Showing posts with label Dave Canterberry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dave Canterberry. Show all posts

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Product Review Update: Pathfinder Trade Knife

 Pathfinder Trade Knife and sheath.
 Reverse view
 Close up of the handle. It is pretty nice looking. Also the bow drill divet thing is a nice little touch.
 Comparison of the Benchmade Bushcrafter and the Pathfinder Trade Knife. Note the difference in handle size. Small handed folks might not like the Benchmade and the opposite is true for the Trade Knife.

This knife was reviewed back in Dec 2012 and it is time for an update as I've had it for awhile now. Used it for a variety of tasks from food prep and accompanying my fork at the table to varied wilderness type tasks.

Without rehashing the entire old review here are my current thoughts.

The Good: It showed up sharp, held an edge well and resharpens very easily.

It handles cutting chores involving wood better than you would think it might

The sheath is excellent. Good thick leather in the pouch type setup bushcraft folks prefer. It is easy to draw the knife and put it back one handed. Retention is fair in general and good for such a sheath. It passes the hold upside down by the sheath test. That being said I would not jump out of a plane with this knife/ sheath or intentionally take it swimming. Suppose if pressed I would make a 550 cord thong and loop it through the sheath's loop a couple times then around the handle. The draw would be considerably slower but for that brief period it would add the needed retention. That being said the retention is totally sufficient for normal hunting/ camping/ bushcrafting type stuff which is this knife's arena anyway.

The Bad:

The handle is a bit small for my taste. I have large but not enormous hands and am consciously needing to squeeze my hand down to fit around the handle of this knife. That is fine for cutting a piece of rope or a stick or a steak but longer chores got tiring to my hand faster than they would with a larger handle.

The finish is not that durable/ consistent. I have used this knife but never did anything crazy with it. Some discolorations/ inconsistencies in the finish were present early on and they've gotten worse over time. It isn't terrible but if $50 Ka Bar's are doing better than this knife at twice the price something is wrong with this picture.

The Ugly: I really do not like the point. It is almost surely really strong but the angles come together more like a pick than a knife point. The downside of that strength is it makes all the little knife tip type tasks a real problem. Given that I am an adult and generally smart enough not to pry with the tip of my blade that strength isn't a huge plus for me. I would trade a little bit of strength for the dexterity of a pointier blade.

Overall impression:

Both of the issues that really bother me about this knife (small handle, not a great point on the blade) are somewhat subjective. A person with smaller hands who really wants a durable blade tip for whatever might see both of these downsides as upsides. It is a matter of perspective.

Past those subjective issues. The knife has some really nice features and a disappointing finish. Why they would put the effort into the nice sheath, handle and touches but not give it a decent finish (or maybe it's just mine and it's a QA/QC thing) I do not know. All that being said this is not a good candidate for a truck box and forget knife, you need to keep this knife oiled for storage and check on it periodically.

As to whether you should buy it. Street price is $110, I paid $99. There are a lot of good comparable medium sized fixed blade knives in that price range. Skip a casual dining burger and 2 beers dinner to save another $20 and there are even more good options. Personal preference on features, steel, etc will determine the way you choose. I'm sort of reshuffling knives since the purchase of the Bushcrafter so I'm not sure where this one will land but  on the balance I don't regret purchasing it.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Saturday Night Ramblings

I found myself in Walmart the other day. Needed a haircut and some light work on the family hauler and there is only one place to do both of those things around here. Turns out everybody else had the same idea! So I was waiting for both things and looking at the ammo situation.

It was actually pretty good. Lots of .223, 7.62x39, .308 and of course all the shotgun shells and hunting type calibers you could want. A guy was talking to the dude working behind the counter. Guy didn't now what type of ammo his SKS shot but wanted to buy some. Dude said 7.62x54R but Guy was not exactly convinced. I said it was 7.62x39. Walmart Dude was happy somebody else was dealing with his problem. Guy was not entirely convinced. He asked if I was sure to which I replied that I was. He asked the same question a similar way. I said I was absolutely positive and would bet him a thousand dollars cash on the matter. Guy was convinced. That narrowed it down to caliber. Dude had both steel cased (Wolf I think) and brass cased ammo. Guy wasn't sure about the difference.

That lead to a 2 minute discussion. Since Guy didn't reload (thank God!) we agreed steel cased would suit his needs at a much more agreeable price. Guy bought 3 boxes and we both went about our days.

