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folding, all-purpose knife?
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Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
folding, all-purpose knife? on 03/25/2014 18:07:19 MDT Print View

What would people suggest for a durable, folding, general all-purpose knife that might be around $20?

Glenn S

Locale: Snowhere, MN
Re: folding, all-purpose knife? on 03/25/2014 18:11:41 MDT Print View

How heavy? Gerber LST is around $20, weighs 1.2 oz with a 2.5" blade.

(JRinGeorgia) - F
LST? on 03/25/2014 18:16:07 MDT Print View

The LST is only 0.6 oz. The STL is a bit over an ounce.

I know, how could anyone possibly confuse the Gerber LST with the Gerber STL? ;-)

Both fold, both have a locking mechanism to fix the blade when opened.

Glenn S

Locale: Snowhere, MN
Re: LST? on 03/25/2014 18:18:24 MDT Print View

The LST is 1.2 oz, the LST UL is .6 oz.

Here they are side by side (along with an Evo JR at 1.7 oz sans clip)
All under $20

Edited by Glenn64 on 03/25/2014 18:21:59 MDT.

(JRinGeorgia) - F
Re: LST? on 03/25/2014 18:21:53 MDT Print View

I stand corrected. I'm good at pointing out what can be confusing, just not at avoiding the confusion myself... =/

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: folding, all-purpose knife? on 03/25/2014 18:29:16 MDT Print View

Opinel is worth consideration. Lost mine years ago and don't know the weight but you can search that information here at BPL easily enough if you're interested in one.

Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
But it's 420! on 03/25/2014 18:56:28 MDT Print View

I know you said $20, but the Gerber LST is made of 420 stainless! You can do soooo much better. 420 is a soft steel that can be blank stamped (rather than laser cut like a hard steel). If you don't care about edge holding, then no problem, get one. If you do care, look for a FRN-handled knife (lightweight) with a good steel in it. I won't carry a knife with 420 or 440A steel. Forty years ago, it would have been passable for a stainless steel. Today, no excuse, except that it's very inexpensive.

EDIT: Well, one other good thing about 420, it's quite rust resistant. In modern quality knives it's sometimes used as cladding, on both sides of the quality steel in the middle. Now if rust is a concern, then consider a knife made out of H1 steel, which is downright rustPROOF. It has (almost) no rustable carbon in it!

OTOH, don't know if you can get a non-420/440 stainless for $20 or less.

Edited by Bolster on 03/25/2014 22:10:32 MDT.

Glenn S

Locale: Snowhere, MN
Re: But it's 420! on 03/25/2014 19:08:20 MDT Print View

"except that it's very inexpensive."

Well, $20 was the price point the OP was looking at, and Gerbers are cheap knives... For a reason.

Christian Denniston
(cdenniston) - F
Opinel on 03/25/2014 19:09:13 MDT Print View

If I remember correctly my opinel #6 is 1.0oz. $12.00 on amazon.

Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Yes. on 03/25/2014 19:09:49 MDT Print View

I know. I just don't want to see the OP disappointed with a perpetually dull knife. I'd rather a carbon steel Opinel that will get sharp and stay that way, even if it does rust.

Edited by Bolster on 03/25/2014 19:28:55 MDT.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Re: folding, all-purpose knife? on 03/25/2014 19:23:36 MDT Print View

I agree that 420 is undesirable.

Opinel knives come in both carbon and stainless in a huge variety of sizes. They are very basic, yet very good knives. You can do a lot better, but not at that price point. You will definitely be able to find an Opinel to fit you at $20.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: But it's 420! on 03/25/2014 20:13:41 MDT Print View

> H1 steel, which is downright rustPROOF. It has no rustable carbon in it!
Iron rusts, but carbon does not.


Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
H1 on 03/25/2014 20:29:12 MDT Print View

Carbon on its own doesn't rust, didn't mean to say it does. H1 uses nitrogen rather than carbon to harden the steel, which causes the steel to be rustproof. So, carbon is the causal agent of rust in steel.

But you're correct, I should have said "rust-causing" rather than "rustable."

Edited by Bolster on 03/25/2014 20:34:27 MDT.

