TRAVELING LIGHT
Knives Illustrated|March-April 2021
SOMETIMES, INEXPENSIVE UTILITY BLADES YOU PICK UP AT YOUR DESTINATION CAN GET THE JOB DONE
ABE ELIAS

If you are used to carrying an everyday carry (EDC) blade, whenever you are without one you feel half-dressed. Oftentimes, I will choose my EDC according to what I think my day will be like. If I am doing a lot of maintenance work or construction, I pick a multitool-style carry. Going outdoors, I’ll choose something suited to those tasks perhaps. If all I am looking for is a blade, the world is my oyster. I am a firm believer that there is a tool out there for every job. Therefore, what do you carry, say, if you are going to a tradeshow and opening a lot of boxes? Now add the fact you are flying to these tradeshows and you need something that TSA won't confiscate.

My company started sending me on the tradeshow circuit. Not wanting to be without an EDC, I started looking at utility blade-based EDCs. Surprisingly, there is more than one supplier of these, yet the market is not flooded with them. I grabbed some utility knife EDCs from four companies. These knives traveled with me to the shows and got a workout just as my EDC knife when I wasn’t traveling.

The models I chose were the Outdoor Edge SlideWinder, the Gerber Exchange-A-Blade (EAB) (EAB Lite), Gerber Prybrid, the GilTek Ruk, and the Big I Design Titanium Pocket Tool (TPT) (TPT Slide). For me, these tools fall into the categories of convenient and functional. So, no destruction tests or cutting trials. It was simply, do they work and are they easy to use. Anything else would be pretty much a bonus.

OUTDOOR EDGE’S SLIDEWINDER

(MSRP $14.95)

The sidewinder is available in three colors: orange, blue, and black. One scale of the knife is stainless steel while the other scale is textured glass-reinforced nylon. To open the SlideWinder, simply push forward on the slide, and the blade locks in place. To retract the blade, just press the button on the slide. To change the blade or take it out, you use the same button. It operates similarly to some of the regular utility knives, except it is compact. One of the main reasons why I decided to try this style was the fact it used utility blades.

When I fly, I can’t take a knife on the plane, and checking luggage is a pain and expensive. With this style of knife, I am able to remove the blade and take the knife in my carry-on bag, and when I reach my destination there are plenty of sources for these blades. I actually went to Walmart and bought a pack of five blades for 97 cents. At the end of every tradeshow, I took the blade out and stored it in the toolbox for the booth. There was nothing wrong with the quality of the blades for what I was using them for: I open catalog boxes and other cartons. I can tell you it felt good to be able to have an EDC, and the TSA said nothing most of the time.

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