Warning: It is illegal to carry this knife in any public place in the UK, unless you have legitimate lawful excuse, because it has a locking blade. Please read our guide to UK knife law here. We accept no responsibility for you getting arrested, fined or cavity searched. Carry on…
The French have this knack of making excruciatingly beautiful things which you want to experience with all your senses rather than just your eyes; The crusty baguette, Beaujolais Nouveau, Yves St. Laurent couture, Leticia Casta and the designs of Phillipe Stark. And the Baladeo 22g knife is one of those things which stops everyone from Good ‘Ol Boys from Florida, to apparel designers for Patagonia in their tracks.
To look at it is to be captured by its steely gaze. To pick it up is to be enchanted by its gossamer weight. And to hear its precise click as it locks into place is to to appreciate its engineering.
It’s not the sharpest knife you can buy – in fact, out of the box mine has several imperfections on the blade. And it’s not the most practical knife you can buy. I imagine it would be easy to slip when doing anything requiring force, and the lack of guard could mean cut fingers quite easily.
But it is one of the lightest. At 22g for a blade of exactly 3 inches, you’re looking at something which weighs the same as 3 pound coins, or in metric terms half a mouse fart.
The 22g secures to your person using an integral belt clip. This is very, very strong indeed and should stay on in all but the most energetic exercises.
The location of the belt clip makes this a right-handed knife. Use it with your left hand and the clip feels like it’s in the way somewhat.
I’m looking at my example now, and I think it might be an easy conversion to make it non-locking and UK legal. The lock is achieved by the springiness of the steel in the handle. Disassembling the knife and beating the handle flat, or adding in a washer could achieve a non-locking result. The compromise would, of course, be a drastic reduction in safety during use, so take that as an observation and not a recommendation.
When closed, the angle of the blade means that you can’t cut your hand, or other items in your pack, which is neat.
SUMMARY: At 22g, the Baladeo is going to be a fetish object for ultra-light fanatics and design aficionados. It is, however, a lock knife, so you need a damn good reason to have one on you in the UK. The blade isn’t the sharpest around, and it’s certainly not the safest knife to use, but if looks alone count for a lot, this is a winner.
Price: $22 (US) Coming to UK soon.
From: Backpacking Light (US)