Knife afficionados, I need some info

JulesMaximus

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Jul 3, 2003
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I'm interested in purchasing a Bowie knife just for hiking/camping but I'd like something nice. Something fancy with a wood handle and quality blade. I don't mind spending a few hundred dollars on a quality blade but I see a lot of knives in the sub $100 range so I'm guessing these aren't the greatest but they seem to be very common. What is the upper end of the scale of a good Bowie knife?

I was looking at this one. Comes with a nice leather sheath. Made of AUS-8 steel.

 

gill77

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Aug 3, 2006
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I'm interested in purchasing a Bowie knife just for hiking/camping but I'd like something nice. Something fancy with a wood handle and quality blade. I don't mind spending a few hundred dollars on a quality blade but I see a lot of knives in the sub $100 range so I'm guessing these aren't the greatest but they seem to be very common. What is the upper end of the scale of a good Bowie knife?

I was looking at this one. Comes with a nice leather sheath. Made of AUS-8 steel.

This is probably not what you are looking for. A fighting knife, but not a bowie. Mine is similar to this. Good luck.

https://www.kabar.com/products/1217
 
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lxskllr

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Nov 30, 2004
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Kabar's a classic, and is US made. I wouldn't consider the knife you posted a true Bowie either. It's a little closer, but when I see it, I don't think "Bowie".
 

gill77

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Can you elaborate on that? Other than blade material and price how is this any different than the one I posted a link to?
I really don't know that much about it. You specified a Bowie, which typically have more curve at the tip than the SOG that was linked.

The feature of the Ka-bar that stands out for me is the groove (there is a name for it, but I cannot recall) down the center of the blade for blood letting.

Naming and classification usually are not that much of interest to me. Functionally, I would imagine both to be fairly similar.
 

DigDog

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Jun 3, 2011
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the eternal question is .. what do you want the knife for.

do you need to chop wood?
skin bears? hunt animals?
is it a knife that needs to look good?
will you maintain it or does it need to be maintenance -free?
will this be your only knife? will you need a sheat, and will you carry it for a long time?


if you want a knife because you want a knife, buy the one you like best based on looks.

if you want a knife for practical purposes, then you need to take into consideration all the practical-use factors; how much it weights, how bulky it is to carry around, if it can fill multiple roles, and so on. We wouldn't recommend a kukri just to skin an animal, but it's a good choice if you need to camp.
 

JulesMaximus

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Jul 3, 2003
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the eternal question is .. what do you want the knife for.

do you need to chop wood?
skin bears? hunt animals?
is it a knife that needs to look good?
will you maintain it or does it need to be maintenance -free?
will this be your only knife? will you need a sheat, and will you carry it for a long time?


if you want a knife because you want a knife, buy the one you like best based on looks.

if you want a knife for practical purposes, then you need to take into consideration all the practical-use factors; how much it weights, how bulky it is to carry around, if it can fill multiple roles, and so on. We wouldn't recommend a kukri just to skin an animal, but it's a good choice if you need to camp.
Just for general use while hiking and camping. It will probably just be in a sheath on my hip most of the time and only see use if needed like for cutting rope or various other things you might find use for in the wilderness. That is why I was thinking a 6-7" Bowie (blade length) might be a decent choice but truth be told I could probably do all the things I need with a smaller knife.
 

gill77

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Aug 3, 2006
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Just for general use while hiking and camping. It will probably just be in a sheath on my hip most of the time and only see use if needed like for cutting rope or various other things you might find use for in the wilderness. That is why I was thinking a 6-7" Bowie (blade length) might be a decent choice but truth be told I could probably do all the things I need with a smaller knife.
Two things keep coming to mind when I read through this tread, survival knife, and watching Jim Bowie on TV when I was a kid:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0048840/

At least at the time I would have rated it higher than 7.9 :)
 

gill77

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It isn't the sexiest knife, but it'll do a lot of work, and is almost disposable cheap. I carry one every day. They also have a stainless version that's more corrosion resistant.
I was going to ask how break resistant it is, but I see it has some kind of lifetime warranty. I prefer something that can use (maybe abuse) for an unintended purpose without being too concerned if it gets destroyed.
 

