Your New Favorite Travel Companion

Here in the United States, knife legislation can get tricky depending on the state. Some laws even vary from county to county, making it tough to stay on top of what’s legal. Beyond the United States, knives are frequently subjected to exceedingly strict limitations, ranging from locking mechanisms to blade length. For those that travel internationally it’s often more convenient to leave the knife at home, but leaving behind one of your most trusted companions is easier said than done. With these difficulties in mind, we partnered up with French knifemaker, Patrick Famin to create a knife that can travel with ease. The new 380 Aller features a screwdriver and pry tip, micro bit slot, a custom pocket and money clip, as well as a bottle-opener for that well-deserved beverage at the end of a long travel day. Spending the majority of his time bouncing between France and Florida, Famin is well versed in the world of international travel and knifemaking, which contributed to the motivation behind this design. We had a chance to ask Patrick a few questions regarding his background, inspiration, and intent for Benchmade’s first friction folder, the 380 Aller.

Let’s start with an introduction. Who are you? What do you do when you aren’t making knives?

My name is Patrick Famin, and I am 57 years old. I was born in France, and studied computer technology before continuing my studies in Arizona, where I met my wife. We returned to France in 1990 to open a computer business which we ran until 2010. I started to make knives as a hobby in 2007, and in 2010 started a new career as a full-time knife maker. After two years, I opened my knife shop in Moulins, France in 2012. My in-laws live in Gainesville, Florida so we opened a second store in an effort to break into the US market. In my spare time I enjoy trap shooting and motorcycle riding.  

When did you become interested in knives, and what was your motivation to start making them yourself?

I became interested in knives at a young age. I was 7 years old when I got my first knife for Christmas. It was a Laguiole, and that knife started my passion as I quickly began collecting knives. After 39 years of collecting, I decided to design my own knife and found my mentor, Christian Avakian. He was a French knifemaker who trained me, eventually helping me design my first knife in 2007. Shortly thereafter I began to build a name for myself with my first dual-action automatic design and balisong in 2008.

What inspires your designs? Function? Aesthetics?

I’m always drawing parts for motorcycles and sports cars, so I wanted to create designs that are comfortable in hand. I call them “comfort designs”, similar to the feel of handle bars, brake-clutch levers, steering wheels, and gear shifts. I follow this inspiration as I draw my knives, in order to create a knife that fits perfectly in your hands. I enjoy playing with different opening mechanisms, like my dual action deployed by a handle scale release, clip releases, fake screw releases, or flippers with front and back tangs. The first Benchmade balisong actually inspired me to draw a balisong of my own, called the LAMBO.

Walk us through your process of bringing a knife design to life? 

When I start to draw a new knife, I like to focus on two elements that I regard as the most important features of any design. I aim to create a knife that will accommodate an incredibly sharp edge while maintaining a safe function, before working in my “comfort designs”. Once I’ve figured these two features out, I can start to incorporate ergonomics, so that the knife handles perfectly in both the opened and closed positions.

What do you enjoy most about collaborating on a design?

What I like about collaborating on a knife design is the opportunity to share and combine different methodologies while creating the best prototype possible. In addition to creating an incredible product, I enjoy building new relationships throughout the process.

What was your motivation behind the 380 Aller?

When I started to design the 380 Aller, I intended to make a knife that could travel around the world. Blade length is a major limitation in many countries, so I designed a non-locking blade under 1.7”. I came up with a design that allowed the user to lock the blade in an open position as they hold the knife, by creating a pinch point between the thumb and index fingers. Once I had a design in mind, I asked another French knifemaker, Eric Demongivert if he would be interested in collaborating. He helped me design a variety of tools we could add to the knife, in an effort to make the design more useful during travel. We started to build the prototype together and brought the design to Atlanta for Blade Show in 2017.

Patrick will be joining us at SHOT Show this coming week in Las Vegas. Keep an eye on our various social media platforms for updates with Troy, Hans, and Patrick!

EDIT: This knife is NOT TSA Approved for carry-on luggage. The 380 Aller must be stored in checked luggage when traveling.