Today I had to run some errands and ended up at a surplus store. Got a castle nut wrench which I am long overdue for purchasing and a used USGI wool blanket, picked up the blanket for $10 which I was pretty happy with. After that I went to scout out a place to do some camping. It looks good. In my time driving around the woods here I definitely realized the longest line of site you get here is under 200 meters with under 100 being more common. That's bumped my desire to acquire a precision bolt action rifle, lately boosted by the book I am currently reading Point of Impact (Thanks Zero and Harry Flashman!), down a big notch. Short of improbable shots down a strait road, in a field, etc Project AR could easily dominate any shooting tasks here, hell an iron sighted 30-30 would do around 90% of it just fine and a shotgun could cover 70% or so.

I may go camping tomorrow but it depends on how far I get on a project at home. As a kid and teenager I absolutely loved camping. I went at least monthly forever and for multiple years about every other weekend. Then I joined the Army and subsequently started sleeping outside all the time for work it ceased to be any fun. Since then I could probably count the amount of times I've slept outside on the ground, outside of work,  on one hand. Each time involved family so I was pretty much stuck. Now I am for better or worse at a place in my career where I have been removed from that sort of thing for awhile. I sort of miss it.

That is good because incidentally Walker seems to be expressing an interest in camping. He went with Mother in Law in the drive way a week or so back. Except he noted it wasn't real camping because "the truck didn't move and we didn't sleep in a tent" (She has a camper and it was going to be 20 that night) but he seemed to have fun all the same. So maybe we'll start doing some of that in the yard then ultimately out and about. He is getting towards the right age to start doing more outside stuff. We've got the gear so that is not an issue. Anyway we will see where that goes.

Today while going over my BOB I made some changes. Added a few pouches to give me more readily accessible space. Aside from that mostly it was transitioning to a winter setup admittedly a bit late. Added a pair (top/ bottom) of silk weight long underwear and a wool sweater. I took out a waffle top that had been my sole piece of cold weather gear (for summer in AZ). Swapped a desert pattern goretex for a multicam shell to better fit the area. Also added a pair of wool gloves. If I am smart in the spring when I ditch that stuff I'll put it all in a box or bag to make the transition easy in the future.

I realized some holes that need to be filled today going through our gear. They are going to be listed not so much for you but so I can remember in a month or whatever when I want to fill them:
3x wide mouth stainless steel water bottles (1x ghb, 1x everyday 1x wifey)
1x nesting cup for 1q bottle with carry pouch
3x Louisiana state maps (or a western central LA type map if I can fine one larger than parish but below state sized)
3x eastern Texas maps if available
1x trowel
2 pair wool socks
a kydex belt holster that will hold a Glock 9 with a light yet be reasonably concealable. The big Safariland is great for a battle belt, duty, OC role but I'd like to have a holster (raven concealment, bravo concealment, etc) that could hide under an oversized shirt or a sweatshirt. Should get a pair of good mag pouches along with it.

Tomorrow or the next day I'm going on a monster rant about Bushcrafting. I think bushcrafting is to camping what crossfit is to exercise. They do so many good things but also do some really silly things and take it all so seriously. That should be a fun talk.

I pulled the trigger and ordered the stuff for Project 870. Brownells matte black Alumahyde, Elzetta light mount, GG&G rear sling mount and a half dozen essetac cards. I can procure a light locally and have some slings in my box o gun junk. Think I ultimately want to use a Magpul MS3 to have the 2-1 capability but I'm not sure. Looking forward to getting that all set up.

Realized that one of my not explicitly defined but over arching goals for this year is to have all the guns I currently own set up how I want them to be. Of course there is some evolution as new products come out, we test stuff, yadda yadda yadda but instead of buying another gun or piece of kit I want to get the stuff I have all squared away. Mostly my 642 as it is just a handy little thing. Honestly it is probably too handy for my own good. That little wheel gun is so light and convenient that in moments of weakness or laziness which inevitably occur more than they should I carry it instead of a more potent firearm.

Got some Lone Star beer the other day. One of those cliche Texas things I had to try. It is pretty good straddling the line of being flavorful without too heavy or busy.

Anyway I'm bored of writing now so it's time to wrap this up. Talk to you all later.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Tripple Barreled Shotgun PF Edition Intro

TEOTWAWKI Blog teased it now we get a better look

Honestly an 8 pound short barreled shotgun seems like a hard sell to me. That you cannot select the firing order, to fire load A instead of load B based on conditions is also problematic. Heck an 870 with a 28" barrel that HOLDS MORE THAN 3 ROUNDS weight's 7 and change. They haven't mentioned MSRP but last time Chiapa tried to sell the triple threat the MSRP was in loony tunes land. I greatly admire Dave Canterbury and enjoy most of his gear but this does not seem like a winner to me.