David Olsen
( - M

Locale: Channeled Scablands
Re: folding, all-purpose knife? on 03/25/2014 20:56:33 MDT Print View

Stephen Komae
(skomae) - MLife

Locale: northeastern US
One obvious choice on 03/25/2014 21:27:51 MDT Print View

There is only one obvious choice for a knife under $30. A Victorinox Swiss Army Knife. While it may not be sexy, it's one of the few knives even worth buying at such a low price, quality is super high, and utility for the weight is unparalleled.

I use the awl to fix things, the corkscrew to undo tight knots, the screwdriver to pry stuff, and the can opener to open, well, cans. Let's not forget that it easily opens the post-hike beers.

Kenneth Jacobs
(f8less) - F

Locale: Midwest
Consider more $ on 03/25/2014 21:28:15 MDT Print View

I'd perhaps consider spending a little more money on a more durable, lightweight, small knife. Enter the Spyderco Ladybug H1. Can be had for $36, 0.6oz, H1 Steel, thicker blade than the LST (I have both) and far superior hand fit/feel. I can even open it and close it one handed. Great little knife.



Edited by f8less on 03/25/2014 21:29:42 MDT.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: folding, all-purpose knife? on 03/25/2014 21:42:48 MDT Print View

someone just posted this.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: folding, all-purpose knife? on 03/25/2014 23:02:25 MDT Print View

I would chose the Gerber LST for a $20 budget. The steel isn't stellar, but it will cut and irbid easily sharpened.

But a $20 budget for a knife is pretty limiting, just like any piece of gear. You could buy a Mora if you could compromise on a fixed blade. If you just want something for repairs and food prep, a Little Vickie will do the trick for an ounce and $10.

I would save up for something like a Benchmade Griptilian or a Spyderco folder.

Alex RAllis
(sillar68) - F

Locale: Southern Plains
You need to get the Ontario Rat 2 Folder on 03/25/2014 23:25:11 MDT Print View

The absolute best folding knife you can get under $30 is the Ontario Rat 1 or Rat 2 folder. I recommend the Rat 2 here because this is backpackinglight and the Rat 2 is slightly smaller and lighter. It's an extremely well built folding knife manufactured in Taiwan, with no play in the 3in. blade, solid lock up and quality fit and finish. It comes with an Aus8 steel flat ground blade and quality nylon handles. For a knife under $30, I would consider Aus8 significantly better than what you'll typically find in most other knives. These days most knives in that price range will be manufactured in China with a Chinese 8cr13 stainless blade, which is not in the same class as Aus8. I've bought 3 of the Rat 1 folders and they all come super sharp out of the box.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about:

I would consider this knife a cut above (no pun intended) the Spyderco's, SOG's, Kershaw's, Buck's, and other knives I've owned in this price range.

Derek M.
(dmusashe) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: folding, all-purpose knife? on 03/26/2014 00:14:49 MDT Print View

I'd suggest an Opinel No. 8 in stainless steel. I recently purchased a walnut handled one on Amazon for $19. It weighs 1.44 ounces.

The thing that I really like about it is that the blade is actually the right size for most backpacking tasks (read: food prep). It has a thin (~1.5mm) blade that is about 3.25 inches long.

Since this blade hasn't changed a great deal in decades, it hasn't succumbed to the general bushcrafting trend of blades becoming much thicker and wider bodied. This is a very good thing, in my opinion. The Opinel blade can act as a butter knife just as easily as it can act as a slicer.

Also, the handle is actually comfortable to hold and use, as opposed to many other very lightweight (and usually quite thin) folding knives. The importance of this is not to be underestimated if you plan on using your knife for any substantial amount of time.

People who have tested this knife to destruction usually report that the blade itself will break before the pin holding the blade to handle breaks (which is usually the weak point of folding knives). This indicates that the design of this folder is a very good one.

There is a reason that Opinels have been around for so long...

The problem with Opinels is the fact that the wood can swell at the blade joint when wet, effectively seizing up the blade. This can be largely overcome by conditioning the joint with some petroleum jelly or lanolin though. Not really hard to do at all and it has the added benefit of making the knife smoother to open and close.