Form follows function, as the saying goes, right? The Quickie Karambit by TOPS exploits that adage in a way that gives it quite a visual advantage. Unlike most knives with thick, grippable grips and long, sharp blades, the Quickie keeps things short and sweet. The Quickie doesn’t give you a handle to grip onto, but rather fills the negative space of your hand when you close your fingers into a fist. This gives you a sense of comfort as you hold the blade, while also resulting in a karambit that’s unsettlingly thin, but just as effective. The Quickie also comes with an index finger ring that lets you hold the knife properly, and a two-edged talon-shaped blade that’s characteristic of Karambit designs.
The Karambit, originally believed to be developed in West Sumatra, takes inspiration from the claws of a tiger. As with most weapons of the region, it was originally an agricultural implement designed to rake roots, gather threshing and plant rice in most of Southeast Asia. It also worked as a self-defense weapon against predators or in combat. The modern karambit falls under the category of EDC, being used for cutting, shredding, and raking in the outdoors. The Quickie, built for utility, enables all sorts of outdoor cutting activities, and even comes with a neat sheathe to cover the blade when not in use!
At first glance, you’d ask yourself why the Prylobite looks the way it does. It features a full-tang blade that swivels into the handle in such a way that the opposite end of the blade sticks out when shut. You’re bound to question its appearance, but that feeling lasts only a minute. When you begin using the Prylobite, you appreciate and acknowledge its appearance and the functionality it brings to the table, or in this case, your fingertips. You see, the Prylobite is a knife, but it isn’t just a knife. It’s also a flathead screwdriver, a bottle opener, a wrench, and a prybar.
With a highly tactile and sturdy, G10 fiberglass handle on the outside, and a stone-washed S35VN Steel blade on the inside, the Prylobite has a certain simplicity and elegance to it. It doesn’t feature any locking or unlocking mechanisms, relying on good-old friction tension to open and close the blade. The full-tang design prevents an open blade from closing, because your thumb applies pressure along the handle spine.
The Prylobite’s most noteworthy visual element is its blade. Designed with a pivot at the center, the blade’s always sticking out of the handle, when open or closed. Open it up, and you’ve got a nice, sharp, curved sheepsfoot blade that’s ideal for slicing, dicing, and cutting. Fold the blade inward and extension on the opposite end sticks out. This extension holds three other tools that make the Prylobite indispensable. A flat-head screwdriver/prybar at the tip allows you to tighten screws and open tightly-shut paint jars. Just behind the prybar is also a 1/4″ wrench, allowing you to tighten or loosen quarter-inch nuts and bolts. On one end of the wrench lies the Prylobite’s bottle opener, allowing you to crack open a beverage when you’re done prying off lids and tightening nuts and bolts. The other end of the wrench features a running slit that allows you to clip the knife to your pocket like a fountain pen.
The Prylobite’s just compact enough to fit on your keychain (each Prylobite comes with a S-biner carabiner), or even be independently clipped to your jeans pocket. Fitting all the right tools you’d need in your day-to-day life, the Prylobite encapsulates exactly what urban EDC should be. Useful, portable, and most importantly, eye-catchingly unique!
I believe the term ‘one of a kind’ is the most appropriate to describe Det Tidkun’s work because he only makes one prototype of each of his knives. Made as a super-limited-edition, the Behemoth is one of Tidkun’s many knife designs that get showcased and finally sold on his Etsy page under the moniker Ironbone knives. A craftsman from Thailand, Tidkun makes all his knives by hand, only using power tools to craft and grind billets of steel down to the final product.
The Behemoth is one of Tidkun’s many kiridashi designs. Made for the right-handed enthusiast, the Behemoth comes crafted from 2379 steel with a hardness of 60 HRC. Water-jet-cut out of a single billet of steel before being ground to shape by hand, the Behemoth’s blade, like all good kiridashis, is small, sharp, and incredibly reliable. A rugged edge on the top lets you rest your thumb on the knife, giving it a gripping surface, and a ring at the end of the handle allows you to slip a finger in to grip it better. The Behemoth comes with a stone-washed finish that gives it its signature, rustic, hand-crafted style, and features the Ironbone insignia on the front, and branding on the back. Paired with a nice hand-made leather case, the Behemoth is available on the Ironbone store, but if the past is any indication, it won’t be for long!
The Chapter remains perhaps one of my most favorite knives ever. This is in part because they’re designed by The James Brand, a company that gets that sharp knives don’t need to look aggressive or tactical, and that they can channel a much more dapper aesthetic. Their knives sport a much more classy, urbane design language, and look like something a secret spy like James Bond would carry in his tuxedo (that’s not why the company is called James Brand, but it would make a great story).
