Baladeo 22g and 34g Ultralight Knives

Baladeo-1010203.jpgI love my Leatherman, and I would carry it in my pocket all the time if it didn't feel like a lead brick was trying to pants me every time I took a step. Given that gravity is, in most situations, unavoidable, I have been searching for a slim, lightweight knife I could keep in my pocket on an everyday basis. The 22g and 34g (their weight in grams) are minimalist folding knives. Like the previously reviewed lighter but still too-heavy Leatherman Skeletool, the Baladeos have skeletonized handles that leave just enough material to provide protection when the blade is closed. The blade itself has only a single edge so that it lays flat against the steel to prevent any accidental cuts when grabbing it in your pocket. The handle itself is designed with a surprisingly sturdy lock that I have found safe and easy to use. The only downside to the handle's design is that if you put too much pressure (read: significantly more than is required for most day-to-day activities) the lock can sometimes slip, causing the knife to unlock and shift which can be dangerous. It only happened once during my artificial tests, and when it did the blade stayed far away from my fingers.
Baladeo2.jpg Over the past year I picked up a Kershaw Vapor II that weighed 4.5-oz and a CRKT M16-10KZ 3-inch folding knife that weighed almost the same. Both were too bulky, and even at around 4.5-oz too heavy (not to mention I abhorred both locking mechanisms). After a while I started carrying around a disposable utility knife, but after nearly cutting myself for the third or fourth time I was ready to call it quits. That's why I was thrilled when I discovered the Baladeo 22g and 34g knives on Backpacking Light. Baladeo3.jpg While I wouldn't use this blade for serious carving or any job that required a ton of force, it has found a welcome home in my pocket. The slim design of both knives coupled with their minuscule weights (.77-oz and 1.2-oz respectively) means that I hardly know they're there. With that being said, I know there are those out there who would advocate for a similarly light-weight full-tang knife like the previously reviewed Bird & Trout Knife, but I find the hassle and extra bulk of a sheath to be less desirable. In the end, I have found that while both the 22g and 34g perform admirably, the 22g is the better investment. It is lighter, cheaper, and in almost every instance just as functional, all while taking up less space in my pocket. -- Oliver Hulland Baladeo 34g Knife 4.5-inch blade $32 Baladeo 22g Knife 3.5-inch blade $26 (temporarily OOS) Don't forget to comment over at Cool Tools. And remember to submit a tool!


  1. My wife got me a CRKT “Drifter” a couple of years ago. It’s super-light, holds an edge very well, and is super tough – I believe the scales are carbon fibre.

    Comes with a non- or half-serrated blade. (I would’ve preferred the version with the non-serrated blade, but a gift is a gift!) Being left-handed, I also appreciate the fact that it has an opening stud on both sides of the blade – far too many knifemakers don’t think of this simple addition. Oh yeah – even though it locks, you can still CLOSE it w. one hand, too – bonus!

  2. Huh…

    Yes, very lightweight, but after your description I stay with my Böker Titan I and II. Not quite as light, but slimmer, more smooth and I never had it any issues whatsoever with the lock.

  3. I have a CRKT M16 with a tanto type blade and love it. It works great when I sharpen the damn thing.

    1. I’ve wondered about tanto blades for years – if they really do work well vs. just a gimmick – thx for the input.

      Re: sharpening – we discovered these last year, and they totally kick ass.,43072

      You can EASILY sharpen virtually anything that has a blade with one – even some serrated stuff, if you’re careful. And they’re cheap like borscht! I have one in my shop, one in the truck, and one in the kitchen.

      1. I bought the tanto vs a traditional blade because 1) I have never had one, and 2) it looked cool.

        The tanto design supposedly has a stronger point than regular blade. This may be well and true, but I haven’t abused my knives to the point that would matter. But I could!

        Sharpening is just different, as there are 2 edges, and you can’t just do a curve on the stone like traditionally.

        The one thing I have found is that I use the front edge for most of the menial work (opening boxes, etc), keeping the longer edge for more something more important (cutting open clam shell packaging, etc).

        I have a 3 grade Arkansas sharpening stone I got from my Grandpa’s estate. It works well – I just need to do it more often. There are probably easier devices out there – but thus far it meets my needs.

