Trekking: The Opinel No12 Explore is a Survival Knife You Can Actually Afford

Man isn’t meant to stay indoors — our weekly “Trekking” column can attest to that. It’s a column dedicated to the adventurer inside of all of us, the one pining to ditch the office humdrum for a quick surf session or seven-week jaunt in the Grand Tetons. One day we may highlight an ultra-light stove and the next a set of handmade canoe paddles. Life doesn’t just happen inside the workplace.

Opinel is a company with a heritage that’s as rich as the soil on which its blades are forged. The revered company has been manufacturing knives in the heart of the French Alps since 1890, and is widely regarded as a brand with a penchant for both functionality and attractive design — so much so that London’s Victoria and Albert Museum once placed Opinel’s wares alongside the Porsche 911 and Rolex timepieces. This doesn’t mean the seasoned manufacturer affixes every knife in its arsenal with an exorbitant price tag, however. Case in point? The No12 Explore Knife ($50).

The newly-launched knife is an affordable solution for anyone in need of a large, all-purpose folding blade for the backcountry. The rugged design relies on the traditional Opinel pattern — and a 4-inch, 12C27 Sandvik stainless-steel blade — though, it also comes equipped with several outdoor-centric upgrades that are intended to bolster its functionality beyond just cutting and dicing. Not only is the rubber, fiberglass-reinforced handle built to withstand both shock and extreme temperatures, but it houses a built-in survival whistle for emergencies and a ferrocerium rod that’s capable of producing 5,000-degree sparks. The latter feature works in conjunction with the blade’s spine, allowing you to make a fire with little more than a flick of the wrist (and some kindling).

Need more? A sliding insert located at the butt of the knife contains a lanyard hole and a gut hook, a tool that will allow you to cut cord and clean small game should the occasion ever present itself. The fine-edged blade’s functionality is limited, to be sure, but none of the onboard bells and whistles sacrifice the knife’s basic utility. We wish we could say the same for all multitools.

Check out Opinel online for more info, or to browse its wide selection of knives, sheaths, and stones.

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