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I am looking for a knife that I can take on camping trips and do some bush crafting. I would like to get some input from all of you, on what you think would be the perfect knife. I have had a few suggestions already, but I am not set on a specific knife yet. So far some of the better choices I have heard are, Kabar - Becker - BK2, BK7 and BK9. I have also heard that some of the Esee knives would make a good choice. Another part of this discussion would be, how many of you would consider using a knife for batoning? Give the reasons you would recommend the knife that you suggest. Some of the tasks I would like the knife to do for me would be: trimming small branches, carving, striking a ferrocerium rod to start a fire, possibly batoning and whatever else I might need it for.

So, lets hear your ideas! 

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Jeremy- Have you ever watched  an episode of " Hillbilly Blood" ??-Spencer uses a well-made kukri styled knife, forged by himself and his companion. He uses that to chop tree branches, bamboo, and everything in between- Slicing taters with it might be a stretch-- If I remember correctly, he switched to the kukri after breaking a long held Indian inspired hatchet. It's TV, so a taking it with a grain of salt is required-- However, I have seen him use that kukri in action-- I would want one on my side in the woods--Just saying

got a tops bob, jeremy.barely used,fire rod included.60.00 you pay shipping,

John McDowell, what color scales on the BOB?

John McCain, I know what you're talking about.  I am not a fan of kukris as a primary woods knife, but only because I'm not at all used to the pronounced curve -- hard to make much of a draw cut, the angle toward the tip cuts in when trying to chop, etc.  There's just a lot of technique necessary there that I am not likely to take the time to learn.  That said, TOPS makes one heck of a kukri (I believe it's called the Bushcrafter Kukri) for around $200.  For around $30, you can get a longer, thinner kukri machete from Cold Steel, or a shorter kukri machete from Cold Steel for around $25 that has a lot of the features of the TOPS kukri.  Some people love 'em, I'd rather have an axe & knife & saw combo.


John McCain said:

Jeremy- Have you ever watched  an episode of " Hillbilly Blood" ??-Spencer uses a well-made kukri styled knife, forged by himself and his companion. He uses that to chop tree branches, bamboo, and everything in between- Slicing taters with it might be a stretch-- If I remember correctly, he switched to the kukri after breaking a long held Indian inspired hatchet. It's TV, so a taking it with a grain of salt is required-- However, I have seen him use that kukri in action-- I would want one on my side in the woods--Just saying

John - I have not heard of that show before, but I would love to see it. I will have to look for it or maybe a youtube video from the show. I don't have a lot of the good channels on TV. Sound like a great knife, Thanks!

John McCain said:

Jeremy- Have you ever watched  an episode of " Hillbilly Blood" ??-Spencer uses a well-made kukri styled knife, forged by himself and his companion. He uses that to chop tree branches, bamboo, and everything in between- Slicing taters with it might be a stretch-- If I remember correctly, he switched to the kukri after breaking a long held Indian inspired hatchet. It's TV, so a taking it with a grain of salt is required-- However, I have seen him use that kukri in action-- I would want one on my side in the woods--Just saying

"Keep those ideas coming"?  Okay then...

The ESEE Laser Strike is basically a Kephart-style knife on steroids; 3/16" thick, firesteel & tinder included, stored in a compartment sandwiched between the handle scales.  Watch for deals that put these around $100 shipping included; normally you can get them pretty easy for about $125, but there are often guys selling them new on eBay in the $74 to $100 range.  Originally produced by TOPS, it's now produced by Rowen Manufacturing for ESEE.  TOPS currently produces a more "tactical" version called the Black Star, which morphed into a series, with the Black Star Evolution, & now the CUMA Evolution, all with Jeff Randall's blessing.

Jeff Randall is the guy behind ESEE.  He split off from Ontario some time back, with litigation & all, due to his design of the RAT (Randall Adventure Training) knives that were too successful for Ontario to let go.  Not sure how all that got resolved, but it did.  ESEE is known for having pretty much the best warranty in the business  Randall tweaked & largely improved on the designs made for Ontario, & they've got some new ones out this year in their bushcrafting line, including a sweet looking drop-point flat grind designed by Dave Canterbury of Dual Survival fame.  

Dave Canterbury designed a pricey but incredible knife for Blind Horse Knives called the Pathfinder -- this knife was meant to do everything in the bush -- food prep, game prep, fire prep, shelter prep, everything.  Blind Horse is now Battle Horse, but all of the BHK knives have centered on bushcraft.  Steep prices, but I haven't ever heard any complaints about BHK's.  Canterbury sells some of the original line still in his store, Self Reliance Outfitters.  

SRO also sells Jeff White knives there -- carbon steel blades with a pioneer feel.  I've got a few Jeff Whites -- primarily in 3/32 stock, but recently White has been branching out to 1/8" stock, specifically for heavier use.  You'll have to buy a sheath separately in most instances with Jeff White knives.

