REVIEWED BY CAPT. MIKE SCHOONVELD
Unless I’m flying on an airplane and subject to a TSA search, there will be a folding knife – a pocket knife – in my right hand pants pocket. Some people are wedded to their cell phone; I’m wedded to my pocket knife and have been since long before it became illegal to fly the friendly skies carrying a Barlow knife.
I’ve actually owned several Barlow-style knives, a folding knife which dates back to the 1700s. George Washington carried one. Why not? It fit almost all the criteria I deem important.
A pocket knife should be medium in size. A tiny penknife may fit the pocket more unobtrusively, but it’s going to be too small for many of the jobs I’ll ask it to perform. A big folding lock-back hunting knife will certainly fit in a pocket, but there’s a reason most come with a belt sheath. They are too big and may be oversized for delicate tasks.
A pocket knife should have a pointy tip. These are “jack of all trades” tool and depending on the task at hand, a dagger-like tip may be as important as a sharp blade.
The knife in my pocket right now is a Case Tribal Lock. I chose it because of the above criteria and others. First, you can’t beat the quality. Case knives date back to 1889 and there are knives they made over a century ago, still in every day use.
The CTL is a bit longer than other pocket knives I’ve used but it makes up for it by being thinner and less bulky since it’s a single blade model. I don’t notice it’s in my pocket unless I stick my hand in there to check for it.
On my boat, the 3 plus inch blade is more appropriate for most of the chores it’s called to do. An example is the time I managed to snap the blade off the filet knife I was using and finished filleting a 20-pound king salmon with the pocket knife.
The Tribal Lock is available in several handle types and colors. I chose the yellow synthetic handle for only one reason. It’s easily visible. Most of my past pocket knives became knives of the past because I used them, laid them down and walked away. Then they walked away (or were helped.)
I do like the fact the Tribal Lock has a blade that locks open. I like more the “unlocking” procedure is simple and easy. I’ve used non-locking folding knives hundreds of times with scant few incidents or close calls, but with a blade as sharp as this knife has, the locking feature is welcome.