Even though I rarely need them, I’m a sucker for a good pocketknife. I have a small one I keep on my keychain, and I have a cool fish-shaped one I keep on my fishing rod bag. So of course I said yes when offered the chance to check out the Urbanoider, a compact EDC knife.
Urbanoider comes from the Manualcraft Alliance, which was founded by the creator of the Urban Kukri knife we looked at last year. They’re currently raising money on Kickstarter for it, with pledges starting at $39 for a chrome knife and $79 for a Damascus steel knife. The Urbanoider pops open via a sliding button, and has a small awl punch on the other side. The blade itself is only 1.4in and the body is 2in, so the whole thing is quite compact. It does have a belt clip with, of all things, the Statue of Liberty stamped on it. It’s very tough looking and in the Damascus steel we’re reviewing today, it’s absolutely gorgeous as well.
Opening the blade is quite easy once you get used to it. You just slide the star-marked button down and the blade pops out. It locks open and you’re good to go until you manually slide the button back down to fold in the blade. There’s ridges on the non-bladed side that as far as I can tell are just for show. The blade is very sharp, I used it for an art project for my son and was honestly surprised how easily it slid right through corrugated cardboard. The awl unscrews and can be screwed back in with the sharper end available, though I can’t say I’ve had many reasons to violently punch a small hole in anything. Finally, the belt clip is quite sturdy and stiff.
The Urbanoider is a super cool knife, but there’s a really important thing you should research before buying it. This knife is opened by a mechanical switch, not by manually opening it, which technically makes it a switchblade. Be very careful to check your local laws because some states and municipalities have banned any kind of automatic blade. For example, if you live in Massachusetts you can own a switchblade but can’t openly carry it. On the other hand, go nuts in Kansas and carry one in every pocket if you want. Meanwhile, in NJ and NY, you can’t own, sell, or carry (concealed or openly) any kind of automatic blade. So even though this is a tiny blade, be aware that you could theoretically get in trouble for carrying it in the wrong place.
Overall, questionable legality in my home state aside, I like the Urbanoider. Its compact size makes it easy to toss in a bag, and it’s substantial enough that you won’t misplace it. My two complaints are that the awl sticks out a bit (I ended up unscrewing it and leaving it home because it kept poking me in the leg when it was in my pocket), and the Statue of Liberty is a super weird thing to stamp on a belt clip. Still, it’s a solid, well built knife, the kind that’s handy to have for everything from breaking down cardboard to slicing up an apple. Be sure to check out their Kickstarter-these would make a fantastic stocking stuffer or holiday gift for any knife aficionado in your life!
Source: Manufacturer provided review sample
What I Liked: Attractive design; blade opens and closes smoothly; sharp blade; you never know when you might need an awl.
What Needs Improvement: Awl can poke you sometimes; check local laws for legality of automatic blades; seriously, why the statue of liberty?