French Opinel pocket knives: Inexpensive, lightweight, and made from superb steel, they are the standard knife of French farmers, hikers, foragers and cyclo-tourists. In fact almost everyone who spends time in the countryside seems to have one. They've been made since 1890 in the town of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne in the Rhône-Alpes.
I've used Opinel knives since I was a boy. I love the simple rotating ring that locks the blade either open or closed. There is no need for a spring because of the lock ring. The handle is beech, a light but tough wood. This makes Opinel knives quite light and great for cyclists and hikers.
They are available with either carbon steel or stainless steel blades and in a number of sizes. The #8 (8.5cm blade) is considered the standard and most versatile size. Like most traditionalists, I prefer the #8 carbon blade version. The carbon blade can rust if not wiped after use, but it develops a beautiful patina. The carbon blade is also easier to sharpen and takes a better edge--experts compare it to blades costing 10-times more. The stainless steel blade is rust-proof and stays shiny, and the edge sharpness is very very close to that of the carbon version.
This is a special version of the #8 stainless steel knife made for mushroom hunting and foraging, something a few of us at VO enjoy doing. It has a curved blade that will cleanly slice off a mushroom, fruit, greens, and many other things that you may find or grow. The boar bristle brush is used to clean the dirt off delicate mushrooms. This knife is also very useful for light pruning duty in the garden.