High Desert Survival School Knife

Just got my High Desert Survival school knife and WOW, this is a serious knife!  Warning to ultralighters:  this is not a UL blade.  It's a hardcore survival knife for hardcore bushcrafters.  Those of you that think you only need to carry a razor blade as your main cutting tool...move along.  There's nothing to see here.  But for you Crocodile Dundee types...

Let's get some specs out of the way, shall we?

Blade Length: 6 1/4″
O/A Length: 11 3/8″
Cutting Edge: 5 1/4″
Thickness: 1/4″
Blade Color: Black Traction Coating
Steel: 1095 High Carbon Alloy RC-58
Handle Material: Black G-10 with New Tuff Grip Design
Sheath: Combat Ballistic Nylon
Mfg. Handcrafted in the USA 

The knife is heavy (13.6 oz. on my scale) but balances extremely well in the hand.  The contours and jimping in all the right places of the handle give you excellent purchase and control with the comfort for sustained work.  Your hand won't slip even when the handle is wet:

The spine of the blade is an astounding 1/4" thick and is coated with traction coating making it ideal for batoning and other bushcrafting chores.  Compare the spine thickness of the High Desert Survival knife (left) with my SOG Seal Pup Elite (right):

Above the handle, there is a choil (an indent for your index finger) and jimping (ridges that improve grip) to choke up on the blade for more delicate work:

Choking up on the blade is still comfortable (and safe thanks to the finger guard):

 The drop point tip is strong, yet sharp thanks to a tri-grind design:

The knife comes with a very nice ballistic nylon sheath that has a lot of features including a leg strap and sharpening stone pocket (sharpening stone is not included):

All in all, this is one of the best designed-knives I've ever used.  It's razor sharp, ergonomic, and solid.  I would trust my life to this knife.  I wouldn't carry it on easy hikes and overnighters where a smaller, lighter folder would be more than adequate and this would be overkill.  But if I were on a hard core trip in Alaska or doing some serious bushwhacking where my life depended on my knife, this would be the one I would choose.  I'm happy to now have one in my aresenal.

Do you have a "beast" knife?  What is it?

High Desert Survival School Knife High Desert Survival School Knife Reviewed by Jason Klass on May 30, 2011 Rating: 5


Anonymous said...

My Mora 510 carbon steel the all around best knife to own. It is more than sufficient unless you're in a jungle environment in which a much larger knife/machete would be necessary.

Jolly Green Giant said...

I like the lashing points. Important for a genuine survival knife.

Anonymous said...

I agree with previous poster. Carbon steel may require a little more care but it will take and hold an edge you can shave with. Back when carbon steel was king of the knife blade market, Popular Science ran an article about blades. One test it ran was hammering a carbon steel blade through a 16 penny nail. Try that on this blade and get back to us.

Aaron said...

Wow! That does look like a nice knife... but I can't see getting a knife that costs almost as much as my tent! I really like the idea of knives. I could even see getting a hold of a bunch of them, given enough disposable income. As it is now, though, my $11 Mora works perfectly!
Nice looking knife, though.

Some old guy said...

Beast knife? I have a big knife Matt at MLKnives.com made from an old file that's maybe 10" long. With it I can actually construct a working (well) Survivor Stud robot to get me out of any jam (well).

I often carry a large knife. No inadequacy jokes or I'll pull it out of my underwear and cut you, man.

George said...

Just wanted to point out that the blade material IS carbon steel (1095 high carbon steel with a hardness of 58 on the Rockwell C scale to be specific). Whether or not this is the proper temper for a fixed blade of this size and intended function is another argument all together.

Bushmanphotog said...

Great Review! Thanks for posting.

Chris said...

I'm a fan of the Seal Pup Elite myself. I've also had good luck with a smaller Kershaw rescue knife. I can't remember the model, but it has a rope cutter on the back that is so much faster and safer than cutting tough lines with the Seal Pup. I backpack with a lot of zip ties, and the rescue knife cuts them off very quickly.

Liz said...

Very thorough product review, thanks for sharing! I am not too familiar with these so thanks for the great information. What brand is it or where are they sold?

Liz Lembeck-CoolProducts

Anonymous said...

i always carry an ESEE 5 on multi-day trips, the ESEE 6 is knife with similar specs as the high desert knife. Rat Cutlery/ESEE knives are tried and true.


Anonymous said...

I carry a Kabar Becker BK2, which is a bit on the heavy side but will do anything I could ever ask it to do.

Daniel Bryan said...

I like it. It is black steel and is very durable. I would definitely consider adding these to my gerber knives collection.

Thomas Pennoni said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thomas Pennoni said...

I own a High Desert Survival School Knife and I have to say its the best knife I have ever owned I love it!!! This is the knife to take with you everywhere it will not let you down! The knife is maid to last for ever.#1 in my book.

Carl Bandry said...

I would recommend a survival knife in surviving the dessert. Useful for fetching water on a cactus. I use a buck knife.

cold steel said...

The dimensions look good and the handling seems solid. Definitely a must have for the avid outdoorsman.

Riley Brent said...

I have a collection of survival knives as well. I carry one of them whenever I decide to go on camping or mountain climbing. One of my favorites is the kershaw blur. Anyway, I would like to include this survival school knife in my collection.

Menseffects said...

Thanks for sharing with us great blog about knife. I really like to share this blog with my friends.

Out The Front Knives

Aaron Perfectblades said...

Too bad the High desert knife is not longer available. Could you post an update with your new favorite survival knife?

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