Opinel Sets Sights on Great Outdoors with New No. 12 Explore

Opinel has just released a new folding knife, the Opinel No. 12 Explore, a large, outdoor-centric rendition of the traditional Opinel pattern.

As one of the oldest and most revered cutlery companies in the world, Opinel has a distinct reverence for its history. Since its beginning in the late nineteenth century, the fundamental design of the Opinel knife hasn’t changed much. The last major update to the design was over 50 year ago, when Marcel Opinel invented the Virobloc locking collar. “We’re not interested in chasing fads,” Alex Delecroix, US Brand Manager for Opinel, recently told us.

But for Opinel, reverence doesn’t equate to stagnation, and throughout the years they have steadily released new variations on this iconic French folding knife. The No. 12 Explore is the latest in their outdoor line of products. Outdoor enthusiasts, together with the EDC crowd, form Opinel’s biggest market, and Delecroix says that outdoorsmen have been asking for an Opinel designed for heavy duty use in the wild for a long time.

Opinel No. 12 Explore

The result, after more than two years of development and testing, is the No. 12 Explore. With a 3.9-inch Sandvik 12C27 steel clip-point blade, a polymer handle, and the Virobloc lock, it is a durable and versatile knife. Opinel has packed in a few additional features as well. A whistle is built into the handle and a small, sliding insert at the butt end of the knife contains a gut hook and a lanyard hole. For your fire starting needs, the package also includes a ferro rod that works in conjunction with the spine of the blade.

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Despite the modern materials and additional features, it still retains the iconic lines of the classic Opinel folding knife. Delecroix says that this was a deliberate choice. “We’re most interested in making knives that are well crafted, simple, rugged, and designed to stand the test of time.”

The Opinel No. 12 Explore is currently available in Europe through Opinel’s website. The knife will be available for sale in the US in mid-August.

Knife featured in image: Opinel No. 12 Explore Knife