Camp Chopper

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by rodwha, Dec 26, 2013.

?

Which Would You Carry Backpacking?

  1. Hatchet

    14 vote(s)
    41.2%
  2. Kukri

    8 vote(s)
    23.5%
  3. Other (Please state your choice and why)

    12 vote(s)
    35.3%
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  1. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    I have an Estwing hatchet that I really like, but I'm considering replacing it with some sort of heavy duty knife that would be able to make some firewood and kindling, as well as work as a defensive weapon when in places pistols cannot be carried.

    The more I've been reading about kukris the more I'm thinking it would be about ideal.

    I believe my hatchet weighs about 1.7 lbs, and would prefer to lighten my load, though I realize weight helps with the chore of chopping.

    So what would you carry while backpacking?
     
  2. snapshot762

    snapshot762 Member

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    My Choice would be an ESEE Junglas. Born to chop, tough as nails and a no BS warranty.
     
  3. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    I'll likely get some sort of knife that can handle the chore of cutting small branches regardless, but my knife will need to be reasonably priced <$250 or so. I'd also want it to be somewhat easy to sharpen as well, but hold an edge through some use.
     
  4. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    I found that knife on YouTube and saw this guy's review of it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWtlWAh4T8M

    I forgot to mention that I'd likely want the shorter spectrum of 7-12" as 12" is pretty big.
     
  5. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    I really like the Camp Defender knife made by Sam, our moderator. I'd likely purchase his knife because I prefer to support small business, but I do want the most efficient tool that doesn't weigh me down.
     
  6. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    I'm not a "blade guy" like many on this board are, but if you ask me, nothing is born to chop like a hatchet. If I wanted to lighten my load, I'd look for a lighter hatchet, but wouldn't want to drop far below 1.5 lbs.

    A lot of things do many things. Very few things do many things well. I try to find a balance between dedicated tools and practicality.
     
  7. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    I like my hatchet, and it comes highly recommended. I especially love it's one piece construction with no chance of the handle breaking or the head flying off. The sheath is a little awkward though.
     
  8. Yo Mama

    Yo Mama Member

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    For a camp that you're driving to, axe, full size, heavy, rusty, ...........however we rarely need an axe, most of the wood we get has fallen and there is a technique that you can take a pretty large log and keep moving more of it into the fire without chopping it at all.

    In terms of your concern for a weapon, without a gun option, I'm still going axe, and as long a handle as I could.

    At the camp, for everything else, medium fixed blade. This is regulated for the food prep and dressing anything we get luck and find.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2013
  9. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    That would be Sam Owens (Sam1911) who makes the Camp Defender, not me.

    Sam O, Big Red Sam.
    Sam C, Short Bald Sam.


    :evil:
     
  10. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    There's too many dadgum Sam's 'round here!

    Isn't he a moderator (I suppose for a different portion of THR)?

    I have the old axe part covered. It's only been used to split wood at home for the pit though.
     
  11. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    Yup. Autoloaders and Revolvers specifically. He is a tremendously erudite guy,skilled craftsman and excellent rhetorician.:cool:

    I'm a fan. :D
     
  12. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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  13. rondog

    rondog Member

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  14. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    I reviewed the RTAK-II - which seems to be identical to the Junglas-vs a Camp Defender 2 and a Troy Christianson tomahawk here. The RTAK appeared to work best when chopping brush instead of actual hardwood. It sliced surprisingly well for a ginormous knife/short machete. I followed the link in my article, and they are on sale for $89, including shipping.

    I prefer the Camp Defender, but it costs twice as much, and you can't have one next week.

    Sam Cade ended up with the RTAK I used in the test, so maybe he'll share his impressions. Personally, it's a hell of a fighting knife, if that's a goal- kind of a bowie/machete hybrid.

    John
     
  15. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    The RTAK-II and the Junglas are...step brothers, maybe.

    RTAK-II.jpg

    [​IMG]
    Both knives are Jeff Randall designs, the RTAK-II being produced by Ontario, the ESEE branded Junglas by Rowen. Randall and Ontario had some sort of nasty falling out and OKC retained the usage of the RAT/RTAK marquee. I don't know enough actual information to have an opinion on what happened.

    Since Mr.Randal lost control of "RTAK" the Junglas fills the same niche for ESEE line. The RTAK-II has some uhh, challenging ergonomics for some people. The Junglas has a smaller, better contoured grip that looses the edge side swell.

    Materially the RTAK-II has a possible advantage in that current productionis 5160 vs the 1095 of the Junglas.

