If you don’t have a tactical folder that can hold the weight of a car, do you really have a functional knife?
Yes! The truth is for countless years people have successfully used nonlocking folders for all kinds of jobs. In fact, in more recent years, companies have started making slipjoint knives you can carry as an EDC folder.
While these knives aren’t something you’d want to baton with (get a fixed blade for that unless you’re Advanced Knife Bro), nonlocking folders are a great option for an EDC. You don’t have to settle for an old Case knife either (not that there’s anything wrong with that). You can now get a modern-looking slipjoint that uses higher end materials.
Here are some of the best modern EDC slipjoints currently available.
Unfortunately, Spyderco recently did away with many of its best slipjoint models — such as the Pingo and the PITS. OK, so the PITS isn’t really a slipjoint, but it’s still a nonlocking folder. However, the sub brand of Spyderco called Byrd Knives has an inexpensive slipjoint called the Tern that features a modern look.
The knife is essentially a cheaper version of the UK Penknife.
A few years back, SOG took on the slipjoint with a couple of new models. One of its best was the Terminus (not to be confused with the newer Terminus XR with a lock). Although the tactical slipjoint seems like an oxymoron, the knife works surprisingly well as an EDC. It has a 3-inch BD1 blade with G10 handle scales.
In 2014, Spartan Knives won the Most Innovative American Design of the Year award at Blade Show for an interesting new design — an integral slipjoint. It has a frame that works as a spring and pulls the blade open or closed. On top of that, it uses quality materials like S35VN steel and titanium handles.
It’s pretty pricey at $220, but you get a cool design and good materials.
Lansky World Legal
Knife laws around the world are why we have so many slipjoint models. Take the World Legal from Lansky, for example. Designed by Mikkel Willumsen, the World Legal can be carried nearly anywhere in the world, thanks to its 2.75-inch nonlocking blade. It doesn’t look like your traditional slipjoint either.
The Proper is an example of a newer slipjoint that borrows off the designs of the past while upgrading materials. This modern take on the classics has an S30V blade with a nail nick and either G10 or Micarta scales. What really separates this is the ability to take it apart without much effort — something few traditionals allow.
OK, I had to sneak this on the list. Although the Victorinox Swiss Army Knife is an ancient design, it remains a good option for a more modern EDC. How? The use of Alox scales gives it a modern look that most people don’t picture when you say Swiss Army Knife. The Electrician is an amazing version of the SAK tool.
What in the world is this knife? This modern slipjoint was actually born out of the abandoned policy that would have allowed some folders on airplanes. But this little folder captured the hearts of many knife enthusiasts so Spyderco kept it around. It has a 2.09-inch blade and FRN scales while coming in at a mere ounce.
Similar to most Spyderco models, there aren’t many knives that look like this.
Chris Reeve Impinda
A lot of renowned companies and knifemakers have dipped their toes in the slipjoint waters recently, including Chris Reeve Knives. CRK won the American Made Knife of the Year award at the 2018 Blade Show with the Impinda slipjoint. Designed in collaboration with William H. Harsey, the Impinda is a sleek and sexy knife that embodies the CRK ethos.
It has a 3.1-inch S35VN blade and titanium scales. It’s smooth as butter but goes for — brace yourself — $450.
Boker Chad Los Banos XS
Chad Los Banos makes a bunch of slipjoint knives for Boker, but one of the best modern models is the Boker Plus XS. It has a 3.1-inch 440C blade with a G-10 handle, one-handed opening thumb stud, and pocket clip.
Quiet Carry The West
Quiet Carry is a lesser-known brand from Costa Mesa — a stones throw away from where I’m typing this. The small brand has been making a name for itself with interesting and diverse designs, including The West.
The West is a good-looking modern slipjoint folder with a minimalist design. It has a 2.5-inch D2 steel blade, titanium handle, and pocket clip.
Kizer — probably best known for making titanium frame lock folders — also ventured into the slipjoint arena with the Zipslip. The Zipslip is designed by Michael Vagnino and Tom Ferry and uses the Everflush backbar that apparently makes it easier to open and close with one hand.
This knife is just a well-designed knife with good materials such as an S35VN blade and titanium handles. The Zipslip is not too pricey at around $115, and it’s a very different knife that few others have done.
Cold Steel Lucky One
The Lucky is an interesting knife because it’s not what you picture from Cold Steel. It’s a more muted and modern gentleman’s folder. The One has a single S35VN blade while the Two has a plan and serrated blade. This is a slipjoint with carbon fiber handle scales.
Rick Hinderer is best known for his tactical knives and design, including those for Kershaw. But, Hinderer did something out of character and made a slipjoint called the Slippy. It looks similar to the XM-18 but doesn’t have a lock.
It has a 3-inch 20CV blade and G-10 scales of your choosing. The Slippy has gotten good reviews from people who wanted a Hinderer without the legal issues sometimes presented by the lock. You get a Hinderer price tag at $275 though.
The Lionsteel Roundhead made the rounds among knife nuts as a solid new traditional with good materials. There are a few problems with the grinds and occasional missteps in the quality, but the Roundhead is a great update on the traditional folder. These were the product of a limited run, so I’m not sure how widely available these are.
Boker Plus Worldwide
The Worldwide is another folder from Chad Los Banos and Boker Plus. Unlike the XS, this one is more in line with the World Legal. It doesn’t have a one-handed opening mechanism, but it has a nail nick on the 2.7-inch blade. It also has G-10 handle scales and a pocket clip.