CIVIVI knives are well respected by the EDC community, so when the company reached out to us, we jumped at the chance to test out one of their new designs. Hence: our very first CIVIVI Elementum review!
Here’s how this is going to work. First, we’ll talk about the company a little bit before we get into the specs and features of our CIVIVI Elementum (and why we chose this particular model). Then we’ll go over our field test results—which we’ll be updating periodically—before delivering our final verdict for both EDC and camping purposes! Finally, we’ll wrap up with a few quick notes on CIVIVI’s new entries to the Elementum series!
Let’s get to it!
Table of Contents
Click on any of the links below to jump to the desired section!
- First, What Is CIVIVI?
- CIVIVI Elementum Review: The Specs
- CIVIVI Elementum Review: Features
- CIVIVI Elementum Review: Field Test Results After 1 Week
- Our Verdict
- Other Knives in CIVIVI’s New Elementum Series
First, What Is CIVIVI?
CIVIVI is a relatively new knife brand that mostly caters to the everyday carry market (what is everyday carry?). If their designs look familiar to you, it might be because CIVIVI is a budget-friendly offshoot of WE Knife, a fairly well-known and reputable knife manufacturer based in China.
So, Is CIVIVI a Chinese Brand? Are Their Knives Good?
CIVIVI is indeed a Chinese brand, but don’t let that dissuade you! CIVIVI (and by extension, WE Knife) make high-quality products.
WE Knife’s been around for a couple decades and they’ve definitely proven themselves as a premium knife brand, at least as far as EDC and camping knives go. CIVIVI uses many of the same materials and production practices, so their knives are built to a similar standard.
The only major difference is that WE Knife tends to use premium blade steels while CIVIVI uses a much wider range of steels (across budget ranges).
Are CIVIVI Knives Made in the USA or China?
To our knowledge, all CIVIVI knives are made in China. Some of their knives may be designed in the United States but we haven’t confirmed this.
Again, these aren’t your grandpa’s crappy trade-show knives or some mall-ninja garbage—CIVIVI uses modern production practices and high-end materials.
CIVIVI Elementum Review: The Specs
A little backstory before we begin: CIVIVI reached out to us a couple months ago to test out one of their new designs and to write an honest review (that’s always a stipulation on our end). We agreed and they let us choose a knife—and yes, it was a hard choice.
Anyway, here’s our first CIVIVI Elementum review!
We’re Specifically Reviewing the 2022 Elementum D2 Flipper (SKU: C907Z)…
Out of the dozen knives CIVIVI let us choose from, we opted for an Elementum Flipper knife in D2 steel with dark gray micarta scales. You can see the other options below, but we ultimately chose this knife for two reasons.
First, this knife is a bit smaller than our Kershaw Blur (check out our Kershaw Blur review if you’re curious), so we thought it might fill a gap in our everyday carry needs. Second, we liked that this option was sexy and sleek, but not flashy.
2022 CIVIVI Elementum Flipper Specs
Here’s how our Elementum breaks down stats-wise.
- D2 steel, hollow grind
- Liner lock, flipper
- Deep carry orientation: right, non-reversible
- Blade length: 2.96” (75.2 mm)
- Blade thickness: 0.12” (3 mm)
- Overall length, closed: 4” (102.4 mm)
- Handle thickness: 0.43” (11 mm)
- Weight: 2.74 oz (77.6 g)
As you can see, this is a smaller knife intended for everyday use rather than ultra heavy-duty, backbreaking tasks. Still, the D2 steel is tool-grade, meaning it’s very durable provided that it’s protected from moisture (easy enough).
Also note that our Elementum’s carry clip is oriented for right-handed users. To our knowledge, all CIVIVI knives are oriented for righties, but we could be wrong. Of course, this doesn’t mean that lefties can’t use these knives. The knife feels just as comfortable in either hand, which is sometimes a concern for people who wear rings.
CIVIVI Elementum Review: Features
Now we get down to the nitty-gritty details!
First Impression: Unboxing the CIVIVI Elementum Felt like Opening a New Tech Gadget
Our first impression of the CIVIVI Elementum was nothing but positive. We’ve opened up a lot of packages since we started Renegade Camping & EDC and this was the first time that a box impressed us.
