With a name like Quiet Carry, you may not be surprised to find a lineup of EDC gear and folding knives that are very simple and subdued. Their foundation, since their debut in 2014, has been to create gear that they would carry and use themselves, and it’s panned out very well. And within their gear and knife product lineup, is a shining star to many EDC fans; the Waypoint. As with most knives made by Quiet Carry, the Waypoint is continuously out of stock. And when they restock, they sell out almost instantly.
Why is this little, boring folder catching such attention? A big piece of the pie for this knife is it’s steel. There aren’t many production folding knives made of Vanax Superclean steel. It’s gaining traction, although it’s been around for a while. Pair that with an easy to carry, lightweight, high quality folder, and you have the answer for this knife’s popularity. But does it prove itself in terms of value and usability? Or is it an overpriced, overhyped piece of titanium that’s going to fade away? Let’s dive down the rabbit hole and get some insight on what’s what with this unique little knife.
Key Specs: Quiet Carry Waypoint
Circling back to the shining star of today’s knife, the Vanax Superclean (aka Vanax 37) blade is highly sought after. It has the utmost stainless properties of almost any blade steel (arguably slightly superior to H1), it has extremely good edge retention (consider it slightly inferior to M390), and won’t chip away as easily as something like Maxamet. Toughness and ease of sharpening may not be at the forefront of this steel’s strong points, but they’re not lacking by any means. There has been quite the push from keyboard commandos across the internet in the last few months for more manufacturers to use this steel in their knives. Its drawback is cost but it has apparently come down in price in terms of blade stock blanks for makers, so we may end up seeing other companies and small makers utilizing this high quality steel.
The Waypoint has a very simple blade shape. It’s quite the traditional drop point, without many frills or edgy lines. Using a very thin blade stock (0.9”) and a hollow grind on the blade’s broad side, Quiet Carry has designed a blade that’s nothing short of the ultimate slicer. Billboarding has been left to a minimum on the blade’s sides too; the show side shows only “Quietcarry”, and the lock side reads the steel composition as “Vanax”. Simple, just like all the choices made in this company’s design queues.
Coming in at a very modest, yet capable length, the blade is my personal favorite 3.3”. It seems to feel just long enough to get through medium sized cutting chores, but doesn’t feel too long when using just the tip for piercing open a small package. Quiet Carry didn’t forget about the sharpening crowd, either. They went ahead and made sure to cut a small sharpening choil at the base of the blade, for stone clearance (here’s looking at you, Spyderco). Coming to a very acute point, the blade terminates with needle precision for the finest of EDC tasks. And, with a knife that’s undoubtedly designed to get wet from time to time, they didn’t forget about the jimping on the blade spine, as it’s very quietly cut into the base of the blade. Just the right amount of grip, without being obtrusive or overly aggressive.
Deployment / Lockup
Handling a knife with a narrow footprint, a small thumb stud, and semi-slick titanium sounds like a disaster in the deployment department. But it’s not. I can’t really place how or why it’s possible, but this knife is easily flickable. Again utilizing 6AL 4V Titanium, the thumb stud is designed and implemented very well, being comfortable in use and subdued in aesthetics. Using either a slow thumb roll, or a quick flick to get the blade moving, the action is quite sweet for a small knife with a lightweight blade running on phosphor bronze washers. The blade moves quite easily to it’s open position, and sits there quite rigidly with confidence. And, the blade has thumb studs on both sides of the blade (sorry Chris Reeve Knives, I had to mention it).
So the blade flips out nicely, how about that lockup? Well, I’m happy to report that I had no detectable movement in the locked open position with this knife, whatsoever. And I really cranked on it. Most smaller sized folders tend to have a little wiggle room when the blade is locked open. But somehow, Quiet Carry’s design was executed very precisely, preventing the blade from having any feeling of movement in this position.
Releasing the blade from the locked open position is done via the liner lock on the Waypoint. Even with a very solid lockup, I felt no lock stick in the disengagement of the blade. That’s sometimes more significant than one may think. If something has extreme rigidity, it’s usually bound in place by one or more points of contact. And it may very well be the case on this knife, too. But either the materials chosen were done in a way that prevents any lock stick, or they just happened to have this knife machined in a way that disengages just as smoothly as it flicks open. What a relief.
