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Benchmade Bushcrafter Knife
Benchmade Bushcrafter Knife
Offered by Bois Blanc Supply
Price: $182.75
30 used & new from $177.00

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal Field Knife, August 30, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a serious tool for a competent outdoorsman. S30V steel holds a keen edge longer and resists corrosion and pitting, requiring far less care and maintenance than a carbon steel blade. Proven G10 handle material is just as sturdy and resistant as the blade. Tough, pressed-in tubular titanium , also very resistant to corrosion, hold the handles in place.

This is a true field blade, not a display knife to be kept in a climate-controlled case to prevent rusting. You don't need to constantly clean and oil it, or worry about rain, snow, dew, blood, or sap corroding the blade. You can use it all day, wipe it on a shirt tail or pant leg, and keep on going, the blade will stay sharp and rust free. You can clean it and sharpen it when you get back to the house or camp, if needed. The blade is thick and sturdy, it isn't ideal for cutting see-through tomato slices, but it is nearly perfect for tough outdoor tasks.

Unlike most carbon steel knives, there is no coating on this blade to cause excess friction and catching in the work. The smooth polished blade glides cleanly and predictably (thus more safely) through any task.

The included, very high quality, leather sheath won't give you away while hunting, unlike kydex or polymer sheaths which often rattle against gear or "scratch" when they are rubbed by a twig.

This knife won't impress your mall-ninja buddies, but you'll get a smiles and nods when you pull it out in a group of experienced outdoorsmen who understand the requirements for real field tools. If what you need is a no nonsense tool for hard field use and serious woodsmanship, then look no further, this knife will deliver. But don't expect to impress the internet gurus or glass-case collectors, this isn't a pretty toy, it's a sturdy, working man's tool. For a production blade in the "bushcraft" class, this is as good as it gets.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 9, 2016 4:57 PM PST


Marbles Fireman Shovel Machete with Sheath
Marbles Fireman Shovel Machete with Sheath
Offered by Tactical Intent
Price: $31.65

5.0 out of 5 stars Brutally Effective, July 6, 2015
I purchased this item from a local knife shop, not here on Amazon, but I thought you might appreciate a detailed review from someone who uses chopping tools often. So here it is:

Blade Length: 9.25"
Blade Width: 8.125"
Blade Thickness: .125" (1/8th inch)

Handle Length: 9"
Handle Width: 1.5" (Swell at bottom = 2")
Handle Thickness: 1"
Tang Length: 6" (The Tang is secured with 4 brass pins through wood handle. Tang is the full width of the handle and 2/3 of handle length)
Brass Lanyard Hole

Blade stamped "El Salvador"
Weight: IDK, my postal scale was broken, but it's not "ultralight". Typical hatchet weight.
Overall length: 18"
total sharpened edge length: 21"

First impressions: OMG! This thing feels good in your hand. CAUTION! Do not just start swinging this thing around. Get a good feel for it first. You can easily remove some important bits of yourself, if you aren't cautious. The good balance can be deceiving, and you just don't think it is as heavy and effective as it really is. This is not a tool for the absent minded or fool-hardy, respect it. I guaranty you will "one-cut" completely through something you expected should take a few extra blows. Heed these warnings and you'll just knowingly chuckle and think "damn he was right". Ignore them and you'll think the same words while they're sewing you back together.

There are two versions of this blade, on with a hydrant wrench cutout (newer version) and an older version without the cutout. I prefer the older version (pictured here), as it's a better shovel and I don't need a hydrant wrench. (I am reviewing the older version, the newer version should have a slightly lighter blade and slightly different balance)

For chopping, this is probably the most effective tool I've used anywhere near this price point. It's far better than most machetes or hatchets. In fact, I strongly recommend you be extremely cautious when first using this as a cutting tool. It is too easy to cut right through a tree limb or other work and continue on into your leg or foot. Get a feel for it's effectiveness before taking a full swing and keep all of you body outside of the swing arc. At a recent pig roast (4th of July party) one half-hearted swing removed the head, cutting through the vertebrae (not between them), and another (slightly off target) swing cut clean through the pelvis while trying to remove the hams. I imagine it would make short work of zombies ;) if that's your concern.

