Holiday Gift Ideas With An Edge

Steel or carbon fiber? DAJO Summit gives you both. In a pocket knife.

Dave and Jo Marriner, the husband and wife team behind DAJO Adventure Gear, may have created the ultimate pocket knife for outdoor enthusiasts and bicycle enthusiasts alike. Their Summit knife is a blend of high carbon stainless steel and carbon fiber, in a lightweight, compact design. At 3.5 inches long when closed, it’s not going to take up much room in a gear bag or backpack, and the handy wire clip allows you to attach it to your pocket too. The 2.75 inch blade is made from 7Cr17MoWV stainless steel. Translated into common English, it has a Rockwell hardness of about 57, striking an excellent compromise between ease of sharpening, and holding an edge for a long time.

DAJO Summit knife

Now for the bike geek part. The handles are carbon fiber, with a nice weave to them. This (and the cutouts in the blade) contributes to the low 2.3 ounce overall weight. Not a bad feature set there, and DAJO also includes some precision tweezers in the base of the handle. The best part may be the price – while carbon fiber anything for a bicycle isn’t cheap, the Summit is practically “stocking stuffer” priced at $38.95. I carried the Summit for a week, and used it for my usual tasks – opening boxes, cutting up some cardboard for recycling (I know, bad for the blade, but it held its edge admirably), and slicing open packages. It locks up solid when open, and has a really nice feel in the hand. And the carbon fiber got positive comments and envious looks every time.

DAJO Summit knife

Baladéo knives – Le 27 Grammes and Le 37 Grammes

Baladéo is a French company that offers a variety of outdoor gear, including these award-winning fine pocket knives. Perfectly balanced and elegantly styled, each one is constructed of 420 stainless steel, with various handle options such as zebra wood, G10, or red transparent polycarbonate. The choice of 420 stainless is a good one for a knife of this type, as it’s highly resistant to corrosion, easy to sharpen and will hold an edge well. Speaking of edges, the blade itself is somewhat unique, as it is only sharp on one side, like a chisel. This requires a bit of care when sharpening, and the simple V-shaped sharpeners should not be used. Handling the 37 gram model, I picture a couple touring the French countryside on a vintage tandem. They stop for lunch, which is red wine and some cheese on a baguette. And the Baladéo Le 37 Grammes is in its element there. In reality, it’s a fine knife for everyday use, if a bit delicate. I’d use it for light food prep at home or camping, but would be a bit wary about heavy cutting chores. Opening boxes and packages, cutting twine and cloth, it would serve you well. As an executive gift (they are packed in nice gift boxes), it’s perfect, even if it only gets used as a letter opener. The smaller 27 gram version is ideal for someone working in an office environment, as the compact size is unobtrusive, and less threatening to co-workers that incorrectly view knives as weapons rather than tools.

Baladeo Le 37 Grammes pocket knives

SOG Hand Axe

Looking for something a bit more substantial? You won’t be opening packages or letters with the SOG Hand Axe. At a bit over a pound, there’s no belt clip included either (although it does come with a nylon sheath). But the weight is just enough to make it swing with some authority, while not being too heavy for backpacking. A single slab of 420 stainless with a black oxide finish, the full tang runs through the durable G10 handles, allowing for a solid grip, so you can chop with confidence. We haven’t field tested our sample yet, but did use it to make some kindling for our last backyard fire pit event, and it was perfectly suited for that task. The overall length of 11.1 inches makes it convenient to pack, and with a suggested retail price of $51.75, you could probably have one for camping, and keep another in your vehicle, or your emergency preparedness kit.

SOG Hand Axe

– Brian

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