crkt-knife-tool1Every man needs a knife. Or ten. Either way, the necessity of a handy blade is a concept that I’m willing to stand by. Just like the men they serve, knives come in a plethora of shapes, sizes, and special purposes. That’s why I’m such a fan of CRKT and the exceptional knives and tools they offer. Columbia River Knife & Tool is an Oregon-based manufacturer that quite simply does it right. They offer literally a gazillion hundreds of knives and tools built to the highest levels of form, function, and quality as specified by their world class designers. I absolutely defy you to check out their offerings and fail to find something you don’t want/need.

As I said, there is a staggering array of gear available in CRKT’s 2009 catalog. I suggest the electronic version for at-work perusal, but would suggest requesting a glossy hard copy to enjoy with your Sunday coffee. Due to the breadth of CRKT’s offerings, they are divided into three categories: Sport & Work Knives, I.D. Works Tools, and For Those Who Serve Professional Knives & Tools. That third category is filled with some bad ass gear for use by the military and first responders. Awesome. In any case, I’ll offer some insight into the models I’ve experienced and enjoyed.

crkt-knifeThough it’s not for everyone (or their work environment), I typically carry a knife with me every day. I seem to encounter many opportunities to employ a blade and I don’t like having to wait to tuck into the latest GP gear just because I can’t find a pair of scissors. For years, the CRKT M16 EDC lived faithfully in my pocket. For the purposes of this evaluation, I reluctantly replaced it with the H.U.G. (photo at right) and I’m quite pleased. I also own a knife from the K.I.S.S. series, predecessor to the H.U.G. line, so I had a good idea what to expect.

I particularly like the compact design of the H.U.G. which provides a nice balance to the 2.30″ blade. I chose the 5580K model which adds a non-reflective black titanium nitride coating as well as Triple-Point Serrated edges. A smaller model featuring a 1.78″ blade is also available. The internal frame lock on this little beauty gives me a confident feeling whenever the knife is locked in the open position. This may seem a small detail, but I’ve had gripes with an obtrusive clip on some knives in the past, but the H.U.G.’s is low-profile enough that it doesn’t seem to get caught on much of anything. For me this, is a near perfect blade for every-day carry.

I also had the chance to check out some of CRKT’s new multitools. Having spent some time with both the Zilla-Tool and the Guppie (both of which have compact counterparts), I can see why these useful tools have been such award winners. I’ve found the Zilla-Tool (pictured at top) particularly to be a great “glove box” tool. Packing pliers, a wire cutter/stripper, Phillips and flat-head screwdrivers, the Zilla is certainly handy in a pinch (I couldn’t resist the pun). Oh, yeah… it also offers a 3″ super-sharp blade and is wrapped up neatly in a custom nylon sheath. The Guppy (pictured below) is a little smaller, exchanges the pliers for an adjustable wrench and include an LED light as well as a carabiner gate. This tool is a great one to keep in your “man-bag” or to use as a money clip.

So to recap, you’re a man, thus find yourself a knife that fits your need and your personality. CRKT is the place to do just that. Whether you’ll keep one in your pocket, your briefcase, your workbench, or your desk drawer, I can confidently say that you’ll be more than pleased with the quality and lasting value of their knives and tools. Just don’t try and convince me that you “need” the Hisshou. Jack Bauer, you ain’t.

Cost: Varies

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