What Is A Chef Knife Bag?
It’s interesting how we spend a lot of time discussing and critiquing knives, but hardly ever do we focus on the luggage used to carry them. As chefs and enthusiasts we store our knives in these things, as we travel from one place to another.
Today we give merit to one of the chefs most indispensable tool: the knife bag!
A knife bag is to a chef as a toolbox is to a mechanic. It’s the one single tool that contains all your prized possessions. That $700 handmade blade you bought when you were over in Japan, or the Wusthof 3 piece your wife bought you last Christmas. All that steel contained in a single case!
It only makes sense then to give knife bags the respect they deserve!
And that’s what today’s post is all about. Not only will I be discussing my 3 best knife bags for chefs, i’ll also be talking about what to consider before buying one, and how to maintain and care for your bag.
Later on, i’ll spend some time discussing alternatives to knife bags, and I might even touch on custom bags and where to buy them!
3 Of The Best Knife Bags For Chefs!
#1 The Ultimate Edge 2001-EDB Deluxe Chef Knife Case
Ultimate Edge is a company that specializes in diamond honing rods, blade savers, and chefs luggage. They’ve been around since 1983, so there’s definitely no shortage of experience! The evolution deluxe chef knife case has continued to remain a popular choice for chefs all over the world!
All The Positives! (Pros)
Denier is simply a unit that measures fabric density. I won’t go into the details here, but I highly recommend you check out this article that talks about fabric strength and durability. That being said, 600D is in my opinion sufficient enough for a knife bag. It’s got decent tear resistance and is still fairly light!
You can either carry this bag by using the padded carry handle, or a shoulder strap. The padded carry handle is firm and strong, so it should be able to handle a heavy bag full of knives. The shoulder strap simply latches over 2 D-rings, making it very quick and easy to connect or disconnect.
Here’s something I really like about this bag. If you look at the pictures closely, you’ll notice quite a bit of double stitching in the design. The pockets, which is where you’d put your knives in are elasticized and double stitched. There’s a lot of double stitching on the front/back of the bag near the zippers as well. Double stitching provides extra strength and reinforces against tears.
You have a total of 18 elasticized pockets to store all your knives in. For most people, myself included this is more than I’ll ever need! The bag measures a good 20” in length and 9” high, so you should have no problem fitting larger than normal knives. There’s also a pen/pencil holder and 2 slots to stick your business cards in.
All The Negatives! (Cons)
#2 Chef’s Knife Roll Bag (By Noble Home & Chef)
A budget option for anyone who doesn’t wanna spend $100 or more on a knife bag. Noble Home & Chef have done an admirable job on this knife roll bag for how little it costs. Bang for your buck? Heck yes!
All The Positives! (Pros)
This bag has a total of 15 slots; 10 of these can be used for your everyday knives (chef, paring, utility etc.), 1 slot is for larger tools such as meat cleavers or scissors, and the remaining 4 are for smaller utensils such as tasting spoons. Impressive storage capacity that’s for sure!
Some prefer zippers, others prefer belt straps. I tend to prefer buckles! Why? Well, there’s a few reasons: one, I find they’re a lot more robust and less likely to break than a zipper, and two they’re quicker and easier to access.
If there’s one thing I love about roll style knife bags, it’s how compact they are when rolled up. You don’t get this with a regular knife case. When rolled, this bag measures up to be 8” long and 19” wide.
You get a similarly styled shoulder strap to the Ultimate Edge in #1. It’s adjustable and easy to connect/disconnect, but it lacks a thick padding. Oh well, can’t complain given that it retails for so cheap!
All The Negatives! (Cons)—None!
#3 Chef’s Knife Roll (By Chrome)
Last but most certainly not least is this knife roll designed by Chris Cosentino and Chrome. Chris is a talented chef who also happens to own a number of restaurants in San Francisco, Portland, & Marin. But that’s not all…he’s also a competitive cyclist! With this bag, you really get to see both sides of Chris’ personality: cyclist and chef. In the end, you get one incredibly awesome knife roll!
Image Credit: Chrome Industries
All The Positives! (Pros)
Would it surprise you if I said this is the same material used to manufacture military backpacks? Well, it is! If you were to compare 1050D nylon with the previously discussed 600D polyester, nylon is far superior in tear and abrasion resistance. Does it really matter? For an everyday backpack, probably not. For a knife roll, you bet it does!
Another thing I really love about this bag are the snap close flaps. Not only do they provide an extra layer of protection, they also ensure everything remains clean and all in one place. It does add an extra element as far as access is concerned, but I’d rather be safe and have my fingers than having access to my knives half a second earlier!