The Chapter gets the distinction of being a knife I love sheerly for its simplicity. It doesn’t overdo any element, and everything is measured, collected, and ‘just right’. Then comes the Chapter’s Damascus Steel Edition, which somewhat feels like ‘classic’ meets ‘exotic’.
Encased in the black-oxide coated stainless steel casing with a titanium frame lock construction lies the blade, a drop-point straight blade made from Damascus steel. The drop-point makes the blade work wonderfully for piercing, while the blade’s straight edge works well for cutting and slicing. Sitting atop the stunning blade like a crown jewel is a lime green button that lets you deploy the blade from its folded position. Measuring at just 3.75 inches when closed, the Chapter fits into pockets rather comfortably, and a pocket-clip secures it to your pocket fabric, keeping it easy to access whenever you need. Designed with the aesthetic that works wonderfully both indoors and outdoors, the Chapter Damascus Knife’s matte stainless steel casing tells one story, but flip the marbled, Damascus steel blade open and you’ve got a contrast that’s definitely worth admiring for years to come.
While most purists would claim that the Engineer Kiridashi is in fact, a tanto-style blade rather than a kiridashi blade, it forms a part of Det Tidkun’s series of handmade kiridashis. Tidkun, a Thailand based knife designer (known as Ironbone Knives on Etsy) often creates these marvelous beauties by hand, relying on power tools only when absolutely necessary.
The knives are all made from SKD11 Steel, a tool steel that is known for its strength and ability to hold its sharpness for longer than traditional steel blades. Tidkun takes individual billets of steel and cuts out the knife’s profile using a waterjet before manually grinding and shaping the knife by hand. The blades are then stone-washed for a raw, rugged finish that complements Tidkun’s handiwork. The Engineer Kiridashi comes with a tanto-style blade that comes with two sharp edges and a pointed end. The Engineer, like most kiridashis, is an all-purpose knife, proving useful in most scenarios where cutting, slicing, piercing, and scouring are required. The blade even comes with a paracord and a leather sheathe to store it in!
The Front Pocket Wallet by Rogue Industries comes in a shape that’s all too familiar. Designed to fit perfectly into your front pocket, the wallet models itself on the shape of the front pocket, to make storage easier. Crafted in a bifold style, the Front Pocket Wallet works like any traditional wallet would. It stores full banknotes, has space for 6 payment/membership cards and one identity card, has a stash pocket for bills and receipts, and even features all-round RFID-blocking.
Crafted from fine, antique moose leather, the wallet has a distinct appearance. The moose leather lends a classic quality to it, that contrasts well with its unusual style. The unusual style isn’t a gimmick either. Its pocket-shaped design makes storing it easier, so that the edges of the wallet don’t poke you in the thigh as you sit or walk. It’s also safer than most traditional bifolds simply because it encourages you to stash your cash in your front pocket, which is less likely to be pickpocketed than your back pocket!
If you’re the kind of person who’s enthusiastic about EDC, but not the kind of person to carry much around with you, the Lynx fits in that exact niche. The size and shape of a credit card, the Lynx by JHO Knives slips right into your minimalist wallet or card holder. Sitting among your regular cards, the Lynx can be pulled out whenever you’re in a fix, letting you cut or slice through any material that may require cutting or slicing through. Its VG10 steel construction is cryogenically hardened, making it one of the hardest and finest blades on the market, and the card even comes with a perforated texture on top that provides an incredible grip, letting you work the blade with sheer ease, without it slipping out of your grip. When you’re done, slip it into its bitumised paper sheath and slide it back into your wallet, to be stealthily carried around in your back pocket!