  4. i prefer the gerber eab (version 2) folding pocket knife with the redesigned finger guard. it’s silver/metal too. it never needs sharpening because it uses a standard utility/box cutter blade from any hardware store that you can simply replace by loosening a single screw using a coin. it doubles as a money clip but i never use it for that. it easily fits in the small pocket of jeans and clips to any pocket conveniently because of its tiny dimension of jsut a few inches.

    unlike the knife above -which looks awesomely modern, you don’t have to worry about dulling or damaging the blade and very practical.

    i also have the skeletool. the clip is also great for keeping it in placei n hte pocket. the holster i have doubles as a belt clip and molle webbing for attaching it to survival packs.

    edc (everyday carry) equipment is awesome because it makes you think of the practicality of lightweight multipurpose tools.

    1. Yes, I have the EAB Lite, with Lenox Gold blades (titanium nitride edge). Scary sharp, and when it isn’t as sharp as I’d like, I just turn the blade around, or swap in a new blade. I do use a sharpening stone to take the bur off the top of the blade where they snap them off in manufacturing.

      I can sharpen a knife, but to get a good edge takes time, and I’m not great at it, spending $1-0.40 to not have to do that (100 pack or 5 pack) is well worth it.

      I have cut my self because I didn’t realize just how easily this would slice through things.

  5. Hate to risk giving up in my man card, but I’m wondering what people use knife so often that they carry it with them all the time? I love my knife, but besides opening packages (which a key can do) I can’t justify having it beside me all the time.

    1. I use my knife at least 3-4 times a day – every day. If you keep a knife properly sharpened, you can use it for everything from trimming a hangnail (for those who obsessively carry fingernail clippers with them – talk about useless pocket-clutter!) to popping open a beer at the pub to harvesting wild lupines while on a walk with one’s daughter – and literally just about everything in between. I don’t feel fully-dressed unless I have my knife clipped inside my front left pocket.

    2. What urbanhick said. Yes, it’s possible to open packages with keys and letters with fingers, but I prefer to do it a little more civilized. (I actually prefer packages and letters with strings, but I can’t control what people send.)

      Also, it’s an eating utensil. I avoid biting off stuff in public, even if it’s only a banana.

    3. What Urban and Peter said. No male in my family carries less than 3 knives on them at all times. And no, none of them are ninjas. And oddly rarely are they even lockbacks. A knife is just a tool, but a very useful one. I can’t count the number of times that someone has needed a knife and I reach into my shoe and get mine. I also keep a bamboo spork on me at all times too. That way I always have a non-plastic, clean biodegradable eating utensil.

    4. I had the exact same thought. The only people I know that carry locking knives like that are drug dealers and hoodlums (perhaps that’s because afaik those knives are illegal in Holland).
      Just looked it up on Wikipedia ( and blades up to 9cm (just over 3.5 inches) are legal.
      So the shorter one just might be legal, but still.. who needs to carry a knife all day every day?

    5. To all of those that do not or can not understand the need to carry a knife all day every day… Some folks have jobs that actually require the prepared employee to carry a knife. For instance, I work at a lumber yard, and we open cardboard boxes, cut nylon strapping, vent lumber-bags to prevent mold, etc. I’ve been using a Gerber knife since the early 80’s, however the idea of a lighter weight knife made of good steel is appealing to me. At Christmas time, if my son or nephews do not have a knife on them to assist the opening of gifts for young children or grandparents, they get the poo-poo face from me for not being prepared. What I find inconceivable is that some men actually leave the house without an assortment of accoutrement to survive their day.

  6. Can you do section on users “oldest” tools, ones they’ve had and used for years without a failure?

    Years ago I bought a very expensive level, my testosterone was to blame. I attempted to build a deck and messed up terribly, the damn thing ended up arthritic and crooked. But, I never once questioned the exactness of the level until, uh, my wife used it to level a flower box and figured it out immediately, she trusted her eye and retrieved my grandfathers antique level he used to build the Al-Can highway. Its the only level we use in my home and on outdoor projects. Its worth a pretty penny now, along with his plane, but I would never sell them.

    1. I love the idea of “oldest” tools. I just got a submission reviewing an older heat gun that sounds amazing but is no longer produced (but can, luckily, still be found on eBay). We are always looking for good contests, and I think “oldest” tools sounds like a great one.

      — oliver h, editor, cool tools

    2. Great idea to do “oldest tools.” Beyond appreciating the durability and craft, the personality worn into well-used tools makes for great photography.

  7. how many knives do you need!? and beyond that, why do you need one in your pocket at all times? for personal protection or day to day macguyver shit?

    1. day to day macgyver shit. I may not use the blade everyday (but it sure seems like I do) but I know I’ll use/need some part of my swiss army tinker knife on a daily basis.

