Review: Mora Companion MG

If there’s one tool every survivalist/prepper believes one needs, it’s a good knife.  For me, that means carbon steel.  Stainless has its place, mind you, but I hate spending the time to try and sharpen stainless.  Carbon steel is my choice, even if it rusts.

Unfortunately, carbon steel knives can be kind of pricey.  I’m not sure why, though it may have to be simply that there’s not that many of them made since most folks prefer a knife they can use and abuse and it still won’t rust.

Whatever.

Anyway, that brought me to the Mora Companion.

I’d heard about Mora knives for the last little while.  A quick look on Amazon showed me they were ridiculously inexpensive, so I took a shot in the dark and ordered one.  For less than $12, how wrong could I go?

What I got was an interesting knife that got me a bit excited.  Now, bear in mind that I’m not a knife guy.  Sure, I know a few things, but I’m far from any sort of expert, and experts can point out anything I’m wrong on.

When I opened the package, the first thing I noticed was the knife’s sheath, which is probably the most criticized feature of the knife.  I understand why.  I hate it too.  However, to be honest, it’s not as bad as it could have been.

DSCF0014

While the design leaves the knife a lot of room in the sheath to rattle around, it happens to be securely locked in place by the upper portion of the sheath which prevents that.  The sheath, despite being oversized for the knife in the blade portion, also has a drain hole to keep water from pooling around your knife.

The upper portion of the knife boasts a protrusion which allows your thumb to push against it, releasing the knife for use.  This is an excellent feature that almost makes me like the sheath.

Conveniently located.

Conveniently located.

Almost.

Once the knife is free, you can see exactly what you paid for.  Apparently, the Swedes are broke and are hocking crap for American bucks.  That’s the only explanation I can come up with for why this knife is so inexpensive.

The blade was well ground in what they term a “scandi” grind.  This reportedly makes the knife easier to sharpen.  This knife, however, already has a decent edge on it so it can be used right off the bat if needed.

DSCF0018

One issue many have is that several models of Mora knives do not have a finished spine on the blade.  Like those, mine is still rough as well.  However, a file or some sandpaper will fix this simply enough.  For a $12 knife, there are going to be some shortcuts.  I’d rather it be there than on the edge.

You can kind of see it here. In person, it's actually much rougher.

You can kind of see it here. In person, it’s actually much rougher.

The blades shape has always looked odd to me.  In part, it’s because it is kind of odd, at least by today’s standards.  It’s a flat piece of metal with an edge, basically.  There’s none of the geometry we’re used to seeing on modern knives.  However, much of those grinds and angles we see on blades these days don’t really do anything so far as I can tell.  So, Mora left them off.  Just $12, remember?

There is very little flex to the carbon steel blade, but enough to give me confidence that it won’t snap on me in the field.

The blade has what it needs and nothing that it doesn’t, so I can’t really ding it too badly for any of that.

DSCF0019

It’s the handle where Mora put their effort, and it shows.  The polymer handle is well contoured for the human hand, with even an almost imperceivable depression for your thumb to rest on near the blade.  It’s subtle, but there and still sufficient for comfort.  Honestly, the handle is as close to perfect as I’ve ever found with the exception of an impala horn handle I once had (I miss that knife something awful).  This was a whole lot cheaper, though.

DSCF0020

So now to the rating.  That was hard.  I knocked three points off for the unfinished spine, because while it’s not necessary for the basic function of the knife, I don’t want a DIY project on a supposedly completed blade.  However, I’ll add a point back because of the ridiculous value these knives represent.

I’m giving this knife an 8/10.  You can’t really go wrong with one or two of these knives.  I plan on getting one for each member of the family.  In fact, getting one for each bugout bag, get home bag, and any other bag you have isn’t a bad idea either.

Click the photo to order yours (via my affiliate store):

Advertisements

Review: Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide: Food, Shelter, Security, Off-the-Grid Power and More Life-Saving Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living

The title is a mouthful, but I didn’t name the book.  It’s author, Jim Cobb, did.  What he tried to do was write a comprehensive guide for the newbie prepper that would also be valuable to the experienced prepper as well.

So, how did he do?

Well, in my opinion, he did quite well.

Cobb has an easy, conversational style that helps make a difficult and potentially stressful subject far more entertaining and easily to digest.

However, the book isn’t necessarily as complete as one would hope.  In fairness, that’s probably because entire volumes could be written on each chapter.  Cobb is instead giving readers enough of an overview that new preppers can hit the ground running while experienced preppers might pick up a trick or two.  Nothing more, nothing less.

I found it a pretty worthwhile read, and kept a few highlights on my Kindle, but I found much of the information to be pretty basic.

So, what would I do with this book?  This is the kind of thing I would hand to a neophyte prepper, especially one who is only luke warm about prepping as it is.

As I said, the information is pretty basic.  However, Cobb also does a good job of offering up texts that provide far more detailed information on whatever subject he’s talking about.

Like I said, he offers up a nice, digestible chunk, then tells you where to get the full deal.

Unfortunately, judging by some of the negative reviews on Amazon, that’s not sitting well with people.  One issue was a typo in the book, warning against storing long grain rice.  I recall reading that and being concerned because my own rice was long grain.  However, upon further review, it’s obvious he’s talking about “long grain and wild rice” rather than long grain white rice.