It's also a competent shovel, and the sharpened edge easily handles roots. Again, caution is advised as the edge is sharp. You won't shave with it, but only because it has a field edge angle not a kitchen knife grind. (Although you probably could reshape the edge for shaving if you wanted to impress your friends, it's reasonably easy to sharpen) A quick test on an old, discarded, pickup truck tailgate made me a believer in it's usefulness as a field expedient rescue tool, it slices through sheet metal like it was cream cheese, although it took a few swings to cleave the internal steel bracing.

Edge retention is good, not excellent. But sharpening is easy. The edge is quite tough and I experienced no chipping, even when an overzealous swing went clean through a pig pelvis and struck a steel cooking grate with a resounding "ring". The cooking grate had a rather significant chunk missing, but the blade was unfazed.

There are a few negatives:

It's not effective at batoning as the blade is double edged and will cleave the baton. It's only a mediocre splitter because the blade is rather thin (1/8") with parallel faces, and thus has a long friction surface and no wedge, but it will split most 6" wood faster than you can baton through it. A good hatchet or 3/4 axe pretty easily outperforms this tool for splitting.

The double edge can be hazardous if you aren't paying attention. This is a powerful chopper and it can get stuck, pulling it out, straight up into your face will hurt...a lot.

Still, if you respect it, this is a force multiplier. It allows you to easily accomplish tasks that would require much more effort with a lesser tool (and better than many, very good quality tools).

The sheath is adequate. It's made of heavy nylon with three large pouches. Two pouches are large enough to hold an altoids tin (one already has a (too) coarse sharpening stone inside, which I removed and replaced with a Smith's carbide and ceramic sharpener (available here on Amazon)) the third will easily fit a full-sized multitool. The stitching is only average quality and it is single stitching, however there are steel rivets on one side and the bottom to reinforce it. The snaps are rather cheap and don't inspire confidence, but they do work, and in conjunction with the velcro closure around the handle, do secure the tool reasonably well. I have already had issues with the edge cutting into the nylon during removal and insertion, and have fashioned a plastic reinforcement that wraps around from the back and covers the snap-side knife edge, to protect the sheath. For the price, I really can't complain about the sheath, it's far more versatile than most at this price point, the three velco closure pouches are an excellent feature, and a simple addition of a piece of plastic (cut from a milk jug) is an easy fix for the edge abrading the nylon at the snaps.

Recommended for woodsman, car campers (it's too heavy for backpacking, IMHO), and zombie apocalypse survivors. If your one of our courageous fire fighters, I recommend getting the version with the hydrant wrench. Swing with care, it certainly will cut bunker gear.

Five stars easily.


No Title Available

1.0 out of 5 stars Dead on Arrival, June 3, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
We tried scarring, hot water soaking, cold water soaking, cold-stratifying, and every combination. Usually we can find at least one way to get a viable seed to germinate. But with these, not a single seed germinated, regardless of our efforts.


HR Wireless LG 306G - Dynamic Cover - Retail Packaging - Black/Black
HR Wireless LG 306G - Dynamic Cover - Retail Packaging - Black/Black
Offered by MyFavCell
Price: $4.99
5 used & new from $2.64

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does What it Needs to Do, June 3, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Fits well and protects the phone pretty well from my phone-destroying teenager.
It's easy to put on, has a lip to protect the screen. The phone is quite a bit bulkier with this cover attached, but that's true of any protective cover.


