Ontario Knife Company (based in New York State's Ontario County), with their RAT II pocket knife, has produced a reliable, simple, modern pocket knife in a proven design and configuration. The materials are good enough, but nothing special. The construction has held up to our rigorous testing, including plenty of adventure time. The best attribute of this knife is its four possible pocket clip configurations. If you don't yet know how you like to carry a pocket knife (or know you like to carry it in a less-popular orientation), the ability to move the clip around is rare and sets this knife apart in our lineup of the best pocket knife options available today.Editor's Note: We updated this review for Ontario Knife Company RAT II on August 25, 2022, with a closer look at value and suggestions for other comparable products that might better suit your needs and budget.
Ontario Knife Company RAT II Review
Cons: Low profile handle, heavier than other options
Manufacturer: Ontario Knife
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Ontario Knife Company RAT II is a basic, mid-priced, solidly-performing knife. Let us first make some notes on branding. "Ontario Knife Company" is often abbreviated, even by the company itself, as "OKC." The "RAT" reference is an abbreviation also. OKC brands this in conjunction with Randall's Adventure Training, a survival school in Alabama. The RAT II is a scaled-down version of the original folding OKC RAT. There are many other OKC RAT knives, but the RAT II is what we have found is best for day-to-day use and human-powered outdoor use.
Blade and Edge Integrity
The D2 steel of the tested OKC RAT II is solid, reliable steel. We've tested it in other circumstances and found it to hold an edge about like other mid to high-end materials. There are better steels, but you have to spend a bit more to make that step up.
The RAT II folding pocket knife is very simple relative to the competition. This is a good thing. The handle is symmetrical (aside from the pocket clip), and the plastic scales are smooth where it matters and lightly textured otherwise. You open the RAT II with the thumb of either hand via an ambidextrous thumb stud. The pocket clip can be mounted in four places (tip-up/down and left/right). Especially if you are relatively new to daily carry of a pocket knife, this comprehensive set of carrying options will help you learn how you like your knife positioned.
We wish the handle scales were a tiny bit bulkier and more rounded. Our test team finds that a slightly bulkier and more rounded knife is better for extended and heavy usage. Of course, a bulkier knife is also less portable.
You can carry your OKC RAT II in any four different pocket clip configurations, loose in your pocket, or strung with cordage through the lanyard hole. Most will carry it pocket clipped. In that place and style, the pocket clip is very tight in a good way and, as mentioned above, configurable for you to try many different options.
On our scale the knife weighs 2.8 ounces and, when folded up, measures 4.0 x 0.4 inches. This is fairly typical for a day-to-day pocket knife. You can cut that weight nearly in half, for human-powered adventures, with a different choice. Lighter options compromise on sturdiness or cost compared to the RAT II.
Aside from the above-noted blade surface staining, we had no issues with the construction of the OKC RAT II. We are glad to see the completely open frame design. The RAT II is easy to clean when necessary. We like that all the fasteners are bolts instead of rivets. Theoretically, this knife is user-serviceable. Note, though, that disassembling, servicing, and reassembling small, mechanical equipment like a pocket knife is more complicated than it might first appear.
There are no other features on the Ontario Knife Company RAT II. Few general-purpose pocket knives have other features.
Should You Buy the Ontario Knife Company RAT II?
The Ontario Knife Company RAT II is as basic as modern pocket knives come. This is good; basic is reliable, and proven. But for the design and construction quality, the price is a bit high. If you find a deal on this OKC knife, you could readily consider it a valuable item. We have a few minor complaints, but we can recommend this product, especially if you find it at a discounted price.
What Other Pocket Knives Should You Consider?
We tested other options in our best pocket knife review that are at the same or lower price and are, arguably, a little better overall than the OKC RAT II. If portability is a major factor, consider the stripped-down Leatherman Skeletool KB or the Petzl Spatha, especially if you're a rock or alpine climber. But if you're looking for a high-quality knife with an excellent blade and edge integrity, you'll have to invest in a more expensive option like the Benchmade Mini-Barrage 585.
— Jediah Porter
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