Mar 25, 2014 at 5:07 pm #1314833
Brett PeughBPL Member
What would people suggest for a durable, folding, general all-purpose knife that might be around $20?Mar 25, 2014 at 5:11 pm #2086134
How heavy? Gerber LST is around $20, weighs 1.2 oz with a 2.5" blade.Mar 25, 2014 at 5:16 pm #2086135
J RBPL Member
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.Mar 25, 2014 at 5:18 pm #2086138
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 $20Mar 25, 2014 at 5:21 pm #2086140
J RBPL Member
I stand corrected. I'm good at pointing out what can be confusing, just not at avoiding the confusion myself… =/Mar 25, 2014 at 5:29 pm #2086143
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.Mar 25, 2014 at 5:56 pm #2086153
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.Mar 25, 2014 at 6:08 pm #2086154
"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.Mar 25, 2014 at 6:09 pm #2086156
If I remember correctly my opinel #6 is 1.0oz. $12.00 on amazon.Mar 25, 2014 at 6:09 pm #2086157
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.Mar 25, 2014 at 6:23 pm #2086160
Stephen BarberBPL Member
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.Mar 25, 2014 at 7:13 pm #2086175
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> H1 steel, which is downright rustPROOF. It has no rustable carbon in it!
Iron rusts, but carbon does not.
CheersMar 25, 2014 at 7:29 pm #2086180
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."Mar 25, 2014 at 7:56 pm #2086192
David OlsenBPL Member
@bivysack-com-2Locale: Channeled ScablandsMar 25, 2014 at 8:27 pm #2086196
Steve KBPL Member
@skomaeLocale: northeastern US
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.Mar 25, 2014 at 8:28 pm #2086197
Kenneth JacobsBPL Member
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.
KJMar 25, 2014 at 8:42 pm #2086203
John S.BPL Member
someone just posted this.Mar 25, 2014 at 10:02 pm #2086218
Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
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.Mar 25, 2014 at 10:25 pm #2086221
@sillar68Locale: Southern Plains
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: http://www.ebay.com/itm/ON-8860SP-ONTARIO-RANDALLS-RAT-2-II-FOLDER-FOLDING-POCKET-KNIFE-SATIN-BLACK-NIB-/380870648977?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item58ada8e491
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.Mar 25, 2014 at 11:14 pm #2086237
Derek M.BPL Member
@dmusasheLocale: Pacific Northwest
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.Mar 25, 2014 at 11:18 pm #2086238
Well, everybody has strong opinions, including me. I disagree with at least half the above recommendations. So let me just say: If you're going to get a 420, 440A, AUS-6, AUS-8, or other soft steel knife, be sure to take a sharpener when you travel. The edge will roll with light use and you'll need to resharpen frequently.Mar 26, 2014 at 4:32 am #2086256
Steve KBPL Member
@skomaeLocale: northeastern US
Not too long ago, 440C and AUS8 were considered super steels.
A dull knife will still cut, albeit poorly. The thinness of the edge proves very much in your favor. I used to carry a sharpener, but if it's really bad any rock will help.Mar 26, 2014 at 5:18 am #2086257
I did a sharpener thread not long ago, and the 6 gram (w/slipcover) DMT shim sharpener I ended up getting carries safely in my wallet and is working quite well. Especially on the soft metal knives the guys at work bring to me to sharpen. I didn't know what a dull knife was until I saw some of the wrecks I've seen lately! Now that I have such an effective EDC sharpener, dull knives seem to appear our of nowhere.Mar 26, 2014 at 5:42 am #2086263
Brett PeughBPL Member
I could double that cap up a bit to $40 as it seems that will buy me a much better and longer use knife which is what I want. The discussion so far has been quite informative. It would be better to get something that is rust resistant and that will hold an edge much longer.
I am really not trying to cont grams on this so it really doesn't matter for half an ounce more to get a much better knife.Mar 26, 2014 at 6:32 am #2086270
The LST is a decent and reliable blade. I've got one that is 10+ years old. It dulls pretty quickly but also takes an edge again easily.
For something better in you sub $20 price range I would suggest getting on Sierra Trading Posts' mailing list and watching for a good coupon that applies to a knife. They get in Boker, CRKT, Kershaw and others. With a coupon code today the "Boker Plus Camo Defender" is $9.89 after coupon; retail is $30 and Amazon sells it for $22. There is also a CRKT M-16 for $27 after coupon today; listed MSRP is $90 and amazon has for $52.
I would also suggest that you seriously consider a non-folding knife, and look at a Morakniv Companion. The companion is $13 on amazon in either Stainless or Carbon Steel. You will be hard priced to find a better knife 3 times its price. Get the stainless one if you don't want to spend any time maintaining the steel. I prefer the carbon steel Moras, but I do have to put forth some minimal effort to prevent rust(dry off after use in the field and lightly oil once home).
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