if you prefer a lanyard), and a drop-point blade made of VG-10 steel, which is known for its high degree of corrosion resistance.
CRKT Provoke Imperial White
CRKT’s Provoke might be the most innovative knife of the year. To honor the newest film in the Star Wars franchise, the company made a new version of the blade in an Imperial White colorway.
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