Prepping is not only about being prepared for big disasters; it is a preparation for all kinds of scenarios, from small to great, from frequent to rare. Having a knife at hand can be useful in a wide range of situations: first aid (cutting bandages, cutting clothing away from a wound, cutting cloth for a swathe and sling), small repairs (cutting duct tape, paracord), opening packages, and many other uses. “Rule #9: Never go anywhere without a knife.”
My criteria for an everyday carry knife: blade less than 3″ to comply with (most) laws restricting knife carry, lightweight, smooth opening, solid lockup, good grip, sharp blade, good knife steel, made in the U.S.A. (or at least not made in China).
Knife laws vary from one State to another, and from city/county to another. Handgunlaw.us has a nice summary of knife laws in this PDF. Most of the laws seem to regard knife length. The most common allowable lengths are up to 3 inches or “under” 3 inches. Some cities/counties say up to 2.5 inches. In Florida, a concealed carry permit for a firearm also allows concealed carry of a knife. But in some other States even a permit for a concealed firearm does not allow you to carry a concealed knife. I’m not a lawyer. Know your local laws and abide by them.
I haven’t settled on an EDC knife. Right now, I’m trying out the Cold Steel Tuff Lite knife: 2.5″ blade, hollow ground blade, 2.5 oz., Japanese AUS 8A steel. It opens smoothly with an oversized thumb-hole, but with a little more force than I would like. The lock is a “tri-ad lock”, which is basically a modified lock-back system. The lockup is very solid, but releasing the lock takes a lot of pressure. On the plus side, the knife was inexpensive ($31) and the blade is very sharp. The handle is textured for a good grip, without digging into your hand. And the handle has two cut-outs, extending into the bottom of the blade, for a very firm grip when cutting difficult items. The knife is also designed so that, when you have a finger in the cut-out and are closing the blade, it does not cut your finger. But the jury is still out on whether this will be my EDC knife.
I’ve tried the Spyderco knives for EDC. These are very well-made knifes. Still, I’m not a fan. I had a short-run model with ZDP-189 steel, a high-end powdered metal steel with a very high hardness. It was hard to sharpen. Most of the Spyderco knives are very similar: thumb-hole opening, same type of handle, more or less, and same type of lock. The handle is too thin for my tastes.
I’ve got a Griptilian H2O on order, the full size model with corrosion resistant X15 T.N. steel. With a blade of 3.4″ and a weight of 3.8 oz., it’s a little big for EDC. Butch likes his mini-Griptilian a lot. With 2.5 oz. of weight and 2.91 inches of blade length, it’s a better size for EDC.
What are your criteria for an EDC knife? What do you carry and why?