Ka-Bar Becker BK 2 Campanion ReviewJune 23, 2014
- Allows you to leave the hatchet and machete at home
- Can still filet a fish for the fire
- Thick full tang construction = Rambo likes it
- Zytel handles don’t provide much grip, especially when wet
- The sheath requires a little bit of modification (heat molding) to operate smoothly
The Ka-Bar Becker Campanion Bk-2 is a heavy beast, but that’s the trade-off when you get into a “chopper” or a camp knife. It’s still lighter and less bulky than having to carry a hatchet and possibly a machete along with you as well. This is a do-it-all, get-it-done style knife that was not designed to hide in your pocket for opening cardboard boxes–this is the last knife you’ll ever need in a survival or backwoods situation. Maybe that’s the reason why Ka-Bar decided to call it the “Campanion”–it certainly can be a friend to you when you’re out there in it.
Construction & Materials
The quarter-inch stock of steel that makes up the bulk of the Becker Campanion is stellar. It’s everything you want in a chopper. It will take the abuse of chopping wood, and being knocked on the spine to split a tree. But the handle scales–slick Zytel–can make you question your grip on some of your initial runs with it.
Quick fix: using 240-400 grit sand paper, you can scuff up the handles enough so they will add more grip. If you go with a higher grit, you can do so and still maintain the finished look of the handles. Some companies also offer aftermarket G10 scales.
Ease Of Use
A knife like this should not be so precise but it is (and that’s partially due to the angle of the grind and the drop-point style blade). It can split rocks with the pommel; chop wood with the blade; and also finely slice a piece of chicken, fish or beef with the blade. As mentioned before, you can also hammer the spine with a log or rock to split larger wood.
Where the Ka-Bar Becker Campanion gets penalized is with the sheath. It’s a great sheath for this knife, but it’s so tight that you may end up ripping your belt loops off of your pants in order to get the dang thing out.
Quick fix: heat it with a heat gun a little bit to loosen up the top, just a tad.
Steel Quality / Edge Retention
1095 Cro-Van Steel is a standard carbon steel on steroids. It’s got some extra elements in the mix that allow it to be more durable, more resistant to corrosion, and hold a sharp edge for a good length of time. Coating the blade has increased its resistance to corrosion 10 fold. Overall, this steel will allow you to chop, cut, and toil in the soil without any need for worry. Nice job, Ka-Bar!
There have been some complaints on the interweb that Ka-Bar’s decision to skeletonize (cut out material to make it lighter) the steel under the handle scales has made the knife weak and could cause it to snap. I would agree to that if your main objective was to fight a tank with it–but if you’re not into that sort of masochism, this knife will outlast a fallout from a nuclear explosion. In layman’s terms, there isn’t a need to worry about what this tool can do.
For the amount of material used to make and carry the Ka-Bar Becker Campanion, $60-80 would be a justifiable price. But at $124, you should get G10 handles that provide the extra grip you need when using this knife for some of its more extreme intended purposes. But, if you can find it for under $80, you’ve got something amazing in your grips.