Bags for LessTM Travel Sewing Kit, Silver
Bags for LessTM Travel Sewing Kit, Silver
Offered by Bags for Less
Price: $14.14

3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Special, but Will Do for a Quick Repair., April 15, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Credit card sized and 1/4" thick, this is a minimalist sewing kit.
It has just enough supplies to do an emergency repair. The scissors are junk, but they do cut and, if you are gentle with them, they will work.

For $8 it's not much, but if you have very limited space and need to do a quick repair away from home, this may "save the day".


Storm All-Weather Safety Whistle - YELLOW
Storm All-Weather Safety Whistle - YELLOW
Offered by Belltown Purveyors of Fine Goods
Price: $6.99
3 used & new from $6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big, very LOUD, and bright yellow., April 15, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a lightweight but quite large whistle: 3" x 2" by 7/8". Constructed of thick, yellow, plastic, it is a pea-less design and it is LOUD. Used inside, it can leave your ears ringing. (Go outside to test it, the shrill sound bouncing off hard walls is so loud it's uncomfortable.) The loudest whistle I've owned, it will definitely carry far and get attention. The attachment point for the split ring is 1/4" thick, you'll probably break the whistle body before you break the attachment point and lose the whistle.

Probably the best "all weather, safety whistle" you can buy. Highly recommended.


HART 20 oz. Hatchet with Cover
HART 20 oz. Hatchet with Cover
Offered by SunLight Resources
Price: $36.95
4 used & new from $34.42

3.0 out of 5 stars Needs a little help., March 13, 2015
14" total length
12" handle length
3.5" bit
5" bit to poll
7" (approx) of usable rubber grip.
Well-formed head, even and reasonably symmetrical.

Notable features:
Cutouts in the cheeks allow for less sticking in the work
top-opening (velcro closure) nylon sheath with steel clip-on belt clip attached with two rivets to a nylon webbing belt pass-through loop.
Thumb rest on rear of rubber grip just below red insert, located just right for a "choked up" hold, for better control.

I picked up one of these Hart 20z hatchets, at a big box store, while out of town without my Wetterlings. It cost $35.99 + tax, $18 less expensive than the $45.99 + $6.99 shipping here at Amazon. Fortunately I had some sharpening tools with me, as this hatchet is duller than child's safety scissors. Actually, to be honest, it wasn't sharpened at all, the factory edge was visibly rounded and the heel and toe were terribly formed and required a lot of filing. After re-profiling and sharpening the bit, I tried using the hatchet around camp. Unfortunately the head is painted with a clear lacquer that caused the hatchet to stick in the work when used. Some steel wool and a little gasoline removed the lacquer and I finally had a usable tool. After a hour of "fixing" it, the Hart hatchet performed acceptably. There is quite a bit of vibration transferred to your hand, despite the "anti-vibration" labeling. This caused my hand to tire faster than when using a traditional wood-handled hatchet. My initial thoughts were; "Not terrible, but nothing special either."

The Hart 20oz Hatchet feels heavier than it's advertised 20oz, it definitely swings heavier than my 2.2lb(total weight) Wetterlings hatchet. The hatchet fits snugly into it's sheath, just a bit too snugly. As it must be pushed up from the bottom to be removed when attached to your belt, the tight fit requires a bit of wiggling fore and aft to remove the hatchet from it's sheath. It's a two hand job to remove and replace the hatchet in it's sheath. Finally, the poll striking surface is not angled quite correctly in relation to the handle, causing the smoothly polished face to slip back towards you when hammering.

Overall the Hart hatchet performs reasonably if not spectacularly. It's a fair effort to create a usable tool with some problem areas. The completely unsharpened bit was a surprised. Most axes come with at least a rudimentary attempt at sharpening. But, I often re-profile the bit to my own liking anyway, so I only deducted one star for the poorly formed heel and toe. I deducted a second star because this is simply an average "big-box store" style tool. It is serviceable and functional, but not up to a professional or "axe-guy" standard. It vibrates more than I like, tiring your hand. It feels slightly unweildy and heavy, unlike the more balanced and comfortable feel of higher-end hatchets.

