Gone are the days of carrying just your keys, wallet and cell phone. As part of the overlanding culture, you’ve taken to a lifestyle of part MacGyver and part nomad. You carry a blade not as a trend setter, but as a badge of being part of a fraternity of preppers who usually set out for a few days with their vehicles and family/friends to isolate within nature and test their abilities to traverse terrain with their rig, cook, sleep and enjoy the outdoors.
Enter the term EDC: Every Day Carry. I decided it would be a good idea to invest in something a bit more premium than what I had in the past (Kershaw, Ken Onion Design and a Swiss Army knife from high school). I wanted something well built, made in the USA and looked good without looking threatening. There are plenty of videos on Youtube that talk about knives: folding, fixed blade, OTF (out the front), balisong, etc. One of my favorite channels to tune into was BladeHQ who’s on-air personalities “banter” about various knives and why you need to buy each and every one! Knowing what each blade does and how they work for different applications will help you determine what is the right blade for you to carry.
Upon seeing the Benchmade Mini Crooked River I knew I had to have it. Despite the popularity of the Benchmade 940 and a slew of other folding knife contenders… I settled on the Mini Crooked River because it fit my personal style and vibe. I enjoyed the diamond wood handle and the orange accents. It was a handsome piece and one that I knew I’d enjoy carrying and fidgeting with throughout the day. And this is where your selection will vary. Some go for size, style, durability, cost, blade strength and production quality. Do you want a piece that will be a workhorse for you as you slash through boxes, whittle wood or use it for self defense? Will the knife be something you’d like to pass along to your kids? Whatever the reason… selecting a knife is very subjective.
For me, the Mini Crooked River was the perfect knife for me to start off with. The S30V steel could be upgraded and the entire knife can be customized using the Benchmade website to create any colorway of your choice and replace any components on the knife to customize it to your liking. I went with the default version for now to get a feel for carrying a knife on a daily basis.
- AXIS lock mechanism
- CPM-S30V stainless steel clip point blade (58-60HRC)
- Anodized aluminum bolsters with contoured Dymondwood scales and stainless steel liners
- Orange G10 backspacer and anodized aluminum pivot ring
- Reversible tip-up pocket clip
- Blade Length: 3.40″
- Closed Length: 4.50″
- Overall Length: 7.89″
- Blade Material: CPM-S30V Stainless Steel
- Blade Thickness: 0.114″
- Blade Hardness: 58-60HRC
- Blade Style: Clip Point
- Blade Finish: Satin
- Handle Thickness: 0.52″
- Handle Material: Contoured Dymondwood with Anodized Aluminum Bolsters
- Locking Mechanism: AXIS Lock
- Pocket Clip: Deep-Carry Tip-Up, Right/Left
- Weight: 3.29 oz.
- Designer: Benchmade
- Made in the USA
I’ve carried my knife with me everyday for the past two months. Surprisingly, it’s come in handy each day and makes me wonder how I even lived without bringing a knife with me everywhere! The satisfaction of flicking your thumb to push the blade out from it’s folded and dormant state to a locked and loaded position with Benchmade’s AXIS Lock mechanism is absolute bliss. It takes some practice and you’ll need to work your blade over the next few days or weeks to get the butter smooth blade deployment that Benchmade is known for. There are three ways to open your blade:
- Using your thumb on the thumb studs to “flick” it open.
- Activating the AXIS lock to release the blade and swing it out in a outward motion.
- Use one hand to hold the knife by the handle as the other hand pulls the blade out using the thumb studs.
I opt for the thumb flick as my primary way to opening my blade with the AXIS lock release method a close second. Hearing the blade “click” into place just sounds so solid and so good as you flick and close the blade over and over. As fun as this blade is to use for every little thing… I try to regulate my usage to opening up mail and cutting up apples, slicing hot dogs, splitting bagels into two halves and occasional use to cutoff lose ends on my clothing. I don’t like to open up packages with my blade with all the tape gunk that sticks to the blade afterwards and will require that you clean the knife with lubricant.
Though the Mini Crooked River can perform time and time again with nothing more than just a quick sharpening and oiling… you want to maintain your pocket knives and learn how to take it apart and purchase some high quality cleaning solution and lubricant like Benchmade’s Blue Cleanser and Lube. This will ensure years of use and will keep your knife performing at the highest level. Out of the box, the blade is very sharp and it was centered perfectly… keeping this edge requires minimal sharpening and I recommend pickup up the Benchmade Guided Field Sharpener which takes the guesswork out of sharpening your blades.
Venturing into the world of EDC as part of your overland journey is a given. How you go about the gear you select is all based on your style and needs. With so many selections to choose from… prioritizing what you carry is as important as why you carry. Taking a minimalist approach to begin with will help you from feeling overwhelmed. As you research and see the options available you can begin to find pieces that identify with you and that give you a sense of satisfaction when using that item. For me, the build quality and functionality take priority… but, the look of the item is equally important to me as I enjoy reviewing my pocket carry load out for the day. I won’t go as far as matching my EDC with my wardrobe and I try not to murder out my color scheme. There are bits of color mixed in with a random selection of items that I carry depending on what I’m doing that day. It’s all part of the “Overland Jewelry” that makes us unique… so enjoy the process and share some of your favorite pieces in the comments below!