lxskllr

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Nov 30, 2004
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I was going to ask how break resistant it is, but I see it has some kind of lifetime warranty. I prefer something that can use (maybe abuse) for an unintended purpose without being too concerned if it gets destroyed.
I don't use it for prying or anything(my USAF survival knife gets used for that), but I hack brush with it, and have done some light batoning. The edge will chip if abused, but that's true of any knife of sufficient hardness. I try to neither abuse nor baby it. It gets used for real work, and holds up well. I lost my first one at work last year, and ordered another before the day was over cause I didn't want to be without it. I use it almost every single work day.
 

DigDog

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Jun 3, 2011
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my reasoning is as follows:

1. a Bowie is a massive knife; 10, 12 inch blade, thick, heavy. Made to kill stuff with. Cumbersome to carry all day, and not terribly nimble.
2. the second best thing is the rambo knife. Essentially, it's a smaller Bowie, same blade shape, long and comfortable grip, slightly easier to skin / fillet / clean with, but slightly less capable to chop wood with. 7 inch blade.
3. KA-Bar makes a renowned USMC knife, and Amazon stocks it for $80 including sheath.

if you "hack bush" with your knife, 90% of the time the best recommendation is to bring a kukri. Because we're not fanciful and we do not value historical accuracy, we'd recommend the Ontario Kukri. It has a machete-like blade (doesn't thicken up near the spine), it's very light, but the reviews on the durability and sharpness have been ecstatic. And, it's cheap. You can use it for most normal knife duties as well.
 

DigDog

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JulesMaximus

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Jul 3, 2003
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i'mean, in the end it only really matters how f* hardcore you want to go:


Now that’s a knife!
 

kage69

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Jul 17, 2003
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Bowie? Meh. Check out the higher end Cold Steel Trailmasters if you're really into that. It's a lot of knife though, you'll hate yourself if something happens to it. I'd say grab yourself a good hunters axe and a carbon steel survival knife. Use the money you save and apply it to a WorkSharp for home and a good puck for camping. Not Lansky, get a dual grit Arctic Fox.

Hults Bruk/HultaFors products for the ax, Condor Knife and Tool or ESEE for the knife. 1095 works really good with ferrocerium rods, stainless alloys much less so. I still think the best value is probably the Cold Steel SRK in Carbon SK-5. It can do pretty much anything other knives can do, and for under fiddy.
 
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kage69

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Jul 17, 2003
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If you're set on a single piece I'd consider something better at chopping than a Bowie style blade. Kukri has already been mentioned, I'd stick to Cold Steel, Condor, or an imported Tora if you go that route. I'm a big fan of Condor's mini golok. It's a hell of a chopper, and is actually a hoot to throw. My eldest is always trying to bogart it, going to have to get him one of his own soon I think. Came with an acceptable saber grind on it. Touched it up with the WorkSharp, oiled the handle and put a lanyard on it. It's 1075 rather than 1095 carbon steel, but that's to be expected in a dedicated chopping tool.
 
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BoomerD

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Feb 26, 2006
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KA-BAR USMC
I carried a Kabar fighting knife during my time in the USMC. Used it several times. Good knife.
I've had one of these for over 20 years:



Kabar discontinued their "Next Generation" series a while back...but I worked on the water...salt water for many years. I wanted a knife that I didn't want to have to worry about rust or corrosion when it got wet. It's served me well...but they ain't for everyone.
 
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kage69

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This is a little off topic but I figured the people here would appreciate this.

I saw that, very cool stuff. I'm quite interested in seeing how the final product rates in strength testing, as well as what other kinds of alloys can be used. Maybe this is what leads us to something that's even better than Wootz.
 

JulesMaximus

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Jul 3, 2003
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I ended up buying a knife made by Chris Reeve Knives. It has a 6" clip point blade and micarta handle. It feels very light and natural and is not overly large so I can carry it on my hip all day in comfort. It came with a nice camo sheath too. Blade is made of one piece of CPM S35VN steel and it is sharp. It will keel!

1593704311318.png
 
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