We’ve covered quite a few EDC knives over the years without realizing that there’s no resource that guides you through the types of knives. Knife blades have evolved from culture and from need. Some knives are designed for everyday tasks, some for rough outdoor use, some for hunting, and some for combat/self-defence. Each blade design has a distinct silhouette, and has developed over the years based on need and on use. Knife materials have evolved over time too, ranging from the various alloys of steel, to Titanium, to even some with ceramic coatings for extra strength.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but rather focuses on highlighting different common types of blade designs that exist in the world of EDC, their purposes, and showcasing one exemplary knife in each category! __
One of the most common knife blade designs, the straight back is called so because of the blade’s straight spine. Perhaps one of the most old-school styles, the Straight Back features a straight-ish blade edge too, with the edge curving tightly right at the end to meet the spine. These knives are common and easy to maintain and work wonderfully for cutting or slicing tasks, thanks to the long, straight blade. The County, by James Brand, embodies the simple beauty of the straight back, with a long, 2.5inch Sandvik steel blade and an exquisite ebony wood and stainless steel handle to match! Click Here to Buy Now
A common knife design for hunting, the drop point is called so because the spine of the blade (above the edge) drops downward, Giving it a more pronounced tip. The edge of the blade travels upwards to meet the gently dropping spine at this somewhat centrally located tip, making it a knife that’s almost as functional as a spear, and an ideal knife for piercing. Most Swiss Army Knife multitools make use of the Drop Point knife, but our favorite is the Gerber Pocket Square. Almost halfway between the straight back and the drop point, the Pocket Square’s blade has a spine that does a gentle drop. Obviously, the modern drop point isn’t meant for combat or hunting, but could work well for any sort of cutting, slicing, and piercing work you’d want to do outdoors. It has an elegantly designed handle to allow it to blend into your urban lifestyle too, making it a rare piece of EDC that appeals to the urban as well as the rustic! Click Here to Buy Now
The Clip Point follows the same style of nomenclature as the last two blade types. While the straight back came with a straight spine, while the drop point had a curved, dropping spine, the clip point comes with a spine that travels straight for a portion of the distance before suddenly clipping across in a concave cut. If the drop point provides a sharp tip for piercing, the clip point goes the extra distance by making the tip a little bit narrower and therefore sharper. A common blade for hunting, the clip point’s tip can pierce hard surfaces, but damages easily too, given how fragile and thin it can be. The Gator by Gerber is considered a classic in the clip point category. In production since 1991 (when it was voted as the most innovative knife of the year), the Gator comes with a stainless steel blade and a glass-filled-nylon handle with an alligator-leather texture for superior grip. Click Here to Buy Now
There’s a very small distinction between a drop point and a spear point. Both of them have the spine and the edge converging and curving towards a centrally located tip, but the spear point’s spine is ground down to have a sharp edge too. While drop point blade spines are usually thick, spear point blades have thinner spines, almost like spears. This gives them the advantage of having sharper tips than drop point knives, and somewhat more resilient tips as compared to clip point knives. The CRKT Snap Lock makes the cut in this category quite simply for its brilliant design. Produced in 2004 (when it won the most innovative knife award), the Snap Lock was a runaway success, but CRKT discontinued its production after a few years to move onto newer designs. Given how popular it was (especially for its incredibly innovative folding mechanism), the company finally decided to reissue the knife and the Snap Lock was resurrected. You can’t say that about most knives! Click Here to Buy Now
The Sheepsfoot features a straight blade and a curved spine, resulting in a blade that looks almost like a sheep’s foot or hoof. In most ways, it’s the absolute opposite of the Straight Back and features a design where the tip aligns with the blade’s edge. The Sheepsfoot blade design offers a nice, long, straight edge for cutting and carving (and can be easily sharpened too), whereas the tip isn’t particularly pronounced, and doesn’t work for piercing. The SOG Snarl is a wonderful example of a Sheepsfoot blade that doesn’t let its size be a disadvantage. Small and potent, like a stick of dynamite, the Snarl comes with a one-piece construction that fits easily on lanyards or even in pockets (it comes with a nylon sheath). With an overall length of 4.3 inches (half of which is the blade), the Snarl has two ways of gripping it. Traditionally, holding the area behind the blade like a handle, or using its finger-hole for far more dexterity and control… allowing you to go about all sorts of tasks with it by holding it in a fashion that works better for you. Click Here to Buy Now
