Last week I asked readers for their advice on the best low-cost, high-value Bowie knife. Many of you responded, both in Comments and via e-mail, for which my thanks. I thought I'd mention two particularly interesting responses here, for everyone's information.
First, reader K. D. recommended Cold Steel's Survivalist bowie knife.
He pointed out that it has an astonishingly high customer satisfaction rating (4.9 out of 5 stars, although with too few reviews for Fakespot to verify whether they're genuine or not). It's also priced at only ten dollars more than the $50 limit I set in the original article. He writes: "I have a Survivalist, and I've been very impressed by it. It's tough enough to do any camping chore, and handy enough to serve for defensive purposes if needed." I took the opportunity to handle one this week, and was also impressed. I'll see about an in-depth evaluation in due course.
Second, reader Barry N. suggested that the combination of a low-cost hatchet and a $10 Mora utility knife (which I recommended in the earlier article) would probably be more versatile than a large Bowie knife alone. He sent me the link to a video comparison, where this $35 Estwing 14" Sportsman's Axe:
was tested alongside this much more expensive ($139) Hults Bruk Almike 16" hatchet:
The video presenter admits that he spent a little time sharpening and re-profiling the blade of the Estwing hatchet, but goes on to demonstrate that after doing so, it was every bit as good as (if not better than) its much more expensive competitor.
That was a pretty impressive demonstration. I'm not a particular fan of small hatchets (in Africa we tended to use a machete instead, because of its overall greater versatility in that environment), but I can see that to those unaccustomed to machetes, a hatchet would be a better wood-chopping tool, and be easier to use.
I think Barry has a good point. The combination of a $10 Mora knife (of which I've long been a fan, on two continents) and a $35 Estwing hatchet may well offer greater value for money and overall utility than a $50 bowie knife. I'll have to experiment with them and find out. YMMV, of course.