Showing posts with label bushcraft. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bushcraft. Show all posts

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Product Review Update: Pathfinder Trade Knife

 Pathfinder Trade Knife and sheath.
 Reverse view
 Close up of the handle. It is pretty nice looking. Also the bow drill divet thing is a nice little touch.
 Comparison of the Benchmade Bushcrafter and the Pathfinder Trade Knife. Note the difference in handle size. Small handed folks might not like the Benchmade and the opposite is true for the Trade Knife.

This knife was reviewed back in Dec 2012 and it is time for an update as I've had it for awhile now. Used it for a variety of tasks from food prep and accompanying my fork at the table to varied wilderness type tasks.

Without rehashing the entire old review here are my current thoughts.

The Good: It showed up sharp, held an edge well and resharpens very easily.

It handles cutting chores involving wood better than you would think it might

The sheath is excellent. Good thick leather in the pouch type setup bushcraft folks prefer. It is easy to draw the knife and put it back one handed. Retention is fair in general and good for such a sheath. It passes the hold upside down by the sheath test. That being said I would not jump out of a plane with this knife/ sheath or intentionally take it swimming. Suppose if pressed I would make a 550 cord thong and loop it through the sheath's loop a couple times then around the handle. The draw would be considerably slower but for that brief period it would add the needed retention. That being said the retention is totally sufficient for normal hunting/ camping/ bushcrafting type stuff which is this knife's arena anyway.

The Bad:

The handle is a bit small for my taste. I have large but not enormous hands and am consciously needing to squeeze my hand down to fit around the handle of this knife. That is fine for cutting a piece of rope or a stick or a steak but longer chores got tiring to my hand faster than they would with a larger handle.

The finish is not that durable/ consistent. I have used this knife but never did anything crazy with it. Some discolorations/ inconsistencies in the finish were present early on and they've gotten worse over time. It isn't terrible but if $50 Ka Bar's are doing better than this knife at twice the price something is wrong with this picture.

The Ugly: I really do not like the point. It is almost surely really strong but the angles come together more like a pick than a knife point. The downside of that strength is it makes all the little knife tip type tasks a real problem. Given that I am an adult and generally smart enough not to pry with the tip of my blade that strength isn't a huge plus for me. I would trade a little bit of strength for the dexterity of a pointier blade.

Overall impression:

Both of the issues that really bother me about this knife (small handle, not a great point on the blade) are somewhat subjective. A person with smaller hands who really wants a durable blade tip for whatever might see both of these downsides as upsides. It is a matter of perspective.

Past those subjective issues. The knife has some really nice features and a disappointing finish. Why they would put the effort into the nice sheath, handle and touches but not give it a decent finish (or maybe it's just mine and it's a QA/QC thing) I do not know. All that being said this is not a good candidate for a truck box and forget knife, you need to keep this knife oiled for storage and check on it periodically.

As to whether you should buy it. Street price is $110, I paid $99. There are a lot of good comparable medium sized fixed blade knives in that price range. Skip a casual dining burger and 2 beers dinner to save another $20 and there are even more good options. Personal preference on features, steel, etc will determine the way you choose. I'm sort of reshuffling knives since the purchase of the Bushcrafter so I'm not sure where this one will land but  on the balance I don't regret purchasing it.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Benchmade Bushcrafter 162 Sibert Initial Impressions

A package showed up today. It was my Benchmade Bushcrafter 162.Fun times were about to ensue. Here are my initial impressions about the knife.
The good:
1) It's overall appearance is a lot more conventional looking in person.
2) The handle, while it's palm swell and thin lower part are unconventional, is pretty darn comfortable. Also it seems comfortable in multiple grip types which is nice. Some highly angled type grips only fit 1 way, not this guy.
3) The blade is about as thick as one can be without being a glorified pry bar. 
4) It is super sharp, like any Benchmade.
5) It cuts like crazy. Based on my initial impression I've never had a knife that was so good at food prep type type fine tasks AND cutting wood.
6) Seems like it will be a great all around belt knife.

The bad:
7) I'm really not sure what they were going for with the sheath design.
8) The leather is pliable and soft, almost like a suede.
9) The snap for retention and kydex insert for durability probably negate the issue of the leather. In that regard it's almost a classed up rendition of the nylon Buck 110 sheath which lasts roughly forever. While not as pleasing to the eye/ hand as good thick leather I can't see the thing really wearing out.
10) As to the sheath I'm not sure what is or could be them cheaping out, which is crap because it's an expensive knife and what is intentionally rustic looking to go with the whole Bushcrafting theme. I suspect a little of both.

Basically I really like the knife and am OK with, though confused by, the sheath. All in all as of today I'm quite happy with the whole package. As I use my tried and true 'cut everything with it' method of knife testing you will hear more.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Benchmade Bushcrafter 162 FTW!!!

