Backcountry hunting and dependable, versatile knives go hand in hand. Lone Wolf Knives, a division of Benchmade Knives (800-800-7427; www.benchmade.com) are designed with input from professional sportsmen to balance modern technologies and traditional style. Maybe their most impressive attribute is their keen factory edge—among the sharpest “off-the-shelf” blades you’ll find. Prime examples include the Landslide ($80), a versatile, lightweight (3.2 ounces) lockblade folder available in plain or serrated edge, with 3.5-inch blade, 8-inch overall length, and distinctive orange handle your customers will find hard to lose. 3D “topo map” handle texturing ensures a solid grip whatever the task.
Those looking to shave weight yet have to ability to process even elk and moose should be shown the Hard Way combo ($100)—consisting of ultralight yet sturdy, skeletonized Skinner and Caper fixed blades (3.8 and 3.2 ounces respectively, both just under 7 inches); included is a black nylon sheath with Kydex insert. Most everyone wants to ensure their trophies are handled with care. One of the best-looking dedicated caping knives we’ve seen is the Benchmade Bone Collector Caping Fixed Blade ($100-$115), available in several handle and blade styles (4 inches, plain or half serrated). Made using D2 tool steel (60-62HRC), you’ll find the contoured G10 handle as comfortable as it gets, with a rib cage pattern for sure grip. Overall length is 8 inches; a leather sheath is included.
Great camp knives are versatile tools that can make many critical jobs look easy. That’s precisely the premise of the neat new Swedish FireKnife ($40), a collaboration between Light My Fire (888-297-6062; firstname.lastname@example.org) and Mora of Sweden. More than just a sharp, flexible, sturdy all-around knife: the FireKnife’s handle contains a Swedish FireSteel fire starter that works as slick as advertised, even when wet—generating sparks that will ignite your tinder of choice. The knife and polypropylene sheath is available in four bright colors and black, but we’d recommend a bright color (green, blue, orange, red) to guard against loss. Blade is 3.75 inches; overall length is 8.5 inches.
For 2012 cutlery specialist SOG (425-771-6230; www.sogknives.com) offers a whole stable of neat new bowhunter-friendly blades and tools including the smartly designed Hand Axe ($52) that belongs in most every base camp. And at just 11 inches long and a scant 18.6 ounces, it’s also compact and lightweight enough to pack in if necessary. The foolproof, durable design is made almost completely of 420 Steel, save for the G10 handle scales that deliver a sure, comfortable grip.
SOG also has several new knives of interest to bowhunters including the Trident Mini Tanto ($95) that now locks stronger and releases easier, thanks to the company’s unique Arc-Actuator There is also a built-in safety to lock the blade closed; when it shows red, you are ready to go. The handle includes a Digi-Grip variable pattern for a coarser grip—especially handy for field-dressing. The bayonet style clip is easily switched for right/left hand carry or removed for pack storage.
The Twitch II ($73) features a pass-through lockbar from which the “kick” of the blade sticks through. By pressing on the “kick”, you’re able to initiate the opening of the blade. S.A.T. (SOG Assisted Technology) then takes over to securely lock the blade in place.
Most sharpeners are large, awkward to pack, or both. The new SOG Sharpener ($21) is ultra-compact and lightweight, featuring a flat diamond sharpening pad, cylindrical ceramic sharpener—even a fire starter. As an add-on sale near your register, this one is a true “no-brainer.”
A unique and versatile new multi-tool from Gerber Legendary Blades (800-950-6161; www.gerbergear.com), the Steady Multi-tool ($65) combines a traditional multi-tool with a field-ready tripod. Compatible with cameras or smartphones to help your customers document their backcountry trophies, the Steady includes 12 components including a fine edge blade, a serrated blade, 3 screwdrivers, pliers, bottle opener, wire cutters and the adjustable tripod mount. It is 6 inches long (4 inches closed), 5.8 ounces and stainless steel.
Field-dressing under the cover of darkness is a regular occurrence in the backcountry—or most anywhere bowhunters roam. Make it easier, and safer for your customers by stocking the Revelation series of lighted knives ($45 to $60) from Real Avid (800-286-0567; www.realavid.com). Affordable and handy, the Revelation knives feature two high-intensity, water-sealed LEDs that cast light on both sides of the 440C stainless steel drop-point blade. The solid handle is coated in soft-touch rubber for a sure grip even when covered in blood. Both fixed and folding models (Revelation AMP) are available.