Recommendation? Fixed blade for hiking and exploring.

May 3, 2020
Oddly enough, if I want tough AND corrosion resistant AND easy to maintain AND affordable... I think of 420HC.

Two blades that fit this bill and won't cost a wad of bills are the Buck 655 Nighthawk and the Gerber Strongarm.

I like them both. You could sharpen both with very little effort, and both will leave you with enough left over for a dinner for two.

Or you could get yourself a Cold Steel SRK in 3V. Their SK5 version is plenty tough for me, but the 3V would kick it up a notch it seems.

Either of these can easily chop vines, twigs and small branches. Anything more than that you should get a chopping tool.

Yeah I was thinking the Gerber strongarm would fit the bill.

It is a very reasonable knife.
Dec 13, 2011
For your budget, Id be looking at
1. Carothers fk2
2. Esee 6
3. Any Becker of your liking (budget getting a kydex sheath)
4. Bussekin 511, basic 6, ratmandu, etc (secondary market might be hit or miss)
5. Fallkniven f1, s1
6. lionsteel of your choice (budget a sheath)

I'd put any of those up to the task of a woods knife that won't drag your belt yet can handle the abuse of wood processing.
Sep 19, 2007
A Fallkniven A1 or S1 would also fit your criteria

I was going to suggest the basic S1 with the Zytel sheath. The F1 is definitely too small to do any chopping and you will not like the weight and size of the A1 if you plan to do any climbing.



Got the Khukuri fevah
May 9, 2002
Steely_Gunz Steely_Gunz , which Condor do you recommend?

Here's a quick screen shot I found of my current go-to hiking beater. This model is the Condor Crotalus. 5.5" blade with a lot of width. Easy to sharpen, like most Condors, and comes with a hard plastic sheath. I actually stripped the coating off mine. The steel underneath is not pretty, but it is well constructed and has held up to a couple years of beating. I think the going rate on this model is a bit over $80.


Gold Member
Dec 3, 2009
in regards to the esee and the fallkiven recommendations: I have the esee 3, 4 and junglas. also the fallkniven f1 and a1. I find the convex grind and the lack of the coating a big plus on the fallknivens in regards to the esees. For me they cut better than the esees and the handle of the esees, while much stronger because of the g10, are just not that ergonomic. You could of course make the esee edge more convex if you like. The coating is more sticky than a non coated knife.

The 1095 steel is very easy to sharpen, but of course prone to rust if not maintained correctly. The laminated vg10 is stainless, but might come with some more concerns because of the lamination part, but these knives have been used and abused all over the world.

Where I used to find the f1 kind of a perfect fit (and found myself using it more often than the esee 4), I kind of like the a1 better now, since it's just a bit bigger and beefier. As stated before, if you're worried about the weight then that might not be for you.
Both the esee and the fallkniven sheets are basic, but the esee ones are better, the fallkniven knives 'rattle' in the sheets.
Jan 30, 2021

Skrama 200.

Cheap, thin but though, good handle, hard sheath inside a lesther dangler

Love all the scandi grind blades in the photo (I read that convex grind is one of the best beater blades grind, not sure how try that is). What are the other two smaller knives in the photo?


Gold Member
Apr 3, 2001
Another very attractive option. Even harder to decide before lol. Also that wombat probably needs to quit drinking.. hope it didn't walk into the knife!

Won't the big choil become a potential weak spot on the Ratmandu?

In my experience, the Ratmandu doesn’t have a weak point. Beat one up and see for yourself. If you manage to break it they have a lifetime warranty (for the life of the knife, not the owner).
Jun 29, 1999
I've never found a big blade necessary when backpacking. If you are going to harvest firewood, a folding saw or a light ax are more useful IMHO.

The Zieg

Gold Member
Jan 31, 2002
I'm back again with a skinnier walllet than the last time :D, looking for a medium size fixed blade to take with me exploring and on hikes.

I usually explore the bush, walking trails, waterfalls, hours to a day long walk, some camping. I found myself climbing onto rocks and ledges, sliding down hillsides often.
  • Kydex/hard sheath is a must. I will definitely get the blade wet.
  • An ergonomic handle that the hand won't slip forward during stabing/knife slipping off during chopping/slashing.
  • Blade length, 4" and above. But not too big that it will make light climbing with it unsafe.
  • Light enough for long hikes, but has enough weight and momentum to chop and trim vines, twigs, and small branches.
  • Medium to high corrosion resistance. I'll be using the blade to poke/prod/pry and touch things I find in nature with it.
  • Decent edge retention and high toughness are desirable.
I don't plan to have to field sharpen often, and probably not going to skin anything with the blade.
For my part, I have had good results with

-Ka-Bar USN Mk1
-Cold Steel SRK (Carbon V)
-Dawson Sheffield Bowie #58

I REALLY want to try out a carbon steel Skrama from Varusteleka. I'm worried I'll never use my other knives again if I do, though.

Good luck and send pics of your new knife in action!



Gold Member
Jan 30, 2010
The Mora Companion would work fine for day hiking . While there's a boat load of good fixed blades nowadays that will fit that role ., I've found the Victorinox Farmer to be so useful in combination with what ever fixed I decided take along. Bravo2 in the photo just for fun.


Gold Member
Mar 27, 2000
Knife fo hinking should be lightweight, kydex is a good option. I'd say TRC Knives "South Pole" should work perfectly:


"This Is Freedom" is imho even better option but South Pole is sure stronger and with more secure grip. Here you have both next to each other:


And just This Is Freedom at camp work:


you can get both with kydex - South Pole comes with AWESOME kydex sheath and for the other one I made my own:




Basic Member
Aug 29, 2019
The Ruike Jager is a nice knife. It's sturdy and a lot more comfortable to use than it looks. It's also made of 14C28N. That'll give you good corrosion resistance, a little more toughness than some other stainless steels, and decent edge retention relative to ease of sharpening.

The stock sheath is flat and made of some kind of polymer. It's not kydex but retention is okay. There is an adjustable screw for the retention. It comes with a removable OWB belt attachment that can be rotated and locked into various angles with a button release. If you want to wear it a different way, there are holes for attaching a Tek-Lok, soft loops, etc.

Another option might be the stainless Mora Companion with a sheath from RK Custom Kydex. The Companion is a known budget gem that's mostly limited by a cumbersome stock sheath. Since getting a good kydex sheath for it, it's actually seen some EDC time. The 12C27 might be a step down from 14C28N but it's still a very capable budget steel. Coincidentally, the knife, sheath, and either a Tek-Lok or soft loops altogether cost less than the Jager.
Oct 17, 2015
Love all the scandi grind blades in the photo (I read that convex grind is one of the best beater blades grind, not sure how try that is). What are the other two smaller knives in the photo?

Helle Mandra and Temagami.

the Skrama is actually a saber grind, but the secondary bevel is perhaps a bit hard to see on that pic. It’s thinner begind the edge than my Spyderco Endura. Really a great knife
Jan 30, 2021
What is your experience with Bark River Bravo 1.25 / 1.5 LT 3v field version? Is it a competition? How's their heat treat and performance?