A couple of years ago I started looking for a heavy duty camping / backpacking wilderness survival knife.
The purpose of the knife is to have a knife that can be strapped to the outside of a MOLLE or ALICE pack. The knife has to be sturdy enough to clear small brush, chop small limbs, cut tent stakes, clean fish, butcher wild game, or even use the spine of the knife as a hammer.
My current “go to” knife is a Cold Steel Recon Scout. The new knife is not intended to be a replace the Recon Scout, but more along the lines of an alternative. The Recon Scout has a belt loop, but no MOLLE or ALICE attachments. I want a knife that can quickly and easily attach to any of my packs.
Survival Knife Requirements
Thick spine – so the knife could be used as a wedge for splitting wood. If I wanted to make a fish trap, or fishing spear the knife needed to be thick enough to drive through a piece of wood like a wedge.
One of the drawbacks to having a thick spine, thick knives do not make good skinning or butchering knives.
Curved blade – for a good slicing edge. Regardless of what part of the blade was being used to cut, the blade would have a curve to it. An example of what I was looking for is the ULU Knife used by native Alaskans.
Sheath with an extra pouch – I wanted an extra pouch on the knife sheath so a multitool could be kept in the same place as the knife. No more keeping the knife in one place, and the multitool in another place.
Easy to attach to MOLLE / ALICE gear – the sheath needed to be able to attach to a large ALICE pack or MOLLE pack with ease. No zip ties and no duct tape required to attach the knife to a pack.
The knife I decided on was the Schrade SCHF9 Extreme Survival Knife.
- 6.4″ blade
- 5.6″ handle
- 1095 High Carbon Steel
- Kraton handle
- 15.9 ounces
- Nylon sheath
Schrade SCHF9 First Impressions
Have you ever held something in your hand and said “I like this”? That is how I felt with the Schrade SCHF9 Extreme Survival Knife. The knife feels sturdy, the sheath feels and looks like its designed for rough use.
After giving the knife a good look over, one of the first things I did was grab my Gerber multitool to see how it fit in the external pouch. The pouch could have been a little longer. With a Gerber mulitool 5 inches long in the pouch, there is only about 3/8 inch of velcro catching. Besides the velcro, the external pouch has a plastic buckle to help hold it closed. If the flap on the pouch would have been just 1/2 inch longer it would probably have been perfect.
Slicing Brisket with the Schrade SCHF9 Extreme Survival Knife[/caption]
One of the first test for my Schrade SCHF9 was cutting up a brisket. My son got an 8 point during the 2011 – 2012 deer season, Instead of buying ground meat to mix with the deer, my wife and I bought a brisket.
Even for a new knife, I was impressed with how easily the Schrade SCHF9 Survival Knife sliced through the brisket. Cutting through 2 inches of meat was almost effortless job. During the carving of the brisket, this is when the thick spine started to show up. Even though the knife was very sharp, I had to apply pressure to the thicker sections of meat.
During a long term SHTF survival situation, it is my personal belief that there will be a need for knives that can skin and process wild game. When one of the members from a hunting party brings a deer of hog into camp, you should have the tools needed to process the animal. There should be no guess work , there should be no “I think that knife will be ok for getting a hog ready for the pit”.
One way to know that your tools will be able to hold their own, is to put them to the test before hand.
To process the deer, my wife and I bought a meat grinder and several briskets. The Schrade Survival Knife cut up 2 briskets into 1 inch squares.
Schrade SCHF9 First Problems
The first problems with the knife came up after processing the briskets and deer meat. At first I thought it was just dried blood. But after washing the handle several times, it appears that the screws in the handle started rusting.
Two months after processing the deer and the briskets, the rust had gotten to bad that the screws were almost covered.
It might seem silly, but it seems to me that something name “Extreme Survival” should be rust resistant. Schrade couldn’t use stainless steel bolts to hold the handle together? I would have gladly paid an extra dollar to have bolts that do not rust in the handle.
To fix the rust on the bolts – the bolts were removed, wire brushed, painted with rustoleum spray paint.
If the bolts start rusting again, I will probably replace them with some made out of stainless steel.
During the spring of 2012 I am hoping to take the Schrade SCHF9 Survival Knife out on a couple of camping trips. One such trip is a 100+ mile river camping trip. One those trips I am hoping to put the Schrade SCHF9 through more test.