This Hultafors Serrated Outdoor Knife (hereby referred to as the SOK) was provided by the Sport Hansa distributor for review. To give a little history of the company, it began in 1883 when Karl-Hilmer Johansson Kollen designed the folding rule. Since then, Hultafors has spent the past 125-140yrs (the brochure says 125yrs, website says 140yrs, but it has been 134yrs since the folding rule) designing and manufacturing quality tools for tradesmen and outdoors enthusiasts. Their line of tools ranges from the original folding rules to all sorts of construction and craftsmen tools. Hultafors Website My first experience with the name was to read on numerous forums about how amazing their trekking and hunting axes were for bushcraft activities. They seem to be the standard for small pack axes and are very desirable from what I can tell. With all of these products they produce, they have come out with a new line of knives for the outdoorsman. The new line can be seen HERE at their special website devoted to the new line.
The knife I received to review is the Serrated Outdoor Knife (SOK) which has a MSRP of $23. Street price seems to be a couple dollars cheaper than that but regardless, even at MSRP, it’s a reasonably priced knife for outdoor use. The knife is designed in Sweden, made in Taiwan. I will comment on the SOK first, then the sheath as they are separate but work together of course. The blade is right about 1/16” thick and 3 5/8” long. The shape is straight for 2 5/8” then curves up with a 1” radius to a curve and then to a point. The blade is serrated right up to the curve and it is ground double sided flat with the serrations only being ground on the left side of the blade. I have found this design to be good for a quick flat sharpening on one side which hones the serrations nicely without some fancy jig required. The blade is stainless steel and has a brushed finish. One criticism I would have in terms of quality is that the back spine on the blade shows the marks from stamping the rough blade out of the sheet of stainless it is made from. Most knives have that ground, but many knives have a higher price too.
The grip is made from a hard “PP” plastic which I am assuming is Polypropylene. Molded around this PP plastic is a Santoprene rubber ribbed grip which works great whether wet or dry. The shape is pleasing in the hand and should work for a large majority of folks with all but the largest or very smallest of hands. So between the stout blade and the well designed grip, the knife itself gets a thumbs up from me. It is quite sharp as well and fortunately I have NOT cut myself yet!
Now onto the sheath. It is, like the handle, made from “super-durable PP plastic”. It seems to be a slightly different density as it is flexible, so when leaned against or struck it won’t crack. The knife fits snugly into the sheath and I am confident it will stay where it is supposed to. The sheath is advertised as having a unique function of attaching it to a button. There is a tab in the belt loop so if you slide it on a button it locks. I can’t figure out what clothing I have that have buttons on them in even a remotely appropriate place to hang this sheath from. So as per the directions, I took the very sharp knife and shaved the locking tab off and went to snap the belt loop onto my belt. It will fit a 1 ½” belt or less, but NOT if it is very thick at all. My belt is a very stout gun belt and there is no way it would fit. Likely a nylon webbing belt or thin leather belt would work much better. There are a couple other models Hultafors makes in this line which have a nylon webbing belt loop that they added to this sheath which fits up to a 3” belt. I think that is a much better option than what comes on the SOK.
With all that said, my initial impressions on this knife are mixed. I used the SOK this afternoon and evening to peal an orange and to chop onions as well as cut some paracord for a knife sheath project. It was small enough to hold to score my orange perfectly and cut the onion reasonably well although it deflected a little because of the grind used. The paracord was cut very easily. This is a great general use camp knife and I would be comfortable with it being used while backpacking, camping, and boating. So the knife I give a thumbs up on but the sheath I am not impressed with.
Update on the SOK in a month after I use it around home and camp!
I have used the SOK now for about two months. It has held up pretty good considering the usage I have given it. In regards to the grind on the blade, I realized that it is a hollow grind as opposed to a flat grind so while it is very easy to touch up, in the event of a full on sharpening, to match the grind, you would need to use a wheel to keep the hollow grind. But for most use that won’t be necessary. I have put a couple nicks in the smooth section of the blade and they easily sharpened out using a diamond card sharpener.
The SOK is a super handy knife to have right with you. It stands up well to tasks in the kitchen and around camp. I used it to “baton” kindling wood from kiln dried hardwood which is pretty tough stuff and it worked great. The only issue with that task is that with the spine of the blade being pretty narrow and unpolished and rough, it tends to beat up whatever you are using to hit the knife with to drive it down through the wood. Typically in the field you would be using a dead branch or similar, so it’s not a big deal, but knives with heftier spines that are smooth tend to allow the striking implement to last longer. A minor issue for sure.
Just like most pocket knives I carry, I think I use them most often to peel oranges and score bananas for pealing! True to form, this knife has been used on countless of both. Some knives do not fit right in the hand to score the skin on an orange for me, but this one fits perfect! It’s not too long for driving the tip in around the top of the orange as well. Just a perfect fruit knife I guess! Make sure to clean the blade in between batoning kindling and cutting fruit though. It tends to give a funny taste to the fruit.
On to the sheath. As before, I stated these are separate yet work together as a team. I like the material the sheath is made from. I like how the SOK fits into the sheath and stays. I do NOT like the belt loop arrangement. I do not have a belt that will work with this sheath! My nylon belt is too wide and my leather belt is too thick. I believe even a thinner belt will strain the plastic hinge on the sheath as well. So only a nylon or canvas belt that is a maximum of 1.5” would work with this sheath. I recently gave my wife and daughter new 1” webbing belts from OutdoorInk which I made from kit form and I will see how the knife fits on those. I suppose it could be strapped to a backpack as well which I may try. How I carried it was I shoved the whole thing in the tool pocket on the left side of my Carhartt pants and looped the hammer loop over the handle of the knife. This worked quite well and the knife could be removed and placed back in the sheath fairly easily. I prefer to carry a knife on my right side, but this worked fine.
I am attending a group hammock hang for the first time this weekend and will bring the SOK with me and let people play around with it. I am interested in how they like the blade style and especially the sheath belt loop arrangement. One additional thought I had is that I like to sit around the camp fire and whittle walking sticks and such. The serrated blade makes that old past time virtually impossible. Not a functional thing, more personal and one down side to serrated blades. Hultafors DOES have non-serrated offerings however.
Final thoughts on the SOK
Since the last review I have carried the SOK numerous days in my left side Carhartt pants pocket and shoved in my backpack or dry bag when hiking or canoeing respectively. The belt loop does work on a webbing belt as I mentioned previously, but the plastic hinge and locking mechanism is not terribly strong and I would guess will not last as long as other more permanent moulded belt loops. I stand by my less than thrilled thoughts on the sheath mainly because of that belt loop deal.
As to the knife itself, it is a very handy camp knife. The blade is just the right length to do most everything and the handle is not too diminutive. It fits the hand and is grippy even when wet. I have touched up the blade a couple times with the aforementioned diamond card and it has stayed nice and sharp as a result. Personal preference is not to have a serrated blade, but this knife works great for everything but whittling walking sticks and smores sticks at the camp site. It will do it, but the serrations make it a bit hard to make things smooth.
One additional thought is the knife’s weight. It is very light, which is great for backpacking! When we are day hiking, canoe camping, or car camping, I bring a heavy beefy bushcraft knife as I don’t care too much about weight. When backpacking though, I want to lighten the load as much as possible. This knife, and the other knives in this same line which have straight blades and better sheaths, are very light and perfect as a do-all woods knife.
Thank you Hultafors for the opportunity to review this knife. I may just have to purchase one of the other knives in the line and pass this one on to someone else to enjoy.