Vulture Equipment Works Cholera Mk1 Review

July 30, 2014
Vulture Equipment Works Cholera Mk1
Construction & Materials
Ease of Use
Steel Quality & Edge Retention

The Good

  • Scandi Grind with 90% False Edge
  • Hefty 3/16-inch Blade Thickness
  • Kydex Sheath with Rotating Molle Compatible Clip
  • Sheath design allows you to carry the knife in any position
  • Personal inspection and sign-off on every knife by the company founder, and knife designer, William Egbert

The Bad

  • The sheath is primarily right-handed, when used in a traditional pommel up configuration
  • Not enough people know about Vulture Equipment Works

The Vulture Equipment Works Cholera was designed for experienced user who understand and respect their knives. The Cholera is durable, dependable and highly functional. I felt like a warrior on the hunt with it strapped to my side. It’s the first time I have allowed another knife to take the place of my personally hand-made “Rosie” on my hip in the woods—that’s how much I trust the Cholera. I was honored to test it and I will continue to use it on my adventures—as long as “Rosie” doesn’t mind too much.


Each numbered Vulture Equipment Works Cholera is the quintessential Survival and Backpacking knife. From its girth and overall shape to the included Magnesium Fire Starter, this knife was designed to get you in and out of trouble, in any situation. 

I wouldn’t recommend the Vulture Equipment Works Cholera for young Johnny or Suzie when they are trying to score some merit badges in their local scouting club, but I would recommend it for anyone who is out in the wild for long periods of time that need to get by with minimal tools. Its form and function are intimidating.

I talk with a lot of knife makers and a lot of knife companies and they all generally speak on a level that makes the average user feel comfortable—it’s very basic and digestible. This isn’t necessarily the fact with Vulture Equipment Works. They are designing equipment for the experienced user who not only understands what they are getting into with knives like the Cholera or the Talon, but who respect those tools. When you speak with them you’re getting design details rather than marketing pitches.

Because there are superior steels out there, some people might scoff at the perfect score the Cholera earned. I believe, however, that—based on design, the way the metal has been finished, and because of the information the company is providing you—there is no better steel than 1095 for the Cholera. It’s hard to get off the modern steel bandwagon that the knife-making world is currently in but I gladly am off that wagon when it comes to the Cholera.

Bottom Line: The native part of me is alive and well with this blade. I felt like a warrior on the hunt with it strapped to my side. It’s the first time I have allowed another knife to take the place of my personally hand-made “Rosie” on my hip in the woods—that’s how much I trust the Cholera. I was honored to test it and I will continue to use it on my adventures—as long as “Rosie” doesn’t mind too much.

The Cholera was purpose-built for your benefit, right down to the grip of the handles and the addition of the magnesium and ferro-rod combo. Based on the amount of material used on the blade steel alone, this knife could retail for $300. But materials aside, the real value of the Vulture Equipment Works Cholera is in the design. The Cholera’s form and function are superior.

Construction & Materials 
Vulture does not have catalog of knives. In fact, they only make two versions of the Cholera and the Talon, for a total of three knives. One of which—the Investment-Grade Cholera—should be considered custom. So this is a company that is locked into their designs for their success. Clearly a considerable amount of time went into the design of these knives as well as the selection of the materials used in making them.

Ease Of Use
The Vulture Cholera is heavy in the blade and has a natural tendency to want to bear down into the cutting material. The Scandi grind with false edge allows for even easier cutting and slicing, but it also has an uncanny ability to pierce into objects easily, making it a great knife for digging, boring, and self-defense. Because of the thickness of the blade and full-tang design, you can easily pry with the Cholera or even use it as a step-up when stabbed into a tree—I weight 285 pounds of pure Viking happiness, and I was able to use it this way without a problem.

But that’s not what impressed me the most. By design, the sheath can rotate on your belt—because of this, it is really easy to index the knife into the sheath when you’re putting it away. I cannot tell you how many knives I have used—even some that I have made myself—that are a real bear to get back into the sheath when you’re on the move.

Steel Quality / Edge Retention
In a world of boutique knife steels, 1095 has been chastised because it lacks a complex elemental make-up and, if untreated, does not have the greatest corrosion resistance. In the case of the Cholera, not only has the whole knife been acid-etched to help stave off corrosion, but the company also tells you right off the bat that you need to maintain the blade by adding a light coat of Rust Inhibitor to it when not in use.

1095 commonly has a hardness of 55-57 HRC, and it can be sharpened like a scalpel. Because of its simple molecular composition, it might not hold an edge as long as some of the boutique steels, but most of those steels cannot take the overall abuse 1095 can. It’s a fair trade and it sharpens up fairly easy.

Note: Vulture even recommends the degree at which you should sharpen the blade at (20-25°).

I was extra brutal on this puppy to the point that it’s currently soaking in WD-40 so I can get all the grit and grime off of the blade. I wanted to beat this knife. I wanted it to end up back in a box in pieces—but I knew it wouldn’t. The minute I took it out of the box I knew I was in for a treat. I just wish a bear would have come upon me when I was out on the trail. Man, it would have been like the end scene in the movie “Legends of the Fall”—except I wouldn’t have gone down as easily as Brad Pitt. Not with this knife!


  • Kydex Sheath
  • Magnesium Fire Starter (and Piggy Back Sheath)
  • 550 Paracord
  • Epic Sticker


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