Camillus S.K. Desert Folding Knife - Les Stroud Edition
Don't let the broken state of this knife fool you - it had offered up a good two years of servitude before inexplicably falling apart on me as I had been trying to pry a split down the center of a bit of cedar (hence the dramatic backdrop of the feature image).
The Les Stroud edition of the Camillus piece had been a great small knife that came at a very reasonable price, though it's apparent with this particular piece that saving money doesn't translate into longevity and durability.
The specs, as per Camillusknives.com:
• Blade Coating: Carbonitride Titanium Non-Stick • Blade Color: Black • Blade Edge: Smooth • Blade Grind: Hollow • Pocket Clip • Fire Starter • Handle Color: Gray/Black/Yellow • Handle Material: Rubber + Stainless Steel • Hand Orientation: Left and Right • Lock Style: Liner • Main Blade Material: 440 • Rockwell Hardness: HRC54 • Lifetime Warranty
The fire starter, along with Les Stroud's endorsement, is what led me to buy this piece in the first place. On all but one particularly bloody occasion did the flint work for me - though a slightly longer flint would make things immensely easier. I had low hopes for how sturdy and durable it would be but it held up through at least half a dozen fire-starting sessions over the course of two years.
The blade-meets-handle construction, apart from its failure after two years, is nonetheless solid. Until breaking, it didn't gradually loosen nor did the liner locking mechanism give way at any point. The thumb stud had been appropriately placed but not often used. For it's small size, it remained ergonomic, easy to grip and easier yet to store in a pack.
Camillus is known for it's production of knives featuring fortified steel, which is bonded with Carbonitride Titanium, allowing for a nearly tenfold stronger blade. While possibly redundant given the application limits of this knife and the small size of it, it's still nice to experience the confidence with every pressured cut.
From whittling tent spikes to cutting all types of cord, the blade held up nicely, though a serrated portion would have prevented the occasional reliance upon a different knife.
One thing I have to mention because of the irony: famed survivorman Stroud often makes it a point to tie brightly coloured (i.e. neon orange) tape to his machetes and his knives for fear of losing them. The S.K. Desert Folding Knife counter-intuitively offers green highlights and a grey and black design that camouflages itself against the forest floor all too well. If dropped, this knife would be hard to find - maybe not as difficult in the desert but nonetheless tricky.
The knife is a great addition to any excursion, though the lack of any serrated edge along the fine blade limits its applicability, of course.
And it's for those reasons that I'm going to take time and try and take advantage of that lifetime warranty.