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Best Kukri for general camping

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Ascalon, Jul 2, 2010.

  1. Ascalon


    Jul 2, 2010
    Hello guys. This is my first post, so hopefully I've got this right. I'm planning on buying my first kukri, as I believe the unique blade would be the best all-round tool for me to carry on hiking/backpacking/camping trips. I'm a tall guy, 6'1" with long arms and fairly big hands, and I'd need the kukri for some wood chopping, brush clearing, possible setting up shelters, scaling fish, cutting meat, and the off chance that I'd need it for self defense.

    My question is, What would the overall best style and size of kukri be for my purposes? From what supplier? I've done a lot of research, and I might be willing to spend up to $100 on a quality made (meaning very durable) kukri from wherever. I'm also thinking of just spending around $40 for a sharpened windlass cutlery kukri if anyone here can confirm that its quality is near satisfactory for the relatively infrequent use I'll be giving it. Any help and suggestions are greatly appreciated.
  2. Sharp Knives 86

    Sharp Knives 86 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 27, 2009
    Try the Himilayan Imports sub-forum, and ask around, from what it sound like a 15" 16" HI Ang Khola or WWWII will suit you well but there are plenty of different styles of khukri knives to choose from.

    As for the Windlass khuk, I have no expirence with them but I hear the quality is hit or miss.
  3. Ascalon


    Jul 2, 2010
    Thanks. I'll try asking in the HI section, though I hope HI wont be the only suggestion (bias). When you have long arms is it generally better to go with a longer or shorter blade? I was planning to go for around 18" overall length, at least a 12" blade.
  4. PayetteRucker


    Aug 4, 2009
    I have the Condor Khukri, very well executed. Nope, it's not traditional, unique or authentic in any way, but for 20 bucks it's one heck of a performer.
  5. MustardMan


    Mar 14, 2009
    In my opinion, the typical HI kukris are far too heavy and thick for backpacking. A non-traditional modern version, which is more machete-like and far, far lighter, would be my choice for backpacking. I've carried the now-discontinued Cold Steel LTC kukri on many an outing, and it is an outstanding chopper and brush clearer.
  6. mete

    mete Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 10, 2003
    The WWII type is about 24 ozs , a bit heavy for general camping. A lighter one , about 18 ozs ,I think would be better.
  7. orthogonal1


    Oct 30, 2005
    I've been happy with my surplus Kukris, usually one of the British patterns or close to them.

    Inexpensive and they perform well enough IMO.
  8. jayinhk


    Apr 25, 2006
    HI, Tora and Khukuri House International all make decent khukuris. I'm the same height as you and I find 12" bladed khukuris to be a good balance of length and weight, although 10" khukuris are faster and more balanced, IMO. HI is more expensive than KH and their sheaths leave a little to be desired, but you'll get your HI quickly. I go with KHHI because of the lower prices and customizability: I can tell them what I want and they get *most* of my specs right. Tell them to upsize the handle by an inch and you'll get a great khuk, but you'll be waiting 4-5 weeks. HI can do customs too, but at a much higher price.
  9. antonio_luiz


    Jul 23, 2008
    Kukri's have their uses but are not ideal for everything

    "wood chopping, brush clearing, possible setting up shelters", :thumbup

    "scaling fish" jerkit:(you're kidding aren't you)?:D

    "cutting meat" - if you have it on a treestump then maybe - but IMO :thumbdn: I've seen lots of other style choppers in kitchens but never a kukri. Even a $5 POS bait knife would be easier to use for scaling fish and cutting meat or other food prep chores

    "and the off chance that I'd need it for self defense" :confused: - what? - you heading into bear country? - pack a 44mag - humans? - same answer
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 2, 2014
  10. GingivitisKahn


    Jun 8, 2010
    I've not used one of the super cool HI ones, but my Ka-Bar Kuk rocks. It takes and holds a great edge, chops like a son of a maraca, clears vines that are trying to eat my fence and doesn't break the bank.
  11. wildmike


    Nov 17, 2007
    Get one of the H.I. M-43 kukri's.

    You can ignore the comments that say that kuk's aren't ideal for anything. I used my M-43 as my primary knife and tool over a couple years of very hard living. It worked for doing everything from building shelters and chopping wood, to fine tasks such as making traps and deadfalls.
  12. Ascalon


    Jul 2, 2010
    Thanks for the advice guys. The M43, Ang Khola, and Chiruwa Ang Khola look pretty damn tempting. Would a Sirupate kukri with its thinner spine perform the same as those other kukris on these sorts of tasks (but with the obvious benefit of being much lighter)?
  13. erichsen


    Jun 12, 2009

    Windlass Cutlery do make two Khukuri's, but I don't hold them in particularly high regard in either the fit and finish or handling categories. The larger Assam Rifles model with 13" blade is pretty heavy and the balance, in my opinion, is terrible. I'd encourage you to check the KHHI website in addition to the HI site and the subforum. For general camp use, the M43 military model might suffice, though I myself prefer the Sirupate for such uses. Sirupate is not particularly ornate and it's longer and somewhat lighter blade makes, in my opinion anyway, for a better general purpose implement than the heavier styles (particularly the Ang Khola). It's my understanding that a fair proportion of the indigenous population of South Eastern Nepal rely on the Sirupate for general purpose use for much the same reason.

