Folding Knives

A good folding knife is the most important piece of EDC gear. In civilization, a folding knife is used on a daily basis to open boxes, bags and envelopes; to collapse boxes; to cut loose threads, tape, string, rope, hose, wire insulation and heat-shrink tubing; to prune trees, bushes, flowers and other plants around the yard; to harvest fruits and vegetables in a garden or on a farm; to sharpen pencils; and so on. In the wilderness, a folding knife is used to make fuzz sticks while preparing to start a fire; to slice food; to carve and whittle for bushcraft; to sharpen natural arrows, spears and trap spikes; to notch wood and cut twine or vines while building a shelter; etc. A folding knife can be used as a defensive weapon when your ammunition is depleted or in circumstances where you are unable to carry a firearm, however this is not normally the purpose of a prepared individual's EDC folder and only a fool would suggest that there's no legitimate reason for carrying any folding knife. You should carry a folding knife at all times (be sure you remain legal - avoid places where knives are prohibited).

 

When selecting a folding knife, you should look for the following characteristics:

• Quality stainless steel blade (AUS-8, VG-1, CPM-154, S30V, etc)

• EDC blade length of approximately 3" to 4" / ODC blade length of 4"+

• Handle made of high-impact polymer (Zytel, Grivory, FRN, etc) or laminate (Micarta, G-10)

• Lockback or Axis-lock (avoid liner-locks, slip-joints and any gimmicky locking mechanisms)

• Straight edge (serrations are difficult to sharpen and they are only moderately helpful for certain cutting tasks)

• Thumb stud or hole for one-handed opening

• Pocket clip oriented for tip-up carry (and reversible for left-handed users if applicable)

• Lanyard hole

 

Clip-point and drop-point blade shapes tend to be the most useful for the widest range of cutting tasks, however tanto blades can be beneficial in circumstances where probing and prying will be more common than slicing and wood-processing, such as in urban environments. Spear-point folders are appropriate defensive weapons to carry during PT (physical training - such as running) when a firearm would be difficult or impractical to carry. No matter what, do not cheap-out and buy a junk knife at the hardware store or flea market; the knife will be useless and you'll end up paying more over time to replace broken junk knives than you will buying one quality folding knife. Expect to pay $40 to $140 for a quality folder. My personal EDC folder is normally a Gen III Cold Steel Voyager Clip-Point 4"/Large. The folders below all meet my quality standards and characteristic requirements at a reasonable price.

 

Benchmade 111H2O (dive knife)

Made in USA

3.45" Blade

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Benchmade 111H2O


Benchmade 530 (PT knife)

Made in USA

3.45" Blade

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Benchmade 530


Benchmade Griptilian (EDC knife)

Made in USA

3.25" Blade

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Benchmade Griptilian


Benchmade Mini-Griptilian (EDC knife for women and children)

Made in USA

2.8 - 2.91" Blade

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Benchmade Mini-Griptilian

Benchmade Mini-Griptilian


Cold Steel Counter Point (PT knife, variety of sizes)

Made in Taiwan

3 - 6" Blade

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Cold Steel Counter Point


Cold Steel Mackinac & Lonestar Hunters (EDC knives, non-tactical)

Made in Taiwan

3.5 - 4" Blade

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Cold Steel Mackinac Hunter

Cold Steel Lonestar Hunter


Cold Steel Recon 1 (EDC knife, very tactical)

Made in Taiwan

2 - 5.5" Blade

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Cold Steel Recon I


Cold Steel Voyager Clip-Point (EDC knife, variety of sizes)

Made in Taiwan

3 - 5.5" Blade

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Cold Steel Clip Voyager


Cold Steel Voyager Tanto (EDC knife, urban, variety of sizes)

Made in Taiwan

3 - 5.5" Blade

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Cold Steel Tanto Voyager


Spyderco Manix2 (EDC knife)

Made in USA

3.38 - 3.88" Blade

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Spyderco Manix2



Spyderco Delica (EDC knife for women and children)

Made in Japan

2.56 - 2.88" Blade

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Spyderco Delica

Spyderco Delica


Spyderco Endura (EDC knife)

Made in Japan

3.75" Blade

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Spyderco Endura