After taking reader suggestions for a new carry piece, I purchased a Böker Plus Urban Trapper to test. It looked like it would make a nice gentleman’s carry, especially this version with cocobolo scales. With a clip point profile lifted straight from the classic slipjoint pattern, let’s see what this modern Trapper can do.
Manufacturer: Böker Plus
Designer: Brad Zinker
Blade: VG10, Straight Clip Point with Swedge, “hand rubbed” satin finish
Rockwell Hardness: 58-60 HRC
Scales: Titanium Frame with Cocobolo wood scales
Pivot: IKBS ball bearing
Locking mechanism: Frame-Lock
Clip / Sheath: Deep carry black clip, tip up, right-side only.
Country of Origin: China
MSRP/Street Price: $108.95 / $75
Dimensions (measured on this test sample):
Overall Length: 7 5/8″
Handle Length: 4 3/16″
Handle Thickness: 7/16″
Blade Length (tip to scale): 3 7/16″
Sharpened Length: 3 5/16″
Blade Thickness: 3/32″
Weight: 1.9 oz
FIT & FINISH
First impressions on the quality are extremely good. My example arrived with a factory edge that could shave hair and curl newsprint just fine.
A look through my USB microscope revealed the edge was very refined for a factory job.
Overall, the Urban Trapper carries the impression of being a much more expensive knife than it is with features and attention to detail that rival many US manufacturers.
Start with bullet points like VG-10 steel, a stonewashed titanium framelock and IKBS ball bearing pivot, and then do nice things with them.
The scalloping on the lock bar…
The “hand-rubbed” finish on the blade…
The rounded treatment on the spine…
Recessed screws on the pocket clip…
All these things point to the Urban Trapper being a premium product.
And yet, there are a few things that reveal this Chinese-made Böker Plus is not quite as good as a German-made Böker, and the culprits are the cocobolo scales mounted to the frame.
The “flats” of the wood do have a little contouring, which is nice, but the cuts on the edges are left crisp. The only place where this gets in the way is on the back end. When fishing into your pocket for something else, the edges can sometimes grab your hand and dig in uncomfortably. It isn’t terrible, but a little bit of sanding just to break over those edges would eliminate this problem entirely.
The other problem with the wood is the dye or stain that was used. With a little moisture (such as perspiration) the color had a tendency to leach out of the wood and into my pants pocket. This mostly washed out after the first run through the laundry, and after the knife was carried for a few weeks it stopped exhibiting this behavior.
USE & TESTING
For almost three months I carried the Urban Trapper as my primary EDC. It fit well into the office environs of my day job; It has a few things I consider high priorities for a gentleman’s knife, namely clean lines, a deep carry clip, and a shape that looks good as a letter opener or steak knife.
The slim VG10 blade kept a good edge and was never hard to sharpen. It is very nimble in the hand and using it was actually quite refreshing. In a world full of fat and chunky flippers, the slipjoint-style blade and titanium framelock of the Urban Trapper is a breath of fresh air.
That light and narrow profile makes it vanish when clipped to your pocket. I grew to enjoy having some extra room in my jeans thanks to this knife.
The flipping action is also different from the modern flippers I am used to. Whereas a ZT or my CRKT Homefront might make a solid thwack when opening, the Urban Trapper exhibits more of a metallic pop. It has a refined quality, but feels no less secure, and the jimping on the flipper tab is just right – not too aggressive but plenty of traction.
There is one negative to this flipper, but it is minor… if you don’t slide your index finger back far enough when you trigger the knife, you can actually keep the blade from opening fully by contacting the spine as it rotates backwards. This happened only rarely, but it is worth mentioning.
Other than that, the flipping action over the course of three months has been consistent and strong, and the lockup is still solid with no blade play in any direction. The pivot is adjustable but I have not needed to tweak it at all, which is fortunate.
The pivot itself is hidden by the wooden scales, and even though Böker has seen fit to provide a small, double-ended torx wrench, fiddling with the series of small screws to remove the scale every time you want to adjust it would be a pain.
Minor quibble aside, I could see the Urban Trapper working its way into my rotation based on the blade shape and the way it carries. I derived a lot of joy from using such a nimble and elegant profile for my lighter duty needs.
I say lighter duty because the Urban Trapper is not meant to take a beating. I wouldn’t even want to whittle with it. The narrow handle that makes it carry well also makes it uncomfortable when applying lots of pressure. I found that out the hard way when testing the factory edge on 3/4″ manilla rope. The edge itself did just fine, but my hand didn’t like it.
That doesn’t bother me – this knife’s mission is not hard use – but for opening boxes and letters, trimming cordage, and even some food prep (it quarters and cores an apple extremely well), the BökerPlus Urban Trapper is in its element.
SHOULD YOU BUY IT?
Short answer: Yes, but not this one.
The cocobolo scales on this example were the only thing that detracted from the experience thanks to the issues described above. The final nail in the coffin? When I first sharpened the knife on my Spyderco Sharpmaker, I carelessly managed to chew up the wood on the clip side thanks to contact with the rod.
Fortunately, this knife can be had in a number of handle variations, including black G10, carbon fiber, and even a skeletonized frame lock. If I had to buy this knife again, I would opt for one of those versions because I enjoyed carrying the BökerPlus Urban Trapper quite a bit.
If you are in the market for a slim, elegant folder for light-medium duty applications, the Urban Trapper deserves to be on your list. It looks great, has features that usually cost more money, and VG10 steel to back up its handsome countenance.
About the Author: David C. Andersen resides in the Washington, D.C. Metro area and has carried a knife ever since earning his Totin’ Chip as a Boy Scout. His favorite Merit Badges were Camping and Wilderness Survival, and his love of the outdoors continues to this day. A graphic designer by trade, he believes that form follows function, and appreciates knives that combine aesthetics with practicality. In 2016, David launched his own company, Nordsmith Knives, as a way to bring his ideas on knife design to market.