We already talked about how 1050D nylon kicks butt, but this bag also features a military grade tarpaulin lining. From all the chef knife bags discussed so far, this is quite easily the toughest. But it doesn’t stop there, it’s also light (weighing approximately 1lb), and I think it looks absolutely gorgeous. It’s got a minimalist, clean look to it!
Chrome really thought about this one! The handle has been designed such that it’s not dead in the center. What’s the point of this? To counter against the weight of knives (and tools) so that the bag is better balanced. It’s the small details that really distinguish the good from the best. This is one such detail!
All The Negatives! (Cons)
So What’s The Best Knife Bag For Chefs?
And the jury says……..
All 3 are fantastic in their own ways!
That’s the truth. It’s hard to pick one from the other simply because they all have this one thing that’s great about them.
- The Ultimate Edge—Best storage with 18 elasticized pockets!
- Noble Home & Chef Roll Bag—Definitely the best budget option!
- Chrome Knife Roll—Best roll bag in terms of durability and toughness. Also very elegantly designed!
So there you have it. If storage is important to you, pick the Ultimate Edge. If you’re on a budget, get the Noble Home & Chef. If you’re willing to spend a little more, get the Chrome knife roll bag!
Why Every Chef Needs One!
Here’s 3 reasons every chef needs a knife carrying bag of some sort.
#1 Helps Keep Your Knives Protected!
You can’t just toss your knives in any ordinary bag. Should you choose to do so, you risk damaging the ever so delicate edge. Most people don’t realize this and then wonder why their knives are always so dull!
Knife bags eliminate this problem, and help keep your knives protected while on the go. A good bag will have multiple pockets of various sizes designed to fit a variety of knives.
Knife bags protect your knives from 2 types of damage
- Physical Damage—The kind of damage that comes from dropping a blade on its edge. Even though it’s hard to tell, a knife’s edge is incredibly delicate. Minor knocks can and will damage an edge!
- Rust—As long as you own a steel knife, rust will always be something you have to think about. A knife bag, if used correctly, can help protect your blades from rust. I’ll talk about this some more in the maintenance and care section, but having desiccant pouches in your bag helps keep things extra dry!
#2 Allows For Easier Travels!
There are other ways to carry knives, but none are better than using a knife bag. Knife bags keep things safe, organized, and professional.
Can you imagine walking into the subway with everyone staring at you because the clunking of knives in your bag is so unbelievably obvious!?
Next thing you know, the cops have been called and you’re stopped for questioning. For those of you who are chefs that work in restaurants, you’re probably used to taking your knives to work everyday. Do you use a knife bag or some other contraption? I’d love to know. Leave it in the comments!
Chef knife bags are just as useful to home cooks and foodies. Next time you’re over at buddy’s house, you don’t need to put yourself through the torture of using their crappy cutlery for food prep. Simply bring your own!
#3 Helps Keep Your Knives & Tools Organized
To an extent of course! If you’re an unorganized person, then a knife bag won’t help you, changing your habits might!
By the way, chef knife bags aren’t just great for storing knives. You can store all sorts of cutlery and tools in them as well.
For example, you can store tasting spoons, forks, bottle openers and corks, scissors, pens, whisks, and even sharpening stones!
In a sense, you should think of your knife bag as a one stop shop for everything you do in the kitchen, not just something to store knives!
These 2 Things Are A Must!
As previously discussed, knife bags are a must have for chefs (and enthusiasts). In order for me to even consider a bag, it has to meet the following 2 criteria:
Protection and storage are 2 things I refuse to compromise on. As such, any knife bag I choose should satisfy both these requirements. Most of the other things are secondary, as far as i’m concerned.
6 Things To Consider Before Buying!
There’s a lot to consider when buying a chef knife bag, probably a lot more than the 6 things I’ve listed below. However these 6 are what I consider to be the most important!
Lastly, if you have any additional accessories to store in the bag such as honing rods, sharpening stones, or leather strops, make sure you account for this before buying!
What About Cleanup, Care & Maintenance?
#1 Cleaning Your Chef Knife Bag!
Cleaning a chef knife bag is really not that difficult. Generally speaking, your bag will collect dirt from 2 different sources:
Surprise surprise! Even though it’s so obvious, most of us still continue to place dirty knives inside our bags. Pro tip 1: thoroughly wash all your knives before storing them in the bag. Pro tip 2: avoid storing rusted cutlery in your bags, or you might create an even bigger mess!
Spills are to kitchen counters as traffic is to highways, there’s nothing you can do to stop them! Dry spills, such as baking powder or flour spills, are much easier to clean. Wet spills, such as oils may penetrate through the material and are generally harder to deal with.
How do you deal with both sources discussed above?
- Only place clean cutlery into your knife bag/roll. Best practice is to use knife sheaths to cover blades where possible. This not only keeps the knife and bag clean, but also reduces the possibility of tears and punctures.