Speaking of 3/32" stock, most of the Ontario Old Hickories I've had have been 3/32.  Especially if you're going with the most common 7" blade, that's pretty thin for limbing & likely too thin for batoning.  Great for game & food prep though!

And also on Ontario, I love my Ontario TAK-1 (pretty sure it was designed by Randall).  I also keep finding myself drawn to my Ontario RD-4, which is really quite similar to the Ontario RAT 5 & the ESEE 5, which share similarities with the TOPS Outpost Command & the Kabar Becker BK-2.  The RD-9 is the same blade shape, just extended several inches longer -- though the handle is the same size (good size for the 4, way too small for the 9).

Oh, and Ontario has a new line of knives focused on the bushcraft crowd, the most famous being the Blackbird SK-5 (oh yeah, as made famous by Fat Guys In The Woods -- I love this show, by the way, for it's positive message, but I digress).  Thing is, they've had a number of knives perfect for bushcrafting -- the SP46 with its light, leaf-shaped blade is wonderful, & the larger SP50 is just incredible in looks & reviews, though I have yet to get my hands on one.

And I can't mention leaf-shaped blades without bringing up Spyderco!  They have a bushcraft model that had a bad batch of spalted maple handles that cracked, so they upgraded & went synthetic; I think the knife itself was a collaboration with a British bushcraft knife maker (lots of those in the UK, by the way).  The Temperence 2 is a bit on the pointier side, but the Serrata, with its dendritic 440C steel, is the one one at the top of my list (personal preference).

If you've got a bit more to spend, a modern master by the name of Ben Orford is where I'd look -- I'm coveting one of his parangs, but it's definitely out of my price range currently.  Also spendier, but stateside, is Fiddleback Forge hey, they advertise on this site -- do I get a cut now?).  ;) 

You've got a lot of choices these days when it comes to bushcraft knives -- & though I mentioned Mora earlier, I haven't even touched on the several other Scandinavian manufacturers such as Kellam, Helle, & Marttiini (oh, but I love my Marttiini Timberjack ($17 new))!

One of the biggest issues will be deciding on the grind you'd like for the knife -- flat, saber, scandi, or some hybrid thereof.  Some manufacturers have taken some flack for offering knives with a saber grind but the knife is more for bushcraft, the implication being that it should be a scandi grind.  The saber grind has a secondary bevel.  Benchmade's Bushcrafter is one of those at issue.  From what I've heard though, the knife, in S30V, cuts just fine -- it's the leather sheath that Bushcrafter owners have really disliked (it looks cheap & flimsy).  

Regardless, avoid hollow grinds, they're more meant for meat than for wood.  And that's really what to look out for, knives that are meant to handle the rigors of woodcarving while being good enough to your hands that you can handle the carving for longer periods of time.

Gees, with all that to say, you'd think I was into these knives or something...  :)

Jeremy B. Buchanan said:

Very good and true info. Tobias. I knew I would get different ideas from different people. That is exactly what I was looking for. I have a variety of fixed blade knives, but would really like to have one that can hold up to some abuse, if necessary. I have plans of going on a couple more camping trips this year and possibly more in the future. I would like to test out what ever knife I get, while camping. I always have a pocket knife on me and will certainly use it for smaller cutting needs, but I want something that I can chop branches with, split small logs and cut large items such as meat and potatoes. 

Keep those ideas coming!

One of the biggest issues will be deciding on the grind you'd like for the knife -- flat, saber, scandi, or some hybrid thereof.  Some manufacturers have taken some flack for offering knives with a saber grind but the knife is more for bushcraft, the implication being that it should be a scandi grind.  The saber grind has a secondary bevel.  Benchmade's Bushcrafter is one of those at issue.  From what I've heard though, the knife, in S30V, cuts just fine -- it's the leather sheath that Bushcrafter owners have really disliked (it looks cheap & flimsy).  

Regardless, avoid hollow grinds, they're more meant for meat than for wood.  And that's really what to look out for, knives that are meant to handle the rigors of woodcarving while being good enough to your hands that you can handle the carving for longer periods of time.

You know, it is kind of strange how grind has become a personal choice issue over the past few years.  Each grind in and of itself was developed for particular purposes.  I have seen many folks say that convex is best for bushcrafting, but how does that translate to the normal person being able to sharpen in the field?



dead_left_knife_guy said:

John McDowell, what color scales on the BOB?



John McDowell said:

got a tops bob, jeremy.barely used,fire rod included.60.00 you pay shipping,

pretty good knife all n all,mine has the green handle,kind of dark gray with red liners,never beat the price.also have a tops skinat for 45.00.kind of a schrade sharp finger on steroids.

John - I am interested in the Tops bob knife for sure. Thanks for the video Jan, that helped a lot ( you enabler you)

my email is johnmcdowell6@gmail.com 

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