Author Topic: My take on the camp knife  (Read 9430 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline bmatt

  • Mill File+
  • *
  • Posts: 26
  • US/Finland
    • The Weekend Woodsman
My take on the camp knife
« on: February 18, 2012, 12:44:47 AM »
For some people, a camp knife is a small Swiss Army Knife. For others, it is a heavy kukri with a 15 inch blade. For yet others, it is a Ka-Bar fighter or maybe a Woodlore type knife. Obviously, the type of tasks a person will be doing in the outdoors will (or at least should) determine the type of knife or knives they carry. Having tried out a range of knife types and sizes over the past 4 years (everything from a sub-3 inch puukko to a 14 inch machete) with the goal of actively trying to find my ideal camp knife, this is what I have come to like the best:



It is a modified version of the BushProwler knife made by Ilkka Seikku. It is a medium-sized camp knife with about a 6 inch/15 cm blade and a high convex grind. The reason I like this type of knife over more common 4 inch/10 cm bushcraft knives or large chopping knives is that it is very versatile, without trying to be a so-called one knife for everything. Among other things, I have used this exact knife or type of knife to make shavings for kindling, baton small logs for kindling, chop down and buck 3 inch (7.5 cm) thick logs, slash-cut saplings and branches of more than 0.5 inch (1.25 cm) thick, slash-cut weeds and brush, carve sausage-roasting sticks, notches, forks and pot hangers, strip bark, make a walking stick, make a digging stick, pry off pieces of fatwood, harvest birch bark, rough up birch bark for taking a spark, open food packages, cut cordage, prepare food and more. If I choke up on the handle, the balance easily allows for finer work to be done. Choking down gives me a 9 inch (23 cm) reach from my hand to the tip of the blade. In short, this knife is a general-use tool that fits in nicely between my folding knife and axe.

So what's your take on the camp knife? Or do you consider any knife to be a camp knife? Do you consider a camp knife and bushcraft knife to be one and the same thing?
« Last Edit: February 23, 2012, 07:07:07 AM by bmatt »

Offline rogumpogum

  • Water Stone
  • ***
  • Posts: 2482
  • I like pickles.
Re: My take on the ?camp knife?
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2012, 01:05:50 AM »
Lord, that is a lovely knife.  :P

Where I am in the US, we have a pretty even mixture of soft and hardwoods. So, I don't like carrying a big knife, but I also can't carry just a pocket knife. So, my system of choice is basically a Nessmuk inspired trio (pocket knife, fixed blade, small axe/hatchet) with a folding saw thrown in. I have a pocket knife for light tasks, carving, and food prep (this used to be a SAK Tinker, but I've moved away from plastic handles and I'm currently searching for a new knife). For a fixed blade, since I don't really baton a great deal - and when I do, it's stuff 2" or under - it'd be one of two choices at this point. Either a 3-4" scandi grind, like a Mora only without plastic handles, or a 4-5" thin bladed traditional knife like a Green River. The former is better for carving tasks, but I can use a pocket knife for that as well. The latter is better for slicing and skinning (heck, I've even filleted a brown trout with a GRK), and being a hunter, that has it's advantages. So, yeah, my camp knife would be one of those two choices.
"My common sense is tingling..."

Offline bmatt

  • Mill File+
  • *
  • Posts: 26
  • US/Finland
    • The Weekend Woodsman
Re: My take on the camp knife
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2012, 05:18:12 AM »
Good choices. Thanks for the input, PPC. :)

Offline trentu

  • Whetstone +
  • **
  • Posts: 698
Re: My take on the camp knife
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2012, 05:34:37 AM »
Good point. I am kinda with you on the mid range size. I personally find the mid length knives excellant for around camp use because like you said you can chop stuff but still use it for finer tasks. I usually find myself slicing some chunk of meat up so it is nice to have that longer stroke of the blade for slicing.
Act or be Acted Upon!

