I 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, for the most part, unavoidable, I have been searching for a slim, lightweight knife I could keep in my pocket on an everyday basis.
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 heard about the Baladeo 22g and 34g knives on Backpacking Light.
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.
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.