Entering the true backwoods on hunting trips is much like taking a trip back in time. There is no we-have-everything-you-could-possibly-need store just down the street, which for me is one of the things that draws me to the trip, and the sheer remoteness of the location is palpable. Here you are on your own and you make your way the best you can. Backcountry hunting camp kitchens are not like their residential counterparts that are left behind. With but a few exceptions, especially when packing in on foot, the only conveniences are those that are engineered and put together on the spot using only the tools brought along and natural materials found in the area.
Since the usual intention is to be carrying more weight on the way back out than you had on the way in, then keeping your load limited to essentials makes for a less stressful trip. Every ounce of weight should perform a necessary function and the greater the ability to effectively multitask the better. From my perspective, having spent my share of weeks in camp kitchens, a good camp knife needs to be able to effectively perform a number of tasks. Under these circumstances a knife can be charged with everything from processing wild game and all the food prep involved in group dinners, to making utensils to cook and serve with—prepping the wood for the cooking fires, plus other things in between.
Here enters the “Walkabout 9” camp knife, a 15-inch beast of a knife from Abe Elias of Diving Sparrow Knife Works. I met Mr. Elias at the International Blade Show in Atlanta, Georgia and had the pleasure of talking with him about making custom knives. He has an extensive background with various wilderness activities, and has been producing knives for avid outdoorsmen for nearly a decade. He brings to his work a philosophy of form meeting function and is known for combining great ergonomics with task oriented blade geometries and utilitarian design features in his stated mission of creating finely tuned cutting instruments.