Features, Fit and Finish
Some knives have list of features that are so short, I could fit them into a couple sentences. Not the case with the Waypoint. It’s packed with features, even though it’s kept a modest appearance to the naked eye.
Let’s start at the bottom. The handle scales are made of the same Titanium material as the previously mentioned thumb studs. Next stop… a backspacer with a single screw coming through the handle for minimalistic construction. In the same area as this backspacer is the reversible wire pocket clip, made of “marine grade SST steel”. This helps the knife to carry quite deep in the pocket, projecting the appearance of a pen more than a knife. The hardware (screws) on the Waypoint are also made from this same SST steel. On the show side scale, is a set of 4 dimples cut into the handle; this is Quiet Carry’s logo, if you will. They do use a capital letter Q on their website logo, but on all their knives, you’ll find this synonymous 4-dot pattern. Near the top of the handle is a small relief cutout for the liner lock access, but also helps with ergonomics in this very straight, simple handle design. At the top of the handle is the pivot assembly, which also hides the internal stop pin, allowing the knife to appear as naked as possible.
On to the guts. Inside the Waypoint is some heavy internal milling. This is one of the contributing factors to the knife’s extremely low weight of just 2.7oz. The detent ball that keeps the blade in it’s closed position is ceramic, aiding again in the extreme resistance to corrosion in all possible ways. Housing the ceramic detent ball is a liner lock made of LC200N steel. Yes, you read that right, this knife uses a steel for it’s liner lock that many knives use for their blade steels. Details like this are where the points begin to add up to the cost of this little folder. And they better add up quick, because a price tag of $295 is going to demand some justification, from a somewhat small company.
The fit and finish of the Waypoint match it’s design, lockup and action. It’s all very well done. All the parts are smooth, chamfered, and fit together precisely. Even after a disassembly, everything fits together well, with a nicely centered blade, and no issues to speak of. It’s worth mentioning at this point of the review, that the Waypoint is available in 7 different variations. From stonewashed handle and blade, to satin/satin, black PVD handle and satin blade, plum or blue handle and satin blade, to the blacked out PVD handle/ black PVD blade, there are many choices for buyers, assuming you can find one in stock every few months or so (and you’re able to complete a purchase before your selection sells out). All variants are made with the same titanium handle scales and Vanax Superclean blade steel composition, and they’re all the same retail price – $295.
“Using knives is even more fun that holding them”, a wise proverb once said. Well, maybe not, but it’s what I always say. And here’s where we get to talk about using the tool we’ve been describing for the last 1400 words. Circling back to the star of this knife’s hype, the blade steel. It’s not necessary for most people, most of the time, to have a pocket knife in their pocket, let alone one that’s nearly impervious to rust and corrosion. But I have to admit, it sure is nice. Nice to know that even on a hot day in a sweaty pocket, or after cutting up some food that would typically force a blade to begin to patina, this blade will generally not have any issues in this regard. Us true knife nerds know the feeling of carrying M4 or K390 steel blades. There’s just always a little voice in the back of your head, telling you to be cautious of your knife, make sure it’s not too damp, make sure it’s being taken care of. All these worries are out the window with the Waypoint.
And speaking of cutting food, this knife is a great kitchen companion. Pairing it’s thin blade stock with it’s thin edge geometry and hollow grind, it’s a great means of dicing up a quick snack on the go, in the lunch room, or in the kitchen. Slicing up an apple gave no hesitation, and the slices came out clean, without cracks. Attacking a freshly cooked steak and Russet potatoes was no match for the slicing champ that is the Waypoint. Dab a spot of dish soap on the blade and rinse it in the sink; there’s no worry that the water making it’s way down into the pivot will give the knife pause down the road. There’s just nothing that will corrode or rust under the hood.
