Shopping For a New Fixed Blade Knife

Hiking By Brian Norton |

Let’s take a few minutes and talking about things to consider while shopping for a new fixed blade knife.

Spring is upon us, and for myself that means hiking season.  March, April and May are the last months before the summer heat kicks in.   Every year for hiking season I treat myself to a couple of new toys.

In 2017 it was a new stove – the  BRS ultralight weight blended fuel stove, new cook pot, and a lifestraw water filter.

For 2018 I decided to treat myself to a new fixed blade knife.  With so many knives on the market, what are some features to look for?

Purpose

What purpose will the knife serve?

Is this a show-off piece which will never be used for anything? Heavy survival knife used for stuff like chopping wood for a campfire? Skinning knife? Lightweight knife for hiking / backpacking?

The knife I am looking for needs to be something that is light enough to be used for hiking, with a blade length suited for skinning deer, or other wild game.

Blade Steel

Personal preference, the blade should be either AUS-8 or 1095 carbon.  Are there better steels on the market?  Sure there are.  However, both of those steels have proven themselves.

In the 1980s a lot of cheap knives made from 440 stainless were imported.  They did not hold an edge and were difficult to sharpen.  Then along came 440 B and C.  The newer 440 C is supposed to be a good steel, and progress is supposed to have been made on the older 440 A and B.

There are too many good steels out there to have to choose from, so there is no need in settling for an inferior product.  Some people may consider 1095 and AUS-8 inferior, and that is fine.  It is personal preference.

Sheath

In a world where it seems everything has MOLLE, why aren’t knife companies offering sheaths that fit MOLLE?   While browsing through various knife selections, it seemed most of the sheaths had nothing more than a belt loop.  Even my favorite go-to knife, the SOG Mini Pentagon has a boot clip.

This leads to the question, how will the user be carrying the knife?  Personally,  like to have a knife strapped to the outside of my pack for easy access.

Final Thoughts

A thread was posted in the forum asking for knife suggestions – Recommend a New Fixed Blade Knife.  A member recommended the SOG Field Pup.  It just happened to be on sale, so I ordered one.

The other knives being considered are the ESEE Izula-II, and the ESEE 3.

Question to the readers, what do you look for in a new knife? Some of us are probably spur of the moment buyers where we say something along the lines of, “That knife looks cool”, so we order it. Besides those types of purchases, what does the reader look for?

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