Folts Minimalist – High Quality, Compact Knife

Small enough to wear on lanyard and still highly functional

Recently I acquired two knives for my camping and survival “studies”. Where you buy them is your business, I purchased mine from Amazon, who for reasons having to do with Illinois law, will not get a link in this site.

CRKT “Folts Minimalist” Bowie

The CRKT “Minimalist Bowie” #2387, otherwise known by it’s designer’s name as “Folts Minimalist” is one of three neck knives designed by Alan Folts, is a small, fixed blade “neck knife” that shows how a small knife can be exceptional functional. I ordered the “Bowie” version, though there is a “Tanto” and a “Wharncliffe” available, also designed by Alan Folts. My first experience with a CRKT knife was when I acquired the “K.I.S.S” designed by Ed Halligan. That little gem serves as a money clip, but makes carrying a pocket knife easy due to it’s small, light design.

My pair of Folts Minimalist by CRKT after four years of camp service!

My pair of Folts Minimalist by CRKT after five years of camp service! Image Updated 9/2016

In regards to the “Minimalist” line, they are available via many different vendors for about $20.00 and come with a neck cord and a custom fitted, Zytel sheath that securely holds the knife. Total weight is about 2 ounces and it comes ready to work. Unlike a few knives, including the other knife in this review, it was very sharp, so be careful! Although the knife does come with what CRKT calls “paracord”, I suggest that their idea of paracord is different from mine. Therefore the first cut with this knife was to remove the shoelace looking cord and replace it with real mil-spec 550 paracord. I wrapped that paracord to get as much as I could around the sheath without bulking it up.

Folts Minimalist handling – feels secure In average-sized hand

My hands are medium sized for a man, but the way the full tang, wrapped in hand contoured Micarta handles, made it feel as if it belonged there. The three-fingered handle fit securely in my hand and that is important when it comes to safely using a knife. There is nothing worse than having a sharp blade you can’t grasp securely. If your favorite knife tends to slip out your hand, bare or gloved, dry, sweaty, oily or even bloodied from lets say fish or small game, you are likely to cut yourself at the most inopportune time. Not only can a cut while fishing, camping or hunting ruin one’s day, a cut from a sharp knife can be life-threatening. Infection from a wound or serious bleeding can reduce one’s chances of survival.

Lanyard hung neck knives as a secondary field knife

Although I have carried a Buck 110 “Hunter” as a daily pocket knife, I do not carry my CRKT or any other neck knife unless I am going camping. In order to reduce any potential conflict with local ordinances, you should find out what you can and cannot carry without explaining yourself. Since the nature of a neck knife lends itself to concealment, some law enforcement personnel will take a dim view of a small knife hidden under your shirt.

A neck knife you can sleep with!

On the other hand, I believe that when camping, if possible, carrying two knives is practical and sensible. Neck knives such as the Folts Minimalist lend themselves to being out of the way even though they are on your person. I’d sleep with this knife around my neck in the confines of my sleeping back where my belt knives, whether it by a vintage K-Bar, or one of my Buck belt knives, would be with my clothes. Not only does the sheath hold the knife securely, but it is so small, that unlike my Buck Pathfinder fixed blade or the Buck 110 Hunter, which is a folder, the CRKT Minimalist won’t annoy me or worse when I am in my sleeping bag. That means in an emergency, I know where to find a knife even in the dark of a tent while in my skivvies.

Cheapo “Survival” knife for my camp box

As I have been shopping for an appropriate knife for my camp box, a cheap, Chinese made “survival” blade has kept popping up on Amazon. The 11″ full tang survival knife with magnesium fire starter flint was acquired as a backup knife for my camp box. Although I pack a larger, magnesium fire starter and other knives, I believe that if anything is to be backed up, it is your knife! So this under $10 shipped knife was a no-brainer despite mixed reviews on Amazon.

Duller than river rock, crappy cord, but…

With anticipation I opened this knife first as the reviews are fairly average on this camping knife. Immediately I understand the one reason, but that conflicts with another. One of the biggest complaints is the cheesy sheath which many say cuts easily putting the knife in or pulling it out. Well for it to cut it has to be sharp and unlike the CRKT above, this knife is in no danger cutting anything out of the box. The edge is prepared for cutting, but is absolutely the dullest knife I have ever purchased. Also the cord was wrapped with what amounts to shoelace.

Fixing up the backup knife included removing the crappy cord used to wrap the handle and replace it with about 9 feet of paracord. The knife was re-wrapped before I sharpened it to reduce the chance of cutting myself. To wrap the handle back up, I suggest using a vice after wrapping the blade to protect the finish. I used two clamps and fixed the blad in a vertical position so I could see the knots on both sides as I wrapped the tang.

I also attached the flint to the sheath with a 10 inch piece of paracord and then tied that to the sheath. The sheath is kind of cheesy and the flint is likely to fall out in your camp box and will get lost if the knife is on your belt or fixed to your backpack. Finally I put a piece of duct tape over the outside to cover the lanyard on the magnesium flint so that IF it is carried, thee lanyard on the flint will not hook on brush etc. Note that I have replaced the silver duct tape for an OD version since the photograph.

The End Result: a useful multi-purpose camping/survival knife.

One very nice feature of the knife is that it is 11″ of solid stainless steel and there are three holes in the handle or tang. This lends the knife to be purposed as a spear for fishing or hunting, something you might have to do in a survival situation. Although I haven’t tried throwing this knife yet, I balances out well enough to suggest it would fly accurately. Having said that, rule “three of knife” says don’t throw your knife! That is especially the case if you only have one knife on you. There is nothing worse to seeing your one knife in the rump of a some small animal, disappear into the brush! Fixing your knife securely to a stick makes it a formidable hunting tool whether your target is small game or fish!

Items in this review were purchased