Ka-Bar Becker Campanion jack-of-all-trades, master of none

The Ka-Bar Becker Campanion is a medium to large knife manufactured in the United States.

The all black, 10.5 inch tool was designed by Ethan Becker and is made from 1095 Cro-Van high carbon steel with a 5.25 by two inch blade that is 1/4 inch thick along the spine and weighs one pound.

Becker, who is known as an expert cook, knife designer and wilderness person, has collaborated with a number of respected knife brands.

However, his main series of knives is produced by Ka-Bar, the same company that manufactures the well-known U.S. Marine Corps knife.

The Becker Campanion is marketed as an all-around knife capable of chopping kindling, preparing campsite meals and skinning game.

The handle has a full tang for strength and removable Zytel scales for cleaning ease. The handle butt is exposed and flattened to be used as a hammer and has a lanyard hole for optional safety. A thick, black coating protects the high carbon steel from exposure to the elements.

The combination of design and execution gives this knife some serious shortcomings.

The lightly textured handle surface becomes slippery when wet. The thick blade material combined with the Saber grind makes for poor game processing. The out-of-the-box edge would tear but not slice paper. The overall length is not conducive to wood chopping and feels short when used in this manner.

In tests, the Becker Campanion was excellent at batoning tree branches less than three inches in diameter. The coating resisted wearing well. The knife responded easily to sharpening, which elevated its performance, but one would be wise to carry an additional smaller, thinner knife for more effective food and game processing.

The Becker Campanion is a tool that tries to do too much. It can serve in a variety of outdoor tasks but does not excel at any one of them.

The tool would serve well enough in almost all situations if it was the only one available, but if other options are present they will probably get the job done more effectively.

This knife is definitely a jack-of-all-trades but is a master of none.

The knife has a suggested price of $125, but it can be found for a little less at retailers. For more information, visit www.kabar.com.

Kim Quintin is a Saskatoon outdoor enthusiast and knife maker. He can be reached for column content suggestions at kim.quintin@producer.com.

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