Showing posts with label pathfinder trade knife. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pathfinder trade knife. 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.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Three Knifes For......

It seemed like talking knives would be fun so here we are. I got to thinking about which knives I would want if only a few could be had. I discussed a five knife scenario awhile back and wanted to update it to include some new purchases and be a bit more limiting. Decided on three knives partly because it is the number most of these type discussions seem to go for.

Concept of use/ generic type of knife:
1- EDC Folder
2- Belt knife
3- Large camp/ survival/ fighting knife

I intentionally did not consider multi tools. The primary reason for this is they fall more into the tool category than the knife category. Sort of like a leatherman is not a bottle opener just because it has one on there. The secondary reason is I simply do not find much use for them. It's a nice tool and a nice idea but I rarely find use for them in a place I could not have a whole box of tools. Sure there is one in my BOB and another in the car kit but I do not feel the need to carry one every day.

The EDC folder is my Benchmade auto. The belt knife is a Pathfinder trade knife. The camp knife is my camp knife from JP's Custom knifes. After a semi gratuitous picture of the knives closed I will talk about the decisions I made and some sticking points that came up in them.

I really like the Benchmade so it was an easy choice though really any quality folder could fill the roll. The belt knife is where I had to do a lot of thinking. I was totally up in the air between the Pathfinder and my Ontario RAT 3. The RAT 3 is pretty handy with a nice sheath but is just a bit too short to fill this role. When testing the RAT 3 I found myself jamming part of the handle into a roast or large piece of meat to get the blade all the way through. While the Pathfinder Trade Knife narrowly wins I am not entirely thrilled with the choice. A slightly larger RAT like the 4 (reviewed at TEOTWAWKI blog) or 5 would probably be a great option, for more money the new Benchmade Bush Crafter would be great also.

My camp knife was an easy decision, it is pretty awesome. Recommend JP's Custom Knives for your premium cutlery needs. One could argue my Cold Steel kukuri fits in the same niche but I disagree. That machete on steroids is great for brush and small wood but that's it. My Camp Knife can do light brush or small wood tasks but is still handy for cooking or general use which cannot be said of the kukuri. To me the debate would not be between the Camp Knife and the kukiri but between the kukuri and a hawk/ hatchet/ small ax.

With these three knives I could complete every semi normal knife type task readily imaginable. Aside from Wifey not liking me taking a knife off my belt to cut dinner with there would be no real downside. That makes my inner (he rarely wins) minimalist want to start getting rid of stuff and my paranoid side want to start caching stuff. 

What would your three knives be? I am curious about broad type/ concept of use as well as specific make/ model. 



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?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Solo Pot 900 Trial Run

The Solo Pot 900 and Solo Stove as packaged. The stove fits right inside of the pot. This is huge as it saves a whole lot of space in your bag. While the Solo Stove and Solo Pot 900 are both nice pieces of kit how they work together is what matters. The combination is far more valuable than the two parts are on their own.

It comes in this very nice little bag. The bag will be useful to keep the inevitable soot that will gather on the stove from getting on the other things in your bag. Just one of the many well thought out touches that exist in the Solo Stove and Solo Pot 900.

The pot handle.

The top of the pot, it has a lift tab to grab to open it. There is a little recess in the piece that attaches the tab to the lid that lets you keep it upright.

The Solo Pot 900 has a pour spout which is really nice. This is a huge advantage over the various competing products.

The pot has volume markings which are very useful for following recipes and such.

The lift tab set upright.

In assessing any product I think you have to look at other comparable products. Sitting beside the Solo Pot 900 is an MSR pot that is pretty representative of that size of light weight hiking type pots. As you can see the Solo Pot is much taller and looks significantly larger. The other pot is short and far more like a tuna can while the Solo Pot is taller and thinner like a Campbells soup can.

The Solo Pot 900 inside the MSR pot for a size comparison. The solo pot has a tiny bit larger capacity (like an ounce or two) but they are essentially the same size. Note the different handles.

The tools for the test. Solo Stove and Solo Pot 900, my Pathfinder Trade Knife and Cold Steel Pipe Hawk. The hawk was really handy for processing a larger piece of wood into the little finger sized pieces that seem to be the best way to feed the stove. The more I use this thing the more I like it. The trade knife and pipe hawk are looking like a very nice combo for realistic field and camp cutting tasks.

Getting the stove going. Used some fire starters I made back in boy scouts. They still work really well. After the stove got going I put the pot of water on. Tonight I am making a pot of tea because we already had dinner.

