First Impressions: CRKT Batum

   10.09.17

First Impressions: CRKT Batum

If you’ve spent any time at all in the world of folding knives, you’ve probably heard of Jesper Voxnaes. This Danish designer is responsible for such hits as the Amicus and Pilar, both of which were produced by budget-mogul Columbia River Knife and Tool (CRKT). CRKT recently sent me one of his full-sized Batum models for review, so I’ll be wielding it in the hills of Colorado and New Mexico. But before hitting the trails out west, I had a chance to take it on a stroll through the fall colors of Wisconsin. Here are my initial impressions of the CRKT Batum.

Out of the Box

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This may be the largest pocket knife I’ve ever owned. While the blade itself is only 3.16 inches long, its thickness is a girthy 0.19. The handle stretches to just under 4.8 inches, bringing the overall package into 8-inch territory. Blade steel is the standard CRKT 8Cr13MoV, with the same satin finish found on contemporaries such as the Pilar. This knife also features a frame lock, reversible pocket clip, and integrated over-travel stop.

In the Hand

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For such a large knife, the Batom’s ergonomics are surprisingly good. While we can debate about the practicality of Voxnaes’ design at a later point, he certainly knows how to make a comfortable knife. The forward finger choil is generous and the beefy handle and blade spine provide substantial contact points.

Unfortunately, the sharp surfaces on this knife aren’t confined to the cutting steel. The thumb cutout, G-10 scale, and blade spine are all rather aggressively edged. This is to be expected on a budget knife, but it’s definitely something I’ll be monitoring as the review progresses.

In the Pocket

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You’ll notice one dimension not listed on CRKT’s site: the height of this chunky monster. According to my rough measurement, it’s about 1.8 inches from the back of the handle to the top of the blade. That makes for a significant presence in the pocket, butting up against my wallet and other gear. Its weight of 6.9 ounces is also quite noticeable, though the short pocket clip does provide a fairly comfortable ride.

On the Trail

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The Batum performed well on its brief hike through the woods. Its blade shaved damp sticks better than expected, and its grippy G-10 kept the moisture from overcoming my grip. Lockup was solid and satisfying, and the 8Cr13MoV still cut paper upon my return to the hotel. Softer steels have their place in outdoor tools, so maybe I’ll dislike it less here than I do in most low-end folders.

I know you’re generally not supposed to baton with a folding knife, but due to the robustness of the design, I gave it a shot at some twigs. It did the job, but immediately developed some side-to-side blade play. I torqued the pivot back down for now, and will investigate further once I’ve had a chance to take the knife apart.

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This is just the beginning of my testing with the CRKT Batum. Overall, my first impressions are fairly positive. It’s a budget production knife from the mind of a great custom designer, so we’ll see how much quality gets lost in translation. The full review will be posted here once I’ve put the knife through its paces. Wish me luck.

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