Urban Everyday Carry Knife Philosophy
The underlying theory of everyday carry is one of being prepared and self reliant, what that in effect means concerning the items to carry differs from person to person. One thing we all do agree on though is that at the heart of any EDC kit needs to be an everyday carry knife. Being an urban survival guy, my view on EDC knives is one that keeps the urban setting front and center. You can’t carry the same knife into the office as you can on your ranch.
Today I’d like to share some of my ideas on what would make a good urban everyday carry knife. I realize that this is just my opinion, it’s maybe not for everyone and please understand that I’m not saying it is. Everyone has his or her own considerations that go into choosing a knife that works. If you feel that I’ve overlooked one or more things, please tell me so in the comments, I love to know.
Considerations That Go Into Picking An Urban EDC Knife
The are two scenarios, or times that you’ll have your knife with you in the office. The first is when it’s in your pocket not being used and the second is when you take it out of your pocket, at which point everyone around you will know you carry. We need to take both of these moments into account because as far as I see it, it’s all about etiquette, social acceptance and perceived threat and mental stability of, well, us the knife carriers.
So, when we carry it shouldn’t be obviously visible to anyone that we do and secondly, when we do whip it out, it really would help if it wasn’t a Bowie, i.e. didn’t scare the crap out of anyone.
A lot of knives come with bright shiny metal clips. Nice looking, but not very inconspicuous. Remember that the pants or suits we wear to work are normally of a darker color. Bright clips stand out. Buy a knife that has either a dark clip or one that you can remove. The removable clip is good because you can take it of, paint it the right color and put it back on or replace it with a more suitable clip. The image to the right is from Rick Hinderer knives. Here they show replaceable clips as a way to personalize their XM series folding knives, great for urban use.
Overall knife thickness
More so then with most jeans, office clothing really shows it when there’s something in one of the pockets. I’ve noticed that the material is usually less rigid or firm (I have no idea what the right terminology is here) and forms nicely to the curvatures of the body, and anything else it covers. This is one of the reasons I try not to put to much stuff into my pockets because it looks ridiculous. Same goes for any knife. As soon as your knife is to thick, it shows. Right now my EDC knife is a Kershaw 1605CKTST black clash folding knife. I love that knife, but I’ll have to replace it since it’s about 13 millimeters thick. I would prefer it to be half that.
This has everything to do with the placement of the clip. If we were to, just as an overdone example, place the clip halfway the knife, half of the knife would stick out of your pocket. People might notice. This is exactly what I’m talking about with carrying depth. When looking at a knife you might want to get one that has the clip placed in such a way that as much of the knife as possible is hidden inside your pocket. One knife I’ve found that does this very well is the Sanrenmu 3-613, it has the handle curve around and form the clip.
Here we get into much of the same story as with the thickness and that is the fabric of what your wearing. Suits tend to sag whenever you have something heavy in your pocket. Doesn’t matter if you clip it or just drop it in there, when its heavy your pants start to really sag and show it. Not to mention the uncomfortable feeling it gives you, which is also an important point. You need to also literally feel good about carrying this knife, you shouldn’t be aware of it all the time. Weight is a big factor in both hiding the fact that you carry a knife as in making you feel comfortable. Don’t go to heavy, I’d say.
Yes, I think we have to care about looks here. There comes a time when you will use your EDC knife in the office. It could be to open a simple box or to gallantly help out the coffee lady by opening a pack of coffee, either way, people will see the knife and instantly have an opinion ready. An opinion on the knife, and on you. Remember, you’re surrounded by people that think knives are scary. When your knife looks tactical or menacing in any way, they’ll feel uncomfortable and will react accordingly (‘accordingly’ in an office environment probably means hiding away and metaphorically stabbing you in the back later). You don’t need that.
I think that there are two possible solutions here. One solution would be to take the multi-tool route. You should know that not all multi-tools are big and bulky. On the contrary, Leatherman has some very nice and small multi-tools in there lineup. The one I like most for the office environment is the small, colorful and overall great Leatherman Micra. This tool has a lot to offer and fits the environment perfectly. It boasts a series of tools that could come in handy, one of which is a small knife. Granted, the knife isn’t that big, but it does give you a knife that doesn’t bother anyone. If that’s not enough and you would like a little more knife and a little less tool there are Swiss Army Knives like the Pioneer. Not at all menacing and very capable.
If the tool route doesn’t suit you then I’d look at knives that have been designed to look playful instead of serious. The Hinderer knives shown above could be an option. Although they might be a little heavy and thick maybe, but that’s up to you to decide. Knife maker Sanrenmu has a great knife in their EDC lineup, the Sanrenmu B4-762. Don’t be fooled, the coldness of the name hides the playfulness of the knife.
Those are the considerations that I think should go into choosing an urban everyday carry knife. I do admit that I haven’t yet found the one knife that encompasses it all, but it does help me form an opinion on a knife as to the question of it being a good EDC knife or not.
Two things I didn’t talk about are money and (blade) length. The reason is that it really doesn’t matter how expensive a knife is. As long as it holds the above characteristics it will be fine. Do more expensive knifes fit the bill better? Maybe. A purpose build one of knife certainly will, but I won’t EDC that knife for all kinds of reasons. Inexpensive knives like some from Sanrenmu will do just fine. It’s up to what you can afford and want to pay for such a knife. On the lenght of the knife I can be quick, if it fits the above criteria it doesn’t matter what the size is, as long as you like it.
update: As Granville Hawley correctly points out in his comment I didn’t mention that the legal length of the blade varies by state and federal law. Be sure to check what the laws are where you live.
That’s all for now, thanks for reading this far. I’d love to hear what your philosophy for an urban everyday carry knife is, and especially why, so please leave your comments below and share your thoughts.
Till next time, Kain.