Gear Paracord-Wrapped Knives – Unusual Suspects Patrick Vuong March 29, 2012 Paracord is “in” and it's everywhere. You can't go to a range, campground, or hiking trail without spotting at least a few people sporting Survival Straps or similar accessories made of cord. And for good reason: this type of rope is tough, lightweight, and highly versatile. What once was used for lines in U.S. parachutes during World War II has evolved into a general-purpose utility cord. You can find “550 cord” (so-called because the most common type is rated with a 550-pound breaking point) on everything from lanyards to backpacks. Just look at the knives on these pages. The fixed blades here all feature paracord-wrapped handles. Some might scoff at this grip material, but we've come to realize that, just like with firearms, it's all about using the right tool at the right moment. For example, we're not going to use a cord-wrapped knife to filet fish or to go scuba diving. But 550 cord properly tied around a reliable, full-tang blade can serve admirably in the field. Why? Weight savings. The paracord on a knife weighs no more than a fistful of hair — great news for anyone practicing bushcraft, heading on an intense hiking trip, or going into harm's way for weeks at a time. After all, ounces equal pounds and pounds equal pain, as the saying goes. Another advantage is ergonomics. Sorta. Because paracord is pliable, it'll eventually conform to your hand. Speaking of which, cord-wrapped handles can provide a better grip for those with smaller paws, because they're narrower than most traditional fixed-blade handles. And there's always the option to rewrap the handle to your personal preferences or replace it if it gets too worn — for what amounts to 25 to 50 cents in materials. You can't do that with a traditional fixed blade without paying substantially more. Check out the paracord-wrapped knives here then check out our full review of each model. Perhaps one of them just might be joining you on your next outdoor adventure. Make Boker Plus Model Cera-Neck OAL 4.25 inches Blade Length 1.625 inches Blade Material Ceramic Weight 1.3 ounces MSRP $47 URL www.boker.de/us Make Gerber Model Bear Grylls Paracord Fixed Blade OAL 7.75 inches Blade Length 3.25 inches Blade Material 5Cr15MoV Weight 5.75 ounces MSRP $37 URL www.gerbergear.com Make Keen Edge Knives Model Live Pukulan OAL 7.75 inches Blade Length 3.5 inches Blade Material 1095 tool steel Weight 3.2 ounces MSRP $125 URL www.keenedgeknives.com Make SOG Specialty Knives & Tools Model Tangle OAL 8.75 inches Blade Length 3.9 inches Blade Material 9Cr18MoV stainless steel Weight 5.6 ounces MSRP $80 URL www.sogknives.com Make Medford Knife & Tool Model NAV-H OAL 9 inches Blade Length 4 inches Blade Material D2 tool steel Weight 13 ounces MSRP $400 URL www.medfordknife.com Make Benchmade Model 375BK Adamas OAL 9.03 inches Blade Length 4.2 inches Blade Material D2 tool steel Weight 5.6 ounces MSRP $160 URL www.benchmade.com Make Coye Knives LLC Model Light Horse OAL 9.5 inches Blade Length 4.5 inches Blade Material S35VN stainless Weight 6 ounces MSRP $325 URL www.coyeknives.com Boker Plus Cera-Neck This is a neck knife of epically tiny proportions. As the name implies, the Cera-Neck is meant to be worn around the neck and used as a last-ditch device when your primary tools aren't available. + It weighs 1 ounce — yes, 1 ounce! + It's surprisingly sharp. + It comes with a great Kydex sheath. + Because it's made of ceramic, it's corrosion free. – This thing is small. Perhaps too small to be anything but a novelty item? Our tester could only grip it firmly with two fingers. – It's made completely of ceramic and is weak laterally. Be careful because it'll chip or even fracture if mistreated. Gerber Bear Grylls Paracord Fixed Blade Bear Grylls is a former British Special Air Service operator who gained fame for his Man Vs. Wild TV show. He's since teamed up with Gerber to offer a line of survival gear, including this minimalist knife that's aimed as a backcountry emergency tool. + The paracord is bright orange, making it easy to spot if it's dropped in mud, water, or foliage. + The cord can be undone for other field uses or to be rewrapped in your preferred pattern + It comes with a slim sheath that's reversible. The