Stout backpacking knife

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by rodriguez7, Jun 8, 2016.

  1. rodriguez7

    rodriguez7 Gila wilderness knife works

    Feb 1, 2009
    I'm in a dilemma, I'm looking for a stout backpacking knife, something I can chop with, fire prep, shelter building, whatever is needed. I'm looking at either a busse basic, 9-11, or possibly a scrapyard 911. Something relatively light. And I think I narrowed it down to these. Any suggestions. The trips I do are wilderness trips, extended stay. So something really durable is needed.
  2. rodriguez7

    rodriguez7 Gila wilderness knife works

    Feb 1, 2009
    Just looking for opinions from those that have handled both the basics from busse, and the Sykco 911. Which one is the lightest, which balances best, and which has the best blade geometry?
  3. mauser9


    Mar 1, 2016
    Sounds like I am in the same boat. New here and glad you mentioned the two above. Some will laugh but that Gerber Strongarm with 420HC was one I was considering. Got time to check out other options and would appreciate others views on different backpacking fixed blades.
  4. The Zieg

    The Zieg

    Jan 31, 2002
    So you're looking in the ~$200 price range?


    EDIT: I'm editing this post to give you my own take. When I used to do this sort of thing, I found extended stay camping (after a long trek in) was best aided by an axe. In the late 80s I stopped carrying a large knife (at the time it was a Gerber coffin-handled Bowie, then for a while a stag handled CS Trailmaster in Carbon V) in favor of a smaller fixed blade (Mora, Wirkkala puukko, Roselli puukko) and a tomahawk, axe, or hatchet. I have never broken a knife in the field and the only time I had to re-hilt a Mora was last year because Marcus the greyhound chewed up the handle. So, for $200 you can really do a lot more (better?) than just one big chopper. If I were joining you in the field tomorrow, I'd be carrying some sort of axe or tomahawk and one of two fixed blades--my Malanika puukko or my Becker BK-15. I'd consider a folding saw and then a multitool as well. I carry the SOG Paratool in the pouch on the BK-15's sheath, so that's a plus.

    Not that I have anything against Busse or SYKO or any of them in that price range, but if trailblazing and shelter building and long stays are in your future, you can spend that $200 a bit more widely and get some tools that will last just as long and make your trip a lot less difficult.

    CAVEAT: This topic comes up a lot on BF and I'm not about to engage in a war over it. It's one man's experience and I respect those who can go for weeks on a big chopper alone. That's some great bushcraft skill and you guys and gals get my thumbs up. I just never took to it.

    Last edited: Jun 8, 2016
  5. Bigfattyt

    Bigfattyt Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 23, 2007
    I owned a B11. Chopped great. Light, pretty fast. Loved it. I let it go.because I sold off most of my Busse. It was a great camp knife.

    The 1111 or 911 will have, in my opinion an even better handle.

    The handles are a bit bigger, with no grip tabs on either side. They were not necessary from my use. (The old molds were milled out and reused, from what I understand).

    The steel is top notch too, but not stain resistant like INFI. Still super tough and holds a great edge. As long as you don't mind the carbon steel (I love it).
  6. inkynate


    Sep 4, 2010
    I have a growing pile of Bussekin, including these two:


    1111 & 1311

    I also have a Basic 8 LE that is really sweet, but nothing in the 9-10" range yet. The res-c handles make them relatively light considering the size and stock thickness, but they're all stout, heavy blades.

    I think the big blades are a lot of fun for chopping and general wood prep. I also use them for heavy brush and vine clearing work on our property. Honestly though, on an extended hike I'd probably go much lighter. Maybe my Ratmandu or Jackmandu, paired with a folding saw and maybe a light machete depending on the trip. I might take the B8, as it still belt carries pretty well for me, but that's probably as big as I'd go on a longer trip. Those ounces all add up when you start adding miles and elevation.

    Sorry I can't offer any insight on the 911, but I am a big fan of the res-c blades I do have.

    To Bigfatty's point, I think the B11 is much lighter than the 1111, due to the full height grind and iirc, thinner stock. (1111=0.25", 1311=0.187", B8 LE=0.22")
  7. rodriguez7

    rodriguez7 Gila wilderness knife works

    Feb 1, 2009
    I'm just wondering if stepping up from a 7 inch blade is even worth the difference in chopping power. I currently have a team Gemini, and a camp tramp. I do have several small axes, and tomahawks for the person that recommended that. The only thing about those, is doing any kind of carving or word work, but then doing that with an 11 inch blade may not be simple either. I'm thinking a 7 inch blade may just be all I need.
  8. AntDog

    AntDog Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Apr 3, 2001
    Yes it is. That couple of inches makes a huge difference.

    I had a camp tramp when they first came out and I've had a Basic 9 for a long time. The 9 chopped circles around the camp tramp.
  9. Monofletch

    Monofletch Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 14, 2010
    You should also consider the Lionsteel M7 or the Knife Research Legion. Great blade for the price! I just got a Benchmade Bushcraft and I think it will be a great camp/chore knife.
  10. savage99


    Jan 3, 2014
    I just did 3 days in jasper AB and I brought a more companion and my trusty delica 4. Honestly the only thing I used the mora for was carving a fork as I somehow misplaced mine next time I'll probably leave it behind.

