General Purpose Tools

Myerchin Lightknife

Affordable highly-evolved pocketknife

Bring up the subject of favorite pocketknives with outdoorsmen and you’re sure to instigate a passionate discussion. Knives are potent symbols of power and utility; most men I know have deep paternal (or in my case, grandpaternal) associations with them from their youth. After 35 years of pocketknife buying and using, I have settled on California-based Myerchin as my folding knife maker of choice.

My daily driver is the Lightknife Crew Pro L377P. It uses a featherweight Zytel body (same material that’s used in many modern handguns) surrounding a securely locking Japanese 440 stainless blade and a marlinspike (knot untangler). The 3/4 serrated, 1/4 straight edge, 2.25-inch blade is designed to please anyone who works regularly with line. (On a sailboat, I insist that a serrated blade is a mandatory safety tool.) The body has a unique clip that turns your pocket into a secure sheath. Mine has never fallen in years of regular use. Inside the water-resistant shell is an industrial red LED that’s perfect for reading maps and charts without sacrificing your night vision. I’ve immersed my Lightknife many times without any problems. At 3.8-inches when closed and a mere 2.75 ounces, you won’t even notice it’s there, and the lack of an obvious sheath eliminates unwanted attention.

The small Sebenza knife reviewed in Cool Tools, like Reeve’s other folders, is a gorgeous piece, but they start at six times the price of a Myerchin. Imagine how you’d feel watching one of those go over overboard! The Boye sailing knives are getting rave reviews but to my eye lack the timeless aesthetics of Myerchins — particularly the B300. You simply must hold one of these Myerchins in your hand to appreciate the gravitas they generate — and they cost under US$100 and can be found in any West Marine store.

Need something more substantial? Check out their flagship, the B300 Offshore Folder. If they’re good enough for the US Navy and Coast Guard, they’re good enough for me.

-- David MacNeill 12/9/03

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