Skip to content
Home » Blog » Every EDC Enthusiast Should Own at Least One of These 12 Pocket Knives

Every EDC Enthusiast Should Own at Least One of These 12 Pocket Knives

  • by

The kinds of folding blades that could be handed down for generations from brands like Buck, Case, Victorinox and more.


Every product is carefully selected by our editors. If you buy from a link, we may earn a commission. Learn more

If you were lucky enough to have a parent or grandparent who was in the Scouts, served in the military, worked on a farm or was a craftsperson of some kind (like a carpenter, mechanic or similar), you may have been lucky enough to have a folding knife handed down to you. And if you were really lucky, it was a well-built, well-cared-for blade that you cherish (and perhaps even use) to this day. That’s what you might call an heirloom pocket knife.

If you weren’t lucky enough to have one handed down to you, you’re not out of luck. A lot of the companies responsible for making such tools are still around to this day — and most of them are still making high-quality pocket knives. We’re talking about brands such as Victorinox (famed makers of the Swiss Army Knife), Buck, Case and many more. So whether you’re just trying to fill out your EDC collection or you’re just getting one started (maybe with hopes of passing some of your beloved blades down to your kids or grandkids), we’ve got a treat for you: these are the best heirloom pocket knives you can buy right now.

Buck Hunter 110


Buck Knives 110 Folding Hunter

Why It’s Significant: Introduced back in 1964, the Buck 110 Folding Hunter revolutionized the knife industry thanks to its incredibly sturdy back lock — which was so strong, it made the knife feel and perform like a fixed blade — effectively catapulting Buck Knives to prominence and making the brand a leader in the field. For nearly 60 years now, this knife has been the standard by which hunting folding knives are judged — which is especially impressive considering that the knife boasts largely the same design and construction it had back then.

About This Knife: Boasting a 3.75-inch clip-point 420HC stainless steel blade offering excellent edge retention and corrosion resistance, this is the epitome of a folding knife meant to be used in the field. It also features a timeless ebony wood handle with brass bolsters, and the whole thing is topped off by that legendary back lock.

Case Trapper


Case Trapper

Why It’s Significant: While its history might seem a little gruesome, the Case Trapper — which dates back to the early 1900s during the golden age of cutlery — was no less an important tool, especially for farmers. This is because the knife was one of the first to offer dual blades. The first was a clip-point blade that was an excellent all-around cutting tool used for a variety of normal everyday tasks. The second, however, was a spey blade that was specifically shaped to be used in the castration of livestock, boasting a blunter point than other shapes, which was better suited to this purpose (and for the purpose of skinning game). This knife type has remained popular to this day among farmers, outdoorsmen, hunters and the like.

About This Knife: This version of the trapper comes with smooth synthetic handle scales and a pair of Tru-Sharp surgical stainless steel blades (a signature material of Case). And while it does not have an actual locking system, it does boast a slipjoint — a kind of spring mechanism that helps the blades remain in the deployed position during use.

Chris Reeve Sebenza

Blade HQ

Chris Reeve Small Sebenza 31

Why It’s Significant: Among the EDC community, the Chris Reeve Sebenzawhich dates all the way back to 1987 — is a knife so significant that its reach extends far beyond its own name. This is because it was the knife that introduced the Reeve Integral Lock (colloquially known as the frame lock) to the world. That alone is enough to earn this blade (and its maker) a spot in the annals of knifemaking history. But the fact that Chris Reeve also had a hand in the development of CPM S30V, S35VN and S45VN powdered blade steels (some of the most lauded in knifemaking history) solidifies that tenfold.

About This Knife: Released in 2019, the Sebenza 31 replaced the longtime fan-favorite 21, further refining and evolving the historic design. This version is available in two sizes — large (8.40 inches total) and small (6.98 inches total) — and features a drop point blade made from CPM MagnaCut steel. The handle — which, of course, boasts that game-changing Reeve Integral Lock and a ceramic ball-bearing deployment — is made from 6AL4V titanium with Micarta inlays.


