Our friends over at EDC Depot got a hold of CRKT’s new Folts Minimalist. They sent a demo unit out to Woods Monkey so we’d have a chance to play around with it and report back on our impressions. Jump in and check out why the name “Minimalist” is the absolutely correct appellation for this great little blade!
If I were to confront one of my addictions in public, the conversation would go something like this…
“Hi, my name is Garrett.”
“Hi, Garrett” swells up from the crowd.
“I’m a chopper-holic,” I would say while nervously tugging at my collar. “It all started pretty innocently at first. I picked up a Becker Campanion and was intrigued by its shape and weight. Then, I picked up a Becker Machaxe, and what a rush! Things kept spiralling as I got a Cold Steel LTC Kukri, and then made my first high dollar purchase of a Busse Battle Mistress “E”. After that I couldn’t get enough steel. My addiction got out of control to the point where the only knives I would pick up had to have at least a 6 inch blade or longer. I’m glad to say that I’ve had it under control now for 213 days (audience applauds), but I still have to be conscious on a day to day basis of the choices I make when I pick up a piece of steel to hit the woods. Thanks for letting me listening to your stories and for listening to me. Wish me luck. Thank you.”
Yes, it’s a little satirical, but mostly true. I’ve been a fan of big knives for a long time and even now, I won’t go out into the woods without a large blade at my side. Such is the way of life and personal proclivities. But, I am rational enough to realize that large knives aren’t the best choice for doing smaller and finer tasks. So, I’ve really come to appreciate a lot of smaller blades for the mundane every tasks that don’t involve hacking, chopping, or just posing for the camera. Even with that solid appreciation, I’ve still stayed mainly with knives that that have a substantial build quality and at least a 2.5 inch to 4 inch blade for the small stuff. Well, you can imagine the perplexed look that I’m sure passed across my face when I pulled the CRKT Folts Minimalist out of its box not too long ago. Our friend Scott at EDC Depot sent it out to us to have a look at it, use it and post our thoughts about it online. With a blade that’s only .10 inches thick and 2 inches long, this has to be just about the smallest and lightest fixed blade knife I’ve ever had occasion to use.
I’m sure I couldn’t help having a sneer on my face as I first looked at it and turned it over in my hand–being the gear snob and chopper-holic that I am. But, the longer I studied it and hefted it, the more intrigued I became. My immediate thought was that it seemed more the size and weight of a scalpel than a knife. It has somewhat of a Wharncliffe style blade that’s made of 5Cr15MOV steel, and it came out of the box fairly sharp. Thought it wasn’t razor sharp or shaving sharp, it was easy enough to bring it to that point with my trusty Sharpmaker. It’s tough to complain about the edge treatment of a knife that goes for less than $20.00 on the street. The Minimalist has several features that quickly engender you to its overall appeal. It’s very lightweight, has a good ergonomic profile, and is quit unobtrusive in your every day life. It’s there when you need it, but it’s not in the way.
Many moons ago, I really got into the concept of neck knives and have quite a few of them in my stable. However, I’ve really stretched the boundaries as to what I call kneck knives. I’ve carried the Camillus version of Rob Simonich’s Talon in 154CM as a kneck knife. I’ve also done the same with Blind Horse Knives’ Work Horse and their Patch Knife and with BKT’s BK11. The Work House and the Talon are about the largest and heaviest I can carry comfortably around the neck, and most people wouldn’t even go that far. It wasn’t until I started wearing the Folts Minimalist that I began to fully appreciate the benefits of such a small and lightweight blade. Most of the other knives I’ve used for neck carry should probably have been on my belt instead. Even though I had no problems with carrying the weight in a neck sheath, the knives still had enough mass to bounce around and swing back and forth quite freely. That did get a little aggravating at times, but I felt the trade-off was worth it. But, then I got to thinking about it a little bit and started mulling over some different ideas.
I don’t know about you, but probably 90% of the stuff I do in the woods or in camp can be done with a knife that has a blade of about 4 inches or shorter. Whether it’s carving, cooking, building a shelter, working with fishing or trapping gear, you can get by most of the time with a shorter knife. The big choppers are really only going to come in handy when you’re cutting down small trees to build a shelter or for clearing a trail sometimes. Other than that, it’s more of a security blanket than anything. But, I am very much like Linus in that regard, so I won’t be giving that security blanket up any time soon. Of that 90% of tasks that can be done with a knife with a shorter blade, I’d guess that around 40-50% of those could be done with a knife like the Minimalist. Think about it. What kinds of things are you doing on the trail or in camp? You’re cutting open food packages, paracord, doing small carving tasks, taking out splinter or thorns, maybe using it for first aid purposes, and all your other mundane, unexciting chores. The Minimalist is perfect for those kinds of tasks.
