Benchmade 490 Axis Assist knife
The new Benchmade 490 Axis Assist knife is a great flipper that can perform as an everyday carry blade, or as a go-to knife for outdoor adventures. The 490 boasts a 3.2-inch blade that locks open with Benchmade’s patented Axis Lock system—the most secure, but easy to open, blade-locking system we’ve used. The Axis Lock system drops a spring-loaded solid steel bolt into a notch on the blade end when open. To close the blade, simply slide the bolt back and the blade swings free to close. But since its nearly impossible to accidentally dislodge the ‘axis’ bolt, the blade is nearly as strong and secure as a fixed-blade knife.
The knife’s blade utilizes the brand’s CPM-S90V steel. This American-made powdered steel which boasts incredible durability and corrosion resistance, with good edge retention.
That means you’ll spend a little more time honing the edge but that edge won’t need to be restored as frequently as with softer steels. The 490 Axis Assist sports sleek anodized aluminum handle scales for a smooth, comfortable fit in hand. The removable pocket clip allows the knife to sit low in a pocket where it is secure but quick to hand when needed.
Benchmade Knives, located in Oregon City, Oregon, offers outstanding folding knives that will last well beyond a lifetime — take care of this knife and it’s something you could pass down to your children or grandchildren. $270. Buy now
Hults Bruk Akka Ax
While every camper thinks they need an ax – largely because everyone WANTS to need an ax – there’s actually a limited set of circumstances where an ax is worth carrying. That said, when there is an actual need, a good quality ax is greatly appreciated. The folks at Hults Bruk have been producing quality axes in Sweden since 1697. That’s not a typo – it truly states 1-6-9-7 – and their Akka Foresters Axe takes advantage of all the lessons learned over that 322-year history.
This mid-sized ax features a 24-inch hickory handle supporting a 1.5-pound steel single-bladed head. That head is hand-ground and beaten – a forging process that increases the steel’s strength and durability. The Akka is not an ax to hew down a forest, but it’s perfect for the campers who drive deep into remote locations and need a tool to process light firewood. At 2.2 pounds total weight, and just over 2 feet long, the Akka is light and compact enough to tote along on those car-camping adventures, yet stout enough to handle the task of chopping limbs from downed trees and splitting modest logs for the fire.
The Akka comes with a fitted leather head sheath. $169. Buy now.
Leatherman Free T4
In the early 1980s, Tim Leatherman took the old Swiss Army knife concept of multiple tools in a single pocketknife and created a new category. While those old red-scaled pocketknives sported a host of the blade, they weren’t tools worthy of modern equipment. The Leatherman multitool literally put a folding pliers into a pocket-sized package, as well as a knife, several screwdrivers, and other true tools.
Nearly 40 years later, Leatherman unveiled their Free series of tools, and for weight-watching outdoor adventures, the Free T4 might be the perfect tool. The pocket-sized Free T4 weighs just 4.3 ounces and measures a mere 3.6 inches in length with all tools closed. But inside that package, the T4 sports a hardened steel knife blade, a pair of spring-action scissors, a bottle opener, an awl, files (wood and metal), four screwdrivers (Phillips and flat), a set of tweezers, a pry tool, and a package opener.
Each tool can be flipped open with a single hand, and once open, the tool locks in position. The simple lever lock can be deactivated with one hand as well for efficient, safe closing when work is done.
The Free T4 has all the tools a camper or outdoor adventurer would need for most situations, without weighing you down. $60. Buy now