Gear up with these 5 amazing tools suggested by Tim Setzer

 1. CRKT M16 Deadbolt Series

Although some of our readers are probably too young to remember this, Kit Carson really kicked off the flipper trend when he released his original M16 folder back in 1999. While Kit passed away in 2014, his legacy lives on with his many remarkable designs that are still being carried by cops, soldiers, and sportsmen today. For 2022, CRKT is freshening up the M16 series while still keeping the design true to Kit’s style and vision.

The most obvious outward change was the switch from a liner lock to Flavio Ikoma’s Deadbolt locking mechanism. It’s a very strong and very simple lock that allows you to disengage without putting your fingers in the blade’s path. When you go to flip it open, you’ll find that it snaps out thanks to a combination of Ken Onion’s assisted opening technology and the IKBS ball bearing pivot developed, once again, by Flavio Ikoma.

Blade shapes and handle design remain true to Kit’s original designs but use D2 steel blades and aluminum handles over steel liners. A reversible deep carry pocket clip is set up for tip up carry. The Deadbolt series consist of three knives: the 3.12-inch tanto-bladed M16-02DB, the 3.58-inch spear point M16-03DB, and the 3.89-inch tanto M16-04DB.

Specs: CRKT M16-04DB 

  • Style: Assisted folding knife w/deadbolt lock
  • Blade Length: 3.89 inches
  • Edge: Plain
  • Steel: D2
  • Finish: Stonewash
  • Thickness: 0.14 inch
  • Closed: 5.34 inches
  • Open: 9.31 inches
  • Weight: 6.8 ounces
  • Handle: Aluminum
  • HRC: 58-60
  • MSRP: $120 to $140 depending on model
  • Website: 

2. Fallkniven FDD and FDC Folding Sharpeners

Most of us know Fallkniven for its excellent fixed and folding field knives. What you may not know is that the company also has a full line of sharpening equipment as well. Two of the products that caught my eye are the folding FDC and FDD sharpeners. The handle on these stones flips open much like a balisong to expose the stone and make a handle for the sharpener.

The FDC stands for Foldable Diamond and Ceramic sharpener. It has a double-sided stone with a 25-micron yellow diamond whetstone on one side for “forming a new, thinner edge” and a 9-micron white ceramic whetstone for polishing the edge on the other.

The FDD stands for Foldable Double-sided Diamond sharpener, and it has a dual-sided diamond stone. This gear has a rough yellow titanium aluminum nitride 44-micron stone on one side for taking out dings or other blade damage, and a 25-micron yellow diamond whetstone on the other side for normal sharpening.

< Specs: 

Fallkniven FDD and FDC Folding Sharpeners

  • MSRP: FDC sharpener: 136 SEK (~$14.81 US)
  • MSRP: FDD sharpener: 174 SEK (~$18.95 US)

3. Schwarz Knives Scalpel+ 

Although a lot of negative things can be said about social media, one of the good things is that it makes it easy to discover new knifemakers, or folks who’ve been around but you just haven’t encountered before. That was the case with TJ Schwarz when I was scrolling around and came across a post for his Scalpel+.

The Scalpel+ is made from one piece of AEB-L stainless steel with a Rockwell of 60-61. It should take and hold a great edge. It’s a bit over 5 inches long with a 1.65-inch blade and is finished with an acid stonewash for a businesslike matte look. The handle portion has a recessed center with a large oval lanyard hole at the base. I didn’t ask TJ what his influence was for the handle, but to me it’s very reminiscent of a World War II Army mess kit knife.

The Scalpel+ weighs only an ounce and the included leather sheath only adds
0.3 ounce to that. Basically, you can put this gear anywhere. All knives are made by TJ in his one-man shop in Idaho, and his leather sheaths are made by Gfeller Casemakers, also located in Idaho.

Specs: Schwarz Knives Scalpel+
  • Length: 5.06 inches
  • Height: 0.625 inch
  • Blade Length: 1.65 inches
  • Thickness: 0.125 inch
  • Weight: 1 ounce (knife alone); 1.3 ounces (with sheath)
  • Steel: AEB-L Stainless
  • Steel Hardness: 60-61 HRC
  • Edge Thickness: 0.010 inch
  • Edge Sharpening Angle: 18 degrees per side
  • MSRP: $135 

4. Spikes by Mike

Not long ago I was looking for something like a tactical ice pick. Don’t ask me why; it was just something I decided I needed. I started looking around and found very few options, and the couple I did see where way out of my budget.

Not long after I had given up looking, I discovered Spikes by Mike in an online group. Mike does some amazing work in stainless steel, brass, and titanium.

I ended up ordering an 8-inch Fat Titanium Spike. It’s 1 inch in circumference and very nicely machined with a series of flutes along the shaft of the spike that taper to a strong but very sharp point.

The handle is grooved and has a series of large holes through it that both lighten the spike and provide a secure grip, even with gloves on. A similar series of holes in the pommel allow for easy lanyard attachment, and the pommel itself extends below your clenched fist and allows for blunt, less lethal strikes.

Spikes gear are all handmade by Mike in Madison, Wisconsin. The spikes come with a Kydex sheath and prices range from around $90 up to $225 or so depending on size and material.

Specs: Spikes by Mike
Fat Titanium Spike
  • Overall Length: 8 inches
  • Diameter: 1 inch
  • Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Material: Titanium
  • Sheath: Kydex
  • MSRP: $165 as tested

5. SOG Surrept 16 CS Daypack

SOG offers a lot more than just knives. The company has a whole line of Surrept backpacks. This gear range from 16 to 36 liters in capacity and include  a waist pack and small organizer bag, too. I picked up the Surrept 16 CS to try out as an EDC pack in Steel Blue with Frost highlights. As the name implies, this is a 16-liter pack. It’s compact, but it has enough space for day-to-day use.

The Surrept series is made from water resistant 4200 nylon Ripstop. Aside from Steel Blue, it is available in a Charcoal with Bright Gray highlights. Neither the styling nor the colors scream tactical, which I think is a good thing for everyday carry.

This gear has a set of comfortable padded shoulder straps with a sternum strap, and a rigid padded back. It has grab handles on the top and side of the pack that give you carry options if you don’t want to wear it on your back. There are also two water bottle holders on the outside, and a bottom pocket accessed from the outside.

Inside you’ll find a padded laptop sleeve in addition to a tablet sleeve. There is also room for sundry other gear and organization pockets for smaller items. A side zipper allows access to a covert storage pocket that you can use to store your carry gun or other gear.

Specs: > 

SOG Surrept 16 CS Daypack 

  • Volume: 16 liters
  • Material: 4200 nylon ripstop
  • Weight: 28.8 ounces
  • Length: 17.5 inches
  • Width: 13 inches
  • Thickness: 8 inches
  • Main Color: Steel Blue
  • Highlights: Frost
  • MSRP: $124.95 

Editor’s Note:

A version of this article first appeared in the May/June 2022 print issue of Knives Illustrated.