First, the Mininalist comes with a very sturdy and very secure Kydex sheath. The sheath is not overdone or bulky. Just like the knife, there’s just enough material to get the job done, which contributes to the lesser weight of the overall package. Second, the short, sharp blade is thin enough for precise work without having to fumble around with a larger knife than is necessary for the job. The handle is appointed with green/black micarta scales and it sports a small braided lanyard or “fob” as they like to call it. Finally, even though the handle is quite short as well (3 inches), it has very deep finger grooves that allow a very strong purchase on the small cutter. In fact, the handle is so well designed, once your fingers slide into place, they are naturally locked into their position for immediate use. It’s a smart design that uses a bare minimum of materials and parts, but still provides excellent utility to get done what needs gettin’ done.
Including the weight of the sheath, the Minimalist tips the scales at 1.6 ounces. That is significantly lighter than any other knife I’ve used in the neck-carry mode. While I’m not one of those ultra-light fanatics, ounces do add up into pounds, and pounds really matter when it comes time to having a fun adventure outdoors. I’ve used the Minimalist now for close to a month. Without even thinking of “using it for the review”, I’ve found myself reaching for it more often when I’m heading out than some of the others I’ve used in the past. It’s very comfortable to wear for extended periods, and it does everything that I could expect a “neck-knife” to do on a daily basis. For the money, I’m very impressed with the design of both the knife and the sheath. The sheath is set up just right so rather than yanking the knife from the sheath and causing stress on your kneck, you can use your thumb to push against the sheath to pop it free from its locked position. Virtually all of the handle is exposed and not covered by the sheath, so when you reach for it and pop it free, you’ve already got a firm grip on the handle. There’s no shifting or re-positioning to get it ready to go. It’s good to go the second it comes out of the sheath. Yes, these are little things, but little things make all the difference in the world.
I’ve purposely put mainly beauty shots in this article and not a bunch of user shots to show you what the Minimalist is capable of doing. In all honesty, it would be tough for me to impress you with how well the Minimalist cuts a piece of paracord or zips open a dehyrdated food pouch. That’s what it’s supposed to do. If you want me to talk about pounding the Minimalist into the side of a tree with a rock to make a step for me to scale the tree, well, that’s not going to happen. You have to put things in context and you have to be realistic with expectations when you consider a knife’s overall design intentions and its cost to the consumer. EDC Depot sells the CRKT Folts Minmalist for $18.99. For that, you get a sharp, well-made knife with a strong ergonomic design and a sturdy sheath that all comes together in a lightweight package that is always ready to tackle most of your daily chores. What more can you expect? It’s a great value, and it’s a terrific way to cut down the weight you’re carrying every day without giving up performance. In my case, I used to carry a neck knife that was about the same size as the “utility knife” I carried on my belt (not the chopper). It was kind of redundant and inefficient to operate that way. So, now, I can put my Blind Horse Knives Work Horse (which I truly love) on my belt as a general utility knife, and lighten my neck load with the Folts Minimalist.
Before we conclude this review, I would like to point out something to you that I believe is important. Most of the time, we get products from the manufacturers for reviews. In fact, CRKT is a great company to work with, and they don’t hesitate to provide demo products for writers and reviewers to test and evaluate. However, the CRKT Folts Minimalist for this review wasn’t provided by CRKT. It was provided by EDC Depot which is a retailer. This is quite unusual as most retailers don’t provide products to review. The reason is that they are not responsible for the design of a product, and most importantly, they realize that you can shop their prices anywhere else on the net. However, Marc and his crew over at EDC Depot specialize in items that are used for Every Day Carry. They don’t just throw up any kind of product they find to sell. They sift through the product offerings on the market and pick the ones they believe will work well in an EDC capacity and that provide strong value. Even knowing they could be shopped on price, they still provide items like the Folts Minimalist for review. I think that speaks volumes about their commitment to providing high-value products in a specialized niche of the outdoors industry.
If you think the Minimalist would meet your needs (and I strongly suggest you consider it), I’d like to point you to the EDC Depot to make your purchase. They provided the product to allows us to do the review and relay the information to you. It would be nice to return the favor and make your acquisition through them. While you’re at their site, you also just might find something else that strikes your fancy. Because, if you like the Folts Minimalist, then you’re sure to like some of the other products they carry as well.
CRKT has long been known for providing high-value products that are within the budgets of most people. Even so, they don’t sacrifice on design, functionality, aesthetics, or innovation. The Folts Minimalist is a testament to that tradition. It’s a handy little knife that will be with you all the time without you thinking about it, and it’s at a price where you could actually get several of them to sprinkle amongst your various kits and storage places. That way, no matter where you go or what kit/pack you have with you, you’ll rest assured in the knowledge that you’ve got a versatile blade close at hand.