By T.C. WORLEY
Various normal as well as serendipitous occasions as of late have allowed me to put a new uber-knife from SOG to the full test. Indeed, during the past two weeks alone, wielding the company’s big, bad Aura Camp knife I’ve field-dressed a deer, whittled sticks for over-the-fire hot dogs, trimmed branches for firewood, conducted a knife throwing contest, cut up vegetables to cook for dinner, and chipped through four inches of lake ice in Wisconsin to make an ice-fishing hole.
At 11 inches long, and with a 6-inch blade, the Aura is no small knife. In fact, it’s almost a small hatchet. Based on a 1838 “Bowie”-style knife, but with some redesigned touches, the Aura has a straight edge, a stainless-steel blade, and a glass-reinforced polymer handle over-molded with a rubber grip. It costs $53 and through my serious employment of the blade over the past month it has not let me down.
It cut and diced with ease, from pine bow to carrots. The knife is weighted right and feels good in the hand. While winter camping, the handle and grip survived many high-speed impacts with frozen ground during a knife-throwing contest.
Extras include a hidden carbide sharpener that unscrews from the end of the handle for touch-ups in the field. The small sharpener also has a groove for sharpening fish hooks. SOG includes a stiff, belt-looped nylon sheath to carry the knife at your ready.
Given its size, the knife will better serve the sportsman crowd than gram-counting backpackers. (It weighs a half-pound.) But during my four-day camping trip this month, the knife’s usefulness brought remarks from camp mates like “ideal for this trip,” “super handy,” and “tough!” For wilderness trips and primitive camping, the SOG knife has earned a spot in my pack.
—T.C. Worley is a writer and photographer based in Minneapolis.