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Böker Plus XS review: a practical camping knife with all-round appeal

A striking-looking everyday carry knife, the versatile Böker Plus XS has some handy design touches that make it well-suited to a multitude of outdoor tasks

Böker Plus XS knife
(Image: © Matthew Jones)

Our Verdict

There’s plenty to like about this knife, though purists will probably prefer pocket knives with a cleaner, classic look. Personally, we loved the thumb stud and deep finger groove, but were slightly disappointed with the sub-par fit and finish of our test sample, which perhaps hints at one or two quality control issues.

For

  • Thumb jimping on top of blade for good dexterity and control
  • Useful thumb stud for one-handed operation
  • Half stop and finger groove for safety
  • Reversible pocket clip

Against

  • Questionable fit and finish

First impressions

The Böker Plus XS has a good heritage. German brand Böker is a well-established knifemaker from Solingen, the so-called ‘city of blades’ owing to the many renowned companies that historically produced fine swords, knives, scissors and razors from within its borders. The Böker Plus XS Satin is no traditionalist though – this slipjoint folder combines contemporary looks with innovative design touches. It’s a collaboration with knife designer Chad Los Banos, a full-time law enforcement officer, Kendo fighter and former bodybuilder from Hawaii who specialises in tactical pocket knives.

The Böker Plus XS certainly wouldn’t look out of place clipped into the stab-proof vest of a SWAT team member. It combines chunky sculpted G10 scales in a sleek black finish with a drop point, 440c stainless steel blade. The knife also features a thumb stud for one-handed operation and a reversible deep pocket clip for tip up carry. Underneath, a deep index finger groove gives plenty of control for closer work, enabling you to choke down on the blade if required. In conjunction with the half stop, this also makes it feel extremely safe and secure in use, especially for a non-locking folder.

Specifications

• RRP: $72 (US) / £52 (UK)
• Weight: 107g / 3.77oz
• Blade length: 7.7cm / 3in
• Overall length: 18.2cm / 7.2in
• Closed length: 10.4cm / 4.1in
• Materials: 440C stainless steel blade and G10 scales
• Features: Hollow grind; drop point blade

In the field

There’s lots going on with this knife design, but it actually feels great in the hand. The G10 scales have a nice texture to them, and they are also thicker than those found on many other everyday carry knives. We also liked the reversible pocket clip and didn’t even bemoan the lack of a lanyard hole.

In use, the knife works well. It opens smoothly, with a pronounced half stop for safety – though the presence of a thumb stud still allows you to fully open it one-handed if required, which is great for quick deployment. When cutting, slicing and piercing, it also feels nice and secure. We attributed this partly to the textured, non-slip G10 scales, but also to the quality of the overall design. The deep finger groove gives terrific control, while also offering the option to choke down on the knife for finer work. These unusual features and the overall ergonomics lend themselves well to a wide range of tasks, regardless of how you hold the knife.

We weren’t quite so enamoured with the fit and finish of our test sample. There was a fair amount of blade play, and when we disassembled the knife to investigate, we found a pair of paper-thin plastic washers, which were also causing the heel of the blade to rub on the liners. This isn’t a cheap knife, and we’d really expect better quality control from a maker like Böker.

The 440C steel is a popular choice for pocket-knives in this price bracket. It’s generally a good all-rounder, being reasonably tough and wear resistant with excellent stain resistance. It also has high levels of carbon and chromium, so can be easily sharpened. Having said that, this blade’s lack of a choil at the base of the edge made that process a little trickier than it should be.

When closed, the knife sits easily in a pocket. We did note, however, that the angular blade backstop sticks out in the folded position, which is untidy and can also catch on pocket linings.

There are far more good points about the design than bad ones ,though. And despite the sub-par internals of our test sample, we still think this is a decent knife – just check you pick up a solid example. If you get a decent one, it should serve you very well as an all-round EDC knife.