    Talking specifically about the RTAK-II now, the flat ground blade, full width tang, massive micarta scales and mounting hardware all work in concert to put the point of balance just above the forefinger, actually under the scales. So it does handle like a massive fighter. The issue is that you have a heavy knife with a weight distribution that isn't ideal for most of the tasks that a knife of this size would be expected to be used for.

    The knife is full flat ground, so it does slice well, despite the absurdly thick factory edge that OKC puts on all of the RAT knives. I think John was really having to fight against the edge in his review. Reground to a more sensible shape it is very pleasing to cut with in the kitchen.
    [​IMG]

    I swisscheesed the tang and reshaped it to a more unreasonable shape and I like it much better now. Performance after modification (as a chopper is on par) with a BK9.
    [​IMG]
     
  16. wheelgunslinger

    wheelgunslinger Member

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    backpacking is the keyword here.

    It also really depends on where you're packing.

    I voted hatchet because regardless of hardwood or conifer (or both like the Appalachians here), it'll get you both heartwood and firewood, shave small stuff down, split sections (especially if you make a heartwood or stone wedge with it), and take down dead stuff. As a defense weapon, it's okay.

    I have one of those bear grylls Parangs, and it's okay. But most of the time I take a sven saw and a hatchet if there is plenty of deadfall. If not, just a hatchet.
     
  17. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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  18. Sentryau2

    Sentryau2 Member

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    I carry the gerber gator jr. Lifetime warranty its like and short, good for clearing thick thorns and small saplings (underbrush is so thick here visibility is 3-12feet) Anything heavy and the thorn vines/small saplings just bend around it, even if its razor sharp. For clearing thick stuff/cutting firewood I carry a Gator Bolo machete also made by gerber.
     
  19. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Then that gets two votes.
    The old military LC-14-B is way better then the new & improved version sold now!

    LC-14-B2.jpg

    Most excellent for clearing trails, clearing vines, splitting small firewood, pounding tent stakes, etc.
    They even have a digging function for 'cat holes' and such without ruining the cutting edge.

    If you need more chopping power then they afford?
    You need an ax.

    rc
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2013
  20. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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  21. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    No, a friend bought two of them at my recommendation.
    One wood handle, and one GI style.
    He returned them both.

    They look the same, but a much steeper edge and brush hook grind angle.

    They crush & slide off better then they cut with one swipe now.

    And it would take a lot of belt grinding to make the edge angles like the originals.
    Plus, regrinding the brush hook edge would be pretty tricky.

    Anyway, you can still find the real GI ones on eBay at about the same price or less then the new ones.

    rc
     
  22. Gordon
    • Contributing Member

    Gordon Contributing Member

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    003-11.gif [/URL]
    018.gif [/URL]

    Sam Owens's original style Camp Defender works for me.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 28, 2013
  23. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    That makes sense RC. I've never had a vintage Pal but one of the things that annoyed me about the ones I've had was the obtuse grind. They are too expensive not to be done correctly.
     
  24. wheelgunslinger

    wheelgunslinger Member

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    Yeah, I got a recall on my first Parang, which Gerber replaced at no charge. I like the mechanics of the way the blade works, but the overall quality is lacking for bushcraft and whatnot.
    It's better than a rock. Well, that's not fair. If you're someone who just wants to limb trees and cut scrub, it's a fine enough tool. It'll probably kill an angry human too. But it's not a tool that's up for a deep bite in a piece of hardwood or heartwood and a subsequent twist.
    I did a brief review here and on bladeforums when I got it. But it's a 30 dollar hacker. It's not meant for heavy abuse.

    I wouldn't mind buying a better quality Parang. I like the swing/chop mechanics of the Parang a lot. Bent blades or broken handles, not so much.

    The new one stayed in my closet for quite a while and had the caution sticker on it til recently.

    I'm sort of bummed out about the Gerber brand going downhill, but this is how it is I suppose.

    As for the Hatchet, Council Tool (made not only in the US, but here in NC) makes some very nice stuff on par with the Eastern Euro stuff people love so much. Actually, they make a product called "Camp Axe" which has a 1.75 lb head and a short two hand handle for <$50
    Council makes a lot of neat stuff for wood work, crafting, and firefighting, forced entry, etc. I like their heads and find the quality to be pretty good.
    http://www.counciltool.com/product.asp?pg=product&item=175HB28
    Their upscale velvi-cut line is what's really on par with the Euro makers. Those heads are very very nice quality. I use axes a lot and really like that I can buy an American product. If they'd start building race axes, I'd buy them and get into timbersports...

    Anyway, they're worth a look.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2013
  25. Deltaboy1984

    Deltaboy1984 Member

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    I carry a Hatchet , a machete , and a folding saw to camp.
     
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