The Elementum was well-protected within an included case (that we had no idea we were getting). Normally, the boxes our knives come in are all beaten to hell by the time we get to open them; so, it was nice to see a company make an effort.
On the other hand, packaging doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, especially if the product ends up being meh—but it did tell us that CIVIVI cares about their products. And as it turns out, it was a sign of the good things to come (#SpoilerAlert).
For comparison, our Victorinox Classic SD came wrapped in bubble wrap in an empty box. Now, the knife was perfectly fine (see our Victorinox Classic SD review), but the package was so beat up we couldn’t really take any great photos of it. We know, we know—who cares?
Nevertheless, this might be something to consider if you’re ordering a knife from CIVIVI or one of their dealers. You can trust that the knife will arrive safely (you know, barring porch pirates, the sorry bastards).
Form and Function: Everything Feels Crisp
Holding the CIVIVI Elementum feels right. Considering this is a “budget knife”, we really expected a blemish or two but as you can see from the photos, our Elementum arrived flawless and functional.
The action is smooth and crisp, the blade is sharp (see next section), and everything is securely in place. If someone told us this was a sub-$100 knife, we’d question it—which makes the $60 price point even more surprising.
The Elementum is also well-balanced, which tends to be something crappy manufacturers forgo to cut corners. Additionally, it’s insanely light at less than 3 oz. The micarta scales go a long way here but it’s also worth noting that this knife doesn’t feel cheap, as some blades do when they lack heft.
Don’t let the price fool you. The Elementum feels like a high-quality knife because that’s exactly what it is.
The D2 Blade Arrived Sharp and Ready
We weren’t sure what to expect when our CIVIVI Elementum arrived. We’ve only heard good things about CIVIVI, but sometimes the hype doesn’t match the final product. However, we’re happy to report that our Elementum arrived factory-sharp and ready to work.
This is our first D2 steel knife and we have to say, after a week of use, it probably won’t be our last. According to a (very well-researched post by KnifeSteelNerds) D2 knife steel offers “good wear resistance, hardness, and adequate toughness.”
We used our Elementum for all our everyday tasks (boxes, packages, etc.) and even a few tasks we don’t typically use our EDC knives for, like cutting meat and veggies. Not once did we feel like the knife wasn’t up to the task despite the short blade or “budget” steel.
We’re sure there are better-performing blades out there and this Elementum didn’t arrive sharp enough to pass the arm-hair test, but we’ve also found that blades that can pass that test upon arrival tend to be brittle. In other words, the Elementum is sharp enough to get the job done and we’re not concerned about this knife breaking in the middle of a task.
For the price, we can’t complain at all.
The Micarta Scales Are Comfortable and Offer a Firm Grip
We’ve never owned a knife with micarta scales before and again, this might become our standard—but we’ll have to see how it holds up over time.
Anyway, for the uninformed, micarta is a resin-based material that feels sort of fabric-y. It’s uber comfortable and offers a very sure grip. And even though micarta offers plenty of friction for a firm grip, it doesn’t feel abrasive and it won’t wear down your pockets.
The micarta scales on our Elementum feel great. As we said, the scales offer a solid, comfy grip.
The Only Downside: CIVIVI Says That the Knife Lacks Corrosion Resistance (but Rust Is Easy to Avoid)
This is a problem for most knives, but it seems that D2 steel may be a little more susceptible to corrosion than other types of stainless steel. That said, we got our Elementum wet several times and prompt drying seems to have prevented rust of any kind. The stonewash finish probably helps too.
In any case, corrosion is always a concern when it comes to knives. Even steels designed for corrosion resistance, like Victorinox steel (check out our Victorinox Spartan review), can show rust without proper maintenance.
Oiling your Elementum periodically will go a long way in preserving the blade. We use mineral oil because we like to make sure our knives are safe for food prep (as a just-in-case measure), but there are dozens of options that’ll help protect your knives.
CIVIVI Elementum Review: Field Test Results After 1 Week
Before we wrap up, here are just a few more points we uncovered during our first week of use. As we continue to use and carry our Elementum, we’ll be sure to update this section!
