After spending a week with this knife I have some good and not so good things to say about it. But overall its good for the price. I would be on the fence as to buying it myself. I still love my Original SRK (Strapped to the black pack below) and its hands down a better knife, but this one does the job quite well.
The upside down fire starter is a BAD idea. It was fine on the pack (Carried inverted, tip up), but when I tried belt carry, strong-side, tip down and across the belt on the back horizontal carry, I nearly lost it 3 times from brushing up against stuff in the first 2 hours, It should be on the inside of the sheath, next to the sharpener, would protect it and prevent loss. It is a GREAT rod, throws off plenty of sparks and works very well. I did 2 fire starting demo’s with it and had no problems. It is a great tool, just needs to be secured a little better. There is a lanyard hole and I have since attached it via a piece of para-cord to the sheath so it can’t get lost. A friend of mine (Nicodemus on the TSP Forum) suggested a rubber band or something elastic to keep it retained which is still a great idea even with the para-lanyard as it would keep it from falling out in the first place. Thanks Nico.
The whistle is anemic, better than nothing, but you can make louder whistle on a blade of grass. I’d ditch this whistle and attach a better whistle.
The Sheath is fantastic for inverted or strong-side carry. I didn’t like it at first because it seemed overly bulky, but after wearing it, it keeps the knife in the absolute perfect position to grab (just far enough away from the body to not rub, or interfere, and made for easy gripping. Very secure, knife never fell out and probably wont (I didn’t use the Velcro handle wrap for tip down belt carry as it was excessive and not necessary, but for inverted on the pack I used it for a second layer of security although I think retention of the sheath is good enough that it may not be necessary unless your really tearing up the trails with it inverted. I really did like the sheath a LOT. It can be carried in multiple ways, harness attached, belt vertical and horizontal as well as across the belt.
The knife handle is mostly good, It fits my hand very well and has a great soft rubbery feel that is very comfortable to use, especially for small detail work, like whittling and making tools etc. However, that softness comes at the price of security when chopping with the knife. Its just a tad soft and almost feels like its slipping when your chopping. All in all its great as I don’t spend much time chopping down trees with a knife. I built a bow drill set and a primitive hawk and made some walking sticks for various scouts along the way with it and the handle was perfect for those jobs.
The knife feels really good, just a touch handle heavy, would prefer a tad more weight toward the blade but fairly well balanced. Felt good for every task except chopping (and that wasn’t bad, just wasn’t great). The blade is wonderful, I spent 7 days abusing it, and never once had to sharpen it, it held its edge just fine. Only caveat is the serrations. I am not a serration fan anyway so I am biased, but the serrations take up half of the usable straight edge portion of the blade and I use that part of a fixed blade knife the most for carving. Particularly when carving the handle for my hawk the serrations really got on my nerves.
At first I hated the orange, made it stand out and look gaudy, but after having it for a week, it seems more subdued now and actually doesn’t look too bad strapped to the pack or hip. (I’ll post more pictures of it with the lanyard later).
All in all, its a great knife and kit for the price. For what its supposed to be, its good. If they offered it without the serrations, I’d easily pay the $50 bucks for another.
Update: It is available on Amazon for for $38.99 which is a great price for this and well worth it if you put your feelings about comercial endorsements asside and buy the knife for what it is, A Knife!
I am very happy with it though.