Gear | December 23, 2021 11:58 am

Here’s Why Everyone on My List Is Getting The Redstone for Christmas

The James Brand's latest folding knife isn't the biggest, sharpest or strongest knife in my collection, but it is my absolute favorite.

The James Brand The Redstone is a really great folding knife in 2021
Meet The Redstone
The James Brand

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There’s a pocket knife in this world for every occasion. Some knives are designed for fishing, others for camping, and then there are countless pocket knives that just look good. But most of us don’t need a pocket knife that’s good for one specific use — we need a knife that can do it all whether we’re backpacking, hiking or working around the house.

After dicing in the kitchen, cutting fishing lines and slicing cardboard boxes, I’m happy to report that The James Brand’s new pocket knife, the Redstone, is the perfect example of a knife that can do it all.

While it offers nothing unique on paper, the Redstone excels at all of the small tasks that make for a successful knife. And because it’s one of the more affordable knives in The James Brand lineup, I’ll be gifting it to the outdoorsmen in my life that need a knife capable of cutting its way through every task.

Design and Materials

Like I said, the Redstone isn’t a standout hit on paper. Its 2.5-inch blade is relatively small and the Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel is partially serrated, a design element I’m rarely fond of. But beyond the traditional blade, the handle’s grip catches your eye for its divided sections — The James Brand calls these islands — inspired by climbing holds. Colorful and refreshingly unique, the notch between the islands delivers a confidence-inspiring hold that makes up for the Redstone’s small size. It also has light texturing that improves the grip.

This little folder features a sliding locker for easy one-handed use and a bent-wire clip for everyday carry. The entire package weighs a mere 50 grams which may seem light but rarely does its lack of heft come into question. Like every James blade before it, the Redstone features excellent fit and finish, and it doesn’t have a cheap plastic feel like many of its similarly-priced competitors.

The James Brand Redstone pocket knife is small and capable, perfect for cutting in 2021
Though it be but little, the Redstone is fierce
The James Brand

What We Like

  • Size. When I first held this knife in my hand, my immediate thought was “it’s too small.” But after testing it for weeks, the Redstone is clearly contoured to fit both big and small hands without taking up too much space. And what it lacks in size, it makes up for in skillful handling.
  • Grip. This knife would be nothing without its island grip. Designed in collaboration with climber and photohrapher Savannah Cummins, the handle acts as this knife’s saving grace — it never fails to deliver solid grip no matter the task at hand.
  • Thumb hole. If you’ve read any of my past reviews, you’ll know I’m not a fan of thumb studs. I much prefer holes because I have an easier time getting the leverage I need when my thumb is directly under the blade.

What We Don’t

Maybe it’s just my Redstone model, but the slide-lock mechanism doesn’t operate as smoothly as I’d like it to. There are times when unlocking the mechanism requires a thumb and index finger on each side of the handle which makes it tougher to close the knife with another finger. By no means is this a dealbreaker but it is something to consider when you’re used to speedy, one-handed blades.

Should You Buy It?

The Redstone holds a special place in my heart. Maybe it’s the bright colors, the compact size, the craftsmanship or a combination of the three, but this unassuming blade has quickly become one of my favorites from The James Brand. It’s also not going to burn a hole in your wallet, making it a perfect gift over the holidays. If you know me, look forward to finding one in your stocking.