Opinel offers a wide range of products from table knives to garden tools, from kitchen knives to DIY multi-function knives. The N°12 Explore pocket knife is made in France and is the ideal survival knife for adventure and nature enthusiasts.

Discover the utility of the knife, its functionality and use, the maintenance it requires and our advice to get you well-prepared for your outdoor adventure.


n12 explore couteau de survie made in France

What is the N°12 Explore survival knife?

A survival knife is by definition a knife used by adventurers, hikers, hunters in a wild environment. These knives were originally included in survival kits given to soldiers in the field who required the knife to survive in hostile environments.

Opinel decided to offer this type of pocket knife since the brand has been designing products that have won over generations of users since 1890.  The N°12 Explore is consistent with this decision to offer useful products while representing the company's renowned and recognized know-how. This knife is the result of months of research, testing and back-and-forth to meet the expectations of nature lovers. Its different tools and different functions make it a simple, efficient and durable knife. 

The survival knife is the ideal companion for walks in the forest, bivouacking, hunting, fishing and more. It can be used to cut branches, prepare food, build a fire or even make a shelter. It is also a valuable companion in dealing with unforeseen situations. 

What are the characteristics of the N°12 Explore survival knife?

The N°12 Explore is a quality knife that comes equipped with several essential tools for when you're in the great outdoors. 

The blade is made from stainless steel, making it sharp and easy to maintain, and is 2.7 mm thick. The short and pointed blade ensures precision cutting.
Its polyamide handle is fibre-reinforced to withstand extreme temperatures, knocks and exposure to water and ensures a secure and comfortable grip.
The Virobloc® safety ring allows the blade to be locked in an open or closed position.
The N°12 Explore pocket knife is 26 cm long when the blade is unfolded and 16 cm when folded.
It also features a ball-less survival whistle that can reach up to 110 dB, or up to 300 m, so it can be used to signal your presence if you find yourself in danger.
It also features a cutting hook for gutting, a flint fire-starter to rub on the back of the blade and a lanyard hole for easy transport.

n12 explore couteau de survie made in France


New for 2021: the N°12 Explore with tick remover

The N°12 Explore survival knife is now available in two versions: equipped with a fire starter and equipped with a tick remover.
It's a must-have tool for hikers, fishermen, campers and even hunters and their dogs. The tick remover removes ticks from animals and humans and prevents Lyme disease. More and more people are affected by this disease, and it is important to be vigilant. To learn more about the symptoms and protective measures to adopt, read this page.

The plastic tick remover is available with two slot sizes to adapt to the size of the tick and allows it to be gripped without compressing it and removed with a twisting motion.

How to use the N°12 Explore survival knife?

Before going on an adventure, it is essential that you know the environment you're going into, that you're aware of the potential dangers, that you're prepared and know how to use your equipment.
Here is a short guide to help you learn how to use the different parts of the N°12 Explore knife.

The hook

To use the hook, simply pull the fire starter up, push the hook to the side so that it pops out, push the fire starter down to secure the hook, and then cut in the direction shown in the last picture.

To store the hook, simply pull the fire starter up, return the hook to its original position, and push the fire starter down to lock the hook.

The fire starter

For the fire starter, push it upwards and take it out of the handle. You can then rub it against the back of the blade to throw sparks and start a campfire.

How to maintain the N°12 Explore survival knife?

For the survival knife to retain its original state and function, it is important to take care of it. 

n12 explore couteau de survie made in France


To maintain the blade, simply run it under lukewarm water, rub it with a sponge and dishwashing liquid. Rinse it under lukewarm water and allow it to dry before closing it.
It is also important to sharpen the blade when you feel the need to, in order to maintain the sharpness of your knife. See our tips for sharpening your knife with a stone here. The stone comes in two sizes: 24 cm and 10 cm. The smaller stone can be easily stowed away in a backpack.
You can also read our tips for sharpening your knife with steel here.

To make it easier to open the blade, place a drop of oil or spray it lightly at the slot, open and close the blade a few times, and wipe off the excess oil. Cooking oil is preferable.

To maintain the handle, apply the same technique as for the blade, avoiding cleaning it with chemicals and leaving it to soak too long in water.

Do not put your N°12 Explore knife in the dishwasher or use an abrasive sponge and corrosive chemical product when cleaning it. 

n12 explore couteau de survie made in France

What other accessories should you never forget when in the great outdoors?

While the N°12 Explore knife is an essential companion when you're in the great outdoors, there are other important things you shouldn't forget. A flask and some snacks (granola bars or similar) are essential, as are a small first aid kit, a map or a compass, a piece of ID with your blood type, a flashlight, sunglasses and even a pair of gloves.

As for clothing, we strongly recommend you look at the forecast. Musts are a cap, hiking shoes, comfortable thick pants that protect you from brambles and the like, a T-shirt made of synthetic fibres, and a fleece or waterproof hardshell. 



Now you know everything there is to know about the N°12 Explore survival knife, your ultimate ally when in the great outdoors. Carefully plan your trip, make sure to pack your backpack with all the essentials, and take off on an adventure!  

Photo credit: Laurent Claus