Friday, April 3, 2015

GEAR REVIEW: Buck Knives (105 and 110)

A cartoon bartender once told me that having two knives was pretty terrific. I think he's right. For a number of years, I've been carrying one or both of my buck knives while camping. The first is their "Pathfinder 105" fixed-blade knife and the second is their "Buck 110" folding knife. The Pathfinder is my favorite, in no small part due to the fact that it was a gift to me from a client. It had been her husband's knife and as he had passed away, she wished to see it continue to see use out in the wilderness, and gave it to me after one of our tutoring sessions. I'd mentioned that I was going camping that weekend, and she had just lit up as we talked, and gave it to me as a gift. And I absolutely love this knife. It's far from the lightweight wonders that some backpackers prefer, but I enjoy having a nice sturdy knife, and don't consider the weight a waste.

This knife has done everything from strip birch bark from fallen logs to whittle my home-made walking stick, to chop veggies for the camp's dinner. It has taken to every task I have given it with remarkable aplomb. You can see me using it to strike a fire in a couple of previous posts. The simplicity and strength of the blade make it a very appealing tool, and so long as we're considering the weight, it's lighter than it's brother, the 110. Easier to clean too, as there are no nooks or crannies to worry about, and the handle is a very smooth and clean surface. Buck offers both smaller fixed-blades than the pathfinder's, and larger too, but I find the 5" blade on the pathfinder long enough for any task I've actually wanted from my knives, and the thinner width of the blade is convenient for getting the knife into tighter quarters. So, whether it's cutting open a freshly cooked pork loin or the weapon I reach for when I feel a badger nuzzling my skull at 4am, the Pathfinder is the knife I reach for.

So, you might ask "why the 110?" and there's a couple reasons. First off, like Moe said, having two knives is pretty terrific. Second of all, is how scatterbrained I am. Turned my place upside down, could not for the life of me find what I'd done with my pathfinder. Had a camping trip the next day, and I was NOT going to go into the woods with no knife. So, I went looking around and found a good deal on the 110 folding knife. Third, my friends have caught on. They know I have awesome knives. So it's nice to be able to lend one out. Fourth, the 110 travels a little better when you're not out in the wild. It's a bit more unobtrusive in a packed bag. 

Though the 110 is not a fixed-blade knife, I've never had reason to doubt it's locking mechanism. I've used it for, or seen it used for, nearly everything my Pathfinder has done. It has done so quite well, and until my friends read this post, I don't think they'll have even realized that I've been hogging the pathfinder to myself. 

In addition to the knives, I've also picked up a small whetstone to keep them sharp. I ordered it at the same time I obtained a replacement sheath for my pathfinder, and it does a great job of keeping their edges keen. Came with a little belt pouch, though I find that I tend to use it more at home, than in the field.

Bottom Line, would I recommend these? Absolutely. Not if you're going ultralight, but I love my knives.

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