Perfect Backcountry Knife Combo


If you have hunted any species the importance of a sharp and functional knife blade or blades cannot be understated. I have used many different knives at different time in my life, but I have settled on a duo that travels with me out west and in the whitetail woods. As far as my experience goes, this is a perfect backcountry knife combo.

I am sure there are lighter blades out there, but this combo is light in my opinion and the combination is perfect for cleaning and skinning game, as well as skull prep and many other camp-based tasks.

#elder’s Knife Duo

Bugle, Bark, and Chuckle this to your buddies!



Let’s talk about weight. All western hunters who backpack hunt are at least somewhat concerned about weight. I am not saying I am an ultralight specialist, but I try to have lightweight gear but not at the expense of functionality. There is truth in the old saying, that you can pick two of the following when it comes to gear “Pick two, lightweight, durable, cheap”.
This combo is light in my opinion, maybe not by some ultralight specialist opinion, but it works and is on the lighter spectrum when it comes to knives.

The total combo weighs in at 7.3 oz.

I do carry one extra blade in my kill kit but have yet to need it when cleaning one animal. I carry the Outdoor Edge in my kill kit so no need for sheath.



Last year, we field dress a bull elk in the field with these two knives and never needed to change blades. I used both back at camp when I was fleshing the skull as well and never needed an additional blade or sharpener.

The fixed blade works great around socket joint when removing quarters and I have never seen a sharper blade than the outdoor edge for skinning meat removal etc. The best part is, when it does go dull or after the season you pop the old one out and plug a new one in. Be very careful, they are crazy sharp. If you do this in the field, do all of us a favor and dispose of the old blade properly. No one wants to sit down in the field on a used razor blade!

Note: All pictures are as is, exactly how they ended the season. Yes that is blood and hair etc on the blades.



The Outdoor Edge Razor Blaze can be picked up at most sporting goods stores or online for under $40.00.  With 5 additional blades and a sheath.

The ESEE Izula is a bit more expensive for the version I own.  You will pay a little extra for the G10 handles but I love the grip.  This version with G10 Orange Handles is around $75 and if you want the version without is around $55.

All told I have $110 in my combo and you could have a similar combo for around $90.  This would last for years of use and abuse.  In my eyes that is relatively inexpensive for the quality and durability you get out of these knives.

Note:  The blade in the picture is the blade used to skin & quarter an elk last year.


Color Choice

Let’s talk about my color choices for a minute.  If you have read on 1st Rut you know that camo is my favorite color.  I love camouflaged gear.  However, when it comes to knives and field dressing, I cannot think of a worse color.  When I was a teenager, I asked for a camo handled buck knife for Christmas.  It was awesome and I loved that knife.  The next fall, I arrowed a deer late in the evening.  It was still early October and far too warm to leave it overnight.  After I trailed the deer, I started the field dressing process.  At one point, I laid this blood covered camo handled knife down and couldn’t find it.  I never found it.  It was thick where I was field dressing and I could have moved this deer out to a more open area, but time was not in my side.  I loaded up what I could and hiked home.  Luckily my dad was home and we headed back with knives to finish the task. If you are curious, yes this was before cell phones were a thing.

That experience has led me to only purchase bright colored and preferably blaze orange handled knives.  The last thing I want to have happen is to lose a knife in the whitetail woods or on the side of the mountain.


Hopefully this write up will provide you with some insight on knife choices for your outdoor adventures.

As always, let us know if any questions

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