Tuesday, October 18, 2011

One folding knife to rule them all...

So a good internet friend of mine, bladereviewscom (this is the same person that runs the great site Bladereviews.com, see the nav bar to the right for the link, a.k.a. Dan from the comments) sent out a request for video responses on YouTube for "one folding knife for everything...".  Here is the original video.  The premise behind the request is pretty simple: what knife that you own would you feel most confident carrying for any task? Or as Dan put it "one knife to rule them all."  If you put in "one folding knife for everything" into YouTube you will get dozens of responses, many of which are worth watching.  Watching a few of them myself, I thought it would be nice to engage in the exercise.

Of my knives, the choice really comes down to a few blades:

1.  Dragonfly II ZDP-189: this knife is probably my favorite overall knife.  The blade steel is amazing and the carry is so nice.  It practically vanishes in the pocket, but it is tiny.  For EDC use, that is fine with me, but if I could only carry one knife, this is too small for real survival tasks or for defense.  It is also slow on deployment.

2.  Sebenza Small 21:  a classic and surprisingly tough.  I was shocked when I first got it and played around with it.  It is really sturdy.  The one issue is that deployment is not super fast.  Smooth as glass, but a little slow.  As such it is lacking a bit in the tactical role.  If had to deploy this quickly in an emergency I don't think it would work all that well.

3.  Benchmade Mini Grip 555hg: tons and tons of great features, smooth opening, fast, but still a little small.  It is surprisingly not that much bigger than the Dragonfly.  A great knife, a very good EDC knife, but if I only had one, this would not be it.

My choice was pretty surprising once I thought about it, given that I haven't carried this knife as an EDC in a while, but it would have to be....

4.  ZT350: if I were forced to carry only one knife, of the knives I own, this would be it.


In fact, I would probably take this knife over just about any production knife.  It is a really, really robust blade.  It can pry, it can slice, it can chop, it can stab.  It does it all.  And it is not too small nor is it a boat anchor.  Plus this guy is a lightning shot out of the handle.  The flipper is perfect as is the assisted opening.  Even if the assisted opening eventually loses strength, the flipper is good enough to open the knife fast on its own.  The blade shape is really amazing too, great for everyday tasks as it has plenty of belly.  The S30V steel is a good all around performer and not SUPER hard so that field sharpening is out of the question.  The handle shape is really grippy and the G10 locks in.  I like the simple, sturdy pocket clip (borrowed from Strider).  Plus the lock is really low maintenance and easy to use.  It would work as a survival knife, it would work as an EDC knife (it is big but not super big, the blade is only 3.25"), and it could be used defensively if necessary. 

In the end, I realized that the ZT350 is a great choice--plenty sturdy but not ridiculously big.

What would you carry as one folding knife to rule them all?


  1. Actually, I would do the ZT350 as well. I've taken mine in the backcountry a lot and can vouch for its ability to endure batonning firewood. The negative force required a tap on the edge to free the liner lock, but the performance was generally quite good for a folder. I have a lot of knives, and I believe in the right tool for the job (my normal backcountry knife is a Fallkniven F1), but the ZT takes it all and keeps going.

  2. Hey Tony, thanks for the mention! It really is an interesting series of videos and watching everyone's entry really shows off a great assortment of folding blades and some interesting thoughts behind them. I think the ZT 350 is a particularly good choice. Like you said it combines a lot of great elements for a tough all around folder that isn't "too tough" to be carried practically.

  3. For my suburban existence, the answer is a Spyderco Delica 4 for sure.

    Light, fast, ergonomic, socially and legally friendly, good steel, great slicing and cutting power (esp. in FFG version), and pretty capable for defense. Unlike any of the knives listed above, the Delica 4 has a dedicated, factory trainer (blunt) version available. (Benchmade makes a trainer for the full sized Griptilian, but not the Mini Grip.)

    I think that's a huge plus if we're going to talk about defensive use.

    Maybe a Waved Delica 4 if I wanted to emphasize the self-defense angle a little more. There's a dedicated factory trainer for that one too.

  4. You must be joking.There is only one !