Offline madmax

  • Diamond Stone
  • ****
  • Posts: 9119
  • The Phoenix
Re: My take on the camp knife
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2012, 06:23:51 AM »
Mora #2 around my neck for the little stuff.  Old Hick butcher knife.  12" Tram.

Very nice knife there!
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
Hunter S, Thompson

Offline bmatt

  • Mill File+
  • *
  • Posts: 26
  • US/Finland
    • The Weekend Woodsman
Re: My take on the camp knife
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2012, 06:31:13 AM »
Mora #2 around my neck for the little stuff.  Old Hick butcher knife.  12" Tram.

Very nice knife there!

Good combo for FL.  ;D

Offline beanbag

  • Whetstone +
  • **
  • Posts: 771
Re: My take on the camp knife
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2012, 07:15:10 AM »
What I consider a good camp knife should probably be called a "base camp" knife.  I'm not talking about some thing nice and light like a day hiking or backpacking knife, but something that is really big and luxurious for using right at camp.

I think my Big Boar Tusker fits the bill. 


Offline bmatt

  • Mill File+
  • *
  • Posts: 26
  • US/Finland
    • The Weekend Woodsman
Re: My take on the camp knife
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2012, 07:23:13 AM »
What I consider a good camp knife should probably be called a "base camp" knife.  I'm not talking about some thing nice and light like a day hiking or backpacking knife, but something that is really big and luxurious for using right at camp.

I think my Big Boar Tusker fits the bill. 



I saw your pics of this knife in the knife porn thread and liked it right away! Awesome camp knife. :)

Offline Red

  • Maker of Sub-Par Knives
  • Global Moderator
  • Water Stone
  • *****
  • Posts: 3178
  • Scorched Earther
Re: My take on the camp knife
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2012, 08:09:05 AM »
my regular knife is my Fero, and for the bigger jobs i have my ontario afghan.
"Big drama next few hours.. But whatever happens, no matter what they tell you.. Don't let 'em take them chains off me.."

Offline bmatt

  • Mill File+
  • *
  • Posts: 26
  • US/Finland
    • The Weekend Woodsman
Re: My take on the camp knife
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2012, 08:16:36 AM »
my regular knife is my Fero, and for the bigger jobs i have my ontario afghan.

Feroooo......

Fero?

Offline rogumpogum

  • Water Stone
  • ***
  • Posts: 2482
  • I like pickles.
Re: My take on the camp knife
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2012, 08:49:19 AM »
It's interesting... I notice knifemakers typically use knives other than those they make themselves. Why is that?
"My common sense is tingling..."

Offline Barbarossa Bushman

  • Water Stone
  • ***
  • Posts: 1173
  • A sense of humor is a good thing
Re: My take on the camp knife
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2012, 09:15:16 AM »
bmatt I love that knife you have. That rough forged look is priceless and that high convex grind is smooth and sexy.
"When times get rough and times get hard, the fat get skinny and the skinny die. Good thing you had a little fat on you when you did." An old friend

Offline MATT CHAOS

  • Friction Fire Fellowship
  • Friction Fire Fellowship
  • Water Stone
  • ***
  • Posts: 3856
  • M.E.S.H. Knives
Re: My take on the camp knife
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2012, 09:40:52 AM »
bmatt I love that knife you have. That rough forged look is priceless and that high convex grind is smooth and sexy.

I am really starting to appreciate forged knifes and the forged look.  I have been watching videos about forging knives that Ron Hood has put out.  I am going to give it a go this spring. 

I got a copy of the video if anyone wants it.  Pm me if interested.
Jontok Bushy Approved    Member#28   
1st Aid/CPR/AED Wilderness 1st Aid Instructor

Offline bmatt

  • Mill File+
  • *
  • Posts: 26
  • US/Finland
    • The Weekend Woodsman
Re: My take on the camp knife
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2012, 09:44:33 AM »
bmatt I love that knife you have. That rough forged look is priceless and that high convex grind is smooth and sexy.

