About my quest for an outdoor knife

I was for many years on a quest for a good outdoor knife. The problem was finally settled when I decided to buy a SOG SEAL Pup with Kydex sheath.

A new quest began that same afternoon, though: The quest for a perfect outdoor knife.

The knife - as good as it is - is not perfect. The blade (123 mm / 4.85") is a little bit too long for accurate control of the tip as a tool. The grip was designed for smaller hands. The thumb rest (blade spine rest) was meant for shorter thumbs. I was also a bit disappointed that the edge got dented by a strong contact with glass before the glass broke (my fault, but still disappointing).

The ideal outdoor knife would be similar, but have a shorter (4 to 4.5") blade and come in two sizes for different hand sizes.

- - - - -

I did also look at another knife when I was looking for a good one - the KM 2000. It's the official Kampfmesser (combat knife) of the Bundeswehr. It has cool looks with its long (172 mm / 6.77") tanto blade - and I can only imagine how relatively poor it is as a tool. I've handled it in a shop and it's way too long. It's not heavy enough for being really good at slashing, though. The length is just wrong.
This supposedly "light" knife weights more than twice as much as the Pup.

Knives have almost been primarily a tool, and quite rarely a serious weapon. Their seriousness as a weapon is largely restricted to Hollywood movies and the use as a personal self-protection weapon for everyday use by civilians.
You usually don't intend fight with a knife if you have an assault rifle.

The value as a tool is on the other hand huge. The only advantage of the KM 2000 in this regard is the steel spike at the end of the grip that's meant for shattering glass.

What could explain the tanto knife procurement decision?
Foreign armies use knifes with blades that are too long for accurate control of the tip as well, but they have the excuse that their knifes can usually be used as bayonets (long is beautiful for bayonets). That's not true with the KM 2000. The tanto shape was possibly selected because some believe it's more resistant to mis-use of the blade (= breaks less in hands of soldiers). A tanto blade doesn't need to be that large, though.

The decision for the KM 2000 is a mystery to me. Our soldiers get issued a cool-looking and unnecessarily heavy and long knife with rather limited utility as a tool.



  1. A lot of outdoor people recommend the swedish Mora knife.


    It is primarily a tool. That's the kind of knife you'll find in Scandinavia in the hands of people who spend time outdoor.

    There are also Puukko knives http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puukko

    BTW, check out the finnish army's Sissipuukko , it might be what you had in mind for combat (although it wouldn't be a "perfect" oudoor tool... if only for the price).

  2. Dave from Stockholm3 March 2011 at 15:00

    The Swedish Fällkniven F1 is a good survival knife, their A1 is a very good outdoor knife (and comes in bigger A2 and S1 flavours). All are made from laminated VG10.

    The only good thing I can say about the Mora is that is has a scandinavian grind (no secondary bevel). This makes it easy for someone even out in the woods to make it razor sharp. Other than that it's a stamped half-tang POS that'll break on you the moment you need it most. A good beater but if you bring a standard mora you'd better bring something else as well (say, an F1).

    Great blog BTW!

  3. What about the OKC RD4?
    Or the OKC ASEK?

    Und kennste den? http://www.youtube.com/user/nutnfancy

  4. The back of the blade should have a thumb rest (and the hand guard must not be as large as on the ASEK for this reason!). This is essential for a fine control of the tip, which is an important part of the overall tool.

    The RD4 is nowhere serrated and thus less suitable for cutting things like wood.

    I like the concept of the SOG Seal Pub, just not its dimensions. Add a butt spike for smashing glass, adjust the dimensions and the knife is near-perfect.

    The more simple knives (grip + blade + some tradition) are wasting too many opportunities (possible functionalities) in my opinion.

  5. @ serrated - gibts!
    RD4 Black Micarta Serrated
    (hope the link works)

    Do I sound like a OKC salesguy? LOL

  6. The thumb rest looks quite symbolic and there's no effective handguard that keeps your index finger from crashing into a branch when you slip while sawing. The latter is a rather minimal issue, though - it can be compensated for with a bit swearing.

  7. Maybe you might have to go the custom route and talk to somebody like this guy.

  8. You saw with a saw, you chop with an axe and you cut with a knife. All of them can be found in good quality and light weight. Any move to combine the tasks in one tool with leave you with an ineffective saw, a weak axe and a heavy knife.