Not a lot is required of a knife for 99.9% of backpacking. And it isn’t worth carrying anything to handle the 0.1% of tasks that would benefit from the sort of knife that a bushcrafter would be proud to show off.
“designed in Paris- made in China”
In 2010 Stéphane Lebeau designed and invented an ultralight pocket knife. Today the range of Deejo knives is small- just three sizes. In more recent years Deejo have begun to offer a wide range of customisation to the two larger sizes of these three knives so with choice of scale material and blade ‘tattoos’ a lot of personalisation is possible. The basic range is named by their weight, these are 15g, 27g and 37g. The smallest of these, the Deejo 15g, makes a very useful, minimalist, single blade, folding knife for backpacking purposes. A pocket, or belt clip, is fitted to the two larger sizes of knife, no clip is attached to the 15g.
The Deejo 15g is a ‘naked’ knife. There are no scales or other accoutrements. The brushed steel finish frame, such that it is, is minimal, with a central cutout and a hole in the end through which a lanyard, carabiner or split ring can be passed. There is no nail nick and the blade has to be pinched to open it, which isn’t difficult. It cannot, and should not, be opened one-handed. With such a minimally guarded blade it requires two hands to open and close safely. There is a very slight curve to the handle that means the point is under pressure and flush when closed so the blade point cannot catch on clothing or skin when closed. There is almost a snap on the final point of closing. The short handle length means that only part of the hand is grasping it in use, with my large hands, some two and half finger close around it.
The spearpoint blade is made from 2CR13 stainless steel with a hardness rating of 52-54 on the Rockwell hardness scale (HRC), knife handle and pocket clip are 2CR13 stainless steel with a hardness rating of 45-48 HRC. 2CR23 is a commonly used steel found on many knives and is popular with knife manufacturers. Part of the 420 series, this steel is resistant to corrosion (rust) and can be easily sharpened. The blade on the Deejo 15g is chisel grind, i.e.- on one side only, which makes it a little safer when folded. It is very thin when closed and when open in the hand. One feature, or rather lack of feature, that Three Points of the Compass particularly appreciates, is the lack of cut-outs or holes in the blade. Food can accumulate in these holes and with less opportunity to clean a knife properly on trail it is easy for bacteria to build here. The Deejo 15g does not suffer from this fanciful design aspect.
The whole knife is extremely minimalistic. There is little, if anything, that is included on this that isn’t required. A handle- that also operates as liner-lock, a blade, a pivot, and two ‘nubs’- one to act as a stop when opened, the other to indent into the closed blade and prevent it opening under its own volition. Finally- two engraved words, Deejo and PRESS on the liner lock.
- Closed- length: 70mm, width: 16.80mm, thickness: 8.45mm (maximum, across pivot)
- Open- length: 125mm, width:14.20mm, thickness: 8.45mm (maximum, across pivot)
- Handle length: 66mm ( from pivot centre to end)
- Blade cutting edge: 64mm
- Blade thickness across spine: 2.27mm
- Weight: 14.4g, so actually less than 15g!
When purchased the Deejo 15g comes over packaged (as do almost all knives) in a plastic box, along with the usual paperwork, a couple of stickers, a blade tip protector and, most useful, a 28cm length of black cordage which can be passed through the hole in the knife handle to make a small loop. Or a small carabiner could be used instead.
One obvious problem with this knife in the UK is that it fails to meet our stringent knife laws. The basic type of knife is fine, it isn’t a ‘zombie’ or throwing blade and blade length is OK, it is the fact that it locks open that is the issue. This is illegal in the UK without provable good reason for carrying. It is for the individual to decide if they wish to explain away a small 15g knife, packed away in a food bag, that forms part of a very obvious and harmless backpacking set-up. If you can prove good reason to be carrying this then, in theory, any sensible copper won’t give it a glance.
The Deejo 15g is amongst the best of well constructed, lightweight, locking, single blade folders available that is particularly suited for backpacking purposes. A more legally acceptable alternative to this little blade would be one of the smaller Opinel folders. The smallest Opinels are not fitted with a locking ring so comply with UK law. Those knifes also have the option of high carbon steel blades, which rust more easily but hold an edge better. Or choose stainless steel which is more suited to life on trail.
The Deejo 15g is a terrific little knife though it has to be used with care, particularly when folding. It requires just a little practice and continued care to ensure that the blade doesn’t nip the skin. But it will easily tackle just about any lightweight task that a backpacker requires of a blade. It will peel an apple, cut sausage and cheese, cut cordage. However you aren’t going to be able to whittle, baton, cut down tree limbs, that isn’t what this minimalist knife is intended for.
Three Points of the Compass may yet give this little folder some extended time in my pack on longer backpacking excursions. Will it push out my preferred Leatherman Squirt S4? Time will tell.
Three Points of the Compass has looked at quite a few knives and multi-tools that may, or may not, be suitable for backpacking, day treks or Every Day Carry. Links to these can be found here.