By Dan Kidder Managing Editor
A good bushcraft knife contains a very simple design, with elements, proven over time in the field, that make it ideal for general versatility, ruggedness, and simplicity.
ESEE Knives, out of Idaho has utilized these principals to design two great cutting tools that will get the job done, without the frills usually found in specialty knives.
While vastly different from one another, the JG3 and the RB3 both incorporate some similarities, yet vary widely in the details.
ESEE knives are an affiliate of Randall’s Survival and Adventure, a prominent survival training school, and their knife line is an extension of that, making sure their students have access to survival cutting tools that won’t fail in the real-world environments in which their students may find themselves.
These knives are made in America from American sourced materials, and input from some of the top knife designers in the world. They both use hard as nails and tough as Chuck Norris 1095 high carbon tool steel to create a long lasting edge that will hold up to years of hard abuse, while still taking a razor sharp edge. Each comes with an attractive, thick cowhide sheath with an ample belt loop. The leather comes from one of America’s oldest tanneries and is beautiful in its natural color, that will change over time and use to become your unique sheath, decorated with blood, sweat, and tears of use in the field. The micarta handles on both can easily be removed in the field, and I found that the Link 7 3/32 Allen key on my Leatherman Tread was a perfect fit for this. Each features a lanyard hole in the handle.ESEE Camp-Lore RB3
The RB3 is a Ruben Bolieu designed buscraft blade. Ruben has been travelling the globe for more than three decades, and this knife is the culmination of lessons learned through these extreme ultralight backpacking trips.
The 3-inch full-tang blade features a drop point and a Scandinavian grind. This Scandi grind provides a wicked sharp tool for fine details, and some gross skills, but can be a bit fragile for batoning or heavy chopping. Where it really excels, is cutting through coarse fibers, such as rope, and also for processing game.
The removable Micarta handle scales are chunky, so it is easy to hold for those with larger hands, but not so large that people with more dainty digits will have difficulty with it. This heavy-duty handle prevents cramping from trying to squeeze too hard, as you might find with a flatter handle design. It also gives better control for fine detail work.ESSEE Camp –Lore JG3
Jim Gibson, the designer of this knife, has been bladesmithing for 18 years. In addition to forging metal, he carves wood and bone, and teaches survival. All of these arts come together in this lightweight and versatile blade. Featuring a prominent curve between the handle and the cutting edge, the blade fits comfortably into the hand without kinking your wrist as you work with it. The 3-inch blade features a flat grind and a drop point. The full tang knife has removable micarta handles, and a very flat edged 90-degree spine for shaving wood or striking a ferro rod.
The curve gives you excellent control for fine detail work, but the 1/8th of an inch blade thickness is beefy enough to handle gross skills such as batoning wood and chopping. All told, this knife feels very comfortable in the hand and prevents fatigue when used for long periods of time. It is an excellent all-around bushcraft knife.
All of ESEE’s high carbon knives are made in America and come with a complete repair or replacement guarantee. Because they are made to order, they are available in very limited numbers in select Sportsman’s Warehouse stores and online at www.sportsmanswarehouse.com
. Check online frequently to see if they are in stock.