Blade HQ


Why It’s Significant: Named after the Melanesian god of doom and chaos — which is also the knife’s logo — this knife has been made by the same French family, the Cognets, since 1929. What makes it such a special, long-lasting design is both its simplicity and its overall robustness. While there are often cosmetic flourishes to be found with a Douk-Douk, the knife is ultimately little more than a simple blade and handle connected by a pivot. Despite the simplicity (or perhaps because of it), this knife is reliable, durable, easy to maintain and an overall joy to use.

About This Knife: Measuring up at 8.00 inches overall, this version of the Douk-Douk boasts a high carbon steel clip point blade mated to a black-finished stainless steel handle. Instead of a locking mechanism that keeps the blade deployed, this instead has a bail loop, which can be used to keep the knife closed when not in use and also functions as a connection point for a lanyard. It’s also very lightweight at just 2.44 ounces.


Blade HQ

Nagao Higonokami Friction Folder

Why It’s Significant: Known as the traditional pocket knife of Japan (and made by the descendants of the craftsmen who made swords for the samurai), the Higonokami dates back to the 1890s, at which time a craftsman by the name of Tasaburo Shigematsu introduced a small, simple knife with a tiny lever jutting out of the end of the blade — making deploying it (and keeping it deployed in use) easier than its predecessors. To this day, this knife is still largely made the same as it was back then, both honoring its heritage and proving the long-lastingness of the design. The Higonokami is proof that sometimes simpler is better.

About This Knife: If you’re watching Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, you may have caught a glimpse of this knife, as it’s the “pen knife” used by Hiroshi Randa (and actually plays a fairly significant part in the plot of the show). It boasts a simple brass handle and a reverse tanto blue paper steel blade (a material quite popular with traditional Japanese pocket knives). As it’s a friction folder, it has no locking mechanism, but the small rounded lever on the end of the blade acts as both a means to deploy the blade and the means by which to keep it deployed (wrapping one’s hand around the handle and lever will keep the blade extended through friction).


Blade HQ

Baladeo Laguiole

Why It’s Significant: First made in the Laguiole village of France in the late 1860s by five different families (and first popularized in 1860), these simple, handcrafted blades were popular with workmen and farmers thanks to their simplicity, reliability and inexpensiveness (as is often the case with heirloom pocket knives). Interestingly, this knife saw a resurgence in the late ’80s when, with the help of people from Thiers, a cutlery factory was reopened in Laguiole, and designer Philippe Starck revised the knife’s design.

About This Knife: This edition of the traditional slipjoint knife features an olive wood handle (paired with stainless steel bolsters) mated to a 440 steel blade. It’s also remarkably affordable, even when not on sale — proving that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to find a really solid, reliable pocket knife.

Opinel No. 8


Opinel No.08

Why It’s Significant: Invented by Joseph Opinel in 1890, Opinel’s iconic knife has remained virtually the same in its design and silhouette for over 130 years, making it one of the most long-lasting and iconic designs in EDC history. While it shares many of the aspects that have made other knives on this list popular — a simple steel blade and natural material handle — it also has something that makes it extremely unique: the brand’s signature Virobloc ring lock, which is exclusive to Opinel Knives.

About This Knife: While there are a number of different Opinel knives (which all largely share the same silhouette but are offered in different sizes and materials), the No. 8 is probably the big favorite of the lot for its middle-of-the-pack size and array of styles and materials. This one, priced at under $20, is as basic as it is iconic, featuring a beechwood handle and a carbon steel blade.

Svord Peasant Knife

Blade HQ

Svord Peasant Knife

Why It’s Significant: While many of these knives date back to the 18th century, the Peasant Knife is a design that has them all beat, dating back as far as 400 years, when it was used by — you guessed it — peasants (like farmers) in Bohemia and Bavaria for a variety of daily tasks. It is likely that most folding knives of today were inspired by or at least owe some credit to these historical friction folding knives. While the original designs and makers are largely lost to history, the brand Svord revived this particular style and has been producing it for nearly 30 years.

