Aside from the absolute essentials, like keys, phone and wallet, there’s one other indispensable item that adds daily convenience to your life: a good folding knife. It opens packages, cuts rope or cord, carves food when needed and, heaven forbid, can help defend against an assailant. An EDC knife should be slim enough to carry without being cumbersome, but still be accessible and functional. We’ve selected eight great knives that will work well without working big — ones that you’ll carry with comfort and still remain prepared for just about anything.

MORE SHARP THINGS: Opinel Bon Apetit Table Knives | How to Sharpen a Knife | 5 Great Axes

CRKT Argus

CRKT-Gear-Patrol

Best Quick-Draw Knife: Designed by renowned knifesmith Matthew Lerch, the Argus takes ECD knife carry to the next level (it’s a patented design). The Argus is a sculpted beauty with a curvaceous cold-forged aluminum handle, but it’s the Fire Safe mechanism that makes this beauty handy. Fire Safe prevents the blade from accidentally deploying in your pocket, and it is paired with CRKT’s famous Outburst spring-loaded one-handed opening feature, so the knife is as quick on the draw as Wyatt Earp. The short, curved pocket clip is easy to use and low-key, and the convenient liner lock lets you easily close it with one hand — in case you’re out to impress someone.

CRKT Argus Specs
Blade Length: 3.55 inches
Blade Material: AUS 8
Blade Type: plain edge, drop point, flat grind
Handle Material: cold-forged aluminum
Weight: 4.2 ounces

A.G. Russell Medium Barlow Lockback

AG-Russel-Gear-Patrol-

Best Heritage Knife: The Barlow style goes back to 1600s England, and it was used by the likes of our first president, George Washington. Its one- or two-blade setup is no nonsense, and the metal bolster and curved teardrop handle make for good balance and comfort. A.G. Russell has updated the Barlow with a modern Zulu spear point for strength and piercing capability, along with an elongated finger-pull slot for easy blade deployment. It also comes with a lock back, instead of the traditional non-locking Barlow slip joint, giving this knife added security. There’s no clip necessary, since the Medium Barlow fits conveniently in your pocket.

A.G. Russell Medium Barlow Specs
Blade Length: 2-7/8 inches
Blade Material: 8Cr13MoV high-carbon stainless steel
Blade Type: plain edge, Zulu spear point, flat grind
Handle Material: Cocobolo wood, Delrin, Rucarta
Weight: 2.9 ounces

Benchmade Mel Pardue 531BK Slim Knife

Benchmade-Gear-Patrol

Best Tactical Knife: If you’re an under-the-radar, always-be-prepared kind of guy, this is your blade. The 531BK takes everything about the beloved slim 530 and makes it better. Not only does it possess a sharp and stealthy black tactical blade, it also provides a high-quality, grippy G10 handle (that beats the old grivory in the 530). The 531 also adds a stunning herringbone relief that looks as good as it grips. The incredibly slim coffin-style handle stays low-key in your pocket, and the patented Axis lock system lets you deploy and fold one-handed. The ambidextrous thumb studs let you use either hand, and the centrally located pocket clip means you can also switch sides without remounting the clip. And, best of all, it’s a blade that looks like it came straight from a special ops group’s chest of goods.

Benchmade Mel Pardue 531BK Specs
Blade Length: 3.25″
Blade Material: 154CM stainless steel
Blade Type: plain edge, modified drop point, flat grind
Handle Material: G10
Weight: 2.1 ounces

Opinel No. 8 Vinland Damascus

Opinel-Gear-Patrol

Best Artful Knife: The toughest part about this limited-edition Opinel No. 8 is knowing whether to use it or stare at it. The thing is bloody gorgeous, with its textured Damascus finished blade and a dark ebony wood handle. Powder technology on the stainless steel blade makes everything pop in stunning concentric waves, and no knife has the same blade pattern. And Opinel’s unique collar lock rotates with a twist of the fingers for easy folding. This knife is limited to 500 units, so you’d best get your hands on this very collectible EDC. Don’t let your buddy borrow it to peel potatoes.

Opinel No. 8 Vinland Damascus Specs
Blade Length: 3.25 inches
Blade Material: Damascus steel
Blade Type: plain edge, clip point, flat grind
Handle Material: ebony wood
Weight: 1.9 ounces

SOG Slimjim

SOG-Slimjim-Gear-Patrol

Best Low-Profile Knife: Careful with this sharpie. It’s thin, light and qualifies as the slimmest assisted-open knife made today. It’s made from a single piece of stainless steel, the assisted open is light and fast, and the strategically placed grips and cutouts make for easy cutting. It also has a secure open and close mechanism with thanks to its patented blade retention lock. Drop it inside a suit pocket or along the pocket seam of your dress slacks, and no one will be the wiser.

SOG Slimjim Specs
Blade Length: 3.18 inches
Blade Material: AUS-8
Blade Type: plain edge, clip point, hollow grind
Handle Material: 420 stainless steel
Weight: 2.4 ounces

Boker Urban Trapper

Booker-USA-Gear-Patrol

Best Featherweight Knife: Though the Slimjim might be the thinnest, Boker’s Urban Trapper wins the weight game. At only 1.7 ounces, the Trapper’s barely-there bantamweight provides its carrier with unburdened carry capability. The titanium handle has large cutout holes to lighten the load, and the slender 3.5-inch VG-10 blade retains a super-sharp edge. The framelock is subtle and functional, as is the blade flipper that deploys with a touch of effort from your index finger.

Boker Urban Trapper Specs
Blade Length: 3.5 inches
Blade Material: VG-10 stainless steel
Blade Type: plain edge, clip point, hollow grind
Handle Material: titanium
Weight: 1.7 ounces

Buck Spitfire

Buck-Spitfire-Gear-Patrol

Best-Value Knife: The American-made Spitfire is specifically designed for the demands of EDC, with an ultra-easy one-handed blade hole opening and a convenient clip that can mount on either side of the handle. Buck chose strong and lightweight aluminum for the handle, and the blade uses standard Buck 420HC steel that’s corrosion-resistant and holds a sharp edge as well. The Spitfire mounts best on waistbands or on front pockets of thicker pants or jeans. And just so you know they have style in mind, Buck lets you choose from three different colors: gray, green and orange. They’ve intentionally kept anything resembling red off the blade, thankfully.

Buck Spitfire Specs
Blade Length: 3.25 inches
Blade Material: 420HC stainless steel
Blade Type: plain edge or partially serrated, drop point, hollow grind
Handle Material: anodized aluminum
Weight: 3.2 ounces

Fallkniven FH9 Black Hawk

Fallkniven-Gear-Patrol

Best Edge-Keeping Knife: Fallkniven doesn’t mess around when it comes to their blades, and the FH9 Black Hawk folder follows that ethos. It’s a Barlow-style knife that uses Fallkniven’s own uniquely developed laminated cobalt steel for a razor-sharp edge and long edge retention. Combined with handsome black linen micarta and a curved, contrasting bolster, the FH9 also fits the gentleman’s aesthetic, sporting an old-world design and new-world materials. Never has cutting the crust off your sandwiches in the company lunchroom looked more distinguished.

Fallkniven FH9 Black Hawk Specs
Blade Length: 2.5 inches
Blade Material: laminated cobalt steel
Blade Type: plain edge, drop point, flat grind
Handle Material: Micarta
Weight: 2.9 ounces