I asked him to leave the forging marks on the blade because I like the rustic look. I think I hit the jackpot with this knife, because it's a beaut and works great as well.

Offline PetrifiedWood

  • Friction Fire Fellowship
  • Administrator
  • Belt Grinder
  • ******
  • Posts: 11349
Re: My take on the camp knife
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2012, 09:48:45 AM »
It's interesting... I notice knifemakers typically use knives other than those they make themselves. Why is that?

Red and I talked a bit about this. Basically, as a maker you are always striving to do better, and learning and improving with each new knife. So you have some fancy handle materials stashed away for the day when you will make your masterpiece. But that day never comes, because you are always learning new things.

I've managed to find a solution that lets me use my own knives. I just replace them frequently so that I've always got a "recent" one that incorporates as much of my newly learned skill as possible. When I feel like I've surpassed my current user, I'll replace it again.

Offline rogumpogum

  • Water Stone
  • ***
  • Posts: 2482
  • I like pickles.
Re: My take on the camp knife
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2012, 10:16:40 AM »
Makes sense. :)
"My common sense is tingling..."

Offline Windigo

  • Mill File+
  • *
  • Posts: 64
Re: My take on the camp knife
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2012, 04:37:16 PM »
The old Hudson Bay Camp Knife pattern is a good knife for base camp use, and the Bark River version was nicely done. I think the Condor version is out now, but have not seen one. I still like the BRK version, and use it for base camp.

For carrying, I find a 4- 5 inch blade is enough in my area, for day trip use.

Offline C3 Knives

  • Water Stone
  • ***
  • Posts: 1244
  • No moment in time is -Ordinary-!
Re: My take on the camp knife
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2012, 07:53:50 AM »
For a camp knife I like a 6-7" blade.  It's a handy size for general camp chores.  For belt carry i don't really go over 5" blade. I prefer a smaller blade with a golok or hatchet to back it up for wood prep. Then throw in the multi tool or SAK.  I don't ever find myself using a blade over 6" for anything other than food and wood prep. My favorite hunting knives are in the 3.5-4.5" range and not over. I like a 2" blade for carving wood.  I guess I need to carry 10 or so... Goes well with my addiction.
C3 Knives-Hand Crafted For High Performance!

Offline trentu

  • Whetstone +
  • **
  • Posts: 698
Re: My take on the camp knife
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2012, 06:25:30 AM »
It's interesting... I notice knifemakers typically use knives other than those they make themselves. Why is that?

Red and I talked a bit about this. Basically, as a maker you are always striving to do better, and learning and improving with each new knife. So you have some fancy handle materials stashed away for the day when you will make your masterpiece. But that day never comes, because you are always learning new things.

I've managed to find a solution that lets me use my own knives. I just replace them frequently so that I've always got a "recent" one that incorporates as much of my newly learned skill as possible. When I feel like I've surpassed my current user, I'll replace it again.

Well put.
Act or be Acted Upon!

Online Moe M.

  • Diamond Stone
  • ****
  • Posts: 8172
Re: My take on the camp knife
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2012, 09:02:37 PM »
 
  Funny thing about knives and bushcrafting from my view.
 
  I started making forts in the woods behind my home when I was about five years old,  I carried a K-bar then that my uncle brought back with him from the war.
  By the time I was nine I was hunting the same woods for Pheasants, Ruffled Grouse, squirrel, and cotton tails with my well used single shot Iver Johnson .22RF. rifle,  then I carried a Case sportsman knife,  it had a 4" bowie style blade with some kind of hard rubber checkered handle and a cheap leather sheath,  my dad gave it to me,  I liked the K-Bar better but when dad gives you a knife,  you carry that one.
 A few years later I was doing a lot of camping with the Boy Scouts,  and of course I had an official BSA belt knife and hatchet.
 Years of hunting, fishing, and camping have passed and in those years i've owned and used a lot of different knives,  I still have and use some that go back a half a century.
 Then there was the Period trekking and Buckskining years using fur trade era period knives and hawks.

