I’ve never carried a fixed blade knife for EDC. I love folding knives and despite keeping fixed blades in go-bags or handy on camping trips, I’ve never had a desire to carry one on a daily basis. So I went cold turkey and tried it. I left all my folders at home for a week-long vacation in Montana and committed to my ESEE Izula for EDC.
Fixed Blade Knife Carry Positions
I typically throw fixed blades in a backpack or keep them around camp, so I’d never had a need for a belt attachment. First item of business? Find a way to carry this thing. I started out by picking up a small Tek-Lok to attach the Izula fixed blade handle tip-up on my belt:
This carry position keeps the knife at hand when I want it and the draw puts it ready for use. Resheathing is pretty easy and I typically can do it one-handed, without having to fiddle with my shirt.
I enjoy this carry position around camp, but I quickly found it’s a pain when trying to access the knife while sitting or buckled up in the car. Additionally, I didn’t put thread locker on the screws and some of them fell out a couple days into the trip. My mistake, but it put me in a bad spot. So, I improvised and went to a static line—a nifty little trick I picked up from a Lucas Burnley video a few years back:
The static line was good and allowed me to easily shift positions from waistband appendix carry to waistband hip carry. But I didn’t love it. The sheath inside my waistband made me sweat and sometimes the knife shifted to where it was floating somewhere inside my pants. The sheath on the Izula has excellent retention, so I wasn’t worried about accidentally cutting off any vital personal hardware, but digging through my pants to get the knife out wasn’t my favorite. When I was backpacking for a couple days, I couldn’t find a comfortable place to attach the knife in tandem with the backpack waist belt. I suppose I could have attached it to the pack, but what happens when I take the pack off and go wandering?
I longed to have a folding knife clipped to my pocket.”
I use my pocket knife all the time, but particularly when I’m sitting down. I work an office job at Blade HQ and on this road trip I was in the car a lot. Getting the fixed blade on and off my belt was inconvenient while seated. Additionally, if I planned to use it again quickly, I found myself leaving it unsheathed on the dashboard or on a table. This wasn’t ideal with little kids running around. With a folder, I can loan my knife out or set it somewhere with more peace of mind knowing that it is closed. I like the convenience of a folder.
I flick my folding knife like crazy. It’s good stress relief when I’m driving, thinking or keeping my hands busy. The fixed blade knife offered no such entertainment. Utility– absolutely. Pleasure— not so much. I suppose that’s the end result of my seven day experiment: I just didn’t love carrying a fixed blade the way I love carrying a folder. It got the job done well, but the knife stoke that I get from carrying a folder just wasn’t there.
Another Shot at It
My week of bad fixed blade knife carry wasn’t the end of the road for me. I had been curious to try a leather sheath in a horizontal cross draw position in front. Several guys in the shop carry Bradford Guardian Fixed Blade Knives like this and I like the concept:
I tried this carry position out for two minutes with the knife pictured and it just wasn’t for me. My 32″ waist is too little real estate and I don’t have the frame to conceal a fixed blade knife well. I’m a pretty skinny sucker, so waistband carry will likely always drive me crazy—too much grinding against exposed hip bones wasn’t doing it for me. I love carrying a fixed blade once I arrive in camp, and I can’t deny their usefulness. But I can’t see myself carrying an EDC fixed blade knife in the near future.
I spoke with Mike Perrin, one of the owners of ESEE at the Outdoor Retailer trade show a few months ago. As is my habit, I asked him what he carries. An ESEE 4 perhaps? Candiru? Izula? Nope. He pulled a well-worn Sebenza 21 from his pocket. I asked if he ever carries a fixed blade knife for EDC. He said he doesn’t. And at this point, neither do I.
About the author: Ben Petersen is the marketing manager at Blade HQ. His current EDC is a Benchmade 940BK, right side, front pocket, deep carry clip.