Editor’s Note: This article was intended to be much shorter, but as I started writing it kept growing and growing. As a result it is coming out a bit later than normal, but there is a ton of information here. Enjoy.
I have been wanting to do this article for a while, but I haven’t had the right conceptual framework to do it. Every summer I do a pairing of a knife and light for each of four price ranges. I have done this for years, on AllOutdoor, then Gear Junkie, and now here. The idea is to give a recommendation for a pairing that can be the foundation of a great EDC in ranges that cover whatever people want to spend. But over the years, prices have…and stop me if you have heard this…crept up.
But another thing happened in the market that is really interesting. We have had really strong currents pushing the creation of two kinds of knives we didn’t really have before—good knives that are exceptionally cheap, like under $30, and kilobuck production knives. Sure, it was possible to find these kinds of knives before (the San Ren Mu 605 and Rockstead stuff respectively). But now with overseas production really covering the market, the variety of knives in every price range has exploded. You can easily spend $1,000 or more on five dozen different production knives from Custom Knife Factory, Rockstead, and Lionsteel.