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#133819 - 05/27/08 04:20 PM Anybody Tried the Ka Bar Camp Knife?

I'm trying to suggest a knife for a friend and thanks to some misguided advice from a local Mall Ninja he thinks the best knife out there is a Ka Bar. I really think he'll be unhappy with a combat knife for what he needs (basically a survival knife) and I noticed the Camp Knife while doing some research for him. It looks like a mini Kuhkri. Do any of you have experience with this one? Seems like a handy fixed blade for multi purpose survival/camp work.

He may buy it anyhow wether I end up giving it 2 thumbs up or not. I told him the only real purpose the front and rear guards have is to protect your hand while you're fighting off a Cougar...I think that hooked him on the cool factor even though it wasn't my intent. wink

#133820 - 05/27/08 04:23 PM Re: Anybody Tried the Ka Bar Camp Knife? [Re: ]
Mike_H Offline

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 612
Loc: SE PA

You bring up a good point. I had pondered a Ka Bar some time back. My question: Why wouldn't a Ka Bar make a good survival knife?


"I reject your reality and substitute my own..." - Adam Savage / Mythbusters

#133821 - 05/27/08 04:57 PM Re: Anybody Tried the Ka Bar Camp Knife? [Re: Mike_H]
Chris Kavanaugh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 3824
The Kabar is not a bad knife at all. The argument should be there are better knives. Kabars are a direct descendant of pre war field knives in vogue at the time. It was lengthened to 7" to become a premier fighting knife. Points in favour; cost @ $50, decent metallurgy and it isn't a sharpened crowbar with a superb cutting edge after a little elbow grease. Points in negative; the upper guard impedes precision work. The pommel is a lousy hammer- if you feel a precision tool should be a hammer, the leather stacked handle and sheath are prone to rot and less than ideal for secure grip and carry,7" is to big for small tasks and to small for big ones. Rebuttal to all of the above; lots of marines somehow managed not to lose their knives since WW2. You can amputate the upper guard and actually use the duct tape in your Ritter survival pouch to secure the sheath before it goes bad. Field solution to all of the above: convince your friend to buy the smaller version. He's happy, the Mall Ninja is happy, your happy.

#133826 - 05/27/08 05:25 PM Re: Anybody Tried the Ka Bar Camp Knife? [Re: Chris Kavanaugh]
Rodion Offline

Registered: 04/29/08
Posts: 285
Loc: Israel
I'm not sure I approve of calling somebody a "mall ninja" because they suggested a Ka-Bar. It may not be the best camping multi-tool, but I can imagine being willing to trade a truck full of survival gear for 7 inches of steel in a bear's gut.

It's not like we're talking about a Kumo...

Whenever you rest, someone, somewhere is training to kick your ass.


#133827 - 05/27/08 05:35 PM Re: Anybody Tried the Ka Bar Camp Knife? [Re: Chris Kavanaugh]
Dan_McI Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 844
Loc: NYC
As far as the fighting knives, the leather handle, sheath and hidden tang design are among a Ka Bar's weak points, as far as the fighting knives. You can get synthetic handles and sheaths, which does away with the possibility of wearing or rotting out the leather. Not sure if these are available for the Ka Bar camp knife.

The hidden tang design and the aforementioned guard are not strong points, but the knives seem to bend near the guard before breaking, and the guards also seem to bend more than break. I think the blade itself is pretty strong for the money, but the point at which the blades taper into a tang creates a weaker point. Of course this many only be exposed when you decide to really pound on the knife. Looking at the design of the camp knife, you probably face a similar situation, as it seems to be hidden tang and has a guard.

The smaller fighting knife with the 4 or so inch blade is probably better for most utility jobs. If I needed something that can take on bigger jobs, do lots of jobs -- just not any particularly well, save some money, get something that can really stand abuse, I'd buy the cheap Coldsteel kukri. If I added to that a Mora, and I'd have more jobs handled for less money than what any Ka Bar costs.

Of course, the reality is that I did not choose at all. I've got a Ka Bar, a Coldsteel kukri, and a few Mora's, as well as a number of other knives. I doubt I'm the only one here who is continually tempted to buy more knives.

#133830 - 05/27/08 06:46 PM Re: Anybody Tried the Ka Bar Camp Knife? [Re: Dan_McI]
Kris Offline

Registered: 04/13/07
Posts: 623
Loc: A Canadian in the UK
Although I don't have the Ka Bar's Camp knife, I do have their Large Dozier Folder. This knife lives in my larger PSK and I love the knife. For about 30 bucks for a folder that is built like a tank and very simple. What more can you ask for?

