Top 5 | Best EDC
EDC encompasses a wide range of gear in all shapes and sizes. And while our top 5 finalists serve a range of different purposes, they all stand out for their deft blend of functionality, attractive styling, and durability that will handle everyday use with ease. But which of our finalists elevates the category as a whole? A worthy addition to daily carry setups and a truly worthy winner? Vote for your top contender…
Tactile Knife Co. Rockwall Thumbstud
Tactile Knife Co., helmed by Will Hodges, continues its meteoric rise after being launched during the pandemic. It should be clear from the shared name, but the new knife company shares not just the name but also the design DNA and experience from Tactile Turn, the pen company that launched the small Texas company into EDC fame.
Tactile Knife Co was created to build knives that Hodges and his employees wanted to carry. Practical and useful EDC items that work well in a variety of conditions. Acutely aware of the difficulties of launching a new knife design, not to mention a new company, during these times, Tactile Knife took the interesting approach of small batch production, starting with the Rockwall Flipper. Next came their first slip joint, the Bexar, before returning with this latest iteration – a thumbstud version of the Rockwall.
As the name implies, the Rockwall Thumbstud trades in the front flipper mechanism of the original for an ambidextrous thumbstud opening. The thumb studs themselves measure about 3.85mm, which means they sit just flush under the handles. To aid with deployment, the team added a chamfer between the finger guard. In practice, this means never having to worry about the stud catching or snagging on pants pockets or EDC pouches during carry, but a little practice and muscle memory are required to catch it at just the right angle and direction for opening.
Under the hood, Tactile went with caged bearings for the Thumbstud, which means a lot less frustration and lost bearings when doing teardowns for maintenance. Lastly, this iteration is available in three steels: XHP, 20CV, and CPM MagnaCut while the flipper version continues to be offered in the first two options. While there are some notable differences, the Thumbstud keeps true to its Rockwall heritage, sharing the same blade length of 2.84 inches and a drop point blade that’s heavily ground thin behind the edge of maximum slicey-ness. It has a closed length of a tidy 4 inches and weighs just 2.5 oz, which means it’s a truly compact carry.
With all this said, how does the Rockwall Thumbstud operate as an EDC knife? In one word: excellent. As mentioned, it’s small and compact, so there isn’t much consideration when deciding whether to take it on an outing. It’s thin, with an elegantly thin blade to match; it might be mistaken for a gentleman’s folder, despite not being a slip joint. The attention to detail found in high-end design is there – signature Tactile grooves, pivot and frame screws that blend into the background, and a pocket clip that doubles as a backspacer. It deploys quickly, whether flipped or rolled, and slices smoothly and with confidence. Some have named this a knife of the year and it’s not hard to see why.
An elegant and compact piece for daily carry
Available in three steel choices
Caged bearings for easier maintenance
By now you’ve probably heard the Leatherman story. It started in 1975 when the founder, Tim Leatherman, and his wife were vacationing in Europe for their honeymoon. Stranded on the side of the road, with a broken Fiat, Tim knew there was a need for a pliers-based multitool. And, as they say, the rest is history.
Now, some 46 years later, the company introduced the Curl, which draws a lot of inspiration from the Wave+, one of its bestselling models. With a focus on affordability to target first-time users, the Curl manages to pack in some of the company’s most iconic features.
Like its other multi-tools, the new Curl features combination pliers, a knife blade that’s accessible when the tool is closed, and also tools that are inside-accessible. But where it differs is the Curl only has outside-accessible tools on one side. The reverse side is plain, with an included pocket clip.
Having used the tool, I can confidently say you are not missing anything. The Curl has 15 tools and functions including the aforementioned pliers and knife, as well as scissors, large bit driver, diamond-coated file, can opener, and more. The blade measures 2.9” and the whole tool has a closed length of a very pocketable 4 inches. It weighs 7.5 oz. It comes with a black nylon sheath but if you are inclined, you can clip it to your belt or pocket with the removable pocket clip, which is optional on the Wave+.
The Curl was designed to be an attractive entry-level multi-tool. At $89.95, Leatherman hit the price target but it turns out the tool is much more capable, punching above its price point and destined to be a buy-it-for-life item worthy of any toolbox or glove compartment.
Versatile piece with 15 tools and functions
Dependable quality at an affordable price point
Great option for first-time users that covers most EDC and daily DIY needs
Includes removable pocket clip and nylon sheath
Terrain 365 Invictus-ATC
Terrain 365 is perhaps a company many haven’t heard of. Developed jointly by Michael Vagnino and Patrick Ma in 2018, the company focuses on high performance, technical tools and accessories, targeting rigorous wilderness use and EDC. Unique among many knifemakers, Terrain 365 actually developed their own proprietary super-alloy, which they named Terravantium. It is high performance, low maintenance, and is impervious to corrosion, oxidation, staining, and pitting; all of this makes it an ideal steel for outdoor use.