  8. That carbide sharpener looks like it might remove too much metal while sharpening to use on my kitchen knives.

    1. I’ve used stones on all of my kitchen blades for years – domestic and imports – and probably always will. But I’m telling you, this cheapy sharpener is amazing for a quick touchup before carving, etc. If you keep your blades sharp, you don’t need a heavy hand at all – in fact, a too-heavy hand doesn’t work as well as light strokes. It probably doesn’t remove any more metal than a good sharpening steel would, and it’s way less hassle than getting out the stones!

  9. Columbia River Knive Traders (CRKT) have always made solid knives.

    I have had my CRKT K.I.S.S. knife for over 10 years, 3 years of which it served as my work knife aboard an offshore drill rig. Removing a single bolt allows you to clean the entire thing, and even after 10 years, it still opens like the day I bought it.

  10. It’s not legal to carry a knife in the UK “without good reason”, and I doubt opening beer and/or parcels is going to count.

    1. Pidg, you can carry a knife, so long as the blade is less than 3 inches in length and folds into the handle, and does not lock. This is often referred to as the pen knife exemption and means that the swiss army knife I carry is perfectly legal. You just need to be very careful to make sure that its not one that locks…

  11. I like my CRKT Hole-in-One for a minimalist folder. At 3.8 ounces, it’s light enough for everyday carry, and I like the side-flip opening. I don’t use the carabiner-style carry on a beltloop, I don’t always have beltloops, and some people get weirded out when they see a knife, so I just put it in my pocket. I use it to open boxes, my mail, cut plastic wrap on cartons in the kitchen, and it has a bottle opener for the occasional bottle of hard cider. And I’ve never had the lock fail on me, though I haven’t subjected it to heavy stress. I will sometimes carry a Leatherman or other multi-tool in my purse, but the knife is always in my pocket.

  12. I know some people think that carrying a knife all the time is weird and not necessary. I would invite those people to carry a knife for a week and see how useful it can be. I didn’t realize how much I used the one I carry until I forgot it one day. My mom carries one in her purse and I know she gets a lot of use out of hers, so it isn’t so much a difference of lifestyles. I think anyone can benefit by keeping this simplest of tools with them.

  13. For a light weight lockback, you might want to consider the A.G. Russell Titanium folders. There are 3 sizes, of which, the larger 2 have locking blades.

    Ultimate Pen Knife (non-locking) (RUS-P3TIB); 1.5″ VG-10 blade, 2″ closed, 0.2 oz.
    Titanium 2.5 Lockback Folder (RUS-P6TI); 1-7/8″ VG-10 blade, 2.5″ closed, 0.5 oz.
    Titanium 3.0 Lockback Folder (RUS-P73TI); 2.5″ VG-10 blade, 3.0″ closed, 0.9 oz.

    Prices from $19.95-$34.95 depending on size.
    The are the top 3 items on this search:

    A.G Russell is a great company to deal with, and Mr. Russell has designed some absolutely gorgeous knives. I have bought from them several times over the years. I’m not affiliated, just a happy customer.


    Spyderco Endura 4 Lightweight Combination Edge Knife

    Spyderco Endura. FRN handle makes it very light and give the knife great balance. A flick of the wrist can open it. I like the older riveted models as opposed to the newer “screw” based ones. Very light in the pocket, and large when it needs to be. The combo blade allows for fine cutting, and hacking if need be.

    I’ve carried the same one for over a decade. It would cut through bailing straps on bundles of pipe, and when sharp, will shave your arm.

    The make a slightly smaller one called the delica, if the size worries you.

  15. My lightweight EDC knife is a Spyderco Ladybug Salt. I keep it in the coin pocket of my jeans. It gets used nearly every day.

  16. I carry the smallest (3.44 “), lightest (.5 oz (16gr)), coolest little sharp I’ve ever seen, the Micron Tanto.

    It’s so small I’ve had to put a tether on it Like a small camera wrist strap, just to keep it accessible. I worry about giving it away with my pocket change sometimes…

    1. That’s definitely the coolest one anyone’s mentioned so far, although the design of the Baladeo one is nicer aesthetically (the SOG in the handle of the one you link to is pretty obnoxious).

      I have one of similar design as those being mentioned here; I bought it because I saw it in a store and thought it was cool (and not like typical knives – I’m definitely not a knife person and people look at you funny if you openly carry around knives) and carried it around for a while.

      I didn’t like keeping it in my pocket because I didn’t use it frequently enough, and I would play with it in my pocket (the opening, locking, and closing are satisfying…) and cut some holes in my pants. So I went to keeping it in the computer bag I usually had with me at the time. It was useful occasionally, but it eventually got put on my desk at home and relegated to opening mail.

