The SOG Northwest Ranger is a fixed blade knife manufactured in Taiwan and sold out of the United States.
It is nearly 10 inches long with a more than five inch clip-point blade of .15 inch thick AUS-8 stainless steel and weighs about six ounces. It comes with a textured handle made from black Kraton and a black leather sheath.
The knife is designed to process fish and small and medium game and handle general camp cutting tasks.
Although I prefer drop point blades in my outdoor knives, the clip point on this knife is well executed.
The choice of using AUS-8 steel makes the blade less corrosion resistant and soft compared to similar stainless steels, but it does take and hold an edge well with careful heat treatment.
It is optimistic for SOG to claim the blade can be used for processing fish, but it will roughly suffice if a proper filleting knife is not readily available. The blade is almost too big for processing small game.
The Northwest Ranger may crudely handle these tasks but it is limited by its jack-of-all-trades design concessions.
Where the tool really shines is as a general outdoor knife. The thumb jimping along the spine at first seems severe, but I have never had any problems with its performance in testing.
The guard also seems oddly designed upon close inspection, but again in testing it performed well in protecting my index finger from slipping onto the edge.
The textured handle was graspable, even when hard cutting underwater.
The knife comes with a simple black leather sheath with belt loop. The leather finish cracked easily from general manipulation of the knife, especially around the top of the belt loop.
The button snap on the sheath strap was set too tight, which required it to be set before the knife was fully inserted into the sheath.
Unfortunately, the sheath did not come with a drainage hole, which would compound the normal difficulty of keeping it clean.
In my opinion, a knife marketed to process food and game needs to be kept sanitary, which is difficult to begin with when dealing with most leather sheathes.
Despite some of the shortcomings of the blade material and sheath design, the SOG Northwest Ranger surprisingly is more than the sum of its parts.
Although it does not stand out in any particular way, it performs well in general outdoor use.
It is simply a good, well-rounded knife, which succeeded far better than its $70 price would have suggested.
The Northwest Ranger would make an good camp or trail knife.
Kim Quintin is a Saskatoon outdoor enthusiast and knife maker. He can be reached for column content suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.