When I was but a wee little balrog, I remember seeing a rather unique little multi-tool folding knife. This one wasn’t like any other multi-tool i had ever seen before because it had… a SPOON! *gasp*… Yep. It had a fork too… And a can opener and a corkscrew… a rather interesting little tool. Looked a little like this:

Hobo style folding knife with fork, knife, spoon, can opener

Hobo style folding knife with fork, knife, spoon, can opener

Except the one I saw had antler scales and a leather sheath… At the time I could remember thinking… “You know, that is an interesting idea… I can use a knife like a fork, but I’d be hard pressed to use a blade like a spoon…” But it never ceases to amaze me how people manage to come up with little ways to ease outdoor living.

But there is, in this balrogs humble opinion, such a thing as going too far with this. And it all starts innocuously enough…

Sportsman's Blade Trader

Sportsman's Blade Trader

This is the Sportsmans Blade Trader, by Kershaw knives. As you can probably tell, this is no ordinary knife. You might be looking at the pic going… “Well what the heck is going on? Them blades don’t got no handles on ’em!!” And you’d be right. They don’t. Because they all share a single handle. That black one on the left.

Do you see what they did there? They got all smart on us. See, they put a keyed socket in the base of each blade, and in the handle there is a little key block attached to the tang, that you attach the blade to, and then there’s a cover that sorta folds tightly over the whole thing to keep it all in place.

As ideas go, this isn’t necessarily a bad one.  I’ve played with knives like these a bit, and the lock up is pretty solid. They don’t budge, and are surprisingly strong… At first. over time, however, the blades tend to wear a little bit, there’s a little play, the sleeve doesn’t close all that tightly any more, and well… It’s all down hill from there.

However their choice of blades here is good. A good straight blade, for light cutting, and a saw blade for wood cutting. Personally, this thing seems a little small to be a good general purpose saw, but then again, that isn’t what this was designed for. It’s more of a convenience tool, intended to allow you to do two things with one tool. Not too bad, as things go… But they can get much, much worse…

Allow me to present “Worse”:

Camp Tool Trader

Camp Tool Trader

This here is the Camp Tool Trader. Also by Kershaw. Yeah… Same idea as before, with the blade swapping switcheroo dealio and whatnot, except taken to a whole new level… It’s the Pampered Chef… For the outdoors!! With this here kit, you can fry yourself some eggs, over easy, with some bacon on the side. Or cook a gourmet 5 course steak and potatoes dinner…

OK so I’m exaggerating a bit. This isn’t that bad. It’s just not really an “outdoors-man” kit. This is for those of you who like the occasional weekend RV getaway, and don’t want to bring a full complement of barbecue utensils. Clearly, if you were one a weekend hike, you might choose something a little less… Big.

But that’s just my opinion. If space is not an issue, and you aren’t looking for long term daily use out of things like this, they are pretty good. But me personally, I’d just throw a full size spatula, tongs and barbecue fork,  along with the brats, burgers and  the side of beef I plan to barbecue, into my trunk… 🙂

Camp Tool Trader by Kershaw Knives – [eBladeStore]

Sportsman’s Blade Trader by Kershaw Knives – [eBladeStore]

Hobo Style Folding knife, with fork spoon and can opener – [Advanced Mart]