Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ka-Bar Becker BK2 part two

A while ago I mentioned that I purchased a Ka-bar Becker BK2. Well truth be known it's been sitting in a kit bag gathering dust. It's an interesting knife not overly long; at 26.5cm long with a 14 cm blade. But in the other dimensions it's a real beast. The blade spine is 6mm thick and overall it weighs in at nearly half a kilo.

So the question I hear you ask is what would you use such a knife for? Time to head bush and see what this knife is all about.

Now some of you may recall that Australia suffered horrendous bushfire's in the summer of 2009 - devastating the forests and killing over a 180 people. My family was fortunate in that we only lost fences and pasture however; the neighbouring forest was decimated. The wondrous thing about Australian Eucalypts is their ability to survive a bushfire, indeed fires are a necessary part of the life cycle promoting the germination of new seeds.

Few days after the fire

Black trunks and no ground cover left.

So it was good to see that many of the blackened trunks were covered with green leafy shoots. Even the once bare ashen forest floor was rejuvenating with bracken and infant eucalyptus vying for the sunlight above.

1 year latter

bracken returns

After an hours walk taking in nature's rebound from fire I came across a section of forest where the fire had burned with an intensity that had killed most of the trees off; particularly the smaller girth trees, perhaps ten years old. I thought trying to fell one of these dead trees would be a good test of the knife.

Now Eucalyptus is a hard wood, severely burnt and dead for a year, well it's even harder. I was expecting this to be a strenuous job, especially considering the knife blade is only 5 inches long. As a back up I had a bacho folding saw in my pack if required.

BK2 and Bacho saw

Despite the wood having dried out the BK2 was surprisingly efficient as a chopper. After 15 minutes the job was basically finished. I took some care to ensure that the tree would fall in a predictable manner as a mistake could be bone crushing. The tree came crashing down with a thud.

So my impressions of the knife:
  • the blade kept a keen edge with no visible dulling of the edge
  • the handle was comfortable, no blistering resulted, and the knife did not slip in the hand even though I started to sweat
  • the BK2 showed surprisingly good cutting/chopping efficiency. Perhaps due to the thickness of the blade and the weight of the knife. Certainly a reasonable alternative to a small hatchet offering greater flexibility for cutting tasks.
  • this is a solid knife; you would struggle to damage this knife.

Well I think the BK2 makes a versatile camp/survival knife, particularly in forested terrain where there is a need to cut timber for shelter, and or fire wood. Why not take an axe, well I would argue that the weight and size of an axe is not always ideal and you still end up taking a knife. Lets face it; your selected kit is always a compromise between convenience (weight, size) and cutting efficiency. Whilst the Becker BK2 does not have the cutting efficiency of a small forest axe it will still get the job done and can then be used for other cutting tasks such as food preparation.
The other knife that I think does a similar job is the Cold Steel Bushman Bowie. It's a bit bigger, lighter construction, yet tough (but not as solid as BK2) and a lot cheaper. I can see the BK2 finding it's way into my kit bag in the future. Particularly for my outback motorcycle trips where the weight is not a factor and the size allows me to easily stow it into the panniers. I'm sure the BK2 will outlast several motorcycles and myself for that matter. Archaeologists will be pondering it's sturdy lines in the year 3010 no doubt.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Spyderco Bushcraft

For some great bushcraft knife reviews check out SpookyPistolero (Wil Stuart). Here Wil reviews the Spyderco Bushcraft knife, a fair assessment in my book.

Friday, January 1, 2010


Another year another decade and hopefully a lot more adventures!!!

I am now the happy owner of a Syderco Bushcraft knife which was a gift for Christmas. Alas, Spyderco have stopped shipping these knives due to an issue with the wooden handle slabs cracking. Fortunately my one appears ok (sofar). I have been using it for some wood carving and have been pleasantly surprised by the ease at which it slices through wood. It has a scandi grind similar to my mora knife however the blade is substantially thicker as is the handle. All up it offers the user superb control. Keep in mind that this is only my initial impression.

In a few weeks I will be heading off to visit my parents who run a farm in the central highlands of Victoria near Daylesford. I plan to do a mini expedition into the bush for a few nights and relax in the solitude of the wilderness. Also a good opportunity to try out some new gear, Spyderco Bushcraft knife and an Alpkit Bivvy bag. After that a solo hike into the Blue Mountains beckons and a nice outback trip on the motorbike should provide some respite from winter. My kids are also reaching the age where bushwalks are an exciting option to the other distractions that compete for their attention (Wii etc).

Nothing like pondering the possibilities of a great adventure. Enjoy 2010!