Thursday, September 22, 2011

That's not a knife...

As promised, many moons ago, I said I'd do a review on my newest chunk of sharpened steel, so here we go. The Ka-Bar Johnson Adventure Potbelly is possibly the baddest hunk o' metal that I've seen in a while. Now I know that there are numerous reviews out there for this knife, but this is just my humble opinion on my purchase; take it as you will.

Here's what the folks at Ka-Bar say:
At the 2010 S.H.O.T. Show, Ka-Bar® introduced a line of knives aimed at extreme users such as hog hunters, adventure trekkers and anyone else looking for that over the top knife. These knives are based on designs by Steve Johnson, Field Editor for Boar Hunter Magazine and part-time knife designer.

The blades are 1/4" thick 1095 cro-van steel at 56-58 Rc. with a black epoxy powder coating. The multi-position handles are textured with Ka-Bar's proprietary Adventuregrip™, for control in tasks as delicate as field dressing. The handles are a rich brown glass filled nylon.

Each knife includes an innovative sheath system with belt loops at two different belt carry heights, multiple MOLLE attachment points and a stuff sack on the front for carrying light sticks, fishing gear, matches, or other small necessities. Measures 12-5/8" overall and weighs about 13.3 oz. Made in the U.S.A. Suggested retail is $128.05.

The Potbelly™ is a hard working knife that no camper or adventure trekker should be without. It has a 7-1/8" modified Kukri style blade that is hollow ground to a razor edge, with a deep belly and weight forward balance that rivals hatchets in terms of chopping power. With influence from both the kukri and the machete, the Potbelly™ is best described as what you would get if you crossed a scalpel and a sledgehammer. If you only have room for one knife in your pack and need one that will do it all, the Potbelly™ is your knife.

I tend to agree with their assessment. It is a hefty knife. I mean like a car spring. It is truly a quarter of an inch thick and can take some punishment. I batoned through some wrist size wood with no problems whatsoever.  You could really use this big, ugly joker to do some serious prying if need be. I did some prying apart of old stumps, etc and it never seemed to be a problem. This is the kind of knife that guys should pack when going off for that two month Yukon trip. It also came with a decent edge. I waited to do any sharpening till after I beat it up some, and with out too much effort, brought the edge back to life. It does run about 12.5 inches, so personally it is something I strap to my pack or gear. I've just never been a fan of stuff hanging off my belt.

It also comes with a small chore knife that fits in the sheath with it. I haven't used it much but it would certainly suffice around the campsite for small cutting jobs or cleaning up small game. It is light weight and skeletonized, so one could wrap it with some 550 or maybe attach it to a sapling for a fishing spear of sorts. I usually have a fishing kit with hooks, so let's hope I don't ever have to feed myself using my Zulu spearing skills.
It comes with a large canvas/nylon sheath that has PALS/MOLLE style attachments at the back and a kangaroo pouch on the front for stuffing small items like a stone, fire kit, hooks, etc. It also come with a length of some yellow cord called Adventure cord, but to be honest, it looks like a long shoe string with the plastic ends. It could be useful, but I replaced it with the same length of paracord and feel much better about the issue. The sheath is ok, but doesn't seem to be the best made in the world. 
 I think that if someone were to really take this out to use on a regular basis in the woods it might need replacing after some time.A leather one would be much nicer, but that would just add to the cost, I reckon. Maybe I can come up with something down the road on that front. Maybe even something in Kydex would work. As seen in the pic above, the knife handles are brown nylon and have a pebbly texture that gives it a secure grip. I tried it wet and dry, both with equal success. That being said, if you are going to do some serious chopping or hacking, I might advise you to use some gloves. The texture can start to rub a little after a while.


This picture was taken before I had a chance to take it to the field, but definitely shows the chopping capabilities. I had this scrap 2x2 laying around and decided to time how long it took to hack through it. To be honest, I never really got an accurate time because I cut it in half in about 20 -30 seconds. Now I know you're saying that it looks like dry wood, and it was, but it still went through it like butter; and that wasn't using a baton. I was impressed to say the least. In the field it did the same, green wood and dry.

Overall I'd say this knife is definitely worth the money. It list for $124, but can be found from $75 and up. I got mine from Amazon and paid around $80 with free shipping. I believe it will be around when I'm gone. It is a stout, heavy knife made of quality steel and holds a good edge. The sheath is average and will do it's job, but under rough usage it may need to be replaced with something else. The little camp knife that comes with it is handy and serves it's purpose: little brother to the big guy. I'd buy this knife again and would recommend it to anyone who wants something serious to use in the woods. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me or leave a comment. Y'all have a good 'un.

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