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Best Knives & Packs for 2018

DiamondBlade Knives Pro Series Surge and Pinnacle II
www.diamondbladeknives.com
We used these knives to butcher two moose in 2017 and accomplished the task without resharpening the knives. That in itself is amazing. The Surge is a Drop Point style knife made from Friction Forged D2 High Carbon Tool Steel with a 4-inch blade, Suregrip handle and comes with a Kydex sheath. Our testers loved how this knife felt in the hand and how it allowed hunters to perform any task needed. The Pinnacle II is made from the same materials and features a 2.55-inch Clip Point blade. We used this knife for delicate skinning tasks. Between these two fine blades, you can take apart any animal.
Tenzing TZ CF13 Carbon Fiber Frame Pack System
www.tenzingoutdoors.com
We tested this pack when hauling heavy loads of moose and were impressed. The carbon fiber frame is rated to handle loads to 300 pounds; we made it to about 150 pounds and it managed that weight handily. The bag portion of the system has many compartments, several tie down loops and eight compression straps to secure a heavy load. Shoulder and waist straps are comfortable and adjustable. The fabric on the pack is reinforced with Dyneema fiber, which is very strong and light, giving the pack extra protection from failure.
Havalon Baracuta Bone Saw
www.havalon.com
This handy fold-out saw is useful for working on smaller big-game. It’s nicely sized for blacktail deer, and one to consider on a mountain hunt for sheep or goat since it weighs only three ounces. We used it to remove the rib cage of several moose. In addition to the #115SW serrated bone saw blade that comes standard, the tool also accepts #115XT hunter’s blade and #127XT fillet blade. When a blade dulls or breaks, simply replace it with another razor sharp one. The polymer handle is comfortable and doesn’t slip in the hand.
Spyderco Junction
www.spyderco.com
We used this knife to butcher several big game animals in 2017. The blade is made from PSF27, which is a spray-formed tool steel. The process creates an extremely tough, ultra-fine homogenous grain structure. End result: a great blade that’s tough and super-sharp. The Junction sports Spyderco’s PlainEdge blade which incorporates a full-flat grind and curved belly. The handle is made from G-10 scales and includes an integral guard to help prevent your hand from sliding onto the edge. This is a beautiful knife that functions perfectly.
Spyderco SpydieChef Titanium
www.spyderco.com
This knife combines the balance of a chef knife with the all-purpose design of a folding knife. We think it’s great. From butchering game to breaking down roasts and steaks to chopping up vegetables at camp for an omelet, this knife delivered. It’s made from a nitrogen-based alloy that is extremely corrosion-resistant, which lands this knife in the Spyderco Salt Series of ultra-corrosion-resistant knives, and is the same metal that NASA uses for ball bearings in aerospace applications. To add to this space-age carry, and reduce weight, the handle is made from two solid titanium scales. It’s got a secure locking mechanism and wire clip, as well as a lanyard hole.
Victorinox Swiss Army Field Dressing Kit
www.swissarmy.com
Our tester especially enjoyed the soft carrying case that allows for safely transporting and packing these knives all together. It is an efficient set-up, and well-packaged. Our tester liked that a sharpener is included inside the kit. These are high-quality knives that are sharp, sturdy and well-made.
Wilderness Pack Specialties Bighorn and Yukon Pack Frames
www.wildernesspacks.com
These packs allowed us to haul two big bull moose out of the woods in 2017. They are light and strong, and are both comfortable and highly functional. The shoulder straps and waist belts are comfortable and the packs position the load squarely on the lower back. We appreciated the lash down system, which made it easy to quickly secure heavy loads. We tested the pack frames without bags, but bag systems are available for both packs.
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