I'm somewhat knife ignorant and would like opinions on a particular model. So far in my small collection all I have is the Kabar USMC 7" knife, a couple of Kershaw folders (Leek, Blackout) and an inexpensive (cheap?) Gerber 4 inch fixed blade.
The one I'm looking at is Zero Tolerance Shifter, a 5 inch fixed blade. Would this be a good outdoors knife? Would it hold up?
The store wants $100 for it. Any opinions are welcome and if you can think of a better knife for the price please let me know. While I'm at it, I have a cheap fixed-blade "Winchester" knife that is rather small, maybe 6-7 inches overall length with a 3 inch blade. I would also like to find a similar-sized replacement for that without breaking the bank. Thanks for any help.
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July 14, 2011, 09:16 AM
Define what you mean by "outdoor knife". What tasks will you use it for?
July 14, 2011, 06:26 PM
hso: I guess just a good knife to have while walking through the woods, for whatever may come up. Maybe I'm thinking along the lines of a good "survival" knife? And while I have better options for self defense, something that could serve as a back-up.
I'm an urban dweller, but I do like to go to the country frequently and walk through woods/trails. So again, just a good general purpose fixed-blade. I just happened to see the ZT model in the store, liked the way it felt in my hand, and was wondering if would serve as that general purpose/"survival" knife. I think it's classified as more of a "combat" knife. This is where my ignorance comes in: What makes the difference between a "combat" and a "survival/outdoors" knife?
July 15, 2011, 01:24 AM
That is intended as a tactical knife.
No reason you can't use it for outdoor pursuits, just know that it will not be optimal for most outdoor activities. It is probably saber ground, so it won't slice as effectively as some other types. It's also a clip point, which makes it less effective at things like batoning.
If you're looking for a knife to carve tent stakes, prepare kindling, gut a fish, or set up camp, then there are better options.
July 15, 2011, 02:25 AM
ZT knives are of generally high quality, so I wouldn't be overly concerned about failures in anything resembling normal use.
Would it serve in the wild? Probably. Although the blade shape isn't optimum for it, you could press it into service as a hunting knife and field dress game with it, and it would do the job. If you were going to do a lot of that, you'd want a different profile.
Would it serve as a camping knife? Well, sure, depending on which camp chores it gets to do. I wouldn't attempt to use it for firewood prep, although it would probably survive the experience. It's just that, for that task, there are better choices.
It's a good steel, an excellent handle material, and a reasonable blade profile for medium and light work. Heck, it might even handle heavy work, but I reckon your hands would not thank you for it.
If your plan is to have a serious woods knife to do hacky, choppy, splitty work, you might want to compare it with some of the ESEE line of knives (the ESEE-5, for example). The ESEE will probably cost a few bucks more, but its design is purposed for outdoors and survival stuff.
If you laid the ZT0160 and the ESEE-5 on the table and told me to pick one to carry in the woods for a couple of weeks, the ESEE would get the nod.
When you're plunking down $100-$150 for an outdoors knife, it is well to consider what "outdoors" means to you. Mountain forests? Swamp and semi-tropical foliage? Open plains and rolling hills? Appalachian trail?
Using the knife to make shelter? Cut and split firewood? Dress & process game animals? Camp kitchen only? Wilderness whittling?
I like the look of the ZT0160, but oddly I can't actually think of any of my own activities where that blade would be my first choice. What's weird is that I have a Kershaw 1080 Vertigo (plain edge) that I actually like better for its ergonomics.
Blade is an inch shorter, but I'd be more comfortable using it for an outdoor knife, and it's not really designed for that application either. It's kind of the "tactical" version of the Kershaw Echo, which is a quite competent hunter.
It's your mileage, of course, but frankly -- for outdoor use -- I'd be looking for something with a less tactical pedigree and more of a bushcraft pedigree.