The stove cooking away. Not sure why this pic turned out so much better than the rest but here it is.

The flames from the stove engulfing the pot. The only weak spot here is that the handles get hot. You need to use a leather glove or folded up (not synthetic) piece of clothing to grab the pot handles. This is the only sad face that has jumped out about the Solo Pot.
The tea doing its thing. Not sure what is up with the yellow at the bottom of the pic.

My knife and the oven mitt used to grab the pot off the stove. It seemed like a nice picture so I included it.

Letting the fire die down.

The Solo Pot 900 after the cooking was done.
It is a touch early to do a full review on the Solo Pot 900 but from what I have seen it is a pretty neat piece of gear. Just the right size, nests with the stove and has a lot of well thought out useful features. A significant part of my BOB cooking plan for sure.

You would be well advised to consider purchasing a Solo Pot 900.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pathfinder Trade Knife Review

The way I test knives is to use them for all sorts of everyday tasks. Cooking and eating, opening boxes cutting cord/ rope, cutting on whatever wood I find an excuse for and who knows what else. Some of these tasks inevitably fall into the knifes concept of use/ niche and others do not. This kind of lets me see what it is suited for and less suited for even if that stuff falls outside of what I would think the knifes role is.

Anyway I have testing the Pathfinder Trade Knife for about 3 weeks. I still want to fiddle with it some more but certainly have enough of an impression to do a review. It is a nice looking knife. The handle is nice looking and functional which I appreciate. The finish had a couple little rough spots but nothing too bad. I would say in terms of design and materials it does a good job of having that old traditional look which is part of Dave Canterberry's thing. The sheath is simple but well made and seemingly quite durable.

The blade is 5 inches long. That is about the right width for a good all purpose hard but reasonable use kind of knife. This trend to make 'knives' that are stupidly thick basically pry bars with a sharpened edge. I like that the curve of the bottom of the blade lets you "choke up" on it for delicate work and also functions as a decent stop for the hand to prevent slipping onto the blade.  The blade is 1/8th of an inch thick which is a good width. [Too many knives these days are basically sharpened pry bars. These knives seem to forget the whole point of a knife is to cut stuff not to pry things.]

The knife cuts quite well. It is handy at a variety of tasks around the house and kitchen. It sliced tomatoes well which is not a given with a thicker knife. The blade is rather curved such that the primary cutting surface is about 3/4's of the way up the blade, sort of like on a Tanto. Something about the blades curve tends to draw it deeper into material which isn't a bad thing parse.

Also of course it is full tang, really a blade with some G-10 slabs stuck onto it which is how knifes should be made.  The G-10 is held on by brass rivets which are a nice traditional touch. It has two holes running through the handle and blade with brass inserts. Good for making the thing into a spear I guess or using the back one to stick a wrist thong through.

This does bring us to the one ugly point of this knife. In my testing to date the point of this knife sucks. The way the curve of the spine comes to the point seems to be the culprit. There is a lot of material at various angles coming together at the point. The good news is that I suspect this makes the point very strong. The bad news is that it means the point does not cut particularly well. As I often use the point for small tasks this is problematic. I am going to make sure the tip of the blade is plenty sharp and fiddle with it some more. Worst case it is an issue I can live with.

The concept of use I see for this knife is as an all around belt knife. Preparing food, cutting cord, small wood processing tasks and such. This knife paired with a hawk/ hatchet/ kukuri depending on your inclination and environment would make for a real nice setup for field craft and sustainment. [In a more martial context I would probably have a smaller knife like the RAT 3 on my kit and this in my ruck. Yeah one could argue that is a bit redundant but when you balance weight vs utility I feel good about the trade off.]

As to the inevitable question of if this knife is a good purchase. I paid $99 on special and the normal price is $110. It is a good tool at and will definitely have a key place in one of my kits. The market for medium (say 3.6-5.5in blade) knives in the $110ish price range has some good stuff. If you play a bit fast and loose with the budget and knock it to more like $130 there are really a lot of good options. Some folks might choose differently and that is just fine. In any case I am pretty happy with this knife.




Sunday, December 16, 2012

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

This week we were kind of busy with a sick kid and Christmas as well as the usual mundane life stuff.

We picked up a battery charger for Wifey's cell phone, a big bag of food for Dog and some odds and ends of pantry stuff. Also Wifey found us a BBQ for $20 from some folks who were moving. The propane tank that came with it alone is worth twice that and the BBQ while simple is pretty new and in good condition. The BBQ is a win in terms of life but the propane tank is probably the bigger preparedness win.

