CRKT Hootenanny by Ken Onion
Ken Onion, you just made my entire month better! I need a new knife like I need a hole in the head, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting one when something really great comes out. There was something about the look – that two tone black and gun metal combination that really set my attention on the CRKT Hootenanny.
I wasn’t entirely sure about the Ken Onion’s telltale curves at first nor about bringing a knife in that isn’t spring assisted (I’ve developed an unhealthy attachment to springs). In spite of the apparent shortcomings in my mind, I wanted it. It turned into full blown knife lust and I’m not the least bit disappointed that I gave into it.
CRKT Hootenanny Design: Ken Onion’s Intent
Ken Onion is brilliant in my humble opinion. What he was shooting for with the non-traditional drop point blade was a happy medium between hunting and bird knives blended with an EDC. The result is that the spine of the blade has a gently downward slope instead of the straight back that we’re used to.
He also moved the jimping forward which encourages control from the forefinger rather than the thumb. This creates a grip that is natural and secure for the piercing and slicing duties a hunter would expect. The CRKT Hootenanny also features jimping on the frame for your thumb to give you the traditional EDC/defensive carry grip that we’re used to seeing. As if it weren’t enough already, there is more jimping on the back spacer and index finger choil. There are a variety of ways to grip the Hootenanny that feel solid.
Combination hunting an EDC? I’d say he hit the mark with this one.
CRKT Hootenanny’s Blade and Handle
The business end of the CRKT Hootenanny is their popular 8Cr13Mov steel blend that rates 58 – 60 on the HRC hardness scale. It’s the same steel used in two of my other CRKT knives – the fixed blade A.G. Russell designed Sting 3B and Flavio Ikoma designed Fossil. The full plain edge blade features a hollow grind with a satin finish. The blade comes razor sharp out of the box and ready to handle whatever application you have awaiting it.
The handle is stainless steel with a glass reinforced nylon overlay. The steel is gun metal gray while the nylon features a black carbon fiber pattern to it that makes for a really sleek and attractive design.
The Hootenanny is a frame lock folder. It has just one tip up carry position. Right handed users will need to flip the knife over to deploy the blade if they prefer to carry in their right pocket, while lefties can deploy more quickly from their left pocket.
Size, Feel, and Performance
As an EDC, the weight and balance of the CRKT Hootenanny doesn’t get much better. It’s heavy enough to make you realize you’re holding a solid knife. At the same time, it’s not overly weighty.
The nylon overlay doesn’t help to secure your grip the way other materials do. However, it does provide a nice feel that gets away from the G10 or straight up steel frame. As I mentioned, the design and jimping creates several natural grip positions based on the application at hand. None of these gripping positions left me feeling like the handle was in danger of slipping.
Closed, you’ve got a very manageable 4.59 inch length. With the 3.34 inch blade deployed, it reaches to a total length of 7.94 inches.
Although the Hootenanny utilizes the IKBS bearing system, deployment is a little more sluggish than the CRKT Fossil. It’s still smooth and fast, but it doesn’t benefit from the weight of the oversized blade like the Fossil does. Deployment and folding are both simple and nearly effortless for those used to finger flippers and frame locks.
Conclusions and Final Thoughts
The CRKT Hootenanny has a better feel in my hand than any other knife I own. It’s the combination of weight, balance, and comfort that set it apart from the others in my collection. Many knives do well with weight and balance, but sacrifice comfort for better grip. Considering the type of applications they’re used for daily, they should. The glass reinforced nylon offers a comfort that I haven’t experienced before on a knife and that I’ll look for again.
For users searching for a solid EDC at a price point lower than that of the spring assisted models, the CRKT Hootenanny is a great choice. The durable grouping of materials will ensure that the only sacrifice you’re making is the spring assist. The IKBS bearing deployment will make you question if that was actually a sacrifice.
CRKT Hootenanny Specs
- Closed Length: 4.59 inches
- Deployed Length: 7.94 inches
- Weight: 4.8 ounces
- Blade Material: 8Cr13Mov Steel
- Grind: Hollow
- Finish: Satin
- Style: Drop Point
- Edge: Plain
- Handle Material: 2Cr13 Steel with Glass Reinforced Nylon Overlay
- Lock Style: Frame Lock
- Carry System: One Position, Tip Up
- List Price:$69.99
- Street Price: ~$45.00