Traps are no problem with this flat-ground blade. The Hoodlum is able to carve and do precise work with the help of a large choil and thumb ramp, and is handy in many survival tasks.

Want a real challenge? Try making a business out of survival and the skills that go with it. Few people have established a name for themselves as it takes passion, outdoor experience, discomfort, and probably more than one’s fair share of blood to make ends meet. A gentleman by the name of Ron Hood has successfully overcome this feat, establishing himself as one of survival’s greatest spokesmen with his DVD series and articles. His latest accomplishment is the new “Hoodlum” by TOPS Knives. This is an outdoor tool that reinforces the fact that Ron Hood knows what is needed in an all-purpose survival tool.

A Survivalist’s Knife Idea
The lanyard hole at the end was phenomenal in taking the thorns off these cat
briers, very quickly without any impalement. The vines of this plant are very strong and will work well for making all sorts of camp items.

Ask 300 woodsmen for their ideal camp knife and you will get at least 320 different opinions. The range would be somewhere from a Swiss Army knife or Buck 110 all the way to a giant whacker made out of some super space-age steel. Ron Hood stuck to what he knows works best for himself, and set out to design a 10-inch knife that felt good in the hands but didn’t pull down his pants while riding on the belt. Now I don’t know about you, but many of my 10-inch knives don’t spend much time on my belt due to their heavy weight, especially when I backpack. They either go on my pack or stay in the car. The Hoodlum is designed to be carried on the hip as a lightweight chopper and slicer, roughly based upon other tried-and-true designs that the Hoods have worked with. Ron Hood first created the “Anaconda,” a knife made by TOPS that is still selling well today. Through some research and development with technical impact-sensing devices, he changed and tweaked the design to fight the handle vibration that some blades give when chopping. “Every time you feel vibration in a handle,” Ron states, “that is energy being lost, and can create strain on the hand.” Ron incorporated a small chamber into the handle of the Hoodlum to alleviate vibration, and cut the weight out of the knife as a whole. Much like the earlier Hoodlum ATAX, the handle also allows small items, such as a can opener or small fire steel, to be stored under the grip scales.

Made in America
TOPS has been making quality tools in America since 1998. Mike Fuller, the president of TOPS, is well known throughout the industry for his pleasant demeanor and cutlery experience. There are few production companies in the U.S. that make a knife as well as TOPS. They were the natural choice for Ron, even though he had to twist their arm to make this knife in 5160 spring steel. The Hoodlum knife was intended to excel in four areas: shock reduction, weight, edge retention, and flexibility. That is a lot to ask for in a 10-inch knife under $300. The guys in Idaho did right with this wilderness tool, as it gives a distinct look and feel with all the criteria mentioned above, yet still demonstrates the quality craftsmanship that is normal within the TOPS line.

Up Next


Traps are no problem with this flat-ground blade. The Hoodlum is able to carve…