Friday, April 3, 2015

Best EDC Folders of 2015 (so far...)

Ok folks, quick list of some of the best options out there. If you’ve been following this website or involved in any way in the survival and preparedness community you probably understand why you should have a knife with you at all times and since carrying a six inch fixed blade on daily basis isn’t exactly practical or even realistic for most of us, that’s probably going to be a folding knife.
Here I’d like to take a second to comment on the usefulness of pocket knives per se compared to fixed blade knives. If you can get away with carrying a machete with you on daily basis then more power to you, but if you’re limited to a folder then know there’s nothing wrong with that either. For hundreds, no, thousands of years, men have carried and used folding pocket knives. In fact, our ancestors carried knives that in most cases were significantly weaker than the ones currently available, with inferior steels, locks and construction. Still, with a bit of care and basic maintenance, those pocket knives were invaluable tools which served them well during decades of honest use.
Today, the pocket knife serves that same purpose and the offering has never been better. Folders are more practical, faster and stronger than ever. For everything from peeling fruit, eating a streak, opening mail to carving wood or even defending yourself if needed a good folder is an invaluable tool.
Throughout the years I’ve developed a standard of what I consider to be a good survival folding knife. It’s nothing very specific but I do look for certain things. First, I want quality. You can have quality at bargain prices or you can have it paying dearly for it but to me quality is important. I want a knife made by a manufacturer I know I can trust. I want a solid, reliable knife. Your folder should be able to take a certain amount of abuse, not because you plan on doing stupid things with it, but because someday it may be called upon it to do more than just cut. You may need to pry with it, maybe even fight. I also want a big enough blade. Four inches is ok. No smaller than 3.5” inches. Five inches would be better. You can easily carry a four or five inch blade folder in your pocket with no problem.
Premium steels are nice to have, but I’m happy enough with a well heat treated cheaper steel. Many times fancy pants steel are heat treated to such hardness levels that they become fragile when abused, making them great for cutting thousands or pieces of manila rope, but snapping when prying a stuck door with them while a cheaper steel may get the job done without breaking.
I want well designed handle, something that offers some finger protection and has a clip that can be adjusted at least on either side, with a four position clip being ideal. It should open single handed with ease and lock solid.
With these considerations in mind here are my top choices:
Cold Steel 29TLT Voyager Large Tanto
Cold Steel Voyager Tanto Large $38.81
This is the most affordable knife in the list and in all honesty maybe the best bang per buck you have today. Make no mystake, the Cold Steel Voyager is a beast of a knife. The clip point version with its full flat grind has somewhat of a more fragile tip, but you don’t get that with the saber grind tanto version. Maybe AUS8 steel isnt anything to brag about, but its works well enough and you do get the Triad Lock, which is clearly one of the strongest locking mechanisms in the market. If size isnt a problem for you, go for the XL version.
What about my favorite Cold Steel knife, the Vaquero ? That’s a beast of a knife, but more inclined for defensive use and best used along with a smaller utility multitool.

Spyderco Resiliance $39.19
The Tenacious is a beloved budget classic that has been around for several years now but forget about it and go straight for the bigger brother. The blade has a full flat grind, but it somewhat compensates that by being pretty wide and overall plain large. Opens fast, has a flat profile, G10 handle, I’d say it’s a great knife for anyone looking for a big knife but wants an easy to carry flat profile.

Spyderco Endura 4 $65.35
The Endura4 is the most classic of all Spyderco knives. The Endura 4 is deceivingly large and strong yet so easy to carry. Great VG-10 steel, pretty good ergonomics and four position clip. The tip manages to be fine yet very sturdy thanks to the saber grind. I would avoid the full flat version given that the saber grind is sharp enough but much stronger.
Benchmade Gryptilian $93.25
An all-time classic, functional folder. Benchmade has always been highly regarded by military personnel and the Gryptilian is particularly appreciated by those that know knives. Great blade geometry, very nice 154CM steel and a very comfortable handle. You just cant go wrong with it.

ZT Zero Tolerance 0561 Hinderer Collaboration $209.80
Crème de la crème. Made in USA, Titanium framelock construction, 3-D machined titanium and G-10 handle, premium ELMAX steel, Hinderer design, this is as good as it gets in a production knife.
What’s your favorite EDC knife and what do you use it for the most? Leave your comments below!


Anonymous said...

I really like the Benchmade 710 McHenry & Williams. I love the locking mechanism, the blade and handle shape, and the fact that is is just under the legal maximum length to carry without a CCW.

I added a low-rider pocket clip. It makes the knife a little more secure and a little less obvious without hurting the handiness.

It is my daily carry knife.

Anonymous said...

I've got 4 Spydercos, Enduras and Matriarchs in the normal VG-10... great steel, quality build. The 'wave' version is very slick.

But I've also got an original Cold Steel Scimitar, in VG1 (not VG-10). Steel is not up to snuff compared to the Spyderco. The handles want to separate, one screw worked all the way loose and a couple others need regular retightening. The liner lock isn't as secure as the newer version, and it's showing some wear now.

And I still EDC the Scimitar, because the thicker handle lets it stand up to abuse that the Spydercos couldn't dream of. Despite the very tapered point, this knife has been a tank for ~6 years of EDC use.

I've chopped 2x4s in half with it.

I use it to pry in situations that nothing else can get into a tight spot; I've used it as nearly the only tool in dis-assembly of a greenhouse, because nothing else I had could get behind the miserable little clips holding the numerous glass panels in place.

I've scraped paint off bricks with it.

It needs frequent resharpening, even when not abused, and my best efforts can't put an edge on it that even matches the Spydero factory edge. But it's tough.

Romilda Gareth said...