I have been doing some wheeling and dealing in terms of guns. Definitely a lot of contacts lead to a few discussions which now and then brings about an actual transaction. Oh well that is the nature of the thing.

The Solo Stove was tested which was both fun and successful.  My rifle plates finally showed up which was cool.

Of course plenty of running and some lifting happened.  This coming week my schedule is a bit more open so I am going to work in more body weight stuff which has been a weak spot as of late and at least one road march. I have been eating pretty decently (well minus Friday night and Saturday) and that has been having some good effects on my body and performance.

Next week I am going to put some lead downrange. Also want to go over the kit for car 1 and put something together for car 2. In any other motivated time I will start reassembling the old BOB. Testing of the Pathfinder Trade Knife is close to done so a review will come out once my thoughts solidify.

What did you do to prepare this week?




Saturday, December 15, 2012

Solo Stove Review And Gratuitous Dog Pics

I have been meaning to play with scientifically test the Solo Stove for awhile now. Sorry to folks with slow connections as this post is 56k death.

For whatever reason today was the day. So I got to fiddling with it.
 They come in a nice little black pouch.











The Solo Stove as packaged.

As you can see this is a really nice well made piece of gear. Yes you can make a hobo style rocket stove with a couple of tin cans and some wire but I seriously doubt it will be as efficient or durable as the Solo Stove. By all means have fun making some home made stoves to experiment with but if you want a piece of gear that is going to last the Solo Stove is probably the way to go.
The top piece/ pot holder in place.

My Pathfinder cup and Trade Knife which are being evaluated and are used to support the Solo Stove effort.

The goal today is to boil water in my cup. While hot chocolate does not require boiling water I wanted it to boil because that is a pretty ambiguous cooking need for emergency food or a variety of other things.  I gathered a variety of small twigs, a decent sized stick as well as some newspaper and cardboard to get it all going. Pretty representative of the way I start most fires.

I cannot claim to understand the physics of why this stove is so awesome as I am not a physicist, a fire fighter or a pyromaniac. However between the grill that the burning material rests on and the holes in the bottom that let air in this thing burns like crazy. It is almost a continuous effort to keep enough fuel in there for it to continue burning. I pulled out an old trick as you can see in the top pic. Instead of cutting a log just stick the end into the fire and when it burns up push a bit more in.
You can see the stove burning away with the cup of water on top of it. Also there is some of the small wood used in the fire, the container of hot chocolate, the Jim Beam that is going to turn it into a non caffeinated redneck Irish Coffee and the beer I am enjoying this evening.
The beer in question is a New Belgium Trippel. A fair interpretation of a stiff (7.8%) Belgium brew though it is filtered a bit more, probably to suit American tastes. Anyway back to the topic at hand.

The water in the cup was simmering after about 4 minutes. It took awhile longer till it really boiled after about 12 minutes. Part of that was the learning curve that to keep the stove really going I have to almost continually be putting little pieces of wood in it.
 
I added the hot chocolate and as you can see it is solidly boiling.



Letting the hot chocolate cool down while the stove continues burning.
Decided to toss the rest of the wood I had into the stove. It was sort of nice to enjoy some woodsman TV and think about life for awhile.
The stove burned all the wood pretty quickly and then I was hanging out letting the coals burn down.

My Pathfinder cup a but burned up on the outside. The Pathfinder symbol cooks kind of cool here. I think Dave Canterbury would approve except that I did this on concrete (due to fire concerns).

Now is a good time for some discussion on my concept of use for the solo stove. I think it would be great for simple cooking if you have primitive inclinations or are in a long term scenario. Cooking simple, quick meals for 1 or 2 people is where this stove would shine. Also in relatively barren environments (I am in the desert and feed this stove with stuff readily found around here) this stoves very high efficiency will let you maximize the small twigs and such that are available and easy to gather. You can definitely feed this stove with a knife which is really handy for traveling light.The solo stove is going into my bug out bag for sure. 

At reader request we have some gratuitous dog pics.

Dog coming out to investigate what I am up to. He things it is stupid to be outside when it is cold (well for Arizona anyway) and raining. He promptly went back inside.
Dog enjoying the old couch that is his exclusive domain. He is tired after a long day of napping, mooching people food, messing with the Christmas tree (he hides from Walker in the corner behind the tree and randomly snacks on it) and dealing with Walker.

Anyway if you are looking for a good cooking method that does not require gas/ propane/ kerosene I would give the Solo Stove a hard look.








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