      Frankly I think one of the really small Swiss Army knives are more useful as something you carry around all the time. Smaller than most designs people have linked to, and they have a screw driver, scissors, filing board, and tweezers in addition to the knife (which is quite sharp, but does need fairly frequent sharpening). Also the cheapest at around $10, and they come in many colors. They don’t lock which I agree is a problem.

      I never ever lose things, but somehow I’ve lost three of those swiss army knives, so I don’t carry anything around at all anymore.

      I have a small leatherman for when I’m going somewhere or doing something where I think I’ll need a tool. Normally I just leave it in the glovebox of my car. Otherwise just not that important to have with me at all times.

  17. I bought a few pocket knives a while back. I’m a big fan of the one-hand-opening lock-blade variety, with a built-in belt clip.

    I’ve had this Kershaw 2420 TST for a while now. The body is cast aluminum, with a steel squared serrated blade. It cuts through cat5, plastic, coax, tape, cardboard — you name it. I do tech work, and it is more useful than any other tool. I have not needed any other knife since.

    (Also, the body somewhat looks like a warp nacelle from a Star Trek space ship, an added nerdly bonus.)

  18. I will never buy a knife from a company that doesn’t tell you straightaway what kind of steel they’ve used–this is the most basic and essential of all information!

  19. I keep a Leatherman Blast in my back pocket. I use it several times a day, particularly the pliers and screwdrivers- saves me lots of trips to the toolbox. The only time I don’t have it with me is when I have to fly somewhere.

  20. I’ve been carrying a Ken Onion Ripple by CRKT for the past few months. Handy, opens fast, light weight. It’s replacing an old Buck Pilot.

    This thing is light, thin, and way stylish. But I’m not sure how I like the serrated edge. I don’t seem to be using it that often. Maybe I should go for a straight edge for my pocket knife and a serrated in my bag. Thoughts?

  21. I carry one of these: and I use it at least a dozen times a day. I’m a production woodworker…guitars…and I use the knife for all sorts of tasks from opening boxes to cutting precision lengths of tape to cutting out decals from sheets to trimming off bits of wood here and there, even some splinter removal. It is utterly ridiculous that a knife like this is illegal in some areas…plenty of folks carry much larger knives that open just as fast via thumb nub.

  22. I own 2 Gerbers and they never let me down.

    The first is similar to the knife in the post , and I keep on my keyring. Light, agile, sharp but it has an excellent lock.
    Couldn’t find a link on the Gerber site, not sure if its been discontinued.

    The second is my take everywhere, it got me started using money clips, it’s the Gerber Ridge Framelock AUS-6 Pocket Knife Money Clip

    If you always take your money with you, you always have a knife, and a good one, made out of quality steel too. Single hand opening, great balance, quality blade with minimal serrated edge.
    Time to sharpen mine. It gets used daily.

  23. Oldest…? Swiss Army knives of one flavor or another have been in my pocket since college (1962), but — never had a use for the larger blades. Bottle opener, yes. Can opener, yes. Awl, yes, to punch extra holes in my belt (tightening, not loosening; those were slim days). Screwdriver, toothpick, roach holder… yes, yes, yes. The smallest blade was a good box opener, but it would collect gunk from the box tape.

  24. Every Baladeo knife I’ve ever held feels cheap, wobbly and far too light. I bought one and returned it almost immediately. In contrast, even low-budget offerings from SOG seem to be very well-built and durable. Baladeo knives are pretty to look at, but they don’t inspire a lot of confidence utility-wise.

  25. It’s so awesome that people at boingboing are so opinionated about this subject.

    For my money, the best knife I’ve ever bought is the SOG: Twitch 1.

    It seriously never leaves my side. Ever.

  26. The simple answer to all the ‘who needs a knife all day every day’ questions – I can’t see the future, If you’ll let me know when I’m going to need it, I’ll just pick one up then. Otherwise, I’d rather it be in my pocket than have to go find it, esp. since I’m constantly on the move.

  27. Second the Gerber eab; I work in inventory control, and this or something similar is practically a badge of office. Also love the Olfa touchknife, but they’re so small, and they have no clip, so I tend to lose them.

  28. That review was going great, until the part where it locks :(

    I don’t want to go to jail, which is why my Leatherman lives at home instead of in my camera bag where it would be a lot more useful.

    I believe that Spyderco made a ‘for pussies’ knife specifically for the UK, but I still miss my Leatherman :(

  29. The Locking mechanism constantly fails both with moderate pressure on the grip AND with moderate pressure on the blade. I would not recommend the 34g model that I decided to buy and try out.

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