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If you have been following knife trends at all, you will know there is big interest in both titanium framelock flippers and traditional folding knives. So it shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to come up with the idea of combining these two trends, but they have really been viewed as two mutually exclusive phenomena. That is of course, until now.
Buy the Boker Urban Trapper at BladeHQ
Enter the Boker Plus Urban Trapper. Designed by fellow Floridian and custom knife maker, Brad Zinker, the Urban Trapper is exactly what it sounds like: the melding of a traditional trapper pattern with modern features and materials. The end result, is everything you love about traditional folders (their light weight, and wickedly thin blades) combined with the bells and whistles of a titanium framelock flipper.
It sounds great, but given Boker‘s quality control issues some might pass this model over. That would be a mistake. This is arguable the best knife I have handled in 2015. No joke. Boker has had a spotty history with quality control, and their titanium framelocks have been notoriously bad, so I probably have my work cut out for me if I am to try and convince you that this is the best production knife I handled in 2015, but they absolutely slammed this one out of the park. Let me explain to you why.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The Urban Trapper has an overall length of 7.75″, a 3.5″ blade, and the all titanium version (shown here) weighs a mere 1.78 ounces, is made in China, and currently retails for around $60. The knife is insanely light yet still packs a healthy 3.5″ blade. I am not one to bother with blade to handle ratios, but Brad used up every spare millimeter when cramming the blade into the handle. The end result is both thoughtful and elegant.
The Urban Trapper was designed to be an Every Day Carry (EDC) knife, and I have used mine in that capacity. Although the blade is on the long side, but it’s thin profile means I have not had any issues using the Urban Trapper in public. I think you could also argue this is a gentleman’s folder.
The blade of the Urban Trapper is an elongated clip point, featuring a lean clip with a thin swedge. It is definitely a modern take on a classic blade pattern, and isn’t your grandpa’s clip point. Most of the spine is taken up by the swedge, but the part that isn’t is capped (rounded). The blade has a high flat grind and precise tip. I have always found clip points to be utilitarian, and this version is no exception. The tip is excellent for detail work, and the thin grind slices like a traditional folder (meaning, it slices wonderfully).
An interesting detail on the knife is the satin finished blade. If you watch YouTube knife reviews of custom folders, you will invariably hear the reviewer go on about how the knife is “the best flipper I have ever handled” and/or gush over the “hand rub satin finish”. While I think both of those reviewer tropes are more than a little tired, I can’t deny that the blade is well done and the satin finish, running horizontally from ricasso to tip, was intended to mimic the hand rubbed finish of a custom offering. It’s a nice touch, especially at this price point.
Boker went with VG-10 steel for the blade, a middle of the road Japanese stainless. I don’t mind VG-10 on this knife given the price point. I have used my Urban Trapper quite a bit, and have had the chance to test it on a variety of materials. It’s great for breaking down boxes, and slices apples with ease. Speaking of slicing, the thin flat grind is a tremendous slicer, much like many of the traditional folders I have used like the Indian River Jack or Alox Cadet.
The UT also held up well as a utility knife. I have used the knife for several home improvement projects, cutting thick plastic and even wire in a pinch. I don’t recommend cutting wire with the Urban Trapper, but I didn’t have anything else on me at the time. The knife held up fine, although the edge definitely rolled. VG-10 will not hold an edge forever, but it’s an easy steel to sharpen. No issues with rust, and I routinely rinsed the knife out in the sink after using it.
Handle, Ergonomics, and Pocket Clip
There are a surprising number of details to enjoy when examining the handle of the Urban Trapper. The handle is comprised of 2 pieces of titanium and a single stand off. All of the edges have been neatly rounded, and a series of holes have been drilled into the handle to provide visual interest and lighten the knife. The holes are countersunk and the edges have been given a mirror polished edge. Everything has been executed flawlessly. There is a nice decorative pivot, and the seat of the pocket clip is inlayed into the handle. The titanium is given a tumbled finish which hides wear well. For a simple slab built handle, Boker did a lot to bring Zinker’s custom design to life.
If naked titanium is not your thing, Boker is also offering the UT with a variety of handle covers including Cocobolo, G10, and carbon fiber. I haven’t checked these out yet and prefer this minimalist version.
The Urban Trapper is a thin and lightweight knife, but it’s not cramped for space. I am able to get a comfortable grip on it without any issues. That said, there is not much in the way of traction on the handle. The stonewashed finish offers a little feedback. There is no jimping. It would not be my go to knife for a 3 month expedition through the Amazon, but it’s fine for urban EDC. I would suggest using this knife the same way you would use a slip joint. That said, I have gotten a lot of work done with the UT and I can say with confidence that this knife is comfortable for normal use.
