I was lucky enough to take my significant other on her first camping trip this past weekend, spending a couple nights in eastern Tennessee. Of course, being a knife guy, I wanted her to have something to carry, and I wanted it to be hers. So rather than lending her one of my blades, I set out to find something she would be happy with. Something that would make a good beginner’s knife as she gets comfortable using it, but inexpensive enough that it wouldn’t be a tragedy if the blade got messed up (like a friend of mine who ruined his brand new SOG folder digging up roots!) . . .
Eventually (with input from her) I settled on Morakniv’s Craftline TopQ Allround. Our love of Moras is well publicized (see here and here) and they definitely fill the role of being comfortable, cheap and disposable, but not at all junk.
The TopQ Allround is a variant of the Companion series, itself an evolution of the older Clipper design. It sports a 4.1” blade of stainless Sandvik 12C27, with a wide stick tang running roughly ¾ of the way into a rubberized handle.
The ergonomics of the handle are extremely well thought out and the knife is comfortable in a variety of grips. One can appreciate the attention to detail that went into its design with smart little touches like the flattened portion at the base of the blade where your thumb sits, functioning much like a thumb ramp would in accentuating fine control.
The plastic sheath clips onto your belt and features a nub to push against with your thumb while drawing the knife. The sheath may be cheap, but again, the design is a smart one. It’s waterproof, durable, lightweight and inexpensive. Best of all, the blade is easy to draw and re-sheath.
Overall, she was quite happy with the knife. It will get her started on the road of camp knives as she learns what she likes and what works for her. Then, later, we can climb the ladder of better blade steels and nicer knives.
That may wind up being sooner than I think. When we paid a visit to Smoky Mountain Knife Works, we both took the opportunity to fondle a bunch of knives and she proclaimed the ESEE 4 as the best-feeling knife she held all day. The girl knows how to pick ’em!