    13" is about the target length that gives you the best flexibility. For anything requiring more precision, you can turn to the included smaller knife, the Karda, or a backup knife somewhere else in your kit or on your person. The Chitlange and Chainpure are also nice options that compare favorably with Sirupate, though they have more complicated blade forging and a bell shaped haft that you either like or don't and are a bit more costly due to the added forging time. KHHI are also selling a chirawe-style (full tang) Chitlange in the Survivor series called "Chitlange the Savior" that will roughly fit your budget (shipping costs will probably put you over $100). The traditional Sirupate with stick tang in the 13" or 15" blade lengths will be around $40 (though the shipping will roughly double that, still under $100).

    I've thus far only ever ordered custom pieces from KHHI manufactured in their main factory in Katmandu, though I've now seen some of the catalog pieces and can say that while not the equal of the custom shop, the two I've now handled were acceptable (fit and finish not quite as good, blade appeared a bit rough in spots, but hardness and temper appeared correct).

    The supplied Karda that comes with catalog knives is going to be pretty small, fairly rough and quite ugly but it will get the job done. I'd recommend replacing the chakmak with something more useful, like a half round file or a 6" butchers steel, but for infrequent use that may not be necessary.

    Good luck.
  14. ivan51


    Dec 9, 2003
    watch this: 17" HI WW2 in the kitchen http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DHGlhFJH0g
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 2, 2014
  15. Ascalon


    Jul 2, 2010
    Thanks for all the advice guys :) . I ended buying an AngKhola off Ebay, from the only person selling angkholas, for $75 shipped, though I'm unsure of where it originates from (am I allowed to link to ebay auctions?). It's a 17" kukri with a 10.5" blade, 3/8" thick. I just got it today, and I must say it looks like a mighty fine knife. I can tell I would've been better served by getting one with a wood handle instead of the black buffalo horn. My tendency to have sweaty palms might necessitate amending the handle with something that provides better friction/grip. The blade is solid and it came pretty sharp. However, I don't think it's razor sharp, though I've never had one of these before to be able to tell what level of sharpness it should have. Sharp enough to cut through paper with just a little pressure, but not sharp enough to taste my blood yet I don't think ;) .


    The weight is also no problem for me. It's actually a bit lighter than I expected it to feel. I certainly wouldn't want the blade to be any shorter. So does anyone have advice on how sharp this thing should be?
  16. erichsen


    Jun 12, 2009
    That AngKhola doesn't look too bad from a fit and finish perspective, but that could be the resolution of the images. It's a bit short for my tastes, but I'm not surprised it's lighter than you expected from the length and blade thickness you described.

    Assuming it has been properly zone hardened in the traditional way (assumes this isn't a tourist model that will simply not take an edge), you should be able to to use medium to medium fine-cut files to get a good utility edge on it. I favour the half-round files and the more expensive diamond rough cut or medium cut hones that are no more than about 1 to 1.25" wide and approximately 6-8" long. Whatever you use, it must be fairly narrow or you will not be able to follow the contour of the edge closely enough.

    If a typical file (a fresh new file) won't do more than skim across the edge at the widest part of the belly of the blade, you have a well hardened blade and will need a harder file or diamond hone to shape the edge. The average half-round file with a hardness around HRC 60 will just skim the surface of the edge without really cutting it. It will be easier going towards the point where hardness will be around HRC 55-58 and the heel of the edge nearer to the cho (choil), also in the mid-50s range. The file should cut readily at the spine of the blade, which will tend to be around 30 HRC.

    Half round files, assuming they are hard enough to bite the steel work very well, the smaller variety are 6-7" long and less than 1/2" wide and come in course, medium, medium fine and fine. A quality set of files with a slightly higher hardness of around 64-65 HRC will be required to remove metal from the edge, or you'll have to use a diamond hone which cost even more.

    Depending on just how dull it is and how aggressive the cut of the file or diamond hone you use, you should be able to achieve a reasonable utility edge in 20 minutes or so. If it is completely edgeless, it could take an hour.

    When you have a edge that is sharp enough cut 20 lb. printer/copy paper and is smooth when drawn gently over a fingernail (without the full weight of the blade), it should be good enough for typical camp chores without constant touching up.

    Good luck,

  17. Ascalon


    Jul 2, 2010
    Yea, I plan to get it fully sharpened "professionally" tomorrow if I can. I'm sure the one doing the sharpening will be able to tell the quality of the steel, not that i doubt it at all. Some say it might be from Khukuri House (the lack of initials/marks says its not from HI), in which case I think I got a good deal from a quality source, who was apparently working with HI at one point(?) . I can't wait til the blade is prepared so that i can test what this thing can do. My next kukri will certainly be a larger one, 20" or more, near short sword length :p . This 10~10.5" blade should work nicely for my purposes though, especially when carrying it on backpacking trips. I'd rather carry around something at least a little closer to knife size for weight and appearances. I doubt any people I might encounter would hesitate to show fear if i showed up with a large sword sized kukri hanging from my belt :p .
  18. erichsen


    Jun 12, 2009
    It could well be a catalog knife from KHHI or KHT (both companies are owned by a pair of brothers, similar models and as far as I'm told, share at least some production facilities, some of the time).

    You will eventually need a hone to keep the already sharpened blades sharp.

    Good luck.

  19. Ascalon


    Jul 2, 2010
    What's the best type of edge to keep on the kukri? It has a convex edge, and I'm thinking thats best. Would it still be functional with a V or other bevel type edge? Are they about equal in sharpness or should i expect the convex edge to not be so sharp?
  20. Leatherface


    Dec 3, 2005

    easy to do and maintain

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