CRKT Pilar Review: Is It as Great as They Say?

CRKT (Columbia River Knife and Tool), Inc has been one of the top American knife producers for over two decades. CRKT has produced some of the world’s best folding knives, and this includes CRKT Pilar.

CRKT has collaborated with several top knife designers to produce some of the world’s most iconic blades, and CRKT Pilar is no exception.

Ever since its debut at the Shot Show of 2017, the Pilar has proven to be a hot commodity. Designed by Jesper Voxnaes, the Pilar took the EDC world by storm. CRKT Pilar is loved by most enthusiasts; in fact, many people referred to it as the best pocket knife of 2018.

CRKT Pilar is a perfect knife for a modern EDC enthusiast. And it incorporates a sharp modified Wharncliffe blade in an ergonomic, stainless steel handle. CRKT Pilar is an ideal tool for backpacking, camping, or even fishing, but I bet you already know that.

What you might not know are the key features of this tool, and what makes it a reliable EDC knife? So, let’s get right into this CRKT Pilar review…

Our CRKT Pilar Review

CRKT Pilar EDC Folding Pocket Knife: Compact Everyday Carry, Satin Blade with Finger Choil, Thumb Slot Open, Frame Lock Stainless Handle, Reversible Pocket Clip 5311

CRKT Pilar is a compact EDC knife with a distinct design and an epic story behind its name. Jesper designed it in his shop in Denmark and decided to name it after Ernest Hemingway’s boat. Ernest had a 38-foot long ship that he used for renegade surveillance in WWII.

CRKT has developed a great reputation based on their selection of knives and knife designs. Even though the company began in 1994, CRKT became a household name in 1997. CRKT surprised the world during the 1997 Shot Show when they launched their KISS knife.

And since then, they have produced many iconic blades, including the CRKT Pilar. CRKT Pilar is a low profile knife with a distinctive design that helps it handle a wide range of tasks. CRKT Pilar is the smaller version of the CRKT Pilar Large.

There are numerous differences between the CRKT Pilar and CRKT Pilar large. CRKT Pillar comes with 2.4 inches long blade while CRKT Pilar large has a 2.669 inches blade. The open length of CRKT Pilar is 5.938 inches while that of CRKT Pilar Large is 6.688 inches. However, these two blades have the same weight (4.2 ounces).

The Pilar has a modified Wharncliffe blade that is made from 8Cr13Mov stainless steel. Its 2.669 inches long blade merges with an ergonomic, stainless steel handle. The blade’s modified Wharncliffe shape makes it a great tool for making long and even cuts. Plus, its fine tip is ideal for detailed and delicate tasks, both outdoor and indoor.

It is a perfectly balanced knife that feels comfortable even after being used for a very long time. Despite having stainless steel, the CRKT Pilar is still quite light. This knife can be an excellent addition to your survival kit and EDC collection. However, it doesn’t come with a reversible pocket clip.

Therefore, it’s not the best option for left-handed individuals. Its Wharncliffe blade can slice through a lot of things, including your ingredients while camping. Due to its small-sized blade, the CRKT Pilar is not the best option for hunting trips. And its slow opening mechanism makes it a bad pocket knife for self-defense.

Features and Benefits


One of the unique things about the CRKT Pilar is its blade. With a length of about 2.402 inches, this pocket knife is ideal for long, precise cutting tasks. CRKT Pilar’s blade has a modified Wharncliffe design that is perfect for making long and even cuts.

The blade’s tip can handle numerous detailed and delicate jobs. The CRKT Pilar’s blade starts wide from the handle before the top part gradually slants down to meet the cutting edge.

The blade is made from 8Cr13MoV stainless steel. Other than being durable, this alloy has high rust-resistance and edge retention levels. The 8Cr13MoV steel might be durable, but it is a budget material.

8Cr13MoV is very easy to sharpen and also affordable, and this plays a key role in making this knife less costly. The CRKT Pilar’s blade has an oval cut out that helps with manual deployment.

The 8Cr13MoV is ideal for handling a wide range of tasks, from opening packages to carving pieces of wood. It has a very sharp and short blade that is ideal for pocket knives. Plus, it lacks jimping, which is quite common among most high end folding knives.


The CRKT Pilar’s handle is made from stainless steel. This material gives the Pilar a durable handle with a high rust-resistance level. The fact that no steel can rust even when left in a damp place shouldn’t stop you from maintaining your knife.

