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While writing a review, I’ll come up with a title for the article that may or may not end up being used. As I work towards the final copy, the content and direction might change to the point where that working title no longer applies, and sometimes, it may just be inappropriate. For instance, based on feedback from the many people I shared the Baladeo Cutlery Set with, it was tentatively titled “Coolest sh*t ever”. But that doesn’t win us many fans with marketing/PR people, or search engines, even if it’s a truly accurate description. Read on, and see if you agree.
The official title of the product, per the Baladeo website, is Cutlery Set 52 grams, red, with a reference of ECO133. Although somewhat descriptive, it doesn’t begin to convey just how sweet this compact set really is. Yes, it’s 52 grams of mostly 420 stainless steel, with a transparent red polycarbonate slab that serves the dual purposes of protecting the blade when closed, and providing a bit of a handle when open. But it’s so much and so little at the same time. So much, as in it’s a surprisingly sharp knife with bottle opener on one half, and a fork/spoon combo with a can opener on the other half. So little, as in it weighs just under two ounces, thanks to an extremely innovative design. By utilizing 420 stainless steel, excess material can be removed without compromising the integrity of the product. So although it looks rather delicate, it’s actually robust enough that it should provide many years of service without much maintenance beyond what would normally be expected of any decent pocket knife.
Handling it, the first thing you notice is the beautiful contrast between the red polycarbonate and satiny stainless steel. The finish is of extremely high quality, being completely devoid of any burrs or sharp edges, with the exception of the blade itself. While you probably shouldn’t carry it in your pocket, it certainly isn’t going to snag or cut itself a hole and escape. Just to be on the safe side, Baladeo includes a mesh bag with a loop and carabiner. To open it, unfold the spoon/fork side, then slide the knife side upwards and out of the retaining slots. (Some cyclists might recognize this function from their SRAM Quick Link, as it’s somewhat similar) Both sides open and close with a simple and reliable liner lock. After use, simply fold the knife, push the pins through the slots on the spoon/fork, and gently slide down into place. As you fold the spook/fork shut, a semi-circular cut lines up with one of the pins, creating a simple lock. It takes much longer to type (or even read) the instructions, than actually doing it.
I’ve used the knife for cutting fruit, vegetables, and cheese. It’s plenty sharp and handles well. In my large hands, it’s comfortable for preparing a snack or small meal. Leftys can rejoice, as the spoon and fork combo works great in either hand. The tines aren’t so sharp you can stab food, but considering how much camp food falls into the category of mushy solids, it works well. Note that if you’re very into eating soup, you’ll want a real spoon. I couldn’t find a reason to use the can opener, but in the interest of making this review as comprehensive as possible, I opened more than one Utah micro brew to verify the functionality of the bottle opener. Overall, it’s a great little cutlery set that offers plenty of utility while satisfying the need to splurge on the occasional luxury item. Get one for yourself, or as a gift for anyone you know that camps or appreciates artfully crafted gadgets that are as useful as they are indulgent. Online pricing varies from $49 to $68, so it pays to shop around. baladeo.com