The ESEE Junglas (pronounced “Hoonglas”) knife is designed by Randal’s Adventure & Training and manufactured by Rowen Manufacturing in the United Sates.
It is made from 3/6 inch thick 1095 carbon steel with a 10.4 inch blade, 16.5 inch overall length and weighs 23 ounces. The tool came with a molded Kydex sheath and canvas micarta handle scales.
The ESEE Junglas is a large survival knife. It was originally designed for jungle use, but its features and size make it viable for a number of different wilderness environments. Its design is an improved but more expensive version of the Ontario RTAK II knife reviewed in the Oct. 17, 2013, issue of The Western Producer.
1095 carbon steel is a good choice for a large knife because it is a tough material for chopping. The primary limitation of 1095 carbon steel is its vulnerability to rusting. ESEE uses a strong coating on its blades, leaving only the cutting edges exposed. This minimizes the chances of corrosion developing. If properly cared for, the knives should not develop much oxidization.
The 3/16 inch thick steel and the full-tang handle of the ESEE Junglas provide excellent strength. Removable canvas micarta handle slabs are bolted firmly onto the tang and shaped for excellent comfort. The canvas material retains sure purchase even when wet. The exposed steel pommel has a lanyard hole and may be used for hammering. The palm swell is less pronounced compared to the Ontario RTAK II, making the handle noticeably more comfortable.
The drop point blade has a high flat grind, balancing the need for both a strong blade spine and a narrow cutting edge.
The ESEE Junglas comes with a black Kydex sheath that secured the blade well and did not rattle. A sliding tensioner on the sheath may be used to firmly lock the knife in place. The sheath may be easily carried in a variety of methods, including standard and cross-draw on a waist belt, or attached to a MOLLE system. It also came with a drainage hole.
The knife tested well when batoning and chopping wood. Out of the box the edge was sharp. The handle felt natural and sure, even when flicking the blade with a “machete chopping” movement rather than using a full-strength hammer grip.
Although too large to be effective in delicate and small cutting tasks, the knife was impressive in medium to large jobs.
The 1095 carbon steel retained its sharpness well, even when working hardwoods, and was easy to touch back up.
The ESEE Junglas is a notable knife. It is definitely an improvement on the Ontario RTAK II, which was also designed by Randal’s Adventure & Training. The fit and finish for the Junglas is superior to the RTAK II, particularly the comparative strengths of their protective blade coatings. Rowan’s manufacturing of the Junglas outshines Ontario’s RTAK II for fit and finish.
For a large survival knife, the ESEE Junglas is tough to beat. It is an excellent value, although pricey. Someone interested in buying a Junglas may need to be certain they have a use for this kind of tool before spending the money.
If you like collecting large knives or have a use for the Junglas as a big wilderness blade, you cannot go wrong by picking this one.
Kim Quintin is a Saskatoon outdoor enthusiast and knife maker. He can be reached for column content suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.