However, steel is a heavy material that will add weight to your knife. Another major disadvantage of a steel blade is that it is slippery. Therefore, it will not give you a solid grip when working.

The company added a bead blasted finish to this stainless steel handle. The finish is created by blasting glass or ceramic beads at very high pressure to the material, giving it a grayish finish.

The finish helps reduce glare and reflection. Plus, it helps hide scratches that will accumulate on the knife over time. CRKT added an elongated finger groove on the handle to help with precise cutting jobs.

Pocket Clip

CRKT Pilar comes with a stainless steel pocket clip that matches the handle. The clip is fixed to the handle by two small silver screws. The clip has been designed to carry the tool right-handed, which can be bad for left-handed individuals.


Deployment Mechanism

CRKT Pilar is a manual pocket knife that can be deployed manually using the thumb hole or thumb slot on the blade. The thumb slot allows the thumb to get a solid grip on the blade and then pull it out.

This mechanism is easy to use and elegant. However, this deployment method is not ideal for a tactical pocket knife. CRKT Pilar also comes with a flame lock that secures your blade when it’s opened. The frame lock allows you to handle tough tasks without worrying about the blade closing on you.

CRKT Pilar Review Summary

CRKT Pilar is a sharp and durable tool that can handle a wide range of outdoor and indoor tasks. Even though both its handle and blade are made from steel, this knife is still quite light.

CRKT Pilar is a great EDC knife that can be quite easy to use and maintain. It comes with a 2.402 inches long blade that is made from 8Cr13MoV steel. CRKT Pilar’s handle is made from stainless steel.


  • Easy to maintain
  • Easy to use
  • Durable
  • Comes with a razor-sharp blade
  • The blade has a high rust-resistant level
  • High edge-retention rate
  • Easy to re-sharpen


  • Can be a tad heavy for some users
  • Its handle can be slippery
  • Doesn’t have a reversible pocket clip


Our Opinion

Despite its small blade and weight, the CRKT Pilar can help you out of challenging situations. This folding knife can handle a wide range of tasks thanks to its 2.402 inches long blade.

Its reverse Wharncliffe blade can make precise and long cuts. This reliable EDC blade can cut several thin objects, including firewood. CRKT Pilar’s blade is made from 8Cr13MoV steel, which has high edge-retention and rust-resistance levels.

For such a reliable tool, the Pilar can be a tad heavy for some users. Weighing about 4.2 ounces, the CRKT Pilar can fit perfectly in your pocket. Its short and sturdy blade, handle, and simple opening mechanism have made it an ideal EDC. For easy carry, CRKT added a pocket clip that is ideal for right-handed individuals. This tool also comes with a lanyard hole, which you can use to attach it to your keys.

This manual folding knife is quite easy to deploy. All you have to do is pull the blade out using the thumb slot cutout on the blade.

The thumb slot can give you a solid grip making it quite easy to open. And for extra security, CRKT added a frame lock that secures the blade when you are using it. The Frame lock guarantees that the knife won’t close on you while you are working.

The steel handle is quite durable and can help keep your blade sharp. However, steel is known to be very slippery. So working with this blade in rainy weather can be quite a challenge.

The blasted finish on the handle helps reduce reflections and hide scratches, which can form over time. However, the blasted beads can leave some abrasions on your handle. These abrasions can make your steel handle prone to rusting.

General User Impressions

As per most reviews, the CRKT Pilar is loved by several users, thanks to its small size and sharp blade. Some users have described it as a squid knife on steroids.

This pocket knife is thick and has a broad blade. Therefore, it can handle tough outdoor tasks. Plus, its strong tip can be quite helpful when handling delicate jobs.

The knife’s material and design makes it look like a tool that has been carved out of steel. And the fact that it is not so heavy makes it a great EDC knife.

A knife this size has a three-finger grip, but the presence of the big choil provides extra space for a fourth finger. And many users have confirmed that this can be very comfortable. The big choil can give you greater control over the knife.

Other users loved the thumb slot on this manual folding knife. The thumb slot is perfect, and it does provide you with a solid grip when opening the blade. And while working, you never have to worry about the blade harming you if it closes abruptly thanks to the frame lock.

Things To Consider When Purchasing A Pocket Knife

As an outdoorsy person, you know the challenge of not carrying a reliable EDC knife. You also know the importance of selecting the right pocket knife for your next survival trip.