One of the more interesting topics in the book is one I had the least interest in, and that was his chapter on communities.  Cobb goes into the various roles people will need to fill, and even broaches the subject of how to deal with criminals.

Honestly, it’s a topic that we need to think about and try to determine some good, solid answers for prior to everything coming apart.  During the stress of the apocalypse may not be the best time to decide how to deal with the jerk who stole Great Aunt Edna’s silver.

I rather enjoyed the book, and while this may not be one I would keep on a bookshelf at Camp TEOTWAWKI, it’s one I wouldn’t hesitate to offer up to new folks.

On a scale from one to ten, I’m giving it a 7.5 out of 10.  While the information is somewhat basic and more of an overview kind of thing, Cobb’s style is fantastic and well worth reading on that basis alone.  I highly recommend reading his work just for the entertainment value of his prose.

However, go into the book with an open mind and simply expecting to be entertained.  I have little doubt you’ll pick up a trick or two, but just let that be the bonus. Click below to purchase your copy (via my affiliate link, of course.)

Review: Cold Steel G.I. Tanto

I bought the Cold Steel G.I. Tanto several years ago.  At the time, I was looking for an all-around knife for prepping purposes, one that would do well around the camp and could help me take out a bad guy if the need arose.

I selected the G.I. Tanto because it met several of my criteria at the time, primarily being carbon steel and affordable.

The G.I. Tanto by Cold Steel

The G.I. Tanto by Cold Steel

As you can see from the photo, the knife comes with a Kydex sheath (they call it Secure-Ex) and boasts an 8″ blade, with a 5″ handle, bringing the total length to 12″.  This is not a particularly small knife.

Further, the Kydex sheath is attached to the belt via a webbed loop that also has a snap that secures the knife in place…which is redundant since the sheath is a tight fit for the knife all on its own.

The knife itself came with an edge but wasn’t particularly sharp.  Since it’s carbon steel, however, that was remedied in short order.

One thing at the time that struck me was how mucking big this thing is.  I suck at judging distances and lengths, so I wasn’t really expecting something this size.

My knife with a can of beans for scale

My knife with a can of beans for scale.  I camoed mine though.

However, despite the length, it’s surprising light considering.  It’s not too light, where you feel like you’ll break it or anything, but just light enough to be comfortable carrying around whether you use it or not.

It’s a sturdy piece of kit, but I’m hesitant to recommend it for other preppers.

For one, it’s length.  It’s too short to be a general use knife, too long to work as  a machete. I suppose there are uses for it that I’m just not thinking off, especially since the blade is a pretty good thickness.  Maybe you can use it with a mallet of some sort for splitting purposes.

One thing I disliked is the black finish.  The material is fine, but black?

I get it.  They do this to make it look “tactical” and all that.  The thing is, I have grown to hate “black” for tactical/prepping purposes is stupid.

You see, black stands out in a lot of circumstances when you want to blend in.  The G.I. Tanto?  Yeah, it’ll stand out.

Luckily, I could take some spray paint cans, a bit of camo netting, and make it far more likely to blend (see photo above of my knife).  However, I took the webbing off.

Personally, the webbing is a waste.  The Kydex holds the knife really firmly in place, so snaps are unnecessary.  All it does is serve to lower the knife on the body.  While that may sound like a good thing with a foot-long knife, I disagree.  The handle is short enough that a clip on the sheath itself would be sufficient.

Not only that, but I think Cold Steel missed an opportunity here.  Had they simply put an attachment point on the back of the sheath, they could have then sold various systems for carrying the knife.  A clip for your average user, PALS compatible clips for the more tactically minded, and who knows what else.

As for the webbing, it’s easily removed by loosening the two screws.  Personally, I laced mine on a “battle belt” with some paracord.  I’ve found it to be plenty secure so far, though I have thought about attaching some clips to give it a more secure attachment to the belt.

My knife on a battle belt.  It rides nicely behind my pistol holster and blowout kit.  So far, it works just fine.

My knife on a battle belt. It rides nicely behind my pistol holster and blowout kit. So far, it works just fine.

My overall impression is that the knife is a solid purchase, though perhaps not the best place to start for a prepping knife.  I’ve got a Mora Companion due in tomorrow to serve as a better general purpose knife for me.  The Cold Steel G.I. Tanto is designed more as a combat knife, and for that purpose, I suspect it’s awesome.  Especially for the price.

I can’t recommend it, but I can’t give it any kind of negative assessment either.  This is a “your mileage may vary” kind of knife, in my opinion.  However, for the price?  It’s not like you’ll go broke if you pick one of these up.

Assuming this isn’t your first knife.  If you’re getting started prepping, this is probably not where you want to make your first purchase.  Otherwise, I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

Click photo to pick one up via my affiliate store:

Review: Edsal Heavy Duty 5-Shelf Shelving Unit

If there’s one thing preppers probably don’t have enough of, it’s…well, it’s everything.  However, we tend also to find ourselves short of shelves to put our preps on.  That was where I was, so I hit up Amazon to see what I could see.

DSCF0002That’s when I found this, the Edsal Heavy Duty 5-Shelf Shelving Unit that just called to me.  Well, now that I’ve put it together and put some stuff on it, it’s time for the review.

This is a 72″ tall, 36″ wide, and 18″ deep solid metal shelving unit that’s designed to be both durably constructed while simple to assemble with a minimum of tools.  That’s a very tall order for anything.

Did it succeed?  Let’s find out.
Continue reading