If you need a "tool box" hatchet for occasional work, or want a tool to take on occasional car camping forays, this will do the job and will probably last forever. But if you are an outdoorsman with some serious axe-time under your belt, you're still going to want a Wetterling or Gränsfors Bruk. But then, you already knew that, didn't you? ;)


Estwing E44A 16-Inch Camper's Axe-All Steel with Shock Reduction Grip
Estwing E44A 16-Inch Camper's Axe-All Steel with Shock Reduction Grip
Price: $39.98
35 used & new from $39.98

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Estwing quality, but not ideal design for camping, September 19, 2014
Length: 18.25"
head, toe to poll: 7"
edge: 4"
grip circumference: approx 4.5"
weight: aprox 2.5 lbs.

The Estwing Camper's Axe is tough as nails with it's all-steel (polished carbon steel, not stainless) construction.
However this makes it pretty heavy for a small axe and it's a bit unwieldly when trying to do fine work.

The Axe came with a rather rough edge but it's sharpens easily.

The edge is chisel ground and the head is a concave "limbing" shape with hollow cheeks. Not a great shape for heavy chopping or heavy splitting, as it tends to stick in the work.

The camper's axe is ok for around-the-camp camp work and you can get your hand choked-up behind the edge for one-handed shaving or carving/shaping due to the deep relief at the handle. This works reasonable well, but the axe is really too long and heavy to do much work with one hand. Due to the hollow cheeks this is not a good splitting axe and not much of a felling tool either, you'll quickly get frustrated with the head sticking if trying to split big wood or fell any but the smallest trees. It's size and weight is great for heavier work, but the head design is wrong for that. This is a short limbing axe not a generalist camp axe, and I feel a convex-headed shorter hatchet would be a better generalist tool for camping.

If I was rating this as a short, nearly indestructible, limbing axe I'd give it 4 stars, but Estwing calls it a "camper's axe" and there are better designs for that use. Even though I appreciate the high-quality construction and some of the design features such as the deep relief behind the edge, the non-slip, anti-vibration handle, and the heavy leather, riveted + sewn, double-snap-closure sheath, as a camper's axe I believe it's only a 3 star product.


GobSpark Armageddon FireSteel with Innovative GobSpark Palm ScraperTM and Lanyard
GobSpark Armageddon FireSteel with Innovative GobSpark Palm ScraperTM and Lanyard

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of many, many ferrocerium rods I've used., September 17, 2014
Length Closed (with Striker): 5"
Width (rod handle): 1 7/8"
Width (striker handle):15/16"
Usable ferrocerium rod dimensions: 2 9/16" x 3/8"

Includes striker
Includes 15" of paracord as a lanyard loop tied to the rod handle. This can be tied through a loop in the striker handle to keep rod and striker together.

My first impressions were that this is a large, very lightweight, ergonomically well-designed tool with a large ferrocerium rod.
The color is bright orange, you'd have to try very hard to lose it.

I agree with many other reviewers, this product is available directly from the manufacturer for about 50% of the $34.25 price here at Amazon. However, as this is probably the overall best ferrocerium fire-starting tool I've used, I believe it to be a 5* product even at this higher price.

The striker and rod both have large handles that allow for use with gloves and/or numb, cold hands. This makes the tool very easy to use in adverse conditions.
The ferrocerium rod is of the variety with a softer composition, throwing fewer, but larger and longer-lasting sparks. I prefer this over the harder rods that throw more numerous, but smaller, shorter-lived sparks. I find these larger sparks particularly useful in wet/humid weather and damp tinder. The down side is that you need to aim more precisely as there are fewer sparks. Since this is a fairly large rod, it does throw a good number of sparks, even though it's a softer rod.

Tests with petroleum-jellied cotton balls, dryer lint, tinder-quik, pounded and shredded honeysuckle bark, char-cloth, and shaved magnesium all lit within 1-2 attempts. The large and long-lasting sparks worked well, even with the slightly damp bark.