After way too much deliberation I pulled the trigger and ordered a Benchmade Bushcrafter 162.
As a guy who owns 2 Benchmade folding knives I can say the only unpleasant part of them has been paying the tab. Anyway this knife seems like a pretty solid design. I appreciate that it has a fairly traditional design but with modern construction. So anyway that is done. It should fill a hole and scratch my knife itch for awhile. Honestly I was a bit put off by the $170 street price but with ESSE offerings in the $150ish range it's not to crazy. Both of the $100ish knives I was looking at either had an issue that bothered me or were just blah.

There is a pretty cool review of this knife at Rocky Mountain Bushcraft with lots of great pics.

After it shows up and I get to play with it you will surely hear more about this.

Monday, February 3, 2014

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

Still working the issue with the 870. When I have spare time it'll probably be devoted to sawing, filing, sanding and refinishing the forend of the gun. Can't wait to be done with that.

Walker and I went camping this weekend. We were in the backyard in case it didn't do well. He hadn't ever slept in a tent before. Turns out that we were close enough to the house for the WIFI to work so that was nice after he went to bed. It was pretty fun for both of us. He got to eat dinner and hang out outside. I had a fire and did a bit of carving.We will do it again as soon as we can. After another run or two in the yard we'll go someplace nearby overnight.

Sharpened some knives. One I'd used pretty hard and the other I just wanted to tune up. Figure if I sharpen a couple knives weekly or bi weekly that should go a long way towards having a safe, sharp stable of knives.

Did a bit of gun maintenance also. A good excuse to open the safe and ogle my precious.

I'm in the market for a nice medium sized knife. Concept of use would be bushcrafting/ camping/ survival. Broad characteristics are a 4.5-5.5 inch blade, full tang preferably of the same width/ depth going all the way down the blade and handles slapped onto the side. A sheath I don't immediately want to replace would be a plus. Looking at a Tops Brothers of Bushcraft, the Ontario Blackbird SK-5 or maybe the Benchmade 162 Bushcrafter. I'm open for input if anyone has experience with these.

What did you do to prepare this week?



Saturday, January 18, 2014

Saturday Night Ramblings

I found myself in Walmart the other day. Needed a haircut and some light work on the family hauler and there is only one place to do both of those things around here. Turns out everybody else had the same idea! So I was waiting for both things and looking at the ammo situation.

It was actually pretty good. Lots of .223, 7.62x39, .308 and of course all the shotgun shells and hunting type calibers you could want. A guy was talking to the dude working behind the counter. Guy didn't now what type of ammo his SKS shot but wanted to buy some. Dude said 7.62x54R but Guy was not exactly convinced. I said it was 7.62x39. Walmart Dude was happy somebody else was dealing with his problem. Guy was not entirely convinced. He asked if I was sure to which I replied that I was. He asked the same question a similar way. I said I was absolutely positive and would bet him a thousand dollars cash on the matter. Guy was convinced. That narrowed it down to caliber. Dude had both steel cased (Wolf I think) and brass cased ammo. Guy wasn't sure about the difference.

That lead to a 2 minute discussion. Since Guy didn't reload (thank God!) we agreed steel cased would suit his needs at a much more agreeable price. Guy bought 3 boxes and we both went about our days.

Today I had to run some errands and ended up at a surplus store. Got a castle nut wrench which I am long overdue for purchasing and a used USGI wool blanket, picked up the blanket for $10 which I was pretty happy with. After that I went to scout out a place to do some camping. It looks good. In my time driving around the woods here I definitely realized the longest line of site you get here is under 200 meters with under 100 being more common. That's bumped my desire to acquire a precision bolt action rifle, lately boosted by the book I am currently reading Point of Impact (Thanks Zero and Harry Flashman!), down a big notch. Short of improbable shots down a strait road, in a field, etc Project AR could easily dominate any shooting tasks here, hell an iron sighted 30-30 would do around 90% of it just fine and a shotgun could cover 70% or so.

I may go camping tomorrow but it depends on how far I get on a project at home. As a kid and teenager I absolutely loved camping. I went at least monthly forever and for multiple years about every other weekend. Then I joined the Army and subsequently started sleeping outside all the time for work it ceased to be any fun. Since then I could probably count the amount of times I've slept outside on the ground, outside of work,  on one hand. Each time involved family so I was pretty much stuck. Now I am for better or worse at a place in my career where I have been removed from that sort of thing for awhile. I sort of miss it.

That is good because incidentally Walker seems to be expressing an interest in camping. He went with Mother in Law in the drive way a week or so back. Except he noted it wasn't real camping because "the truck didn't move and we didn't sleep in a tent" (She has a camper and it was going to be 20 that night) but he seemed to have fun all the same. So maybe we'll start doing some of that in the yard then ultimately out and about. He is getting towards the right age to start doing more outside stuff. We've got the gear so that is not an issue. Anyway we will see where that goes.

