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Best Ultralight Pocket Knives for EDC in 2020

Best Ultralight Pocket Knives for EDC in 2020

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Your typical EDC knife is likely the heaviest part of your kit. And when you combine it with the other essentials in your pockets, it all can start to feel cumbersome. You might think that's just the price you have to pay to carry a competent pocket knife. After all, good steel has to weigh a ton, right? Actually, there's a category of knives that tip the scales in the other direction. These lightweight knives give you the features and ergonomics you'd want from an EDC while measuring under 3 ounces, with some designs shaving grams into ultralight territory at under 2 ounces. We're not necessarily talking tiny keychain knives, either—these full-sized knives can handle your daily tasks with ease. To help you navigate this world of ultralight everyday carry knives, we've put together this guide with some of our favorite examples for you to choose from.

Benchmade Bugout

Benchmade designed the Bugout from the ground up to be a lightweight, full-sized everyday carry beast of a knife. To get to just 1.85 ounces in weight, Benchmade turned to ultralight yet durable Grivory scales. The Bugout also sports a 3.24” long, premium CPM-S30V steel drop-point blade with a keen full flat ground edge. With a blade like that, you'll be ready to take on all challengers with it in hand. And whether you're on an outdoor trail or in an urban environment, you'll appreciate the solid lock-up Benchmade's included AXIS lock provides.

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Kershaw Reverb

The Reverb's design cuts a unique and modern aesthetic any way you look at it. It starts with the combination G10 and carbon fiber scales on one side of the handle, both lightweight materials that contribute the the overall weight savings that make the Reverb only 1.6 ounces in total. On the other side of the handle is a steel frame lock, providing extra security to hold the 2.5” 8Cr13Mov blade open during use. The Reverb is a fully-manual opening knife, but it's a one-handed affair because the unique design features what's functionally a nail nick on steroids with a large recess cut into the blade for your fingers.

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Leatherman Skeletool KBx

If you ask a fellow EDC enthusiast for an ultralight knife recommendation, the Leatherman Skeletool KBx is likely the first thing mentioned. For a few years now it's impressed many in the community for its ultralight 1.3 ounce construction while delivering solid value for money as well. The design is attractive too, especially the way Leatherman sets the 2.6” combination 420HC stainless steel blade into the anodized aluminum handle. And it even features a built-in bottle opener as part of the deep carry pocket clip for the times when you aren't working, as well.

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Spyderco Para 3 Lightweight

The Para 3 is the quintessential Spyderco knife, and its lightweight 2.4 ounce variant mates a premium 2.94” compact CTS-BD1N stainless steel blade with featherweight, spiderweb-patterned FRN scales. For extra control over the cut with the full flat ground leaf-shaped blade, there's curved jimping at the top and a choil near the bottom edge that lets you get the knife in a choke grip for fine detail work. And for harder use, you won't have to worry about the blade closing up on you because the knife features Spyderco's excellent compression lock in the spine, reducing blade play to a minimum.

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Opinel No. 8 Outdoor

It isn't until you have an Opinel in your hands that you actually realize how light it is, and that's even more true of the No 8's Outdoor variant. That's because it forgoes the traditional solid wood handles in favor of a durable fiberglass-reinforced polyamide composite that actually stands up to the elements better than wood can. Plus, it's able to fit a few survival-focused features, like a shackle key and 110dB emergency whistle. The 3.25” 12C27 Sandvik stainless steel blade's cutting performance isn't anything to sneeze at as well, and the signature 2.5mm thin design of that knife also helps with weight reduction as well while letting you cut very thinly and precisely with it in hand.

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Deejo 37g

The weight of the Deejo knife is in the name, and if you take one look at its design you can see how things can get that light. Its unique skeletonized frame keeps things light while providing a firm frame lock for the 3.7” 420 stainless steel blade. You can choose between different wood and steel combinations, or even opt for a completely metal design that makes for a more minimal carry, if you prefer.

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Buck Bantam 284

This isn't your grandpa's Buck knife. The 284 Bantam uses modern injection molding to create a its lightweight handle, making it almost featherweight in your pockets at only 1.5 ounces. The 420HC stainless steel drop-point blade is 2.75” long, which is more than enough for more everyday tasks, and it avails of a more-traditional and reliable lockback mechanism in the frame to keep everything together during hard use.

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CRKT Florine Niad

Where most of the knives in this list offer a full-size experience, the Hans Florine-designed Niad goes in the opposite direction, providing both ultra-light weight convenience with super-compact dimensions that help you save space in your pockets. It has a compact 1.56” tanto-style stainless steel blade with a sharp tip for piercing and serrations to help you get through rougher material. The minimal titanium frame also operates as a lock, holding the blade open while you work. The titanium make up also helps make the Niad the lightest knife on this list, barely tipping the scales at just 0.6 ounces in total.

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What are your favorite knives for a super lightweight EDC? Let us know in the comments below!

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Discussion (10 total)

I would, and did, choose the Spyderco Chaparral over the Para 3 for EDC... Its just a great slicer with thin (.08) XHP steel FRN handle around 2 ounces.
My bugout just got here today. Nice knife, but for the price, the handle should be G10. Feels plastic and cheap - because it is. A quick google search for "glass-filled Grigori" as Benchmade states the handle is made from, reveals that i's just a polymer (plastic) with glass fibers. It keeps the surface a bit more firm and heavier, but it still retains the same overall strength as polymer. The knife does seem good overall, and yes, the deep carry clip won me over. I was about to get a Para 3 in S35VN with a coyote/black finish, but opted for the bugout to save a couple dollars and not have to add a deep carry clip. Still on the fence about the bugout, but I do love it's streamline design which won't take up space in my left front pocket where my phone also goes. Pretty sure I'd be kicking myself had I not at least tried the bugout, but I still see an S35VN Para 3 in my future. Maybe next year. I am definitely used to the spyderco design, so opening and closing this bugout takes some effort right now, but it's a compromise I was prepared for having tested it at a local store. The only reason I bought online was because nobody had the OD Green version. Kind of dumb they only make two colors of this kind of knife, but fits my new non murdered out EDC.
Bugout is a great knife. There are YouTubers who have beat on that knife and it holds up well. G10 can feel very cheap and plasticy at times also. The grivory on the Bugout is well done and you’ll forget it’s in your pocket until you need it, and then it will do its job. At least in my experience. Of course I’ve never hard used it myself. But like I said, I’ve seen videos where people hard use it and it held up beautifully. Hopefully it grows on you! 👍🏼
I don't typically hard use my knives either, and having a slim design and not a huge knife was my reason for getting it. I know it will grow on me, just have to carry it enough ;) I'll wait a bit before posting it with my other new gear to get some use out of it.
The Bugout! So lightweight with a good size blade and a deep carry clip to boot. Just got the para 3 lightweight , what a sick little knife. Great choil. Good list , I wanna try the deejo
I love the bugout. I added an orange Paracord cobra braid with knife bead onto the end. It gets a lot of carry time from me.
I carry the Benchmade Bugout .Great knife and so light you forget you have it. Till you need it of course.
The Smith and Wesson mp9, was my EDC for a long time. I don't know the exact weight, but you couldn't feel it in your pocket. Held a very nice edge. I kinda miss it
Waiting for the Para 3 LW in colors.
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