This is not a small tool, but it is not very heavy due to the all-plastic construction. The plastic is slightly flexible rather than brittle, and seems to be reinforced with extra material at the obvious stress points.

The Gobspark has replaced my previous ferrocerium rod fire-starter and has become my "go-to" fire-starting tool. The large, long-lasting and very hot spark actually starts fires more easily than my lighter, when using damp tinder. I will always keep looking for better tools, but for now, this is the top of the heap.

It is possible some people might see the larger size of this tool as a negative, but that appears to be a deliberate part of the design. The large handles make this extremely easy to use, and the large rod will is very unlikely to wear away, or break, under heavy use. Perhaps the plastic construction could be seen as a negative, but again, that would seem to be a design decision to reduce weight while providing the large gripping surface.

Any tool is a collection of compromises and, for my requirements, this is the perfect setup. Highly recommended.


Rothco Black Aurora Fire Starter
Rothco Black Aurora Fire Starter
Offered by SAFECASTLE
Price: Click here to see our price
41 used & new from $19.20

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very heavy, cumbersome to use, and poor quantity/quality of sparks, September 17, 2014
This review is from: Solo Scientific (Sports)
Overall Length (closed): 3 5/8"
Overall width: 5/8"
Usable ferrocerium rod length: 1 3/4"
Ferrocerium rod width: 1/4"

The Aurora fire starter is manufactured to very high standards with a sturdy machined case with an o-ring seal and drilled lanyard hole. It's crosshatched exterior, on both striker and ferrocerium rod handle, is useful and very well done. Overall this tool looks like, and is manufactured to be, a very high quality piece of equipment.

Unfortunately this tool has some significant problems both in design and function.
Although beautiful and undeniably sturdy, the weight of this piece is far too much for a weight-conscious backpacker. You could carry a solid ferrocerium rod of the same size as this entire tool and it would weigh less. The case simply adds weight and contributes nothing to the performance and only a little to durability. A 5/8" x 3 5/8" solid rod would be a better choice and would last far longer than the 1 3/4 x 1/4" rod in the Aurora. Note that the overall length and width of the rod is less than half of the total length and width of the tool.

But there is an argument to be made for superior damage resistance and it would be very difficult to damage the ferro. rod of the Aurora when it is closed. I removed one star for the excessive weight and another for the small working area of the ferro rod, relative to the large size of the tool. I added one star back for the durability of the product.

I have used many ferrocerium rod firestarters, of both the harder and softer compositions, and of many different sizes. The harder rods tend to throw many small, short-lived sparks and the softer rods throw bigger, longer-lasting sparks, but fewer of them. Both work well for starting fires with the softer, higher magnesium content, rods working a bit better in the wet. (in my personal experience)

The Aurora, unfortunately, throws fewer and smaller sparks than many "bargain" ferrocerium fire starter I've tested. Part of this is due to the awkward striker placement on the Aurora. But even when using a striker from a quality, name-brand fire starter, the Aurora failed to produce the quality and quantity of sparks I would expect. It can take significantly longer, on average, (often more attempts required) to light tinder with the Aurora than other ferrocerium rod fire starters that I've used. I removed one star each for the poor sparking performance and awkward striker.

I'd love to say I liked this tool, it is beautifully made. Obviously it is constructed with pride and attention to detail. Unfortunately, performance is a primary factor. It has to start fires, and other, cheaper, lighter, overall smaller tools with significantly larger ferrocerium rods (larger rods last longer) do a much better job than the Aurora.

I hate to say this, but the Aurora is more show than go. It's a gorgeous product that unfortunately doesn't perform up to it's own high quality build standard. With a larger, better sparking rod this would be a decent product, but even then it's excessive weight would limit it's market.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 25, 2015 11:03 AM PST


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