Thoughts?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Thoughts on Recent Field Experiences

-Do not make the mistake of assuming that because everyone, or more realistically a high percentage of the group, are trained and even combat tested that they can work together as a group. Working together as a group is it's own beast. First you've got to get everyone onto a common operating picture. While it is true the fundamentals are the same all over, as we see in Max's discussions of how the Brit's do it, little things vary widely from unit to unit or service to service. Once the unit has established a common way of doing things THEN that needs to be tested to figure out all the little kinks. With a trained group this process should happen pretty quickly but it does in fact need to happen. This is why everyone in your "group" doing the same training such as Combat Rifle/ Contact Drills and Combat Patrolling is so important. This way everyone gets trained WHILE you figure out all the little stuff so by the time you leave the group has a solid basis to train on for the future.

-You do not know what you do not know. The only way to find out is by trying to do stuff. Maybe there is an important skill set you are defficient in. Maybe a small part on a critical piece of gear breaks notably so it should be replaced with a better widget or spares stocked. Maybe an important doo dad sucks batteries like a fat kit with a Popsicle. Maybe your radios can't talk across the street, let alone for their whole theoretical range. The point is that you have to get out and test stuff, people and systems to see how they actually work.

-Test your commo plan in as close to realistic of a scenario as possible, as early as possible. Turning the radios on and doing a comms check in the same building/ parking lot immediately prior to SP is not a validation of a comms plan.

-Train as you fight but don't be stupid. There is little, if any value in being cold solely for the sake of being cold, wet just to be wet, etc. Beyond familiarity to learn a bit about yourself there isn't any value in stupid stuff. Realistic training is hard enough on it's own so no need to be stupid.

-Dave Canterbury recently started (or at least it's the first time I've heard it) using the phrase "smoothing it". The point being that you are getting beyond roughing it to a point where things are fairly comfortable and decently set up so they could be sustainable for the long term. It doesn't necessarily imply a ton more gear, just the right stuff that fills multiple roles and a solid understanding of how best to use it. You can be pretty comfortable without bringing the kitchen sink if you practice and put a little bit of cash into the right gear.

-Plan for things to be a bit worse than they are realistically going to be. A bit colder, a bit wetter and the problem lasting a few days longer. This way you are unlikely to get caught short. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Indian Raiding Parties



Curious how technology may totally change some things but the principles stay the same. Patrols or raiding parties need constant security, speed and to travel as light as possible while still carrying what they need. Take it and adapt it to modern equipment/ TTP's and you have an interesting and not pretty sound take on patrolling.

On a loosely related note Max Velocity released Contact the Revised and Expanded Second Edition.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pathfinder Trade Knife Review

The way I test knives is to use them for all sorts of everyday tasks. Cooking and eating, opening boxes cutting cord/ rope, cutting on whatever wood I find an excuse for and who knows what else. Some of these tasks inevitably fall into the knifes concept of use/ niche and others do not. This kind of lets me see what it is suited for and less suited for even if that stuff falls outside of what I would think the knifes role is.

Anyway I have testing the Pathfinder Trade Knife for about 3 weeks. I still want to fiddle with it some more but certainly have enough of an impression to do a review. It is a nice looking knife. The handle is nice looking and functional which I appreciate. The finish had a couple little rough spots but nothing too bad. I would say in terms of design and materials it does a good job of having that old traditional look which is part of Dave Canterberry's thing. The sheath is simple but well made and seemingly quite durable.

The blade is 5 inches long. That is about the right width for a good all purpose hard but reasonable use kind of knife. This trend to make 'knives' that are stupidly thick basically pry bars with a sharpened edge. I like that the curve of the bottom of the blade lets you "choke up" on it for delicate work and also functions as a decent stop for the hand to prevent slipping onto the blade.  The blade is 1/8th of an inch thick which is a good width. [Too many knives these days are basically sharpened pry bars. These knives seem to forget the whole point of a knife is to cut stuff not to pry things.]

The knife cuts quite well. It is handy at a variety of tasks around the house and kitchen. It sliced tomatoes well which is not a given with a thicker knife. The blade is rather curved such that the primary cutting surface is about 3/4's of the way up the blade, sort of like on a Tanto. Something about the blades curve tends to draw it deeper into material which isn't a bad thing parse.

Also of course it is full tang, really a blade with some G-10 slabs stuck onto it which is how knifes should be made.  The G-10 is held on by brass rivets which are a nice traditional touch. It has two holes running through the handle and blade with brass inserts. Good for making the thing into a spear I guess or using the back one to stick a wrist thong through.

