Knives have many uses in daily life, and nowhere more so than when camping. Knives can be used cut back plants around camp, create kindling, make the meal, or even just pass the time by throwing it or whittling. Knives also have a sensory appeal – the look, heft, and feel of a good knife gives confidence in one’s tool. Having Opinel as a partner for UintasHike16 was exciting, due to their reputation and their recent foray into outdoor knives.
The original Opinel knife was invented by Joseph Opinel in 1890, in Savoie. The original impetus was to find a tool that could be created using new, modern techniques, rather than hand-building each one. Another innovation was building handles of different sizes, more comfortably fitting different hand sizes.
Rather than one of the new outdoors knives, however, we received the Number 08 Stainless Steel Knife, a classic in their line of cutting tools. Beech, the most commonly used wood for Opinel handles, is also the choice here. The Yatagan shape of the blade is inspired by a traditional Turkish saber, with the tip up. Made of stainless steel, the Virobloc safety ring allows the user to lock the blade open as well as closed.
The Opinel Number 8 fits comfortably in my hand and is probably my favorite size (I got the opportunity to see more knives at the Outdoor Retailer Show post-hike). It took some time, but I finally figured out the Virobloc safety ring, immediately improving my assessment of the knife. If the ring is not turned to its proper place, the blade retains a slight wiggle, most unnerving. With that issue solved, it becomes clear why these knives are used and prized worldwide. The feel in the hand is very comfortable, and the blade comes out of the packaging razor-sharp and ready to work.
Opinel produces beautiful pocket knives, but also has moved into garden implements as well as kitchen tools. Their lasting design, quality workmanship, and top-notch performance make them worth seeking out.
*This knife was provided for editorial purposes – all opinions are my own.