35 thoughts on “Your New Favorite Travel Companion

  1. very interesting knife, it would be my kind of pocket knife I would carry anywhere, I would like to have on now,

  2. They make a nice knife the same size as a credit card to put in your billfold. It also opens bottles & cans, has a screwdriver, & wrench. Also a ruler both metric & U.S. & a line sight, or sun dial. I will stick with it. It has 2 knife edges.

  3. It looks like a nice knife. Perfect for the desk drawer. Almost all my knives are BenchMade’s. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be travelling with them as I don’t travel with checked baggage for a number of reasons. The first thing I do when I leave the airport is stop at Walmart where I pick up the usual sundries that would have been covered by the $25 – $50 checked baggage fee. One of those items is a good quality 4″ bladed liner lock. When it comes time to go home, I give the knife to some up and coming youngster in the family. Win-win coming and going and I won’t lose a great knife to sticky fingers in the TSA 😉

  4. You want to make us loyal Benchmade owners happy? Remake the afck!!! Give me that combo blade full sized thumb hole piece of art! I’ll buy three. But you can keep this worthless pos your trying to claim is a knife.

  5. Do you get 9 additional knives for the $160 listed price? Does this knife also translate different languages? Can it purify water? Is it also a Sat phone? Can it make me a sandwich? Will it drive me home after I have had a little too much to drink? Can it fix my parent’s computer, so I don’t have to? Will it explain the movie Inception to me so I can make sense of the ending? Will it inspire my kids to eat broccoli? Is it a little itty bitty lightsaber? Is it made of Adamantium? Will it find my car keys? Is it reverse-engineered from alien technology? Is this Jason Bourne’s knife? If it is, is he going to come looking for it? Can I use this knife while Brazillian dance fighting? Will it load my toilet paper over the roll and not under…ever. Will it explain BitCoin to me? Help me understand why a knife that has a 1 and a half inch blade is $160 dollars.

  6. Not only can you not carry this in a plane but it’s also not allowed at any major cruise port terminal so no air no water means it’s definitely NOT a travel knife what a near $200 scam

    1. While you can’t carry the knife on your person while flying, the fact that the knife has no locking mechanism and a sub 2″ blade allows you to carry this knife in many of the countries that enforce stringent knife legislation. This knife was not designed to pass TSA, nor was it designed for cruises…

  7. Tactical pens can be useful for travel, I also pack disposable pocket clip razors from home depot. You can get three for like $15. I pack them in my toiletry case with other random metal objects, if it gets confiscated to or from security it’s no big loss.

  8. A knife is a trusted companion? Someone needs to get a life. If a utensil has to be a companion I’m choosing a spoon. Impressive piece of work that I don’t see any value in.

  9. Will this ‘knife’ pass through airport security? What I’m looking for is something I can take anywhere. Maybe a metal wallet that can be disassembled into various tools like a really good knife?

  10. What a piece of junk. First, I have no clue why you call this a travelers knife. I have many pocket knives. This one looks short, unimpressive, and useless. And as others have mentioned. Of course you CAN’T carry on!!! No tsa approved knives!! Not now, probably not ever.
    So what is this? A $160 plus shipping and handling tiny knife. I’m a huge believer in you get what you pay for. But I have some amazing blades for far less than half that. Sog, crkt, Leatherman.. all make good short blades for mid 40s.

  11. Cabelas practically gives away a small mini-Leatherman type tool, with a baby blade, saw blade, nail file, screw-driver, can-opener, flashlight, and pliers included. Probably not TSA approved, but I carry it in my back-pack carry-on without mentioning it. Stuck in a pouch with nail clippers, lighter, flashlight, sunglasses, and maybe a spoon or other harmless metal objects, it’s never been noticed. Cost about $5.00 so if they notice it, I won’t care much. Just need something to pick my teeth and clean my nails… I don’t check luggage.

  12. Love quality knives and have carried one every day for over 60 years. Love innovation of new knives, steels, design but this knife at $160?? No. My best travel “knife/tool” has been the folding knife, corkscrew, bottle opener. I can suffer with a minimal knife but I hate to be caught in the hotel without a corkscrew or bottle opener. Even the best ones are cheap and if TSA or the luggage gods snatch one it’s ok.

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