It Handles like a Dream
Using the Elementum is easy. We’ve said it before, but we want to make sure we bring this point home: it’s an ergonomic knife. We could see people with larger hands preferring a slightly longer knife, but it fits well in ours.
The Low Profile Design Carries Well
The CIVIVI Elementum fits seamlessly with our everyday carry kit (see our Trayvax Original 2.0 wallet review if you want to see what else we carry! #ShamelessPlug).
There wasn’t a single time when the knife felt awkward in our pocket. In fact, this will probably become our main everyday carry knife (we can’t tell you how many times our glassbreaker Kershaw has poked a hole in our hand…). Moreover, the Elementum’s low profile doesn’t broadcast that we have a knife on our person.
Our Verdict: Calling the Elementum a “Great Bargain” Knife Feels Like an Injustice—This Is a Fantastic EDC Knife (but the Price Is Nice, Too)
What else is there to say? The CIVIVI Elementum is a great knife that seems to punch above its weight class. We were surprised when we found out this knife only costs about $60.
The Elementum Is Great for EDC…
CIVIVI makes it a point to say their Elementum series is meant for everyday carry purposes, and we agree. This is a great utility knife that’s going to handle most general tasks very well. At least for the foreseeable future, this is going to be our EDC knife of choice simply because it’s capable, looks great, and has a low profile.
…And Acceptable for Camping (but Make Sure to Keep It Dry)
We want to be clear, the Elementum isn’t advertised as a camping knife—probably because the D2 steel is only mildly corrosion resistant. To that end, we feel that this knife can be used for camping, but you’re going to want to ensure it’s dry after every use (assuming it gets wet).
We also wouldn’t recommend using this knife to chop branches or anything better suited to a larger knife, like a USMC KA-BAR (our KA-BAR straight-edge review). The Elementum can probably handle heavy-duty tasks but it wasn’t necessarily designed for this.
Other Knives in CIVIVI’s New Elementum Series
One more bit before we sign off: in addition to the knife we just reviewed, here are a few more of CIVIVI’s recent Elementum designs (clicking on any of the links will bring you to their store pages on CIVIVI’s website).
Sept. 26–Sept. 30, 2022: CIVIVI’s Hosting a Giveaway on Their Website!
To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is make a qualifying purchase and answer a few questions on CIVIVI’s website. Please note that Renegade Camping & EDC is not part of this giveaway.
2022 CIVIVI Elementum Flipper Knives
CIVIVI’s other new entries to their Elementum Flipper series include a nice array of different scale and blade options. We nearly opted for the ebony wood option because it’s so darn classy.
Also note that the CIVIVI introduced a brass-handle tanto (we would’ve picked this one if not for the brass’ weight), as well as a a mini Elementum with a brass handle.
Use Code RENCAMPEDC for a variable discount on any orders made on CIVIVI.com!
- CIVIVI Elementum Flipper Knife G10 Handle (2.96″ D2 Blade)
- CIVIVI Elementum Flipper Knife Cuibourtia Handle (2.96″ Damascus Blade)
- CIVIVI Elementum Flipper Knife Ebony Handle (2.96″ D2 Blade)
- CIVIVI Elementum Flipper Knife Brass Handle (2.96″ D2 Tanto Blade)
- CIVIVI Elementum Flipper Knife Carbon Fiber Handle (2.96″ Damascus Blade)
- CIVIVI Mini Elementum Flipper Knife Brass Handle (1.83″ 14C28N Blade)
2022 CIVIVI Elementum Button-Lock Knife
We’re not huge fans of button-lock knives but it’s more of a matter of preference versus anything practical. The new button-lock Elementum features a dark green-gray micarta handle similar to Elementum we chose for this article.
2022 CIVIVIV Elementum Fixed-Blade Knife
Finally, we have CIVIVI’s new fixed-blade Elementum. Like the ebony-wood Elementum, we almost chose this option over the standard Elementum because it’s a bit longer and we don’t have many fixed blades. But, we decided that this would be too hard to carry on everyday basis.
That said, we may grab one of these in the future!
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