The Urban Trapper comes with a nice fold over deep carry titanium pocket clip. The handle has been milled so the clip slots in to it and is held in place with 2 flush mount screws. This is nice because there is nothing for your pocket to get caught on when you insert the knife into your pocket. The drawback is that the knife is set up for right side tip up carry only. Not a big deal for me, but worth mentioning.
The UT carries well. At under 2 ounces you quickly forget it’s in the pocket. The knife is wafer thin and the clip is very unobtrusive. This is a fantastic knife for my style of daily carry.
Deployment and Lockup
The flipper tab on the Urban Trapper may take some getting used to. It’s squarish and has jimping, and I find that the knife opens best when you “light switch” the flipper by resting your index finger on the corner of the flipper tab. Personally I never had any problems getting the knife open, and I am able to push button the flipper too, but in reading up a bit for the review I noticed some people complain about the flipper. It works fine for me. The detent is solid and the knife is on a bearing system. It flips well, and fires hard. The action is smooth to the point where I can shake the blade closed.
For lockup we have a simple titanium framelock. There is no steel insert. Just simple titanium on steel. My knife locks up early (around 20%) and is secure and without play. This is after opening the knife hundreds of times and beating on it in a series of little remodeling projects. I realize Boker does not have the best track record with their titanium framelocks, but this Urban Trapper is trouble free after a couple months of use. I plan on keeping the knife and will update the review if anything changes.
Blade centering on my knife is basically perfect. The pivot has loosened up a couple times, but a twist of my allen wrench brings things back to true.
Boker Urban Trapper Review – Final Thoughts
Although I think it was released in 2014, the Urban Trapper is on my short list for “Best Knife of 2015”. For $60 I consider it a production folder masterpiece, blending two of the current hottest trends in knives while coming in at the notoriously tough $50-75 price range. When I first got the Urban Trapper I immediately compared it with another favorite of mine: the CRKT Swindle. The knives share some similarities: they are slim, inexpensive, bearing equipped framelock flippers. The Urban Trapper sells for twice as much, but I think it’s twice as nice of a knife. It’s much lighter and the pocket clip is way better. Well worth the price premium in my book.
And let me attempt to put any quality control fears to rest – my Urban Trapper has been problem free, and that seems to be par for the course based on my research. The fit and finish is excellent. There is no blade play, lock rock, or anything like that. Say what you will about Chinese knives, but this one is dialed in. The Urban Trapper truly is a combination of the things I love most about traditional folders (their pocketability, people friendly profile, and thin blades) with all of the creature comforts we have come to know and love with framelock flippers (one hand opening, pocket clips, lightweight materials). For $60 it’s a no brainer.
The Urban Trapper comes with my highest endorsement. It easily makes its way onto my best EDC knives page. There are nicer more expensive knives out there, but the Urban Trapper is a perfect storm of price, workmanship, and performance. This is something everyone can appreciate. Buy it and enjoy it. You can thank me later.
- for everyday use
- Can take rough handling and use
- Tactical knives for the professional user
I recommend purchasing the Boker Plus Urban Trapper at Amazon or BladeHQ. Please consider that buying anything through any of the links on this website helps support BladeReviews.com, and keeps the site going. As always, any and all support is greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.
I have to admit, your thoughts on this one might be totally messing up my plans for this year (in a good way).
I have been planning to buy a knife for myself around the holidays (haven’t bought one for a little over a year), and the three on my list are the Kizer Gemini, the T.R.E., and this one. At more than $100 less than those other knives and with a high recommendation from you, it’s going to be hard for me to justify the Kizer or the Lionsteel.
I usually avoid “cheaper” framelocks for fear of quick wear (since I doubt the lock face is carbidized on a knife at this price). But your review is even alleviating that worry for me.
I’m also interested in the finish of yours. I thought the blade on the ti-handled version was a polish/mirror finish, but yours looks satin. I’m not sure I really have a preference, but I didn’t know the ti/satin version existed. Or maybe they’re the same knife and I just had the wrong image in my head.
The Gemini and TRE both look interesting and will likely stand up to more abuse than this ultralight trapper. However, I think for $60 it’s a very compelling piece. For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t mind a TRE or Gemini, but the Trapper is the one I bought first.
My blade is a satin finish and is definitely not polished. The countersinking is all polished.