- Just as you clean a kitchen spill from your counter, clean up any residual mess off your knife bag. Use a rag lightly soaked in dish soap and warm water to wipe clean.
#2 Long Term Care & Maintenance (4 Tips!)
Follow these 4 tips and your knife bag will last a lifetime!
3 Knife Bag Alternatives!
#1 DIY Leather Chef Knife Roll
You don’t have to buy a chef knife bag if you don’t want to! If you’re willing to get your tools out and do a bit of work, you can make your own knife bag. That’s exactly what strikeswhilehot did!
Here’s a link to his 9 step comprehensive guide that talks about how to make a leather chef knife bag right from scratch. Yes it does take a lot of time and effort, but there’s honestly nothing more rewarding than building or designing something with your own 2 hands!
Follow his instructable and challenge yourselves!
#2 Use A Towel
Get a medium sized kitchen towel that’s 100% cotton. This is what you’ll be using to wrap your knives in. There’s only one thing you need to be careful of when wrapping:
Ensure all knife blades are not in contact with one another!
I place my knives extra far from each other so there’s a lot of “towel” separating the blades. If you can, do your wrapping with knife sheaths covering the blades. This will prevent injury and reduce the chance of towel tears. Once you’re done, grab a lace and secure the makeshift roll at the top, middle, and bottom. Voila, you know have a towel knife roll!
#3 Get Yourself A Portable Tool Box
Storing your knives in a portable tool box is very much the budget option for anyone not looking to spend much. If you do decide to go this route, I recommend you still towel wrap your knives before storing them.
I really like this 14” toolbox from Waterloo. It’s light, easy to carry, and made from strong plastic. You can check out the latest pricing on Amazon by clicking the link below!
What About Custom Chef Knife Bags/Rolls?
Custom knife rolls are for those who wanna take things to the next level.
Nothing exudes personality and character like a custom knife roll!
However, be warned personalized custom knife bags cost a premium. I’m talking anywhere from $400-1000 bucks, and maybe even more!
Is it worth the price tag? I don’t know because I don’t own one, but based on what I’ve seen, a custom knife bag is designed and built with a level of detail you just don’t find in mass produced bags. Everything from the stitching and embroidery, all the way to the zippers, belts, and buckles are built exactly the way you want it.
Handmade and built to last a lifetime!
What Are Your Choices & Where Can You Buy From?
There’s a couple places that specialize in custom knife bags:
#1 Linny Kenney (LK)
Art, pure art! That’s what the folks over at Linny Kenney produce. Linny is the owner of this business. Her specialty includes high end knife rolls and guitar straps. You can read more about Linny’s story by clicking here.
Words cannot even come close to justifying just how brilliant and incredible Linny’s work is! You honestly have to see for yourself to believe what i’m saying. You can check out samples of her previous work by going here.
Image Credit: Linny Kenney
Are you not blown away!?
Which one’s your favorite? Mine’s the culinary special forces! To be honest, all her pieces are awesome. You can see the level of detail she puts into it. Passion like that cannot be mass produced.
If you’re up for it, contact Linny and see where it goes!
FYI: Just so we’re clear, I get absolutely nothing should you choose to order and buy from Linny. Her work inspires me to do my best in whatever I do, which is why I’ve featured her in this post.
#2 Custom Made
Custom made is a website that custom builds all sorts of things to suit an individuals specific needs and wants. How does it work?
You submit a request to which makers review and provide quotes, and if you both agree then they make the product!
What’s nice about custom made are the sheer number of designers who use the platform. As a consumer. that means more choices. You can view a designers profile to see the type of work they’ve done before you work with them. You can visit custom made by clicking here.
Last but certainly not least, Etsy!
Etsy is a gem in the rough when it comes to knife rolls, I kid you not! There’s tons of incredibly talented designers willing to work with you to create a personalized knife bag. Some are more flexible than others in terms of what they’re willing to do, so you gotta take some time to find someone who’ll meet your demands. Best part about Etsy:
There’s tons of honest reviews to help you decide!
And there’s a lot of variety both in terms of design and price. However, you can always expect to pay a premium for custom work, and this goes for everything, not just chef knife bags!
Now It’s Your Turn!
I hope you got some value out of this post. If there’s one thing I wish to leave you with, it’s this:
A knife bag can be whatever you want it to be!
There’s some really cool, highly functional mass produced knife bags (as previously recommended) that are affordable to most. On the other side of the fence, there’s always the option to go custom. In the end, it all comes down to what you want!
Now it’s your turn! Leave a comment and let me know what you look for in a knife bag.
What side of the fence are you on: custom or mass produced?
Lastly, show your support by sharing this post on the socials. If you have any questions, leave them down below and i’ll be sure to get back to you!