 In all those years I never knew about having to have a specialty knife,  didn't know about Bushcrafting, never heard of Ray Mears, or any of them other famous woodsmen that everyone talks about on these forums,  but with all that I didn't know,  every knife I had and every hatchet and hawk, even though they didn't have fancy names and exotic handles, they did everything I needed them to do.
 
 Today I find myself thinking about all the gear, including knives,  that I'd like to get,  and I'm thinking about all the stuff that I have laying around on the shelves in my basement that worked very well for me in my younger years,  why would I want to replace what has worked for me all my life,  what more do I need that would work any better than I already have.

 This needs some more thought.
In youth we learn,   with age we understand.

Offline Red

  • Maker of Sub-Par Knives
  • Global Moderator
  • Water Stone
  • *****
  • Posts: 3178
  • Scorched Earther
Re: My take on the camp knife
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2012, 10:10:32 PM »
my regular knife is my Fero, and for the bigger jobs i have my ontario afghan.

Feroooo......

Fero?





:D
"Big drama next few hours.. But whatever happens, no matter what they tell you.. Don't let 'em take them chains off me.."

Offline Red

  • Maker of Sub-Par Knives
  • Global Moderator
  • Water Stone
  • *****
  • Posts: 3178
  • Scorched Earther
Re: My take on the camp knife
« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2012, 10:14:09 PM »
It's interesting... I notice knifemakers typically use knives other than those they make themselves. Why is that?

Red and I talked a bit about this. Basically, as a maker you are always striving to do better, and learning and improving with each new knife. So you have some fancy handle materials stashed away for the day when you will make your masterpiece. But that day never comes, because you are always learning new things.

I've managed to find a solution that lets me use my own knives. I just replace them frequently so that I've always got a "recent" one that incorporates as much of my newly learned skill as possible. When I feel like I've surpassed my current user, I'll replace it again.

yup :) that pretty much sums it up. i would add that for me personally: 

i dont like to carry my own knives as i believes it makes me look arrogant. to me that says that you believe there is nothing out there better, and that is simply not the case. i love my knives, and i do use them on occasion, but i just cant bring myself to say "i use my own knife". i like trying other makers knives, and seeing knives from  their views. that is my opinion on it, and for the record: i do have a couple "special sets of scales" sitting around for a knife i will probably never make :P
"Big drama next few hours.. But whatever happens, no matter what they tell you.. Don't let 'em take them chains off me.."

Offline rogumpogum

  • Water Stone
  • ***
  • Posts: 2482
  • I like pickles.
Re: My take on the camp knife
« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2012, 10:32:24 PM »
That really does make sense. :)
"My common sense is tingling..."

Offline bmatt

  • Mill File+
  • *
  • Posts: 26
  • US/Finland
    • The Weekend Woodsman
Re: My take on the camp knife
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2012, 10:56:03 PM »
In all those years I never knew about having to have a specialty knife,  didn't know about Bushcrafting, never heard of Ray Mears, or any of them other famous woodsmen that everyone talks about on these forums,  but with all that I didn't know,  every knife I had and every hatchet and hawk, even though they didn't have fancy names and exotic handles, they did everything I needed them to do.
 
 Today I find myself thinking about all the gear, including knives,  that I'd like to get,  and I'm thinking about all the stuff that I have laying around on the shelves in my basement that worked very well for me in my younger years,  why would I want to replace what has worked for me all my life,  what more do I need that would work any better than I already have.

 This needs some more thought.

If what you have works well for you, I wouldn't see any reason to change it, unless you want to, of course. ;)

Offline bmatt

  • Mill File+
  • *
  • Posts: 26
  • US/Finland
    • The Weekend Woodsman
Re: My take on the camp knife
« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2012, 11:06:34 PM »