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ESEE Candiru Review – 1.7oz Fixed Blade Knife

ESEE Candiru Review - 1.7oz Fixed Blade Knife

Usually I’d recommend that you carry only the amount of blade that you are going to need for any given backpacking trip. Sometimes that might be as small as a single edged razor blade or a Swiss Army Knife Classic. Occasionally you might need a larger blade for heavier duties – bushcraft being a great example.

I’ve written quite a lot in the past about how much knife you need for backpacking, but there are times when you want to carry a particular knife just because you like it – that’s always been my personal dilema between small folding knives which tend to be on the lighter end of the weight scale compared to fixed blade knives which are usually magnitudes heavier.

There’s a third option, that I hadn’t considered seriously until a few months ago. An option that provides the best of both worlds – a small, lightweight fixed blade knife. Enter the ESEE Candiru.

ESEE Candiru Review - 1.7oz Fixed Blade Knife

Skeletonized fixed-blade knives are nothing new to be honest, but for me personally I had never found one that was of the quality and strength that I had wanted. The closest I had come to buying one of these types of knives was the Buck Smidgen, but it always seemed to be mostly handle and very little blade and to be honest I had better folding knives (like the excellent Spyderco Delica) than the Buck Smidgen. That all changed when I got my hands on the ESEE Candiru.

ESEE knives have earned a reputation for being robust and dependable through years of extreme testing, hard use, and design refinement. They are the brand of choice for a lot of military operators and law enforcement agencies for good reason, they’ve proven themselves to work in very tough situations – they’ve been there and done that.

Despite it’s diminutive size the Candiru is all business and every bit as tough as it’s more famous larger brother, the RAT Izula.

Candiru Specifications:

  • Overall length: 5.13″
  • Cutting edge length: 2.0″
  • Maximum thickness: .125″
  • Weight: 1.7 ounces (knife only)
  • 1095 steel – 55-57 Rc.
  • Textured powder coat finish
  • Skeletonized handle
  • Cordura sheath
  • Available knife colors: black, desert tan, OD
  • Price: $46

ESEE Candiru Review - 1.7oz Fixed Blade Knife

The blade may only be 2 inches long, but it is all business and up for the toughest of jobs. The handle is a touch over 3 inches long and fits perfectly in the palm of my hand to provide a strong grip when getting serious with this knife. The width of the handle is also just about perfect for wrapping with my fingers – ESEE have done their homework.

The shape of the blade is about perfect for cutting tasks around camp and on the trail. The slight curve makes cutting cord a breeze and the delicate tip of the knife is small enough to pick out a splinter. Slicing fruit, something I do a lot of, is a joy with this little knife. It slices like a champ.

ESEE Candiru Review - 1.7oz Fixed Blade Knife

The thickness of the blade, which runs the same for the entire length of the knife, allows it to be used for even the most tortuous of outdoor cutting tasks like batoning or splitting wood. I’ve pried some wood apart with this too in an attempt to see how strong the tip is and without deliberately testing it to destruction, I was very surprised and pleased to see that I couldn’t damage it.

The powder coat finish is extremely durable, so much so that I have not seen a single chip of dent in it after several months of continued use. The edge has maintained its razor-like sharpness with only an occasional touch-up. I haven’t had to do any heavy sharpening in over 4 months.

ESEE Candiru Review - 1.7oz Fixed Blade Knife

The Candiru comes with a very well made and functional Cordura sheath that can be worn on a belt or around your neck. The sheath has an inner plastic liner that serves two purposes; it protects the sheath from getting cut by the sharp edge of the blade, and it holds the blade firmly to stop it from falling out accidentally. There is a flap that folds over the top of the knife and attaches to the sheath via a small section of Velcro.

ESEE Candiru Review - 1.7oz Fixed Blade Knife

I freaking love this little knife. It’s has all the advantages of a large fixed blade knife with none of the disadvantages of many “UL” alternatives. It’s 1.7oz of badass! This may be a small knife but it is a perfect example of form following function. It’s made to be used and can take pretty much anything a lightweight backpacker can throw at it – and more.

At only forty dollars this purchase is a no-brainer. You won’t even know you are carrying this knife, but you’ll be really happy you were when you suddenly need it because your friend’s UL razor blade has just broken :) For more reviews of fixed blade knives, check out the post here.

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Disclosure: The author won this ESEE Candiru knife as part of a promotional giveaway that was being run publicly on Twitter and Facebook. It was not provided specifically for the purpose of this review.

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  • That truely looks like a sweet compact knife, Brian, this is the second or third review I have seen on this knife and every one has given it a strong positive rating, thanks for your honesty.

  • sygyzy

    For backpacking, do you consider the Candiru the best choice from ESEE’s lineup?

    • Well, if you’re looking for lightweight and that is still your primary concern, then yes. If you want lightweight but a slightly bigger size then at only 2oz you cannot go wrong with the larger Izula.

      Either will serve you well, it just depends on your weight preference. For 0.3oz more the Izula gives you a lot more knife. Unfortunately I lost my Izula over a year ago and have not yet replaced it, but I’m sure I will.

      • sygyzy

        Another 0.3 oz? Are you insane? Should I carry an air mattress with me too for the ultimate in “roughing” it?

        • You are joking yes?

          • sygyzy

            Yes, sorry just some American humor.

      • josh camp

        ooh, the izula looks perfect. I’ve been looking for a new fixed blade to hike with that doesn’t weigh as much as my 6.8oz 9 inch beast. Even the sheath looks good.

  • Awesome review……….and awesome knife! I really like the powder coat finish………I bet it holds up a lot better than titanium nitride and other mainstream blade coating’s.

    • I’ve beaten the crap out of this little knife and I have yet to scratch the coating :) It’s badass for sure.

  • looks really nice but i think ill stick to my mora, its not all that heavy and as much use as i get out of it its well worth the weight

    • At just over 4oz the Mora is a great knife and I own one myself. I’m not suggest you ditch what you have, I just get a lot of requests to look at more UL knives and I’ve been trying to do that as best I can.

  • I’ve had really good luck with a Cold Steel Spike. Only slightly heavier, and enough of a handle to actually use.

  • Great review. I use the CRKT RSK ( in a similar manner.

  • SparksinTexas

    Regrettably, I am making several other purchases at Knife Depot and they don’t carry the Candiru.

    Did I understand you to say in the comments that the Izula is just as good…they also have an Izula II. Have you used it?

    • The Izula II is a superb knife too. Slightly larger and longer but otherwise identical.

    • SparksinTexas

      we are buying this for a two small handed girls so we decided to stick with the Candiru after-all. now on the search for one of those elusive $40 Candiru.

      Don’t guess you are able to recommend a site?

      • Have you tried looking on ebay? They have a couple listed for $47 right now. The best other online deals I’ve seen were in the $50 range.

      • GP Knives has them in stock right now for $47

    • josh camp

      I just purchased an Izula-II and I love it. I chose it because it fit my hand perfectly. If your knives are for young girls then I would say the candiru or izula will be perfect. Such great knives, you can’t go wrong.

  • marty

    Where did you buy yours?