Knives were prohibited from us during our younger years. But as an adult, owning your first steel knife serves as a rite of passage to help you prepare for what’s to come. A knife is a basic yet multifaceted tool as you can use it in the kitchen, outdoors, and generally in your daily life.
Knives for everyday use, such as flipper knives, are usually compact and ergonomic, making you feel as if you’re a member of the Boy Scouts all over again. Although there a variety of knives available on the market, we’ve decided to narrow down our search to the most essential knives that every man should own in 2021.
In the old days, it was known as a jackknife. In the old old days, it was called a pocketknife. These days, it’s best known as the “everyday carry” (EDC) knife. Despite the name changes, the specifics have not changed at all: One folding blade, about 3.5 inches long, ideally with a locking mechanism so you no longer have to apply pressure to the tang as you use it. Some also have spring-loaded opening mechanisms, making them extra efficient to use, not to mention adding a little “wow” factor when you whip it out for a task.
The virtues of the EDC knife are simplicity, sturdiness, and size. But with the focus solely on the design of one blade, you can’t expect your EDC to do it all. So it’s important to choose an EDC knife with a blade suited to the tasks that most frequently confront you. If you’re scouting for some high-quality EDC knives, here are the best pocket knives we’ve found.
This type of knife includes legendary models such as the Barlow knife, the canoe knife, and the congress knife. Most multi-blade knives feature two blades with different shapes and lengths for different tasks, though it’s possible to find models with three or four blades included. With a variety of tips and serration patterns, this knife offers the advantage of always having the right blade for the job at hand. These perks make multi-blade knives the best camping knives.
A must-have in every Boy Scout’s backpack, the Swiss Army Knife is the name-brand version of the “camper” or multitool category of knives. These knives include a slew of additional tools like saws, toothpicks, tweezers, can openers, nail files, scissors, corkscrews, magnifying glasses, and much more. Personally, I’ve used them for everything from rearview mirror grooming right before a date to cutting kindling for a campfire to breaking out of a locked bathroom in a New Jersey train station. The only downside to the multitool knife is how bulky they can get. Sitting down with one of these bad boys in your back pocket is a mistake you won’t want to make twice.
Small, unassuming, with a diminutive blade that isn’t meant to be kept overly sharp — don’t underestimate the penknife. Its low profile makes it easy to carry in situations where an EDC knife might be frowned upon, and it’s handy for delicate tasks like opening letters, removing a splinter, or tightening the screw on your glasses. It’s important to know that small knives like this don’t usually include a locking mechanism, so even though it’s little, you’ll want to exercise care in learning to use it.
The big boys of the knife world feature blades of 5 inches or more; a fixed, ergonomically designed handle; and a carrying sheath meant to be worn on your leg or hip. Meant for big jobs like skinning a fresh kill, chopping your way through the underbrush, defending yourself against predators, and other survival maneuvers, these hunting knives are the opposite of discreet, so save this model for an extended sojourn into the backcountry. To help you prepare for the unexpected, your best fixed-blade knives should be sharpened and kept clean before and during your journey.
A small yet functional pocketknife is a must-have for every man. Despite its smaller blade and handle, a pocketknife can come in handy in various situations. This essential knife has extremely hard carbon steel, which gives you precise cutting. It’s also low maintenance because you can simply clean it by handwashing after every use. It’s also portable enough that you can bring it anywhere your feet take you. If you’re looking for a great pocketknife, you can check out the featured product below.
Knife Blade Types to Consider
- Clip point blade: Perhaps the most common blade to find on an EDC knife, the clip point has a sharp, controllable tip that’s good for piercing and plenty of “belly,” or cutting edge. A variation is the drop point blade, which has a straight spine with a slight downward slope to meet the edge, resulting in a broader, stronger tip. Although ideal for performing precision tasks, clip point blades tend to be more brittle than other types of knife blades.
- Sheepsfoot blade: Designed for its namesake — helping shepherds trim the hooves of sheep — this blade features a hard downward curve from the back of the knife to the tip, providing a large cutting surface. The blade’s form prevents accidental piercing, especially during rescue or emergency situations.
- Spey blade: On this type of blade, a single sharp straight edge curves upwards to meet a short, dull point. Spey blades can be either long or short, depending on the particular style of the EDC knife you select. Spey blades are strong clip points and are not prone to breakage or chipping. You can use a spey blade knife to skin animals or fruits.
- Tanto blade: Popularized by Japanese brands, this type of blade is common on tactical-style knives. The blade is on the thick side and features an exaggerated angle on the tip, useful for stabbing and piercing hard objects. They’re easy to sharpen, too. However, a tanto knife may not be a great tool for slicing ingredients.
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