American Outdoor Guide|Fall 2021

I reach into my pocket every day for a knife. Sometimes I need one to open a package, break down a box for recycling, cut a rope or slice off an annoying tag on a shirt.

But often, I need something more than a knife. I might have to open a can, saw some wood, pry a top or tighten a screw. If I’m away from home or too lazy to run to the toolbox in my garage, I do what every EDC enthusiast does: I look for a solution in what I’m carrying in my pockets.

I have several fine multitools, but I have to admit that I seldom carry them on my person. Sometimes they occupy some obscure pocket in a travel bag or pack. The reason is that so many truly useful tools are too bulky or heavy, especially when I have to take into account all of the other things I insist on carrying daily. And the so-called multitools that are light, flat and easy to carry usually offer little more than a small pry bar and a bottle opener. The UpKnife UPK-M2 is different. It’s a multitool with loads of useful tools in a flat, compact package that carries as easily as your favorite pocketknife.


The UpKnife UPK-M-2 is different from many multitools in that it’s not based on a folding pliers design. I love pliers on a multitool, but without them the UPK-M2 is able to be very thin—just 5/16-inch thick. This multitool features a knife blade sandwiched between to stainless steel handle panels. The blade makes use of out-the-front deployment by way of a bolt-action mechanism that you operate with your thumb that both opens the blade and locks it.

The blade is spring-loaded so pushing off the lock allows the knife blade to retract automatically. Opening the blade is purely a manual operation. It doesn’t spring open, but that’s fine with me. I can open it easily with one hand. The bolt-action mechanism provides three blade positions: closed, partially open and fully open, essentially giving you two different blade lengths for more versatility.

There are both right- and left-handed versions of the UPK-M2, so that operating the bolt-action opener with the thumb seems natural for whichever is your dominant hand. At the first bolt notch about an inch of the blade is exposed. The extreme end of the blade is formed into a bottle opener. It’s not sharpened, but the bottle opener was pointy enough that I tried it as a can opener. It wasn’t as easy to use for opening cans as the sharpened opener on a Swiss Army Knife, but in a pinch you could use this to get the job done.

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