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Olfa Touch Knife

rated 5.0 of 5 stars
photo:   Olfa Touch Knife folding knife

Small, very light, very sharp and all you really need––in my opinion, so far...we'll see.


  • Small
  • Light
  • Sharp
  • Safe
  • Inexpensive


  • Prrobably won't fend off a bear and you can't chop wood with it

Let’s talk about knives and cutting things, or maybe just my knives and the things, I cut, while out on the trail. And let’s brag just a little.

On my first John Muir Trail I went all-out heavy. I paid a lot of money for a burly Dana Designs Astralplane Overkill, that my inexperience carelessly stuffed with all things cotton, not to mention a pair of useless ski pants, that I never wore, in spite of there being a lot of snow on the ground in July of ’96.

I also didn’t think to send in any re-supply drops until I got to Vermilion Valley Resort, or even buy dehydrated meals, so you can imagine just how heavy my sack ‘o food (pre-bear canister) was.

You can imagine it, but I had to carry it and the pack weighed in around seventy-five pounds. I had no idea what “U.L.” meant.

And then there was my knife––your standard, matte-black leather-handle, Rambo-esque, killing machine––heavy leather case and sharpening stone included.

I thought I would need this knife to fight off a possible bear attack. I thought I would need this knife to impress on-coming hikers who would––if not surely be amazed at the size of my pack––might also look at my big knife and think, Wow, this dude is backcountry hardcore.

I also thought I might need it for practical and not too macho tasks, like cutting down my tangled bear hanging lines, and digging that lovely pit toilet––you never saw Rambo with one of those silly orange trowels.

Well, I never fought a bear or impressed any of the trail babes with that big knife hanging at the ready on my shoulder strap and I figured out that a little soft soil and a good bit of boot, could easily dig me a lovely cat-hole.

And so the big survival knife found its way into the gear closet, and lives there still, waiting for who knows what.

My next knife was one of those nifty multi-tool things that I happened to find out on the trail a year or so later, on my next JMT.

I carried it, but never used anything more than the blade. I am sure there will come a day when I need a pair of pliers or a Philips head screw-driver on the trail––but it just hasn’t happened yet––maybe this is enough reason to get out there and do #13 and beyond––I will hike until I’ve used every feature on this knife.

Meanwhile, it sits on a bookshelf in the house and I use the pliers for various kitchen tasks, like pulling the plastic pour spouts out the olive oil bottles.

All of this to get to my point––what do you really need in a cutting tool?

I found my first Olfa Touch Knife, in a small Japanese stationary store.

I fell in love and bought three of them. I usually carry as many on my backpack trips––just like I have about the same amount of Bic Lighters––one in my pocket, one in the bear canister and one or more, here and there in the pack.

What do you really need to cut when you are backpacking?

Not much, I’d say, and if you’ve got anything too burly, you’re no doubt doing something stupid, like the guys I found with an axe, above the 10,000 foot “No Camping” zone, cutting up a tree. Hello?

The Olfa Touch Knife is perfect forcutting open food packages, re-supply boxes, moleskin––anything where a sharp blade will do the trick––even blister surgery––and it weighs absolutely nothing––the blade is spring loaded and it comes in a variety of snazzy colors.

And if that’s not enough, the McGyver/Rambo appeal is such that other hikers are just amazed––that’s all you need . . . cool.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $1.95

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Price Reviewers Paid: $1.95

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