Remember, the efficiency and sharpness of your blade can make a significant difference in your day. The ability to easily re-sharpen your blade after it has lost its sharpness is also important. After all, knives do lose their sharpness after being used continuously.

CRKT Pilar is an ideal knife for people who love backpacking, hiking, and camping. It is a must-have everyday carry tool for all EDC enthusiasts. And the fact that it’s easy to close and open makes it a perfect option for less experienced pocket knife carriers.

Even though its blade can cut is ideal for precise cuts, the Pilar is not the best option for individuals with big hands. And as much as any knife can scare an attacker away, the Pilar is not the best self-defense knife.

A self-defense knife should have a very fast deployment rate. Plus, its pocket clip is only designed for right-handed individuals, so it’s not ambidextrous.

Choosing the right EDC pocket knife can be quite challenging, especially with the several knives in the market. So here are some of the factors you must consider when looking for a reliable pocket knife:

  • The blade design
  • The size and weight of the knife
  • The blade and handle materials
  • Size of the blade
  • The locking and opening mechanism
  • Is it partially serrated, fully serrated, or pain edged knife?

About CRKT, Inc

CRKT is a top American knife producer that is based in Oregon. CRKT was started by Rod Bremer and Paul Gillespi in 1994. The two founders of CRKT were previous employees of Kershaw Knives.

CRKT did not really take off until 1997 when they launched the KISS knife at the Shot Show. Designed by Halligan Ed, the KISS took the industry by storm and gave the company the leap they needed.

KISS knife was sold out during the first few opening days of the event. And they managed to sell years’ worth of knives during that event.

Since its inception, CRKT has been known as a company that produces high-quality knives that can last. CRKT has always put innovations in front of everything.

And they try and introduce new concepts and technological advancement with all their products. To achieve this, they love collaborating with some of the world’s best designers.

Out of these collaborations, they have managed to introduce some of the most innovative blades that are in the market today.

Brand Controversy

CRKT found themselves in trouble in 2000, when the American Customs seized their shipment of Chinese pocket knives. All these models had passed inspection in prior situations.

And this shipment had been cleared on September 29; however, the inspector changed his mind on October 3. The inspector claimed that they acted like switch knives.

The company was allowed to move its product again by October 29. But, by then, CRKT had lost over a million dollars in sales and more than $30,000 in legal fees.


Numerous CRKT knives, particularly the high-end tools have limited lifetime warranty. CRKT will replace or repair your knife if it fails or breaks due to manufacturing or material defect.

The limited warranty runs as long as you have your knife. The warranty expires when you transfer your knife to another person.

Product FAQ

Does The Crkt Pilar’s Blade Come Sharp From The Factory?

All CRKT knives come with razor-sharp blades straight out of the factory, including the CRKT Pilar. Therefore, you can start using it as soon as you get it.

Won’t The Blade Close On Me When Tackling Tough Tasks And End Up Hurting My Fingers?

The CRKT Pilar’s handle has 3-finger grooves on it, and the addition of the choil makes it a 4-finger grip tool. Therefore, you can place your index finger on the choil for a greater grip. The Pilar’s frame lock can secure the blade and allow you to work peacefully.

Does It Come With A Full Tang?

The CRKT Pilar is a reliable folding knife. And just like all the other folding knives in the market, it doesn’t have a full tang.

Is This Knife Legal?

Well, in most jurisdictions, knives with an over 3 inches long blade are illegal. But, this varies from state to state. This knife has a 2.402 inches long blade, which is legal in several jurisdictions. However, just like with all folding knives, you should confirm your city’s knife laws before purchasing one.

Final Thoughts

Every outdoorsy person requires an ideal EDC for their next survival trip. They need a reliable pocket knife that has a sharp blade and can handle numerous tasks with ease. And with the CRKT Pilar, you will be more than ready for your next trip.

CRKT Pilar is a high-quality and durable manual folding knife that is quite easy to maintain and use. And the fact that it comes with a choil on its blade guarantees you a solid grip. Plus, you will never have to worry about it breaking down after a fall since it is made from steel.

CRKT Pilar is a great EDC tool that can compete with all the high-end manual-folding tools. And its lightweight and sleek design makes it an ideal everyday carry tool. Please click here to check out the CRKT Pilar manual folding knife.

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