Hog Blog Gear Review – Morakniv = Value And Quality
November 25, 2013
I’ve always been sort of knife crazy. For a brief period, I thought I’d start collecting… but that little fantasy dissolved under the harsh light of basic economics. Knife collecting is not cheap, especially if you want to get into it on any kind of serious basis.
Nevertheless, I’ve managed to put together something of a collection of skinning and hunting knives over the years. Sometimes it was a matter of simple expedience… I was hunting away from home and forgot my skinner. Other times it was more of an impulse buy. And rarely, but often enough to be kind of cool, it’s a case of a publicist or marketing company asking me to try out something new.
Morakniv is not new. In fact, I believe they’ve been making knives in Sweden since the late 19th century. But they still come out with new(ish) ideas, and this year they’ve got a couple of new(ish) twists on the bushcraft knife. Lucky for me, their PR person found the Hog Blog, and their email did not get sent directly to my Spam folder. ABC, tic-tac-toe, and bang… the Bushcraft Orange was on its way.
First of all, some of my American readers may be wondering what a “bushcraft knife” is all about. Bushcraft is all about backcountry survival skills, from foraging to building shelter. You need to get the most out of your tools, and the knife is arguably one of the most critical pieces of your kit. Think “camp knife”, a versatile, fixed blade knife that is hefty enough to cut tent poles and whittle stakes, but handy enough for the finer work, like field dressing and skinning game. Fellow blogger, Suburban Bushwacker spends quite a bit of time in discussion of bushcraft, and has reviewed Mora in the past.
For my own part, my primary need from a working knife is for dressing and skinning game. I also like to use one knife from start to finish, so I need something that holds a good edge, is handy enough for the fine work, but not so fine that I would be afraid to separate joints with it. It’s a sort of stupid point of pride for me, but when I’m breaking down big game, I never use a saw (except to remove a skull cap). I do it all with a knife. This is why I have come to rely so heavily on the old Buck 110 for so long… it’s nearly indestructible.
So earlier last week, the Morakniv Bushcraft Orange arrived in my mail. Unfortunately, the whitetail doe I’d shot the previous night was already skinned and dressed so I couldn’t put my new “toy” to work. However, I was pretty sure the weekend would give me the opportunity to really put this knife through its paces… and it did.
On Sunday morning, Carl, the owner of the Nueces Country Smokehouse gave me a call. He had a couple of deer already checked in. With the cold, rainy weather and the rut just around the corner, he expected more to be coming. I tossed the Mora and a steel in the truck and headed over.
Over the course of the next three hours, I skinned four whitetails and an axis, and caped out a blackbuck. The Mora popped open ribcages, separated knee, tail, and axis joints, and peeled away skin. I didn’t get a chance to hit the steel until I was well into the third deer, and the knife still performed like a champ. After a few swipes of the steel, it was like starting with a freshly sharpened blade.
Now I’ve skinned, dressed, and cut up a lot of animals over the past 30-0dd years. Would I say the Morakniv Bushcraft was the best I ever used? Well, no. For my personal tastes, I have a fondness for the trailing/clip point design like my Buck or my old Schrade “Sharp Finger”. That shape just sort of suits the way I work on an animal. The Bushcraft is more of a drop point (which is still a very effective design), which made me adjust my habits a bit. But other than that, I’d put this knife up against anything else on the market.
Still, good steel that holds up to hard use is one thing. A handy design is another. But for a lot of hunters, reality dictates that they consider the price tag. Here, again, the Morakniv Bushcraft shines… with an MSRP of $34.99.
Sure, you can go out and pick up a more expensive knife. Lord knows I’ve seen some doozies. Seems like all the rich sports from Houston and San Antonio have to show me their “prize” skinners when they’re in the skinning room with me… knives with fine pedigrees and three digit (and more!) price tags. And I have no doubt that these are some high quality blades. But while they’re showing me their fancy knives, I’m the one skinning their deer. And the next one. And the next one.
And I’m doing it with a knife that any hunter can afford.
You can find Morakniv products online, or at many outdoors retailers including Bass Pro, REI, Sportsman’s Warehouse, and many others.