If you’re looking for a slim, lightweight everyday carry knife that will sit as easily in the pocket of a business suit as in the lid of your rucksack, the CRKT CEO Heinnie Haynes Edition is a brilliant choice. It is elegant and unobtrusive but has good cutting performance, with a blade profile that is well-suited to a variety of small daily tasks.
Slim, lightweight design
Slips easily into almost any pocket
No blade half stop
Perhaps a little ‘dressy’ for outdoors use
Single-sided nail nick and pocket clip do not particularly suit left-handers
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Designed by renowned custom knifemaker Richard Rogers in New Mexico, the CRKT CEO Heinnie Haynes Edition is an unusual collaboration with Oregon’s Columbia River Knife and Tool Company. It certainly isn’t your standard pocket-knife. In fact, when the blade is folded away, it looks almost more like a high-end pen from a brand like Cross or Mont Blanc, thanks to the sleek black patterned scales and contemporary satin steel finish.
That’s not altogether unintentional; as the knife’s name suggests, it was developed with business executives in mind, with Rogers’ brief to create an office-friendly knife that could sit unobtrusively in the breast pocket of a business suit. The resulting design is elegant and classy. However, it also has a slimline profile that actually makes it well suited to everyday carry as an outdoorsy camping or backpacking knife too, particularly if you’re someone with an eye for lightweight, minimalist functionality.
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It’s worth noting that this special edition, sold by UK retailer Heinnie Haynes, has been adapted to be UK-legal for everyday carry. As such it has no liner lock, a slightly shorter blade length than the standard CEO and a nail nick rather than a thumb stud – all changes, in our opinion, which actually improve the overall balance of the knife, while also making it a little lighter.
There’s more to the CEO than its attractive looks, of course. But still, it’s worth admiring the textured glass-reinforced nylon (GRN) scales, with their fish-scale detailing. The effect is enhanced by flush screws that do not protrude or catch in your pocket, plus full steel linings and a squared-off, satin steel butt. The liners are drilled to reduce overall weight, which helps to make this a relatively lightweight knife. When folded, the entire blade is enclosed within the frame too, so it is an extremely neat and inconspicuous little package. As such, it is very easy to carry in a pocket (even a shirt pocket) or to slip into the side pouch of a rucksack.
• RRP: $55 (US) / £40 (UK)
• Weight: 57g/2oz
• Blade length: 7.4cm / 3in
• Overall length: 17.8cm / 7in
• Closed length: 10.6cm / 4in
• Materials: 8Cr13MoV Stainless Steel blade and Glass Reinforced Nylon (GRN) scales
• Features: Pocket clip; flat grind; drop point blade
In the field
The CRKT CEO Heinnie Haynes Edition is easy to open, with a smooth action and a crisp detent, thanks to hidden lubricated ball-bearings that means the blade clicks satisfyingly into place. When folded away, the bearings also ensure the blade stays firmly closed too.
The satin-finished, stainless blade is made from 8Cr13MoV steel – not a premium steel in knife terms, but still an extremely popular choice that is known for its good edge retention. The blade stock is 2mm thick, with a long, slim silhouette and a slight drop point. It has a high flat grind that is ideally suited for cutting and slicing, while the point pierces easily. It’s a versatile shape that is capable of performing a multitude of daily tasks, whether you’re knocking up a camp meal or finishing a small whittling project. In fact, the CEO would make a good addition to a lightweight camp cooking kit, since the long thin blade works well for general food prep while remaining minimalist and compact when folded.
We did find that after prolonged use, the squared-off butt of the handle digs into the palm of the hand a little. Then again, it’s not really a tool designed for heavy, sustained field use. And other characteristics do lend themselves surprisingly well to outdoors life, like the open frame, which makes for easy cleaning. If the knife accumulates dirt and debris, it’s easy enough to blow it out. Sharpening the knife is relatively easy too, thanks to the friendly and undemanding flat grind, forgiving steel and single shallow edge profile, which has a small choil to protect the handle.
The CEO is only designed for ‘tip down’ carry, which does limit its effectiveness for quick deployment. Then again, this clearly isn’t an emergency/survival-type knife, and the design does mean it works well if you want to tuck it into the pocket of a trekking shirt. The pocket clip only has one position, and the nail nick is also engraved on the left side of the blade only. Both of those details make this a knife that works better for right-handers than left-handers. Lastly, the blade has no half stop, which is a common feature on most other slipjoint knives – as much for safety as anything else. So you might need to watch those fingers when closing it.
Otherwise we were pretty impressed with the CRKT CEO Heinnie Haynes Edition. The design is understated yet considered, resulting in a slim and elegant knife that feels precise and well-balanced in the hand. It opens smoothly and crisply, which is always a nice quality in a slipjoint pocket-knife. The long, thin blade has a high flat grind that is very versatile – though this is certainly no beater knife for heavy, hard use.
When folded, its low weight, compact dimensions and thin profile make it easy to stash in a pocket, whether on your person or in your pack. The secure carry pocket clip ensures it stays firmly in place. It’s also reasonably priced for what feels like a high-quality, premium pocket-knife. As a versatile blade for everyday carry that’ll do double duty in daily life as well as when heading off on the trail, the CEO has plenty to recommend it.
An outdoors writer and editor, Matt Jones has been testing kit in the field for nearly a decade. Having worked for both the Ramblers and the Scouts, he knows one or two things about walking and camping, and loves all things adventure, particularly long-distance backpacking, wild camping and climbing mountains – especially in Wales. He’s based in Snowdonia and last year thru-hiked the Cambrian Way, which runs for 298 miles from Cardiff to Conwy, with a total ascent of 73,700 feet – that’s nearly 2½ times the height of Everest. Follow Matt on Instagram and Twitter.