    Sent from my SM-G925W8 using Tapatalk
  11. AntDog

    AntDog Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Apr 3, 2001
    Just because you can do what you do "out there" with less doesn't mean everybody can... Or wants to... Or that it would be as much fun...

    Call me a caveman, but I like using my big blades when I can. It's fun. It works for me. My Battle Mistress is shockingly more efficient at doing what I want to do than a hatchet or a small folder. I don't skip leg day, so I don't even notice it on my belt much.

    OP is looking for a big chopper to take with him. Not picking on you, just reminding you of what he's after.

    These threads always seem to devolve into the "efficient campers" vs "the guys who like using big choppers".
  12. Firestrike


    Dec 23, 2012
    Have you considered a Trash 1 or Trash 2?

    Personally I will carry an 11" blade like the Battle Saw all day long and not notice the weight. I would rather carry the extra ounces than to not have what I need.
  13. leghog


    Aug 10, 2013
    Weight is more important than stoutness in a knife for backpacking. One of the main reasons you just don't see a lot of people toting fixed blade knives on the trail --- just not a tool with many uses when backpacking. A Mora will do everything (and more) you need when backpacking. They are light and and can be had very inexpensively.

    As an aside, try to practice LNT on the trail and in the backcountry so those who come behind you will never even know you were there and so they can enjoy it just as you did. The old adage, "leave only footprints, take only pictures", really does apply.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2016
  14. PatrickKnight


    Jan 24, 2012
    Bingo! When I am backpacking I only carry a SAK with a saw. Camping on the hand I will carry a 5 inch fixed blade, folding saw, and an axe.
  15. DAVE_M


    Jun 16, 2010
    That's completely fine and dandy, but you wouldn't ask what the best school bus was for drag racing.
    Backpacking is typically done with lighter weight gear. However, that doesn't mean you can't bring some luxuries.

    My total pack weight is around 13 lbs fully loaded, but I bring along one of my Bark River knives, because I enjoy them more than my Moras. The last time I went on a 20+ mile trip, I had four knives on me. Not because I needed them, but because it was fun to use all of them.
  16. ATJ999

    ATJ999 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 12, 2013
    I would take a very serious look at Robert Martin, his website I believe is tears of the sword. I am in the process of him making a custom slimline machete 3V for my farm work and bushwhacking. He is a great guy to work with, great prices, and a true custom knifemaker! He will make you whatever design of fixed blade you want. Works with lots of different steels and can even make you your own specific steel. Here we go, got the website name. Take a look at least at the homepage, it is worth it at least to take a quick look.
  17. AntDog

    AntDog Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Apr 3, 2001

    Whatever manner of "backpacking" that is typically done isn't the topic. Sure, weight of equipment is always kept to a minimum and even bragged about. However, I don't think an extra pound of knife is worth quibbling over.

    The OP is looking for a certain type of blade for a certain type of purpose. I made a recommendation to him. (Busse Basic 9)

    In the great scheme of things, if your fully loaded pack weighed *gasp* 14 lbs instead of 13? So what? What if that whole extra pound of weight meant you had a big blade to work with?

    I don't get all these arguments over weight. It's bunk. If you can't carry another pound, like I say over and over again, don't skip leg day. It ain't that much at all.

    You just might find one big blade out in the woods is worth the extra measly pound.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2016
  18. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    Since you have done this before, I think you should already know that a good 9" blade will out chop a 7" blade and likewise a 11"-12" blade should out chop a 9" blade. Of course it depends on the blade. If lots of chopping is in your plan, I would carry either a good hatchet or big knife. By the way, you can do a lot with a 16" machete. The whole discussion has a floating judgement point; 7", 9", 10" 12".... Just remember that hatchets and axes are made for chopping and they're tough as long as you don't break the handle. It comes down to personal preference and how frequently you are likely to be chopping and the kinds of things you're chopping. As to whether it is worth carrying the weight, that's up to you, but a good saw does a lot of work on larger materials efficiently.
  19. savage99


    Jan 3, 2014
    Fair enough I try not to make fires if at all possible. I just brought the mora along as a security measure in case I needed too I just found that there was little else it was better at than the delica. Except spreading peanutbutter it was so much easier to clean ( ever try licking peanutbutter out of a spydie hole and digging it out of frn scales ).

    Sent from my SM-G925W8 using Tapatalk
  20. rodriguez7

    rodriguez7 Gila wilderness knife works

    Feb 1, 2009
    I prefer a decent sized blade, but then again I'm sure the light weight guys don't carry a gun either. I just got back from a 27 mile trip, done in 3 days. I was carrying a little to much weight, but a couple things I will not sacrifice, is my pistol, and my knife. And yes, I build a nice fire every night to relax by, hell im way back in the wilderness, with usually no one within miles of me. So ya, a chopper comes in real handy. But I still am somewhat weight conscious, that's why I'm looking at these respirene handles, to kind of save weight where I can. So a nice sized chopping knife, not a flimsy mora, if I'm carrying something that size, it would be a survive, or swamp rat, or one of my customs. Not a mora. Another option of course is my rmj Jenny wren. Which chops better than my camp tramp, but doesn't cut like a knife.

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