The Kiridashi comes with an unusually small cutting edge that occupies just a tiny part of the blade. The best and most common example is the medical scalpel. Extremely sharp and with a nasty tip, the Kiridashi is supposed to be an all-purpose utility tool that works in any and every situation. Inspired by the Japanese Kiridashi, but with a design that elevates the original, the Craighill Desk Knife is daringly unique, enough to make our selection for this category. Just over five inches long and slightly thicker than a half inch, Craighill’s Desk Knife has the proportions of a chunky metal pen, but comes with truncations on its sides to reveal a Kiridashi-style blade where the two truncations taper off. This makes the Desk Knife an absolute treat to hold, as it fits beautifully into one’s grip, and even to maneuver, making for a handy, and suave looking letter opener, box cutter, or scalpel-style paper cutter. Graceful, tasteful, and practical, the Craighill Desk Knife looks and feels remarkably unique, with a design that’s oh-so-simple but equally breath-taking! Click Here to Buy Now
Another Japanese blade, the Tanto is named after a traditional short dagger that was carried by the samurai of feudal Japan. Tanto blades come with straight lines and sharp cuts. Imagine the Straight Back knife, but instead of having the edge curving to meet the spine at the tip, the Tanto’s edge breaks into two, creating two edges and two tips. The tanto’s blade works well in combat/tactical situations as well as works wonderfully as a recreational outdoor EDC knife blade too. CRKT’s Septimo tanto blade, however, has a more intriguing backstory. Designed by Jeremy Valdez of the 7th Special Forces Group (hence the name ‘Septimo’, meaning seven), the Septimo’s main motivation for this design arose from his 2009 deployment to Afghanistan, where, the lack of a proper slicing tool prevented him from being able to cut through straps or move debris, following a helicopter crash. Duty to his fallen comrades and brothers and sisters in arms drove him to design the Septimo with a tanto-style blade for use as both a safety tool as well as a combat weapon a desert-proof black oxide finish. The blade even features a single serration at its base (near the hinge) for effective strap-cutting ability. Click Here to Buy Now
With a distinct blade that looks like an eagle’s talons, the Karambit comes from Southeast Asia. Used in both hunting and combat, the Karambit was designed to be held both straight or upside down, and used for swift, slashing motions, cutting through tough fruit/vegetables, hide, or even in combat. The Karambit, today, still sees itself being used sparingly in Filipino martial arts, but is more popular as a collector’s EDC knife, solely for its intriguing nature-inspired claw design. Probably the most intriguing of them all, CRKT’s Provoke comes with a karambit blade and an unusual folding mechanism. It uses a parallel motion linkage, as opposed to a single-point swivel. The result is a knife where the blade can slide outwards even as your palm is wrapped around the handle. The action is swift, decisive, and the blade doesn’t even have to touch your palm or fingers as it slides outwards and in, and works in the same way a jungle cat’s claws deploy or retract, probably paying the greatest homage to the Karambit’s claw-inspiration. It also makes the Provoke incredibly hypnotic to look at (especially in slow motion!). Click Here to Pre-Order
Imagine having an entire toolkit in your stationery box, or better still, in your front pocket. That’s pretty much what the Wowstick is gunning for. The pen-shaped, pen-sized rotary-tool works as an electric screwdriver, allowing you to tighten or loosen screws at the press of a button. With literally two buttons to choose from, you can rotate the head of the Wowstick either clockwise or anti-clockwise. A set of 58 bits and tool-heads gives you immense power and flexibility, letting you work multiple scenarios with the choice selection of bits ranging from flat-heads to phillips-heads, torx, spanners, and even star-bits, while a Type-C port at the other end of the Wowstick lets you charge the internal motor that gives the Wowstick 200RPM of speed. Working in low-light conditions? The Wowstick comes with three powerful LEDs at its tip, arranged in a manner that doesn’t cast a shadow, giving you optimal lighting to loosen or tighten even the most stubborn screws, lodged in the tightest spaces that most power-tools would never fit into. But that shouldn’t be a problem for the world’s smallest and lightest electric multi-tool screwdriver, should it?
The first time you lay eyes on the Claw, it’s bafflingly small. What’s more baffling, however, is its incredibly vast feature list. It opens bottles and jars, unscrews screws, cuts open taped boxes, undoes staples, works as a flint-scraper, and acts as a tiny, nifty, jimmying tool. By design, it fits all those features into a frame that’s basically the size of your thumbnail, and by construction, it does so tirelessly, because the Claw is made entirely from titanium.
At less than an inch long, the Claw (an apt name, given its claw-shape and concealed nature) is smaller than a 1¢ coin, making it officially the world’s smallest multitool. It sits on your keyring, weighing a forgettable 2 grams, so you can have your EDC with you without even feeling its presence, until you need it. Use it to crack open bottles at parties, to unbox gifts you got during the holidays, jimmy open lids on jars of paint that are stuck shut, or even use it as a flathead screwdriver to tighten rogue screws around the house or outside. When not in use, it sits among your keys, perpetually accessible to you (it’s even TSA approved, so you can carry it on flights too). The grade 5 titanium build ensures it’ll last long enough to be passed down to your great-grandchildren… which would be infinitely cool if we had bottled drinks or flathead screws in the year 2100. Go ahead and grab a Claw for yourself now (with free international shipping!)