CRKT Minimalist Bowie Knife

By Mary and Dr. Jim Clary

CRKT Minimalist Bowie
Shown approximately life size. Illustration courtesy of Columbia River Knife & Tool, Inc.

The CRKT Minimalist Bowie is a small, fixed blade, sheath knife. It can be conveniently carried on a belt, using the removable belt loop on its sheath, or worn inverted around the neck on the supplied paracord strap.

Most knives with Bowie pattern blades are big fighting knives. However, it would be a stretch to call any knife with a two inch sharpened cutting edge a fighting knife. CRKT describes their Minimalist Bowie as a compact utility knife.

This little knife was designed by Alan Folts of Melbourne, Florida. For those who prefer other blade styles, CRKT offers similar Folts mini knives with Wharncliffe and tanto blade shapes. Of these three, the Minimalist Bowie blade pattern is probably the most versatile for outdoor survival use. (It is pretty hard to imagine skinning game with a Wharncliffe blade or dressing-out anything with a tanto blade.)

I would venture to say that most of us do not carry, or even own, a neck knife. This, my friends, is a major mistake for anyone who ventures into the outdoors. A good neck knife is one of the best insurance policies you can buy. If you get into a tough situation, you may not be able to reach your belt knife, or open a folder, but a neck knife might be within easy reach and readily deployed.

They are not only handy to have around camp in the evening, but are capable of field dressing small game. Our colleague, Dr. Donny, even used the paracord neck thong to lace a Minimalist Bowie to the holster of his concealed carry pistol; double protection, should he need it.

CRKT Minimalist Bowie on pancake holster
Photo courtesy of Dr. Donny MacDougall.


  • Type: Compact utility knife
  • Designer: Alan Folts
  • Blade Length: 2.125 in. (53.88 mm)
  • Blade Steel: 5Cr15MoV, HRC 55-57
  • Blade edge: Plain
  • Blade Finish: Bead blast
  • Blade Thickness: 0.108 in. (2.74 mm)
  • Weight: 1.6 oz.
  • Handle: Polished Resin Infused Fiber
  • Sheath Material: Glass-reinforced nylon
  • Overall Length: 5.13 in. (130.3 mm)
  • Country of origin: PRC
  • 2018 MSRP: $39.99

5CR15MoV is an inexpensive Chinese stainless steel. It is stain resistant, tough, very easy to sharpen and often used in kitchen knives. However, compared to the steels used in higher quality outdoor knives, it wears quickly and is indifferent at holding an edge. It would have been nice if CRKT had specified a more all-purpose stainless that requires less frequent sharpening, such as 8Cr13MoV, for a $40 survival knife.

This little knife's husky, truncated Bowie pattern blade is hollow ground with a sharp clip point that should be good for detail work. However, its short 2-1/8 inch long blade seems disproportionally wide, mitigating against its usefulness for very fine cutting.

The cutting edge has sufficient curve to allow for caping and skinning. The spine of the blade has a short area of jimping for a thumb-on-blade hold when it is necessary to increase cutting pressure.

The Minimalist Bowie's short handle has tough, resin infused fiber scales and three deep finger grooves to prevent slipping. The scales are secured to the tang with two Torx screws. Wrap the first three fingers of the hand around the handle and the little finger around the cord fob for a more secure grip.

CRKT Minimalist Bowie in hand
Illustration courtesy of Columbia River Knife & Tool, Inc.

The supplied glass-reinforced nylon hard sheath fully covers the blade. It is molded to the knife for a tight friction fit, making a retaining strap unnecessary. The two sides of the sheath are securely held together by six large, hollow core rivets that also serve as attachment points for the belt loop and neck paracord.

A standard, slip-joint pocket knife, such as a Case Mini Trapper, is probably more suitable for field dressing small game and a fixed blade, skeleton handle knife like the Buck 135 PakLite Caper that weighs only 1.1 ounces is more appropriate for field dressing and caping deer and other Class 2 game.

This little knife is not a specialist; it is made for whatever needs to be cut. With a lifetime warranty and a 2018 MSRP of $39.99, the CRKT Minimalist Bowie is intended to appeal to outdoorsman and survivalists.

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Copyright 2018 by Mary and Jim Clary and/or All rights reserved.