I own all 3 from your list and they are all very good knives in my opinion 🙂
Own the urban trapper, the more modern version with the black handle. Love it, and just put in a new sink, replaced the fixtures and garbage disposal, too. Had my swiss army in addition to my tools. Swiss army made numerous appearances during the project, as was to be expected, but I was surprised how often that nice slim long blade came in handy. Very tough, though it doesn’t look it. Just a more flexible knife, I think, so it seems less durable. But you’d be surprised how useful it is to have a blade that is durable and a little flexible when you’re in the middle of a project. I was. Definitely worthy of an EDC, don’t knock it!
Your high praise makes me want to try one although I avoid most sub-$100 knives. I’ll probably try the CF model which is a liner lock as opposed to the titanium frame lock model you reviewed. I like the symmetry of CF on both sides. They weigh about the same.
I enjoy knives at all price points (and still get a kick out of a well made $30 knife, like the Zancudo). So feel free to take the recommendation with a pinch of salt. That said, this is a real nice knife, and compared with every other knife $60 can buy I think the UT punches well above its price tag. I could see this being a $100 piece.
I understand. Not that I totally avoid the sub-$100 market but I seem to find most of what I like in the $150-$250 price range.
I ordered a Boker Plus Urban Trapper Knife Carbon Fiber for about $83.
I hear ya. You hit a certain of level of quality in that range and it can be tough to go back to the cheaper stuff. Congrats on the UT. I will be curious to get your take on it when it lands (especially the CF version – that is tempting).
Oh man, I was planning on getting a Buck Marksman based on your recommendation but now I see this one. Given they are more or less in the same price and size range do you have an immediate preference between the two?
I really like this Urban Trapper – it’s a much smaller and lighter knife though. Apples to oranges really. If you are looking for more of a light duty EDC the UT would be my choice. If you are in the market for a full size work knife then I still love my Marksman. Hopes this helps.
Larry Barnett says
I love mine, but I wish it was a quarter inch shorter in blade and handle. It is a bit long- like a steak knife. Reminds me of a high class Kershaw Chill, but better in every way (except price). I agree with your review on all points – I’m amazed this is a Boker Plus knife. I own about 6 of them and the Anso Albatross is the only one that did not have fit and finish issues, until this one.
The one issue I do have is that the detent is weak. I can open it with just a hard down and up wrist flick. I do fear it could open in my pocket and as it is tip up, I could cut my thumb getting it out. This hasn’t happened, but it makes me a little nervous. I’ve tightened the pivot and it hasn’t fixed the issue- if you can open it with the flipper tab you can open it with just hand motions.
You raise some good points. 3.5″ is quite large for an EDC (even a slim one like this). They should consider offering a smaller version. I just tested my detent and I can’t shake the knife out for the life of me. Sounds like you got one with a weak detent – you may want to see if Boker will warranty it.
Larry Barnett says
Thanks for the reply. I’ll probably live with the weak detention. Not worth a lot of extra legwork for the $60 I paid for the knife. I still like the knife a lot. It’s actually an improvement over my pay exclusive won’t Boker Plus.
Excellent knife. The carbon fiber version is my everyday carry.
Thank you, Cody. The CF version looks sweet.
There is a marked stylistic similarity between this knife and Boker’s Kwaiken flipper. You gave positive reviews to both, but seem much more impressed with the Urban Trapper (perhaps because of the quality/price combination). Between the two, do you have much preference?
What really impresses me the most about the Urban Trapper (vs. the Kwaiken is it’s weight and pocketability). The Kwaiken is a nice knife and is very stout (stronger than the UT), but it is very heavy and you really feel it in the pocket. The Urban Trapper is much lighter, slimmer and more elegant. It is far superior for my kind of light duty EDC. However, both are nice knives in their own right and if you favor a stouter option I’d suggest the Kwaiken. Hope this helps.
They definitely revised these from the first release, which my friend picked up while in Germany. They increased the size of the flipper and changed the blade finish to satin (from a polish). Maybe made the pocket clip smaller too? Whatever they did, it looks like it worked. Definitely picking one up.
Interesting, Dave. It’s cool to hear how some of these early / per-production designs get tweaked in to full production models.
Seems like it. Take a look at BladeHQ’s youtube overviews on the Ti Version (date stamp @23Apr2014) and the Liner Versions (@15June2015). The latest video showed the newer Ti version (#2088 stamped on the frame vs. #0477 on the older video) and the flipper tab seems to be longer though the blade is still polished instead of satin.
I hope Boker or a seller can confirm that they have indeed made the changes (longer flipper, satin blade) as that is more appealing to me.