About This Knife: Utterly simple and incredibly beautiful, this knife is made with a carbon steel blade and a polypropylene handle, measuring 8.25 inches in total. As it’s a friction knife, it has no locking mechanism, but it will stay deployed so long as the used holds the handle and the blade’s extended tang in their grip. The tang also features a lanyard hole and the handle is lightly textured for better grip in any condition. And the whole thing is handmade in New Zealand.

Victorinox Swiss Army Knife


Victorinox Classic SD Alox

Why It’s Significant: Almost definitely the most historically significant folding knife (or multi-tool, if you want to mince words) in this entire guide, the Swiss Army Knife (or SAK) is a staple of the EDC and outdoor industries and was given to Swiss soldiers as a standard-issue piece of their kit for as long as it has been in production. It was originally patented in 1897 and became a nearly instantaneous hit thanks to the fact that it incorporated a number of functions — including a folding blade, corkscrew and more — into a single, pocket-sized device. It saw a resurgence in popularity during WWII when many US soldiers stationed in Europe brought them home as souvenirs. The SAK is the original multi-tool and stands today as one of the greatest human inventions of all time. In fact, a version of the SAK is still standard issue for Swiss soldiers to this day.

About This Knife: The SAK Classic SD is about as close to the original SAK as you can find these days (barring having one handed down to you). We also love this version for its Alox handle scales, which exchange metal for the usual TPE (a kind of plastic). Along with a cutting blade, this SAK includes a file, screwdriver and scissors and is a great addition to any EDC collection, even ones that already have SAKs in them.

Honorable Mentions

While the aforementioned knives have all been around for some time now, there are plenty that may go on to become heirlooms of the future, so to speak. We’ve picked out a trio of knives we think will achieve that status, as they’re already legendary in today’s everyday carry world.

Benchmade Griptilian

Blade HQ

Benchmade Mini Griptilian

This is the knife that really put Benchmade on the map and solidified the brand among the best makers in the world. The knife itself is incredibly versatile, durable, and reliable and comes in a wide variety of materials and colors. While we think the full-sized version is a bit large (at 8.07 inches total), the Mini is perfect for EDC purposes, measuring up at 6.78 inches in total. This version also comes with textured Noryl GTX handles, a CPM S30V sheepsfoot blade and the brand’s legendary Axis locking mechanism. Whichever version you choose, the Griptilian is definitely a future classic that folks in the EDC community will praise for years to come.

Ken Onion Leek


Kershaw Leek

If you caught our guide to Ken Onion’s best knives, you already know what a major impact this designer has made on the EDC and knifemaking communities. If not, you should take a gander at perhaps his most iconic design, the Leek. With its tongue-in-cheek name, iconic silhouette, approachable price point and a serviceable array of materials, the Leek is a pocket knife that punches way above its pay grade. It helps, too, that it comes with Onion’s legendary Speedsafe deployment system — which makes popping the blade into its functional position nearly as simple as pushing a button but without the legal implications of true automatic knives. Like many of the heirloom knives mentioned above, the Leek proves that a high price does not necessarily make a lasting knife design.

Spyderco PM2


Spyderco Para Military 2

While it’s certainly more aggressive than most of the other knives we’ve highlighted here, the Spyderco Paramilitary 2 is no less an icon that deserves all the respect and admiration it has garnered. For one, the signature leaf-shaped CPM S45VN blade and G10 handle scales stand out even among its contemporaries. But it’s the compression lock — a lock so tough it even puts Benchmade’s Axis to shame — that really makes this knife a knockout. The one big downside to this folder is its price, clocking in at over $100 more than just about every other knife in this guide. If you can afford a PM2 without hurting your bank account too much, we highly recommend picking one up. This is definitely a knife that will last for generations (with the proper love and care, of course).