It’s that time again. About 6 months ago we did our first EDC update. I enjoyed it and hope everyone reading did too. With summer fast approaching I decided to check in with the guys and see what they were carrying these days. Without further adieu…
For those not in the know, my carry for the average workday falls into a simple pattern. The specifics may change (especially if I have something in for review), but in general, I’ll always have a modern folding knife, a traditional folding knife, a small flashlight, a ballpoint pen, a watch, a fidget toy, and a handkerchief. It should go without saying that I have my phone, wallet, and keys on me as well, in addition to a bag I use to carry other necessities. On paper, it’s easy to imagine that I look like Napoleon Dynamite with a pocket full of tater tots, but in reality it’s not that bad. I’ve put a lot of thought into my carry, and everything in it has a purpose.
Over the last few months my carry has ossified as my work hours increased. If I’m just running out the door without putting any thought into my carry, odds are it’ll be the following:
- Kizer Feist – It’s simply a great do-everything knife. Well-made, utilitarian, fun to fidget with, and looks good regardless of the setting.
- Northwoods Big Bay – This is a relatively recent addition, as I picked it up in a trade a month or so back. At first I thought the red micarta would be off-putting, but the burlap weave adds a ton of depth to the material.
- Veleno Designs Quantum DD – My first real flashlight, and one that I still carry regularly. It’s absolutely tiny, perfect for tossing into a pocket and forgetting (until you leave it in your pants and have to dig through the laundry to find it).
- Tactile Turn Shaker V2 – I own both the V1 and the V2, and as much as I love the original, the updated mechanism and improved grip are definitely convenient on the job site. A review of this will be coming soon.
- Seiko Alpinist – Still fantastic. I’ve since thrown it on a Strapcode Jubilee bracelet and it’s done a great job of handling daily wear as well as the odd formal event.
- AroundSquare Titans – Make all the jokes you want, this little set of begleri is a lifesaver. I spend the majority of workday driving on the I-5, and anything that keeps my hands away from my phone is a godsend.
That’s about it. Feel free to lob any questions my way in the comments.
Last time I checked in for the EDC update, I was planning on getting rid of the majority of my knife collection. Nine months later, I’m still planning on it. Life, as ever, has gotten in the way of that final purgation; butting through the door like an unwanted, boorish relative and gobbling up weeks’ worth of my attention with one drama after another: a work trip, a personal trip, and most recently a move.
I have come a lot closer to being a One Knife Man, though. Outside of review carry, my go-to blade has been the Ferrum Forge Gent, obtained through Massdrop, produced by We Knife Co. Initially, this knife looked like a pass. But I really wanted a We-produced knife, and their in-house designs around the size I wanted looked even more pass-worthy to my eye, so rather than wait for some possibly-never-to-materialize ideal, I bought the Gent and waited for it to come in.
There’s a lot of hype surrounding this knife, but I have to say I’ve found little of that hype to be hyperbole. The Gent is just a great knife. While not prepossessing in pictures, in real life there’s some kind of inexplicable added dimension to the knife that’s truly appealing. The luxurious fit and finish deepens that appeal even further: something about the way We produces a knife makes me want to compare it to pastry-making or cookie baking. There’s something…delicious about their process, a fusion of cold machining muscle and hand-finished warmth. Cold, industrial materials like titanium and G-10 become softened into something positively delectable.
Most importantly the Gent, like the Chaparral FRN, makes no meaningful compromises while hitting a sub-$100 price tag. If we consider knives as tools first, and not collectibles, tchotchkes, or trinkets, then affordability is the final frontier for knife design, pure and simple. Making the best things the knife world has to offer obtainable by somebody who’s pulling in an average (which is to say, insufficient) paycheck each week, should always be lauded as the major advance that it is. Here, Massdrop/Ferrum Forge/We Knife Co. have delivered S35VN steel, titanium, ceramic ball-bearing pivot, and custom maker pedigree for not that much more than the price of a Delica. I find that more than a little astonishing, and more than a little laudable.
On the review side of things, I’ve been thoroughly impressed by the Steel Will Cutjack, which does a similar magic trick in the budget knife (as opposed to ‘affordable knife’) category. This is such a smart design. Materially, getting D2 steel at this price point steel feels like winning a minor jackpot, and the flipping action punches way above its weight. Even I, not a flipper fan by any means, enjoy the snappy, kinetic feel of the Cutjack’s washer-based pivot. During the move I really put the Cutjack through its paces on tape, cardboard, weeds, and more, and it powered through tasks both big and small with equal finesse. It’s not a perfect knife, but the Cutjack feels like the next generation of budget cutlery.
Follow Ben on Twitter. His Twitter account is great. Book recommendations, horror prompts, and some knife stuff.
There have been a few semi-interesting updates in my EDC over the past few months.
As usual, I’ve had the good fortune of testing out some interesting knives. Blades like the Rockstead Higo, DPx HEST/F Urban, Microtech Stitch, and Code Steel 4Max are each compelling in their own way. But the stuff that has scored some serious pocket time is a little more pedestrian. A good example is of the FRN Native 5. The humble Native 5 is just a rock star blade. I think folks forget how good the Native is, and this updated version with a fully flat ground blade of S35VN is superb. It’s an awesome no frills EDC piece.
Another surprise hit is the Hinderer XM Slippy. Hinderer is known for their overbuilt titanium framelock folders, so the fact that they hopped on the slip joint bandwagon is a little surprising, but the knife is kind of delightful. It’s slim, reasonably light, has a thinly ground blade that cuts great, and the slip joint is sturdy with good walk and talk. Even the price isn’t too bad at under $300 for a USA made Hinderer folding knife. I dig it more than the regular XM series.
Arguably the biggest change in my EDC is that I broke down and bought a nice pen. Grayson had his Tactile Turn Slider for sale and I couldn’t resist. And this is after resisting pens for many years. This pen is beautifully built and a lot of fun. I found myself obsessively clicking it when it first arrived. It has been a couple months now and I’m still enjoying it. While I don’t think I’ll go crazy and buy a ton of pens, I definitely appreciate them a little more now.
Another sizable change is that I’ve started to carry my Leatherman Wingman more often in a belt sheath. As a lawyer this is definitely a “nights and weekends” carry, but it’s found its way as standard equipment now. In part because I’ve gotten back into fishing. This is a great tool for cutting line, and having it on your belt is super handy. It may be a little dorky to have one of these on your belt, but I’m getting value out of it, so I’ll continue to roll with the Wingman. It remains an awesome inexpensive multi-tool.
For my light I keep finding myself returning to the Streamlight Microstream. It’s everything you need and nothing you don’t. Thanks again to Ben for gifting me this piece. I would definitely buy it again if I ever lost it.
For my watch the Sinn U1 reigns supreme. I fantasize about buying a Rolex on a somewhat regular basis, but I can’t justify the expense right now, and I love the U1. In many ways it is the anti-Rolex, and I think that is why I enjoy it so much. In a watch world where most dive watches pretend to be the Submariner, the U1 marches to the beat of its own drum. My watch in particular has been through hell. It was pretty beat up when I bought it used a few years ago, and since then I’ve added even more scuffs, nicks, and scrapes. But it still works great.
Finally for my wallet I continue to use a Big Skinny Bifold. Tony turned me on to Big Skinny wallets years ago, and the one I have now is holding up great. I’ve had it for a couple years now, but I can hardly tell. It’s broken in perfectly and continues to be a top notch piece of gear. I highly recommend it, especially if you carry cash and want a full size wallet.
That’s it for now. Let us know what you think of our carries and all that good stuff in the comments section.