BK&T Campanion field(chore) testing

Below is my experience with the new Camillus BK&T Campanion...

First, in the interest of disclosure, I'm not affiliated in any way with any knife company. I've been a knife nut for over 25 years, but I don't have experience with a lot of different knives. My preferences have always been towards durable "utility" style knives. (usmc style K-bars and Camillus, CS SRK, etc.)

I bought the Campanion a couple of weeks ago, based on some comments I read in this forum. My turn to return the favor.

I have several fast growing Austrees (hybrid tree - not a hardwood, but harder than pine) on my property. So, every year I'm pruning several large and small branches, then they sit in a pile until I feel like chopping them up into 4 foot lengths so the stupid garbage company will pick them up. Now, the branches are lying on the ground, usually about a couple of inches above the ground. This makes chopping more difficult, because there isn't any support underneath, and they tend to bounce when you hit 'em with a hatchet. This time I decided to use the Campanion instead of the hatchet. The Campanion made very short work of the chore. It took a few swings to get used to the chopping edge being so close to my hand (5" blade vs. a 10" handle on the hatchet), but once I was accustomed to this, it was no problem. Even with the branches bouncing around on muddy ground, the Campanion would penetrate the full grind depth (about an inch) very easily. Alternating the angle would send large chunks flying. I was done in half the time it would've taken with the hatchet. After chopping up the big branches (3 to 4 inches diameter), I would hold them up and chop off the smaller branches. Be careful, anything less than an inch diameter will come off with one good swing!
After finishing off the branches an hour later, I decided to see how well it would stab, and how the point would hold up. So, I took about 15 full force under handed swings into a treated fence post. Each time the knife would go about an inch in, and I'd pry it out to the side. After all of this, the edge was still very sharp, and zero damage to the point.

Finally, I decided to see how sharp of an edge I could put on the blade (even though it didn't need sharpening). I spent about 5 minutes with a DMT diafold(medium/fine) diamond stone. The Campanion is now the sharpest knife I own (even sharper than my Endura (ATS-55))!

The only discomfort I had in chopping was to the inside joint of my thumb, probably due to the wood bouncing around. It wasn't enough to make me stop, though, and if I had worn gloves, it wouldn't have happened.

This is a well designed, well made knife! I won't be using my hatchet ever again - the Campanion is a much better chopper. It would especially shine in a confined area (near a fence, shrubs, etc.) where it is difficult to swing a hatchet or axe). The edge is sharp enough that there is no reason to carry a second "sharp" knife for cutting rope, etc. I haven't tried yet, but I think the blade and handle design is suitable for "fine" work as well. Yes, it's a bit heavy (15 oz.), but once you're accustomed to the weight, it doesn't seem heavy.

One of the really great things is this knife will get USED (I have a lot of knives that sit in my safe, 'cause there ain't no commies in my perimeter anymore
). It's now my permanent hiking/camping knife. It is also my around the house/backyard chore tool. And living in North Tejas, where the weather can put you into a survival/camping situation pretty quickly, it's comforting to have it around the house.

If it wasn't for bladeforums, I never would've known about hte Campanion. So, thanks everybody!!!

P.S. Jeff Randall - you oughta take one of these to S.A. with you - I'll bet you'll start leaving your K-bar at home!

Oct 3, 1998
Thanks for the review!

I am fairly stunned that the Campanion is chopping better than a hatchet for you. Could you tell us a little bit more about your hatchet? How big it is, who made it, etc.?


I was pretty surprised myself. My hatchet is just your run o' the mill utility hatchet from Home Depot (~ $15 - 10" handle, I think it weighs about the same as the Campanion), with the edge tuned up with a flat bastard file.
There's plenty of room to argue that a better hatchet, and a better technique on my part would be equal or better to the Campanion.
But for me, I found it easier to hit where I was aiming with the Campanion. Also, the Campanion penetrated more deeply than the hatchet Again, there's plenty of room to argue for a better hatchet/technique.

For me, though, I'll give the hatchet to my neighbor...

[This message has been edited by OccamsRazor (edited 04-17-2000).]
I was a little skeptical of the chopping being better than a hatchet myself... that is until I got to handle one. Holy smokes these things are stout. I can hardly wait to read what people think when the Brute comes available.

Good field report, OccamsRazor.

I would like to add that since receiving my prototype Campanion, I 've had a chance to use it in the kitchen for food prep and it does a pretty good job on the large stuff, but is a bit awkward on finer cutting jobs( a smaller companion for the Campanion would be good). For example, one meal took me less than 15 minutes to reduce a roasting chicken down into its components and then chopped up vegies without a problem. No staining noted and the blade still remains sharp as I get ready to prepare another dinner. Spreads peanut butter not too badly, but again, a smaller knife gives you more control.

All in all, functional in the kitchen. I'll be most interested in how the Magnum Camp knife compares to the Campanion when it comes out soon.


If you want to compare blade to hatchets you really want to use a hatchet in a similar class. The hardware store hatchets/axes are usually not for wood cutting but more for general utility use and have very thick profiles and rather poor steel. Check out Gransforge Bruks :


I think I am going to pick up a couple this summer.