Pioneer X

IMG_0019I just got the new Pioneer X from Victorinox and I have to admit, it may be the most functional Swiss Army Knife ever made.

The Pioneer model by itself is one of my favorites. It’s essentially a larger version of the Cadet model, only it replaces the file with a reamer. Now they have added scissors into the mix, and I’m not sure there is anything this knife couldn’t do.

The Pioneer X is in the 93mm size group of Swiss Army Knives (about 3.6”). It’s just small enough to be carried without noticing it’s there, but big enough to feel like it can take on more robust tasks than a smaller SAK would be able to. As much as I love the Cadet, sometimes I feel like it’s a little too thin/small for certain situations (i.e., cutting something thick or needing to pry something heavy).

The Pioneer X features a blade, can opener/small screwdriver, bottle opener/large screwdriver, a reamer, and scissors. Tell me that wouldn’t make you feel like Macgyver..

The X only comes in the silver color (like the one above) and a limited edition metallic grey color that features a Damast blade.They are becoming increasingly harder to find, but they normally run about $45 or so for the silver model and about $185 for the limited edition.

Ursa Minor

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This shot features the Ursa Minor by Kizer Cutlery, the Bottle Scalper by Tony Nicholl, and handkerchief by Cranky Hanky Co.

Ursa Minor This knife is designed by Ray Laconico and produced by Kizer Cutlery. The knife is a frame lock folding knife with “flipper” opening style. The action on the Ursa Minor is probably the smoothest of any knife that I own. The blade is made from CPM-S35VN stainless and measures 3.125”. The handle and clip are both titanium. The hardware comes in a blue color, but I have had some customization done to mine. The hardware and clip have been anodized to a bronze color, and the handles have been stonewashed. The blade has also been acid washed, etched, and sharpened to a mirror finish. One thing I really love about the blade is the “harpoon” style grind that gives it a little more character than just a regular hollow grind would.  

Bottle ScalperThis simple bottle opener/pry bar is designed and made by Tony Nicholl (@nichollknives on Instagram). I like the simplicity of this small tool. It’s thin and lightweight, but sturdy enough to be used as a light pry bar or flat screwdriver. Not to mention the ability to open an ice cold beer! Tony makes these in different thicknesses and metals. Mine is made from a stainless steel.

Plaid Handkerchief This is another one of my many handkerchiefs from Cranky Hanky Co. These usually measure 10.5”x 10.5” and are double sided made from cotton.

Budget EDC

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This time around, I’d like to prove that a good EDC doesn’t have to completely break the bank. Here are some high quality items that I carry that are affordable yet extremely reliable.

Olight S10 Baton – $40

The S10 is a classic EDC light. It’s small, bright, and extremely sturdy. The magnet in the tail cap allows you to use it hands free in just about all applications. The clip is reversible so that you can carry it face down in your pocket, or flip it around and put it on the brim of your hat for a headlamp. It runs on one CR123 (or rechargeable CR123) and has a max brightness of 400 lumens. There are 4 brightness levels, as well as a hidden strobe feature.

CRKT Pilar – $25

Designed by Jesper Voxnaes, this compact frame lock folding knife may look small (just over 3.5” folded), but it feels pretty comfortable in the hand. The handle is made from stainless steel and the blade from 8Cr13MoV. Maybe not the best steel, but that’s what makes it so affordable. You may need to sharpen the blade more often, but it will be an easy sharpen. This is a great option for someone that wants a compact knife with a clean design and doesn’t want to drain their bank account.

Big Red Bi-Fold Wallet – $40

This is my absolute favorite minimalist wallet. Hand made by Big Red Beard Combs, this thing will last forever. It will hold about 4-6 cards, but I usually have about 2 cards, driver’s license, a little cash and some business cards in it. It will also fit Big Red’s number 9 or number 5 comb if you can spare the room. The leather quality is some of the best I’ve seen, and the stitching is on point (little sewing humor there).

So at just over $100, you get a small but powerful flashlight, a simple, well designed knife, and a wallet that you’ll probably be able to pass along to your grandchild someday. Not bad..

Less Is More

This combo features the Spyderco Techno designed by Marcin Slysz, and the Olight S mini baton in bead blasted titanium.

The Techno was my first “nice” knife, and it remains one of my favorites today. I’ve had a little customization done to it, but I think it has only made the knife look and function better. The blade (just over 2.5” and made from CTS-XHP steel) has been etched, stonewashed and sharpened by Mark Mansfield (@mmans0311 on Instagram). I’ve sent multiple knives to Mark and have never been disappointed. I’ve also replaced the stock blue backspacer with custom individual backspacers (not visible in the picture of course). This knife is definitely a compact workhorse that won’t let you down.

The S mini baton by Olight is exactly like the S1 baton, only without the magnet on the base of the light. It’s made from a beautiful bead blasted titanium and features five different brightness settings starting with a “turbo” burst of 550 lumens, and then stepping down to 300, 60, 12, and a .5 “moonlight” setting. It runs off of a single CR123A (or rechargeable CR123), and is the currently the smallest CR123 flashlight Olight offers. The only complaint some might have about this particular light would be the lack of a reversible clip.

Viper Fortis

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Today I’m going to review a new knife that I got last week.

This is the Fortis by Viper Knives, another knife designed by Jesper Voxnaes. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the Fortis, because it almost looks like a bigger version on the Viper Kyomi (which I already own). Right out of the box, though, I could tell that it was significantly different.

With an overall length of 8.25″, it’s definitely on the larger side compared to most of my knives. To offset the length, the Fortis is very slim and lightweight for its size (only 4.83oz). The blade is right at 3.5″, and the thickness is .16″.

The Fortis is a “flipper” opening style knife, and the action is super smooth out of the box. This frame lock knife features all titanium handles and a titanium clip with a tip-up carry position.

The Fortis has several handle styles to choose from including titanium, G-10 and carbon fiber. The blade comes in a stone wash and a satin finish (mine is the satin finish). The blade is made from Bohler M390 stainless steel for all of you steel buffs out there. This was a pleasant surprise to me because the price point would not suggest such a high quality steel.

I personally really like the small amount of blue anodizing on the pocket clip and backspacer. I think they add a nice pop of color to an otherwise colorless knife.

Overall, I really enjoy this knife. It’s a bit on the larger side (probably not ideal if you’re looking for a more compact knife to carry), but for the quality of material/build that you get for the price, I think it’s a great buy.

Victorinox & Vox

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I really like this combo of the Odino by Viper Knives, the red Swiss Army Cadet by Victorinox, and the Xclusive handkerchief by Cranky Hanky Co.

Viper Odino – Designed by Jesper Voxnaes, this clean looking titanium frame lock not only looks great, it feels great in the hand as well. With a blade just under 3″ made of Bohler N690Co, it will hold a decent edge and makes sharpening relatively easy.

Cadet by Victorinox – This is one of my favorite items to carry. You’ll see one of these in almost all of my pictures from my Instagram account. They are small and easily carried with a variety of useful tools. It’s extremely rare that I don’t have one of these with me at all times.

Handkerchief by Cranky Hanky Co. – Some might say carrying a handkerchief now days is old school. That may be.. But once you get used to having one on you, you’ll feel strange without one. As a project manager in commercial roofing here in Texas, having a handkerchief in the heat of the summer is a must.

Thanks for looking! More posts of gear and reviews to come!