Today while going over my BOB I made some changes. Added a few pouches to give me more readily accessible space. Aside from that mostly it was transitioning to a winter setup admittedly a bit late. Added a pair (top/ bottom) of silk weight long underwear and a wool sweater. I took out a waffle top that had been my sole piece of cold weather gear (for summer in AZ). Swapped a desert pattern goretex for a multicam shell to better fit the area. Also added a pair of wool gloves. If I am smart in the spring when I ditch that stuff I'll put it all in a box or bag to make the transition easy in the future.

I realized some holes that need to be filled today going through our gear. They are going to be listed not so much for you but so I can remember in a month or whatever when I want to fill them:
3x wide mouth stainless steel water bottles (1x ghb, 1x everyday 1x wifey)
1x nesting cup for 1q bottle with carry pouch
3x Louisiana state maps (or a western central LA type map if I can fine one larger than parish but below state sized)
3x eastern Texas maps if available
1x trowel
2 pair wool socks
a kydex belt holster that will hold a Glock 9 with a light yet be reasonably concealable. The big Safariland is great for a battle belt, duty, OC role but I'd like to have a holster (raven concealment, bravo concealment, etc) that could hide under an oversized shirt or a sweatshirt. Should get a pair of good mag pouches along with it.

Tomorrow or the next day I'm going on a monster rant about Bushcrafting. I think bushcrafting is to camping what crossfit is to exercise. They do so many good things but also do some really silly things and take it all so seriously. That should be a fun talk.

I pulled the trigger and ordered the stuff for Project 870. Brownells matte black Alumahyde, Elzetta light mount, GG&G rear sling mount and a half dozen essetac cards. I can procure a light locally and have some slings in my box o gun junk. Think I ultimately want to use a Magpul MS3 to have the 2-1 capability but I'm not sure. Looking forward to getting that all set up.

Realized that one of my not explicitly defined but over arching goals for this year is to have all the guns I currently own set up how I want them to be. Of course there is some evolution as new products come out, we test stuff, yadda yadda yadda but instead of buying another gun or piece of kit I want to get the stuff I have all squared away. Mostly my 642 as it is just a handy little thing. Honestly it is probably too handy for my own good. That little wheel gun is so light and convenient that in moments of weakness or laziness which inevitably occur more than they should I carry it instead of a more potent firearm.

Got some Lone Star beer the other day. One of those cliche Texas things I had to try. It is pretty good straddling the line of being flavorful without too heavy or busy.

Anyway I'm bored of writing now so it's time to wrap this up. Talk to you all later.


Friday, November 15, 2013

James Yeager Bug Out Experiment #4 of 7


James Yeager is a pretty polarizing figure (to say it mildly). He makes a lot of brash points, many of which are right or at least have some legitimate points. Anyway enough about him and onto this series. This video series has been quite interesting. It has touched on concept of use and names of bags, survival vs bush crafting, the importance of systems that work together and all kinds of other stuff. I am probably going to touch on those topics, among others, soon. Anyway I am eager to see where the next 3 videos go.

Monday, January 21, 2013

1 Long gun, 1 Pistol and 1 Knife

Saw this over at SHTF Blog and have been thinking about it ever since. We talked about our top 3 guns previously but the jump from 3 to 2 is a lot.

Pistol- Glock 19. A great compromise between conceal ability and capacity/ shootability. Also you just don't get any more common than a Glock 9mm. Though a Glock 17 would be fine also as the two aren't that different in size.

Long Gun- AR-15 with a CMMG .22 conversion kit. This is arguably gaming the question but since it is just a spare bolt and a magazine I don't think it is too ridiculous. I think arguing the technicality that the lower is the part and saying I would also have a 6.8 or 300 blackout upper would be gaming things. 

A narrow second place would be a Remington 870 with both long and short barrels. The Remington 870 is very versatile but the AR's ability to shoot .22lr gives a pretty good option to put meat into the pot. While you cannot LEGALLY hunt medium-large game with .223 I believe with decent shot placement and the right ammo it is a viable option.

Knife- I am sticking with knives as a discrete tool category and thus not slipping into machete's or hatchets or whatever. The knife would definitely be a fixed blade with a 4-5inch blade. The good old Ka Bar came into my mind but it is a bit too big for most tasks. Of knives I currently own the Pathfinder Trade Knife would be the best candidate. Of knives that are out there the new Benchmade Bushcrafter seems like a darn good candidate. I definitely want one and will eventually make the purchase.

Anyway those are my pistol, rifle and knife choices. What are yours?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tab Clearing

Graves Bushcraft Books

Venice is flooding, like really bad. This is really sad as it is a beautiful and truly one of a kind city. However since the place is sinking they should probably figure something out and get it up and running sooner instead of later.

Egyptian Islamists want to destroy Sphinx and Pyramids. That would suck. We wanted to get there while relatively close in Germany but they had that whole protest and junta thing so that trip got postponed.

File this under you have got to be kidding me and this is why we are broke. We regularly send tens of thousands of dollars getting pictures painted of cabinet heads.

Nato to defend Turkey from Syria.

UK may send troops to Syrian border.

Palestine is working on UN recognition.


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