A True Woods Knife

So I believe even just the title of this blog can and may cause some controversy, as it’s one of the most talked about topics in the Bushcraft, Survival and Woods Living communities.  But that is not my intent here.  I would just like to share a bit more on what I have come to believe (personal opinion, for what its worth) on the topic.

I can remember several years ago, in and around 2007 or so, where I was about two years deep into my research on the topic of survival.  As most of you know, it all started for me by watching Les Stroud (Survivorman) on television.  I have always been into the woods via hunting, fishing and the likes, but Les peaked my interest in survival.  And so it began…

My quest for knowledge started, and I had all I could do to get away from the computer and books.  I had a solid 15 month deployment during this time frame in which to do so, and I didn’t waste much of it.

So not long into it, I of course came across the topic of knives.  There was so much to learn, and I had nothing but time.  I read blogs, watched videos from mentors in the community, and got my fair share of advice through the literature I was reading.  I quickly learned that knives were a topic that wasn’t dissimilar to guns.  The “perfect knife” to most, was about as clear as the day’s weather report.  Sifting through all of the hype on knives, it was hard for me to get away from the fact that I came from a large family (13 kids on my mom’s side) of hunters, farmers and even a random trapper or two, who always seemed to have the classic fillet knife on their hip, no matter the task.


I tried my best to separate the “chaff from the wheat”, so-to-speak, but there were a lot of commonalities as well.  I read and looked over a lot of information on the Mora Knife, and there was a lot of it.  So my first decision was to try one out!  The Mora SL2 was my very first Mora knife, and it did a fine job for me, even though I purposely tried to beat it up.  I think it still sees use today from a good friend of mine, Joe.


Of course I had to modify mine and add in some kerf marks to each side for better grip…but it was a fine knife regardless.

After using the Mora for a while, I went with two other knives that I intended on using from here on out….the RAT3 and the infamous Tom Brown Tracker 1, or TBT1.

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Both of these knives had a lot of hype behind them as well, and I quickly realized what I had after using them.  I gave the RAT3 away, and sold the TBT1 for another (hyped up) knife.  The journey continued, and I found myself going after the hyped up knives more and more, and even came to have several custom knives made just for me.  It was a losing battle.  There was no “perfect knife” after all.  I regrouped and went back to old reliable, the Mora knife.  This time I used a Mora Classic 2, and contrary to what most believe…it works!  It is also very much affordable, so I could buy ten of these without coming close to the cost of the previously mentioned.


So here is what I use most often today, and will likely do so for a long time.  I finally got by the hype and realized if you actually know what a knife is designed for, how to care for it, and more importantly….how to use it, you can forego all of the money wasted on knives that I have.  I am a firm believer in “use the right tool for the right job”.  So if you intend on using your knife like an axe, why not just buy an axe and use that?

So to add a final disclaimer, as to not hurt the feelings of any knife makers out there, I am not discrediting them in the least.  I have quite a few custom knives, and I like them all.  Maybe a separate blog on custom knives would be a good idea as well.   But when it comes down to function, and what I really need in a knife…..I find the Mora brand very hard to beat.  It is, in my opinion, one of the most well-rounded knives on the market.  A True Woods Knife….in my opinion.

22 thoughts on “A True Woods Knife

  1. I think everyone at some point or another has gotten caught up in the “Great Knife Debate”. Criticizing someone over their choice in knives is as bad as telling a lady her newborn baby is ugly. I think it is because people do so much homework on the subject and spend so much money, a person feels almost embarrassed if they are made to feel they made a poor choice and a bad investment. I have gotten rid of most of the hype-knives and bought more useful gear with the money. What I have is a good assortment of knives that work for me in situations I experience. My only Mora is also one of the only stainless steel knives I own. I’m sure some bushcrafters would have a fit but hey, to each his/ her own I always say. 🙂

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  2. It seems that most people are suckered in to the knife hype that you speak of. I find it astonishing to see some of the prices for the latest “must have” custom knives. I’m not degrading custom knife makers or their products but what is the purpose of a woodsy knife? A knife simply cuts, splits or shaves. Mora knives are excellent knives for their purpose. Although I own both custom knives and others, I think you need multiple tools in the field depending on your intended needs. Who would really use flint to strike the spine of a $300 knife in order to get a spark? Not me unkess it was my last and only resort. I’d rather use my bic lighter for that. My mora black is all the knife i really need. It’s light, razor sharp, affordable and virtually indestructible. Good article and points

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  3. Someone has an excellent blog up and running! And of course, I couldn’t agree with you logic more (or should I say “mora”). I’m actually about to order a handfull of moras to give out to young outdoor enthusiasts over the next couple of months. Solid knife.

    I prefer the good ole Green River Hunter, but that’s because its an old school ugly butcher knife that I’ve enjoyed using over the years.
    Again Mr. Derek, can’t wait to read your next post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A long time in coming Sarge. Glad to see you blogging your thoughts here. I couldn’t agree more on the knife issue. But it’s like a comparison of guns in this community. I’m liking my Mora and my SAK all the more now.

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  5. I almost got sucked in to the hype, til one day my wife saw me looking at knives online. She’s like “another one”. So that got me thinking. Why buy what other people have. Just make due with the 6 or 7 other knives that already own. Since doing so I’ve come to love all my knives. Like anything else you own its all in how you take care of them. Now i make due with a lot of things that aren’t top dollar, and am totally content with what I have. I’m very happy you have a blog now Sarge. Now i have 2 to read. Yours and Sams. Cheers.

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  6. Great first blog!
    I got interested in bushcraft the same way you did by watching Les too. I wanted my first knife to be the Tom Brown tracker too and when I saw the price, I knew I wasn’t starting there. I have never been into collecting knives or guns for that matter. I will buy the right tool for the job. So I only own a few types of knives. I will say that in my EDC, there is a mora!


  7. I couldn’t agree more. Having over the years “bought into the hype” and spending time and many dollars searching for the perfect knife, I recently, on a whim, picked up a Mora companion HD via massdrop for around 11.00 saying “what the hey!” Once arriving I truly loved the knife, I hit the spine with a flat file as I like my knives to also be functional with a fire steel and bang its perfect for me. Nice blade length, great steel, throws sparks with a hard rock nicely, and does all the camp chores I ask of it. I carry it along with my axe and a Condor Hudson Bay knife (which I carry so I can do a bit of bushwhacking on the fly in the deep woods) and I am golden be it for a day hike, an overnighter, or even a week in the woods. Now granted I am not a “Survival Expert” like others who stop by here (tips my hat to Sam Larson) but just my 2 cents which isn’t much when you adjust for current inflation. 😀 Mora: sharp knife, good blade length, good steel, good blade thickness, great grind, easy to sharpen and maintain in the field, robust enough for normal bush duties, plus a little (gasp, no flames please) light batoning equals an overall excellent companion knife. To sum it up in just a few words, something I rarely do, Mora knife: the right tool for the right job – for me!


  8. Nothing I can add here I have3 Moras and one Condor . Easy to sharpen in the woods a must for me. If I should break it and I wont I can get another. Most of all its a knife I can use.


  9. Yep there sure are a a lot of hyped up knives out there & most of them are being sold by out & out sell outs using their name & fame to grab some of our hard earned cash! There are also some excellent custom knife makers too…William Collins being one, as honest & straight a man as you could wish it find. As for the Mora brand….well its been around for over a century so that should tell you something. Great blog Sarge & a good point very well made!
    P.S the Tom Brown Tracker you sold me is still doing a great job on the hedge laying LOL!!


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