belt loop can be removed or used to attach to your pack. – While easy to sharpen, the 5Cr15MoV blade doesn't hold an edge for long. – Out of the box, the cord wrap pattern doesn't offer much of a grip. We had to rewrap it to get a more assured grip. Keen Edge Knives Live Pukulan Keen Edge Knives is best known for making training knives, but can also make a mean live blade — case in point: the Live Pukulan. It looks like a butter knife on steroids but its design is actually inspired by Southeast Asian martial arts. All Keen Edge products are made in the United States. + An exceptionally comfortable grip, thanks to the braid in the center of the cord wrap, the teardrop shape of the tang, and the deep choil for the index finger. + The laser-like blade, made of 1095 tool steel, can take a serious beating. – The flip side of 1095 tool steel: it's non-stainless so you'll have to maintain it properly. SOG Specialty Knives & Tools Tangle SOG makes some excellent fixed blades. The Tangle can be considered one of their more manly blades, with its beefy handle, tightly wound cord, and thick, hollow-ground drop-point blade. + It looks like a beast, but is actually light and well balanced. + Deep thumb groves on the spine make it easier to drive the blade. + The wrap pattern is cool-looking, while providing a solid grip. – For those with medium to small hands, the handle will probably be too wide to get a comfortable grip. – Despite 9Cr18MoV being marketed as a higher-end Chinese stainless steel, we're not particularly impressed with it. Medford Knife and Tool NAV-H Medford Knife and Tool was founded by Greg Medford, a former U.S. Marine and a martial arts instructor who handcrafts all of his knives in Phoenix, Arizona. His NAV-H blade is a general-purpose battle knife used by troops, police, hunters, and survivalists alike. (There are versions with black Micarta and ribbed Neoprene handles, as well.) + The NAV-H is quite robust — it feels like you could chop your way out of an aircraft. + You can configure the knife to your liking, with seven different colors and two finishes to choose from. + It comes with a great Kydex sheath with a Tek-Lok belt clasp. – Its strength is also its weakness: The 0.29-inch-thick D2 stock is heavy. NAV-H is the fat cow of this bunch. – It's expensive! At $400, it costs as much as some shotguns. Benchmade 375BK Adamas Benchmade is donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Adamas lineup to the Ranger Assistance Foundation, a nonprofit that provides support and fundraising to the soldiers of the 75th Ranger Regiment and their families. + The drop-point blade has wide serrations on its spine for additional uses. + The Adamas feels great in hand and has just the right balance. + It comes with the cord unwrapped and a link to an online demo, which teaches you how to tie your own handle. (If you're experienced, having the cord unwrapped saves you the trouble of having to unwrap it before customizing it with your own wrap pattern.) – Arriving with unwrapped cord can be a con if you're a newbie and not able or willing to practice tying the rope yourself. – D2 tool steel is crazy tough and resists wear like nobody's business. But it's not stainless, so care is needed to fight off corrosion. Coye Knives Light Horse As a paramedic and registered nurse for an air ambulance service, Bill Coye founded Coye Knives after recognizing the need to have reliable tools when lives are on the line. His blades, all handcrafted in the United States, reflect this level of dependability and attention to detail. + The Light Horse's CPM154 blade is top notch. It retains its edge, is easy to clean, and cuts or punctures pretty much anything we throw at it. + The knife is lightweight, well balanced, and easy on the eyes. + It comes with an extra, skull-decorated bundle of cord at the end that can be removed and used for emergencies. – The knife itself is near flawless. However, the Kydex sheath comes up about an inch too high on the knife once sheathed. We'd prefer if it stopped a little shorter to allow a full grip on the handle so we don't have to readjust our grip once we draw the knife. – At a cost of $325, it's a bit of an investment — a worthy one if you can afford it. 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