The Invictus-ATC is the latest collaboration between Terrain 365 and Prometheus Design Werx (PDW). Naturally, it features the company’s Terravantium blade, measuring 3.00” with a thickness of 0.138”. This is paired with OD Green G10 handles on the presentation side, a titanium framelock on the opposite, as well as titanium hardware and pivot. The pivot bearings are ceramic with ball-bearing cages for easy maintenance. The choice of materials outlined here all add up to a non-magnetic and rustproof folder.
Additional features that make this knife special include a full backspacer with jimping for a steady grip, a low-ride pocket clip for minimal exposure, and attractive and handy GITD thumbstuds.
While the ATC might be the compact version of the AT, it is still larger than most small folders. The blade thickness and overall weight give a sense of reliability and sturdiness. The action is smooth and steady, allowing the user to roll open slow and steady, or rapidly deploy with a flick of the thumb and wrist. The Terrain 365 Invictus-ATC is plenty capable in an urban environment but will shine if given the chance off-road.
Useful in both everyday and outdoor settings
High performance, low-maintenance build
Low-ride pocket clip for discreet and easy carry
Bellroy Apex Slim Sleeve
Bellroy, the Australian carry company founded by industry vets, started with a humble wallet, over ten years ago. A decade and numerous accolades and SKUs later, the company is still producing world-class pocket carry. The Slim Sleeve has long been a staple for the company. In their quest to convince the world to steer clear of the “Costanza”, the Slim Sleeve might be one of their most aggressive wallets yet. The stock design measures just 95mm x 80mm and can carry 4 to 8 cards. It manages its slim silhouette by taking in folded bills; meaning less cash carry, which is fine in an increasingly credit and digital world.
One principle that has held true since its founding is innovation. Bellroy is a Certified B Corp and works hard to reduce waste, give back to the community, and support worker rights and conditions. A few years ago, they launched the Apex line, which you can think of as a special division developing skunkworks projects. Naturally, the Slim Sleeve went under the microscope and what came out is the future realized while giving a nod to the original design. Like its predecessor, the Apex Slim is narrow and tall, measuring 105mm x 77mm; meaning it’s slightly narrower but also slightly taller. This extra height is welcome and needed because of the construction method; plus it allows for easier bill storage.
To keep the wallet as thin as possible, the team at Bellroy joined the layers of leather together with heat bonding, rather than stitching. They also pre-molded the leather to produce a shape ready to hold your contents (6-8 cards and folded bills), without having to break in or stretch the wallet over time. Lastly, they added small, hidden magnets, which keep your stuff secure but easily accessible. The Apex Slim Sleeve is available in three colorways (Pepper Blue, Onyx, and Indigo) and is truly a next-level addition to your carry.
Slim design keeps pocket bulk to a minimum
Precise, technical construction
Convenient magnetic closure
Sleek style suits work and play
GiantMouse ACE Riv Titanium
If you haven’t heard of GiantMouse, here’s a little refresher. It’s the brainchild of Danish designers/knifemakers Jens Ansø and Jesper Voxnaes, along with American businessman Jim Wirth. It’s an American knife company that focuses on high production quality, along with a fair price, while maintaining a close relationship with its community of customers.
A few years ago, GiantMouse launched the ACE Riv. One fun aspect of the company is they always name their products after landmarks or sites that hold a special place in the hearts of the founders. In this case, the ACE is named after the ACE Hotel in Portland, and “The Riv” is a historic dive bar in East Lansing that Jim Wirth frequented while he attended Michigan State.
The ACE Riv can be thought of as a mini Biblio but it’s actually a model that started from the ground up. It’s a compact knife, with a blade measuring 2.44” and an overall length of 5.75”. Speaking of the blade, we’re looking at Elmax steel with a satin finish. Pair that with a brass backspacer, ball bearings, titanium frame lock, and of course titanium handles and you have one capable compact folder that can handle most daily cutting jobs.
The standout features after some use are how easy and reliable the flipper tab deployment is, how easy it is to get a good purchase on the handle (especially if you utilize the choil), and of course, how well it cuts; the blade is both slicey while thick enough (3mm) to handle tougher tasks.
Convenient, dependable deployment
Secure, comfortable grip
Clean, compact and lightweight design
VOTING CLOSES 28TH FEBRUARY