Great review btw!
Just received this for Christmas from a colleague. Not a huge collector, but I have a few folders now and seem to be catching the collecting bug (Kershaw Composite Leek; Kershaw Cryo Hinderer, Benchmade Mini-Grip.; Spyderco Endura).
I’ve only had it for 2 weeks, but I’ve used it as my exclusive EDC since and really enjoyed it. The steel is great, with the finish being the slightly polished one (not mirror) described in the review. The detail taken with this relatively inexpensive knife is honestly quite impressive, from the polished cutaways to the inset clip, and the perfectly centered blade when closed (both my Kershaws, which I love, are significantly off-center from the frame lock when closed).
And of course the weight of this knife is STAGGERINGLY light! It’s really difficult to explain the feeling you have when you flick it open for the first time, and realize something THIS LIGHT can do so much.
At first I was a little disappointed at the lack of jimping on this knife (none except on the flipper tab). However, after using it, I’m pleasantly surprised at how steady it is on task. The flipper of course doubles as a light guard, but the seemingly decorative cutaways in the blade provide more than enough grip for what you will use this knife for. I’m now glad they didn’t add jimping to the spine, because it’s such a pretty knife.
The edge has stayed as razor-sharp as the day I first opened it.
The clip works great on just about every pocket (jeans, suit pants, jacket pocket).
This isn’t a knife I would take camping, but after using it every day for a couple of weeks, it’s hard to go back to my other knives for EDC.
The only criticism I have is a very minor amount of play present in the blade when locked open; it’s VERY minor (not really noticeable during use, but rather when under close examination). I tried tightening the pivot, no dice. It’s a small thing, that in all honesty I may never have noticed (but given my nature, now that I have it irks me :-).
If you need something sharp, reliable, and unobtrusive, I would be extremely hard pressed to find a better knife I think.
TL;DR- I really love this knife, and would give it as a gift to either an inexperienced carrier or collector alike.
Thanks for the great comment and insights into the Urban Trapper. You point out a number of reasons why I like this knife. Sorry to hear yours has a little blade play. I suppose if I really reef on mine I can eek out a little play myself.
Hey Dan, I don’t see this knife listed on your recommended EDC page, does that mean you have changed our mind on this knife? Please let me know I was thinking of getting one!
I have just been lazy / busy and haven’t updated the page yet. I need to do that. It’s still as awesome of a knife today as it was when I originally reviewed it. Thanks for stopping by.
I was looking around for more info/reviews on the UT and found your review. I agree it’s a great knife for the money and I love mine. Light weight, super-sharp, and pretty darn sexy looking…
I did have an issue with mine that the lockup was way less than 20% – probably 10% or less… No big problem though. A little work with a needle file and now it’s at least 50.
One question: What’s the number on the frame? A serial # or lot #? The reason I ask is because I noticed that the one in your pictures is 36XX while mine is 0082.
Thank you for the thoughts on the UT. It is interesting to hear how early your lockup was.
In regards to the number on the blade, I am guessing that is a production # of some sort. Maybe you got an extremely early version of the knife? I am just speculating.
Do you know if there is a slightly smaller version of this knife? I love the lines and appearance of the knife but a smaller knife that retains these qualities would be amazing.
Hey Thomas, My understanding is that they currently do not make a smaller version of this knife. If it becomes as popular as the Kwaiken then we may see them release a smaller version. I agree, that would be cool.
I wouldn’t bother with this knife, at least based on my experiences with them. Ordered 2, one came beat to hell out of the box. Cocobolo handle came with a large portion of the finish rubbed off and a series of deep scratches on the other scale – Boker tried to charge me $15 for ‘shipping and handling’ for a 2oz knife (on top of what it would cost me to send to them), and then the customer service rep went on a tirade when I said that I didn’t appreciate having to pay extra for poor quality control.
The other is incredibly stiff, and a small burr at the base of the blade keeps the frame-lock from operating properly. I could fix it by disassembling it and hitting it with a file, but this lack of QC on a $60-70 knife is really disheartening. Boker has definitely lost a customer.
I am sorry to hear you had a poor experience with your Urban Trappers.
Mine came in good shape (and I simply ordered it off Amazon), so it sounds like you got real unlucky here.
Regardless, I appreciate you taking some time out to leave your opinion and share your experiences with the knife.
Luke McMullen says
Great review, i have just ordered my Urban Trapper (cocobolo version).
I am unsure as to weather the IKBS system has loose bearings? or like the original trapper, caged bearings?