Blade Show 2022 was an absolutely amazing experience for the KPL team. We debuted our new Knife Shield product, and saying it was well-received would be an understatement. The community, custom knife makers, and larger production companies were eager to see Knife Shield demonstrations and pick up a few bottles, or even a few cases!
Our premier line of pivot lubes were also quite a hit and our team happily helped people coming to visit our booth lube up their pivots and improve their action. This afforded me not only the opportunity to handle some incredible knives, but more importantly, I got to talk to the incredible members of both the knife and outdoor communities.
If I had to define the theme of this year's show, I would definitely say it was all about the community! There were members of knife groups in attendance, many makers collaborated and worked booths together, and I saw ideas coming together all over the place on how makers could support each other.
In a world where businesses are often competing with one another, the knife community has demonstrated that collaboration and cooperation is the true path to success!
The Rise of the Outdoor Community
Blade Show has always been about knives, but this year we saw some significant growth in the attendance of members of the outdoor community and outdoor gear vendors. This was absolutely amazing for me, as I got to meet many of my internet friends and contacts in person, and also meet some new ones!
For the outdoor community, this is a big step forward in being recognized as part of the knife community. While the outdoors people may not be into fancy folders like the EDC folks are, we are passionate about fixed blades, especially handmade and custom knives.
There was definitely no shortage of custom and handmade knife makers in attendance. I got to meet the fine folks over at LT Wright, The Woods Monkey, Kpaw Custom Knives, 1558 Knife Co, and Corvus Survival, just to name a few.
I also had the opportunity to chat with some of the titans of production fixed blades including ESEE, TOPS Knives, and Freeman Outdoor Gear, as well as newcomers to the fixed blade game like Reiff Knives.
In addition to the great knife companies we had some amazing gear companies in attendance, including Wazoo with their line of practical wearable outdoor survival gear, PNW Bushcraft Shop with their handmade waxed canvas goods, and Georgia Bushcraft, who is known for hosting a variety of outdoor courses. I hope to see this trend of more and more members of the outdoor community coming to Blade Show to further cement their place as part of the greater knife community.
The EDC Community is as Strong as Ever
The EDC community is thriving, I was amazed at the number makers and fans that were so enthused to be there and doing business!
I had the opportunity to see some great new products from established makers, like the new automatic knives from Rick Hinderer and Buck Knives, as well as some great new options and premium materials from Benchmade. We were able to see some amazing new offerings from up and comers like EMP, Tactile Knives, and Rosecraft Blades, just to name a few.
Beyond all the new products, we were also afforded the opportunity to meet people who have traveled from all over the country and many different parts of the world. It is always a joy to talk to people about the products they are passionate about and help them make the knives they love even better! There were members of the many thriving online and local knife groups in the community, and it is always gratifying to watch the in person reunion of old friends and colleagues.
Those who have been to Blade Show know all about “The Pit”, but for those who haven’t been there before, this is the official after party! Every night after Blade Show closes, knife makers, dealers, and enthusiasts party it up and continue to network with one another at the Waverly Hotel.
I had the pleasure of jumping on USA Made Blades Instagram Live Show for a few minutes, meeting the folks from Hinderer Knives, as well as the esteemed knife maker and designer Liong Mah, and DJ Horn who works with DPX Knives. The balisong community also found a nice area to congregate and flip the night away, which you can read about in more detail in Barkhandle's article* about Blade Show 2022 from a bali flipper's perspective.
On the final night there was an awards ceremony for the many best of categories, which was a ton of fun! If you’ve been to Blade Show but haven’t been to “The Pit”, you should definitely make it a point to go for at least one night, as the party goes on all night and into the early hours of the morning.
Over the span of two and a half days I walked around 40 miles, spoke to hundreds of people, demonstrated the outstanding new Knife Shield product countless times, met some of the makers that I respect, met up with old friends, and made some new ones. The whole weekend felt like one long marathon and was completely exhausting, but I can’t wait to do it again next year!
If you are a knife and/or outdoor enthusiast this is the event to attend. If you have not been there before, I highly recommend you start planning now for 2023!
Thanks for reading! If you want to check out the new Knife Shield product or anything else KPL has to offer, you can use code "BLACKFLAG" at checkout for 10% off your purchase!
You can also follow me on Instagram as well as my website for more outdoor and knife content!