Best knives and multi-tools for your EDC from Civivi, Leatherman, Gerber, Kershaw, more

If you’re like me, then having a knife or multi-tool by your side is an absolute must whenever you leave the house. Personally, I carry both, but occasionally when I’m traveling lighter I’ll leave one behind. There are quite a few different models, options, and even price points when it comes to EDC (everyday carry) gear, and knowing where to start isn’t always easy. So let’s take a closer look at what I carry personally and recommend that you bring on your next outing.

Your next knife should have a D2 blade for easier sharpening and longer edge retention

When it comes to picking a pocket knife to carry with you every single day, you’ll want something that’s built to last, made from quality materials, and stays sharp for a long time. While there are many different blade materials, and some knives can cost hundreds of dollars, you don’t have to spend a small fortune to get a solid edge.

Personally, I’ve used knives from Kershaw, CKRT, Gerber, and others for many years, but recently came across Civivi. If you’ve not heard of them, that’s OK, as they’re not really in the spotlight often. However, they’re a very, very solid option if you’re wanting a higher-quality knife without spending hundreds. Daily, I carry a Civivi Elementum with a D2 blade, and it’s the best knife that I’ve ever owned. You can get various Elementum models (with different blades or handle materials), but the closest one to the model I carry is this Cuibourtia wood handle with blackened D2 blade.

The D2 steel used in the blade holds an edge for a long time, and is quite easy to sharpen once it starts to dull. The action on opening and closing is among the best I’ve ever used, and is extremely smooth and effortless, just like Civivi says. Every time I use it, I get compliments on the looks and feel of the knife. Plus, since many models are around $50, with the more exotic handles costing closer to $60 or more, the knife doesn’t break the bank. If you can only get one item from today’s list of the best knives and multi-tools, make it the Civivi Elementum.

Other pocket knife considerations

  • CRKT Squid: $16
  • CRKT Pilar: $26
  • Kershaw Blur: $70
  • Kershaw Kuro: $23
  • Spyderco Tenacious: $56
  • Gerber Paraframe Mini: $8
  • Gerber EAB: $16

Multi-tools should be able to tackle any task you come across

Knives are great and all, but they really only perform one thing well: cutting. What if you need pliers? Scissors? A screwdriver? Wire cutters? Something else? Well, that’s where multi-tools come in. Similar to knives, I’ve had a few of these myself but finally settled on a solid one that I’ve carried for over two years now: Leatherman Surge. Though on the more expensive side of multi-tools, it’s well worth the investment. I use this almost daily, thanks to its numerous features, and knowing that it’s all backed by a 25-year warranty gives additional peace of mind.

My most-used tools are the knife (it’s quicker to access than my Civivi sometimes), scissors, and screwdriver. Of course, you’ll also find pliers, a bottle opener, a serrated blade, wire strippers, a T-handle saw blade so you can swap it out, and more. Plus, if a tool ever breaks, you can just swap it out. Another cool thing with this multi-tool is the fact that you can slot this bit driver into the screwdriver slot and then use traditional 1/4-inch hex bits, which can then further be adapted to use small sockets… the options are endless.

The Leatherman Surge is truly the ultimate multi-tool and allows you to really handle any task that comes your way. Sure, it’s $130, but given that the tool will last decades when properly taken care of and likely be used every day, that’s a worthy investment. However, if you’re not quite ready to drop that kind of cash on a multi-tool, there are many other options to consider, which we outline a few of our favorites below.

Other multi-tool considerations

  • Gerber Sight: $77
  • Gerber MP400 Compact: $50
  • Gerber Suspension: $30
  • Leatherman Wave Plus: $100
  • Gerber Truss: $46
  • Gerber Dime: $21
  • Leatherman Sidekick: $60
  • Victorinox Swiss Army Tinker: $21
  • Victorinox Swiss Army Climber: $28
  • Victorinox Swiss Army Classic: $15

Your keys are part of your EDC, too, so why not put that keyring to use?

The final category we’re taking a look at today is keychain multi-tools and knives. These are much smaller and can’t do quite as much as the options above, but can come in real handy in tight situations. You will almost always have your keys on you, so a multi-tool or knife that lives on your keyring will also always be with you, even when traveling lighter.

The best option in this category is the Gerber Shard, which is an ultra-compact 7-in-1 multitool. You’ll find that it brings a small and medium flat-blade screwdriver, Philips head driver, wire stripper, pry bar, bottle opener, and hole for a lanyard or keyring all in one compact package.

These tools will be invaluable while out and about at some point, for sure. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used a Philips or flat-head screwdriver in random places you’d never think that a screwdriver would be useful. Plus, the built-in pry bar and wire stripper can come in handy if you find yourself stranded on the side of the road for any reason. At just $7, it’s something that you should have, no matter what other multi-tools or knives you keep in a standard EDC.

Other keychain EDC considerations

9to5Toys’ Take

There’s quite a lot when it comes to the EDC world, and we’re just scratching the surface. I not only carry the Leatherman Surge and Civivi Elementum when I leave the house, but also two different flashlights and a pen, among other things. We’ll take a deeper dive into other EDC categories later, but everyone should at the very least have a knife or multi-tool with them at all times. Which models do you keep on you? I’d love to know!

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