Gearing up into the EDC mindset, snapping the blade open and cutting open an Amazon box is as quick and thoughtless as you’d hope it to be. Breaking down said box is just as pleasurable as a folding knife gets; this thing is a cardboard destroyer. Not much binding in the material, thanks again to the thin blade stock and hollow grind, and holding a nice keen edge is no problem even after plenty of normal use.
Push cutting some twisted sisal rope was crisp and crunchy, powering through quite a few cuts without much complaint. Except for that pesky pocket clip. Considering the fact that there are always trade-offs with designs in EDC tools, having a pocket clip that carries like a dream may mean that it’s a pocket clip that creates a hot spot. And the Waypoint does just that. It’s not terrible, but the base of the pocket clip did seem to agitate the side of my palm after a little heavier use in the longer cardboard cuts and rope cutting on a workbench. But, the ergonomics are quite good considering it’s such a narrow handled knife, and the subtle jimping does a good job of keeping the thumb in place without trying to pull any skin off in the process. It feels good, works well, and carries… quietly.
All these knives available at BladeHQ.Spyderco seems to frequent the alternatives section here, even if the review is about a Spyderco knife. But for good reason. The company makes a knife in just about any imaginable steel, any lock type, any blade and overall size, and any style. And today’s comparable Spyderco to the Waypoint is the infamous Spydiechef. Marcin Slysz is a quite popular knife maker and designer. He’s designed Spyderco’s (possibly) most desirable knife of all time, the Slysz Bowie, and the Techno and Techno 2, along with the newcomer, the Swayback. But the Spydiechef has some comparable aspects to the Waypoint that qualify it as a very worthy opponent.
With a frame lock made of titanium, LC200N blade steel (which is also nearly rust-proof), and an extremely unique style, the material choices are quite similar between these two knives. But, and it’s kind of a big butt, is the price difference. The Spydiechef has gone through droughts of availability, but is currently easily had through many online retailers, at today’s price of ~$234, approximately $60 less than the Waypoint.
It also utilizes a deep carry wire pocket clip for great concealment. It’s sheepsfoot blade shape can be polarizing in preference, but it is undoubtedly versatile. The Spydiechef and Waypoint both have a 3.3” blade, but the ‘Chef weighs an ounce more at 3.78oz vs the Waypoint’s 2.78oz.
Quiet Carry makes more than one knife in the up and coming fan favorite Vanax blade steel. The Drift model comes in 6 different color variations, all of which use the same Vanax blade steel, but jump up in price at either $315 or $325 depending on the variant chosen. In 2019, at the Blade Show West knife convention, the Drift was voted as the year’s best EDC knife when put up against other debut knives that year. That’s quite a feat for a company with little traction before this instance. Using a frame lock, rather than the Waypoint’s liner lock, the Drift is also a bit smaller with a 2.9” blade and a weight of 2.6oz. The blade grind is of a flat nature, but is otherwise nearly identical in materials when compared to it’s newer, more popular brother. Unfortunately, the Drift faces the same issue of availability as the Waypoint, but I’m sure Quiet Carry has pushed their limits on production in recent times, while maintaining a quality product.
The Quiet Carry Waypoint does it’s job, works well, feels solid, keeps itself hidden in the pocket, and shows up to work the next day. It virtually can’t rust, has good ergos, and doesn’t scare away the knife-shy folk in the lunch room or at a kid’s birthday party when opening a pesky toy package. It can be a tad small in the handle for the larger mitted individuals, but that’s just a size issue, and can’t be held against the knife’s design or implementation. It’s all the good of “today’s modern folder”, with all the simplicity and modesty of a humble natured Honda Civic. It uses as well as it carries, and doesn’t need any kind of unusual maintenance. Vanax isn’t a steel that any daily carry knife user can sharpen without a little knowledge and the use of proper abrasives, but it’s no Maxamet. Don’t be afraid, jump in. The water’s fine. And take your Waypoint with you, it’ll fair the ocean waters all the same.
- Light, carries very well, nearly rust-proof, versatile, high tech, humble.
- Not made for long duration use, a bit pricey for some buyers, availability is limited at the time.