Kershaw, a U.S. brand that specialises in knives, recently sent us a big box full of its products. Some of the items inside were totally inappropriate for UK hiking – the barbed machete in particular – while others were absolutely spot on.
I'm far from a practitioner of bushcraft, but I'll always carry a knife with me on any multi-day hikes and I'll end up using it for everything from food preparation to whittling when I'm bored during long evenings at camp.
I'm quite specific with the type I like to carry though. Most of the walking I do is long-distance and the weight of my equipment is therefore quite a big consideration, so the knives I carry need to be compact and light but still robust enough. If they have other functions beyond cutting and slicing then that's a big bonus; things like built in screw drivers, corkscrews, tin openers, hammer heads etc.
The collection that Kershaw sent me included a number of different knives that suited some of these preferences and a couple even ticked all of the boxes.
"The Kershaw Pub is a particularly good knife for hikers. It's small – almost exactly the same length as a credit card – and weighs just 54g so it isn't the slightest bit intrusive in a pocket."
Kershaw Knives: The Shuffle, Fraxion and Pub
First of all, I was impressed with the Kershaw Shuffle which has a short and stubby blade which makes for a minute and unobtrusive closed length of 8.3cm. Features include a built in belt clip, bottle opener and even a flathead screwdriver.
Then there's the Fraxion, which is the result of a collaboration between Kershaw and Danish toolmaker Anso. Despite its fairly long, strong stainless steel blade, the knife in its entirety is very light, weighing just 53g mostly thanks to the G-10 handle with its carbon fibre overlays. Like the previously mentioned Shuffle, it has a clip so you can attach it to your belt or pocket.
The Kershaw Pub is particularly good knife for hikers. It's small – almost exactly the same length as a credit card – and weighs just 54g so it isn't the slightest bit intrusive in a pocket. The blade measures only 4cm and it has a blunt end, so it's simply a cutting or scraping knife – best suited to peeling fruit or cutting rope. It has a bottle opener and a hook/hoop so it can be attached easily to a key ring or backpack straps. Look carefully and you'll also spot a flathead screw driver.
Kershaw Knives: The Kershaw Ration
I have to admit that out of all the products I've seen in Kershaw's collection, it's actually the Kershaw Ration, basically a spork, that I liked the most. OK, we've all seen spoon and fork tools before, but this is one of the best I've come across.
At 11.7cm long it's fairly small, but that's without being fiddly or dainty, and the heads of the fork and spoon are of a normal size so you can get good purchase on your pasta.
Best of all, it's made of steel so you can expect it to last a lifetime, and at 31g it's not very heavy either.
By linking the Kershaw Pub and the Kershaw Ration by a keyring, I've realised that I've got all the tools I need for the trail and at a total weight that measures far lighter than the Leatherman-type multi-tool I normally carry with me.
These are just a fraction of the knives that are suitable for hikers in Kershaw's collection, so it's worth heading to their website to check out what else is available.
The prices of the collection are wide ranging with most of the knives costing from £20 to £40. The Ration 3-in-1 fork and spoon is available on the Kershaw website for $7.49 and from UK retailers for as little as £5.82.