Gearing Up: Unbeatable Blades

Craftsmanship, utility, and value come together in six new hunting knives.

Field & Stream Online Editors

**1 Marble's Ideal Hunting Knife **
Arguably the first American hunting blade, the Ideal has returned after a long absence. Its 43/4-inch-long blade is made of tool steel rather than stainless (you can get a terrific edge, but it rusts if you don't take care of it). The knife comes with an indestructible handle and a fine sheath-great leather, a hard safety liner, and a snug top flap. $95¿¿¿$135, depending upon handle material; 906-428-3710; www.marblesoutdoors.com

** 2 D.H. Russell Classic Folder **
This is the folding version of the D.H. Russell Canadian Belt Knife, one of the great cutlery designs of all time. It has a 33/4-inch stainless-steel blade in the original elliptical shape and rosewood handle scales. It comes with an excellent leather belt sheath. $119; 800-255-9034; www.agrussell.com

** 3 Gerber Freeman Fixed Hunter**
Designer Jeff Freeman has concocted a simple, indestructible knife made of very sophisticated steel (AUS-8). The blade is a 31/4-inch drop-point, shaving sharp, and the pearwood handle is a thing of ergonomic beauty, even for people with big mitts. It's a first-class working knife. $50; 800-950-6161; www.gerberblades.com

** 4 Kershaw Echo **
This ultramodern creation is made of AUS-8A steel and has a polyamide handle with good ergonomics. Kershaw's website describes the 4-inch blade simply as "sharp." They're not kidding. The sheath is okay, no better, but you'll be very hard put to find a better working knife that's as easy on your wallet. $45; 800-325-2891; www.kershawknives.com

** 5 Kellam Wolverine**
The Wolverine is based on a Finnish design easily 400 years old. But this modern, handmade knife is very light, with a 3.7-inch blade, a curly-birch handle, and a first-rate sheath. It also has the sharpest factory edge you'll find unless you work for Schick or Gillette. $88; 800-390-6918; www.kellamknives.com

** 6 Lone Wolf Classic Utility Knife**
The new Lone Wolf company makes R.W. Loveless designs. The Classic Utility knife, forged from a single piece of steel, is a semicustom knife with a 41/2-inch blade and Micarta handles. It comes with a wonderful sheath. The handle is a bit on the short side, but that's the limit of its flaws. Absolutely top-drawer work, it's more than worth its price. $190; 503-431-6777; www.lonewolfknives.com

Eze-Lap's Model M Pocket Sharpener
Eze-Lap has somehow figured out a kind of magical way to bond industrial-grade diamond particles to the collapsible Pocket Sharpener's metal shaft, creating a surface that is very hard and very easy to use to put a razor edge on your knife. $20; 775-888-9500; www.eze-lap.com -D.E.P.