"One should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything"
William of Ockham (1285-1349)

#133831 - 05/27/08 06:56 PM Re: Anybody Tried the Ka Bar Camp Knife? [Re: ]
Taurus Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 441
Loc: Northern Canada
I had one of these knives. Rather than trying to tell you why you should pick this or that knife I will try and answer your question as best as possible. This is my opinion only from actually having owned and used the knife.

Good points
- excellent for chopping and slashing for its length(as intended)

- excellent for digging and scraping

- very strong tip

- good for light prying as the blade is fairly thick

- strong handle which fits the hands well(like all ka-bars do)

-excellent price

bad points
-the sheath sucks IMHO. It needs re-enforcing grommets to prevent the blade from slicing through between the stitching. Don't hold the sheath with one hand while you draw the knife unless you are paying attention. I think a hard sheath would be better suited to this knife.

- The finish wears off really fast with solid use. I hate black finishes but that is user preference.
- Its a bit too short for chopping some larger stuff. I know its not supposed to be an axe but for someone like me I use my heavy knife as if it were. An option of different blade lengths would be nice(like the cold steel kukri machete offers)This may have changed.

- The hand guards get in the way sometimes(personal preference once again)

- the pommel is kind of hard to use with the blade being so heavy. Using the back of the blade as a hammer works better for driving stakes etc but is does nick the metal a bit. You can actually drive a good sized nail easily like this. I use tools hard so I am more concerned with how it works over how it looks but other people fret about appearances. To each their own.

- If you get gasoline on the handle it will get all gooey. Not an issue for most people

- the edge tends to chip in extreme cold if you make it too fine. If you keep to a lower working edge then it will not be an issue. I haven't seen it chip in warm weather even with a fine edge.

These are only observations I made about the knife. I ended up replacing it with the Cold steel kukri machete for larger work or the Gerber LMF II as a light backpacking camp knife for my own reasons but the ka-bar camp knife when used hand in hand with a smaller blade for detailed work is a good choice. If you could ONLY have one knife then I would feel confident that this knife could handle most tasks with reasonable ease, even if I would go with something smaller.

As for fighting off Cougars or bears I think anyone who would buy a knife based off of those criteria will be in for one hell of a dose of reality should they ever happen across one. I guess a knife is better than a fist but I wont buy a fighting style knife in the delusion that I may be able to actually have a real chance fighting a bear with one.

What ever floats a persons boat I guess.

#133832 - 05/27/08 06:56 PM Re: Anybody Tried the Ka Bar Camp Knife? [Re: Dan_McI]
cajun_kw Offline

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 62
Loc: Southern California
I think they are very cost effective options. The 5 inch model is much less intimidating than the 7 inch one. And should suffice for most needs for most people.
I am certain there are some other really nice options that cost more ... but having a decent quality product to start that is relatively durable and inexpensive goes a long way for the majority of people.
I believe a Ka-Bar is a good starting point.

#133837 - 05/27/08 07:43 PM Re: Anybody Tried the Ka Bar Camp Knife? [Re: Rodion]

Originally Posted By: Rodion
I'm not sure I approve of calling somebody a "mall ninja" because they suggested a Ka-Bar.

I call them that because I know the shop he went to...not because it's in a mall or because of the children who work there...though I don't exactly have much love for the place for those other reasons.

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against Ka-Bar knives...they're great bang for the buck and have a fantastic history and reputation. Since I came across this knife looking for him I almost bought one for myself. In this case we're talking about a guy though who doesn't own any knives and will likely only ever own this knife unless he loses it or breaks it. He needs one for work as he's going to be doing some outside bush work and it's sort of policy he have a good survival kit (including a quality knife of his choosing) before he can be left alone to do his job.

I suggested he start with a $9 Mora and think more about what he wants before spending big bucks on a knife...but $50 or $60 isn't a bad place to start with either if it's a good blade. Unfortunately a mutual friend told him that the number one rule of knives is that you get what you pay for so that idea was out the window immediately...he's a great guy but very impressionable as he has no experience with knives.

#133840 - 05/27/08 08:01 PM Re: Anybody Tried the Ka Bar Camp Knife? [Re: ]
Rodion Offline

Registered: 04/29/08
Posts: 285
Loc: Israel
Oh. I thought you were referring to Rawles' definition of a Mall Ninja - one who values style over substance.
Whenever you rest, someone, somewhere is training to kick your ass.


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