This does bring us to the one ugly point of this knife. In my testing to date the point of this knife sucks. The way the curve of the spine comes to the point seems to be the culprit. There is a lot of material at various angles coming together at the point. The good news is that I suspect this makes the point very strong. The bad news is that it means the point does not cut particularly well. As I often use the point for small tasks this is problematic. I am going to make sure the tip of the blade is plenty sharp and fiddle with it some more. Worst case it is an issue I can live with.

The concept of use I see for this knife is as an all around belt knife. Preparing food, cutting cord, small wood processing tasks and such. This knife paired with a hawk/ hatchet/ kukuri depending on your inclination and environment would make for a real nice setup for field craft and sustainment. [In a more martial context I would probably have a smaller knife like the RAT 3 on my kit and this in my ruck. Yeah one could argue that is a bit redundant but when you balance weight vs utility I feel good about the trade off.]

As to the inevitable question of if this knife is a good purchase. I paid $99 on special and the normal price is $110. It is a good tool at and will definitely have a key place in one of my kits. The market for medium (say 3.6-5.5in blade) knives in the $110ish price range has some good stuff. If you play a bit fast and loose with the budget and knock it to more like $130 there are really a lot of good options. Some folks might choose differently and that is just fine. In any case I am pretty happy with this knife.




Sunday, December 16, 2012

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

This week we were kind of busy with a sick kid and Christmas as well as the usual mundane life stuff.

We picked up a battery charger for Wifey's cell phone, a big bag of food for Dog and some odds and ends of pantry stuff. Also Wifey found us a BBQ for $20 from some folks who were moving. The propane tank that came with it alone is worth twice that and the BBQ while simple is pretty new and in good condition. The BBQ is a win in terms of life but the propane tank is probably the bigger preparedness win.

I have been doing some wheeling and dealing in terms of guns. Definitely a lot of contacts lead to a few discussions which now and then brings about an actual transaction. Oh well that is the nature of the thing.

The Solo Stove was tested which was both fun and successful.  My rifle plates finally showed up which was cool.

Of course plenty of running and some lifting happened.  This coming week my schedule is a bit more open so I am going to work in more body weight stuff which has been a weak spot as of late and at least one road march. I have been eating pretty decently (well minus Friday night and Saturday) and that has been having some good effects on my body and performance.

Next week I am going to put some lead downrange. Also want to go over the kit for car 1 and put something together for car 2. In any other motivated time I will start reassembling the old BOB. Testing of the Pathfinder Trade Knife is close to done so a review will come out once my thoughts solidify.

What did you do to prepare this week?




Friday, December 7, 2012


Dave Canterbury on the Remington 870. Not that I needed to be sold on it but still interesting. He talks single shot shotguns a lot for 'the woods' but unfortunately this mythical woods where there are lots of game and no people is just not so. Certainly there are areas with few people but almost none is a stretch. With very few exceptions (off the top of my head rural Alaska, a good chunk of Wyoming and the Dakota's outside of the few cities) the US just has too many people for them, and the resulting security issues not to be a consideration. If you can possibly afford it a pump shotgun is a better all around choice than a single barrel. Anyway a Remington 870 with a long barrel and a short riot barrel is a heck of a combo.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday and Red Dawn Review Coming Up

Did some virtual black Friday shopping. Picked up that bottle and cooking kit combo as well as a wool blanket and (treating myself) a Trade Knife from the Pathfinder Store. They are running a 10% sale until Monday the 26th.

I was pleased to see that Brownells is running a sale. You can probably guess what was ordered.

Tonight is Red Dawn night for Ryan. There may be a review tonight and if not almost surely tomorrow.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Black Friday Deals

I wanted to talk about some Black Friday deals that might interest survivalists and shooters.

TEOTWAWKI Blog talks about a bunch of deals on shotguns, a $279 .357 Magnum and the new Ruger 10/22 take down model for $279. For about $500 you can get a 12 gauge shotgun and a .357 snubby which is a pretty decent defensive setup.

Wholesale Sports is selling PMAGs for $9.99. I am not sure if this is brick and mortar or online also. If it is online I will probably pick up some.

While watching a few Dave Canterberry video's on youtube I saw Pathfinder School is running a 10% discount on a bunch of stuff and it goes from today to Monday. The Pathfinder 32 oz cooking bottle/ cooking kit might find it's way into my inventory.

Has anybody else see deals that might interest others?

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