September 24, 2010
By Dan C. Johnson
By Dan Johnson
I had a golden opportunity to thoroughly test a sample of the Camp Tramp knife on a recent bear hunt in Maine, but I left the knife at home at the last minute because I was not acquainted with the people I'd be hunting with and did not wish to be branded a tenderfoot when I showed up with a scaled-down machete hanging from my belt. Yes, there is prejudice among hunters when it comes to big knives and not without reason. Most hunting chores, particularly field dressing, are more efficiently handled with a smaller blade. There are exceptions, though, and my bear hunt was one of them.
Another hunter's bear decided to run down into the thickest brush-choked hollow he could find before expiring, and we spent the best part of a day clearing a trail and dragging the critter out. Now that I have had a chance to do some chopping, cutting and general testing of Swamp Rat's Camp Tramp knife, I very much wish I had carried it along that day.
The Camp Tramp features a 7 1/2-inch Bowie-style blade forged from SR101 steel. The knife has enough heft to handle light chopping chores, yet the finger groove at the hilt allows you to choke up on the handle for more delicate duties. The Resiprene handle fills the hand nicely and affords a very comfortable grip. The sample knife came with a shaving-sharp edge and held that edge extremely well. This knife will be packed on my next hunting trip.
Swamp Rat knives are made in the shop of renowned custom bladesmith Jerry Busse and are patterned after his combat and survival designs. Do not call the Busse shop for information, though. Swamp Rat is a separate company, and a separate crew makes the knives in the shop after hours. Swamp Rat knives can only be ordered online.