Buck Omni Hunter 12 PT with gut hook

Posted on Thursday 19 May 2011

Overall length 9.75″
Weight 7.8 oz
Steel material 420HC stainless
Blade length 4″
Accessory
Nylon sheath

I have gained experience after several trips to the woods, that would not have come any other way.  One of the most used tools is a camp knife.  In the beginning, I thought bigger is better, and started with a Cold Steel GI Tanto.  At first it seemed to make perfect sense: large heavy blade for camp chores, paracord wrapped handle in case it needs to become a spear head, inexpensive, to take abuse, etc.  All these ‘features’ turned out to be useless: large blade is a pain to carry, handle is uncomfortable, cheap steel dull easy, and it looks scary, when you run into other people on the trail.  So… the GI Tanto has been replace with a Buck Omni Hunter 12pt with gut hook.

The Omni Hunter has a large curved handle, made of black Kraton.  It is textured for good grip, and is not slippery even with blood on it.  There are ridges on the top and bottom of the handle to increase traction in all conditions.  A lanyard hole is in the back, you can easily feed 550 cord through it for extra lashing.  This handle is large, even someone with large hands should find it comfortable.  If you have smaller hands, the curve of the handle makes it easy to use in every situation.  It is a full tang knife, as you can through the lanyard hole.

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dmitry @ 11:42 am
Filed under: Knives and tools
CRKT Vertex drop-point

Posted on Wednesday 18 May 2011

Overall length 7.25″
Folded length
4.0″
Weight 3.8 oz
Steel material 8Cr14MoV stainless
Blade length 3.125″
Lock Mechanism
Locking liner

Update 5/31/2011: Just after a few weeks of use the pocket clip has lost most of it’s spring.  I had to use pliers to compress it again, so that the knife would not fall out of my pocket.  This really undermines my good overall opinion about the blade.

After a few years, the time has come to replace the Gerber AR 3.0 with something better.  Specifically, a better blade.  Numerous times I have sharpened my EDC knife, and wished I did not have to do it so often.  The carbon blade sharpens easily, but also dulls easily.

The new CRKT Vertex has a stainless steel blade, similar to AUS-8 steel.  It’s a Chinese steels that gets mostly positive reviews on various internet forums and other sites.  The blade is spring-loaded for one handed operation.  Depress the locking stud and nudge the blade forward, and it springs and locks into place.  Liner lock secures it into place for sure-handed operation.  This blade is extreme hollow ground for smooth penetration into whatever you are cutting.  The drop point version has black Micarta inserts, and the clip point sports cocobolo wood inserts.

dmitry @ 6:01 pm
Filed under: Knives and tools
Entrenching Tool review

Posted on Wednesday 23 July 2008

This post will cover the US Army Entrenching Tool or e-tool. The e-tool is one of those pieces of gear that you don’t know you need, until you really need it. I think every outdoor enthusiast should have one. I am not advocating carrying it with you on every trip, but if you are “car camping” as opposed to primitive camping, then throw one of these e-tools in your trunk. If I plan on making a new campsite, I take the e-tool with me. If I visit an old campsite for the first time in the season, I take the e-tool with me to clear out new growth, and remove old ashes from the fire pit.

Entrenching tools come from many different manufacturers and from different decades. You can find an older type, with a wood handle, or the most common I see today, is the tri-fold metal handle. There are many cheap fakes from Asia, and many decent “replicas” as well. There is an excellent guide on eBay “U.S. Entrenching Tool Identification — Spot a Fake!“. According to this reviewer, my newest e-tool may be a fake. While comparing it to my old e-tool, I cannot tell any physical differences, except for stamped markings. Overall design, weight and “feel” are the same. There are several types of entrenching tool carriers; the newest type is a MOLLE pouch with buckle closure in the front. I use old-school rubber ALICE carriers with snap-ons to secure the lid. In my situation it makes no sense to pay more for the MOLLE carrier, but a soldier, who may have to hit the ground hard, the snap-on ALICE pouch can come open easier than the MOLLE carrier with buckle closure.

I have used the e-tool in the field as a shovel and a spade. I think for chopping branches, a machete or hatchet are best. The e-tools weakest points are it’s hinged parts, and chopping violently stresses them much more than digging. Size of the blade is good for camp chores like digging a fire pit, or getting rocks out from underneath the tent. One could use the e-tool as a weapon in some situations, it certainly has the weight and the edge to damage flesh and bone.

A few words about using the entrenching tool… There are several hinges, and one plastic nut on the last hinge. Twist this nut counter-clockwise to allow the hinges to work. Once this is done, unfold the e-tool into desired position, shovel, pick, or closed. Twist the nut clockwise till it stops. This will lock all the hinges, and you can use your e-tool.

dmitry @ 10:38 am
Filed under: Knives and tools
Winchester Multitool

Posted on Tuesday 11 March 2008

Overall length 7″
Folded length
4.25″
Weight untested
Steel material stainless
Blade length 2.25″
Lock Mechanism
none

This multitool came as a part of Winchester 6 piece gift set from Wal Mart. For $10 for the whole set, I could not pass it up. The craftsmanship and materials do not feel as good as my Gerber and Leatherman multitools, and that’s ok. I beleive that tools should be used and abused, and for the price the Winchester can be beat up without breaking the bank.

It is made from stainless steel, and blades feel sharp enough to do small tasks. There are inch and centimeter markings etched into both sides of the handles, to measure something shorter than 8″. On one side there is a standard blade, a saw blade, can/bottle opener and a flat screwdriver bit. On the other side there is a nice serrated blade, a short blade, and a phillips screw driver bit. All the blades swing out when handles are fully closed, and pliers are not exposed. If you swing the handles open, the multitool becomes needle nosed pliers. This design is comfortable because the inside of the handles are smooth, and edges do not cut into your skin.

Winchester Multitool pouch Winchester Multitool Winchester Multitool blade Winchester Multitool pliers
dmitry @ 1:56 pm
Filed under: Knives and tools
ALICE Pack

Posted on Tuesday 5 February 2008

Rating 2 of 5 stars
Design frameless rucksack
Size medium
Number of Pockets 3
Max. Load Carried 45 lb
Price Paid $18
Pack Weight 3.5 lbs
Total size 2484 cu inches

The medium ALICE Pack was my first ‘real’ camping backpack purchase. I bought it on eBay, after seeing one of my friends use his on a camping trip. The ALICE pack is a no nonsense, strong and cheap design from 1960s. There were several versions made for the US Army, medium ALICE and large ALICE. The medium pack can be worn without an external frame, the large pack has to have the external frame because of its size. I am not a big fan of external frames, so my pack does not have one. While a vast improvement over a school book-bag, the ALICE pack is not the most comfortable design out there. It is still one of my favorites because of our camping history, and because it is tough. I have strapped tents, gallons of water, firewood, all kinds of things onto it, and nothing ever broke The fabric is very durable, and the straps are extremely strong. I dislike the frameless design because the bag bows out, and sits on your back in an awkward way. The shoulder straps are not heavily padded, and there is no hip belt. With the external frame, you have to use a hip belt, so that may be an improvement in comfort and usability. The stock shoulder straps are about 2.5″ wide, and have less than 1/2″ of padding. When used without the hip belt, all of the weight rides on the shoulders, which makes even a short hikes extremely uncomfortable, and back-breaking. Both shoulder straps have old-school quick release buckles.
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dmitry @ 11:57 am
Filed under: Packs and bags