Trusty Bar­gains

OUR FA­VORITE GEAR IS RELIABLE, HARDWEARING, AND, OF­TEN, DIRT CHEAP

Outdoor Life - - THE LIFE - ANDREW MCKEAN, ED­I­TOR-IN-CHIEF andrew.mckean@out­door­life.com

If you like work­ing knives and you aren’t on A.G. Rus­sell’s mail­ing list, you are miss­ing both great deals and an ed­u­ca­tion. Rus­sell is a god­fa­ther of the American knife trade, and his quar­terly cat­a­log of af­ter­mar­ket blades is not only a darned good place to shop for knives, but it’s also a re­source to learn about the his­tory of cut­lery steel, blade de­signs, and the lin­eage of knife mak­ers.

It was in the pages of Rus­sell’s cat­a­log (get it at agrus­sell.com) that I dis­cov­ered Ka-Bar’s Dozier fold­ers, lock-back knives made in Tai­wan that Rus­sell promised, through his lively tes­ti­mo­nial copy, would per­form far above their $25 re­tail price. That’s my kind of gear, so I or­dered one, in an alarm­ing or­ange color and with a thumb notch in the blade that en­ables one-hand op­er­a­tion.

I still own my first Dozier—blazed with my fam­ily’s brand ( 4C )—and I’ve bought at least a dozen more from Rus­sell, to give as birth­day and grad­u­a­tion presents, to hunt­ing bud­dies, and to neigh­bors who al­low me to hunt their land. My orig­i­nal knife, pic­tured above dur­ing a spring turkey hunt, has gut­ted and skinned more deer and game birds than I can re­call. It’s opened count­less boxes, cut steaks, sliced sausage, and sharp­ened pen­cils and hot-dog sticks. Un­til its tip snapped—ex­tract­ing a pel­let stuck in an air ri­fle dur­ing an iguana hunt in Puerto Rico—the knife ac­com­pa­nied me to four con­ti­nents.

You can see my tip-clipped

Dozier knife on p. 40, in­cluded in an as­sort­ment of in­ex­pen­sive but es­sen­tial gear that Out­door Life edi­tors carry in the field. These prod­ucts may show their wear, but that’s sort of the point. These are trusty tools that we use be­cause they work, not be­cause of their brand name or mar­ket­ing hype.

We in­clude them in our “Cheap Ad­ven­ture” fea­ture, des­ti­na­tions where you can hunt and fish for very lit­tle coin. Like fa­vorite places, our es­sen­tial gear is a big part of our out­door lives, and proof that you don’t have to be out­fit­ted with the lat­est gear to be suc­cess­ful.

Our durable-goods col­lec­tion in­cludes shooting ed­i­tor John B. Snow’s hard-wear­ing can­vas jacket, fish­ing ed­i­tor Gerry Bethge’s go-to lure, dig­i­tal ed­i­tor Alex Robin­son’s tree­stand, and as­sis­tant ed­i­tor Tony Hansen’s trusty head­lamp.

I’m guess­ing you have your own gear that you reach for be­fore all oth­ers. Tell me about it by writ­ing us at let­ters@out­door­life.com. Your in­put will con­firm gear doesn’t have to be pricey or stylish to be great.

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