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From Kitchen Prep to Jungle Survival Training: ESEE Sencillo Fixed Blade Review

Join the ESEE Sencillo Knife on a journey from the jungles of Peru, to the American South, to the blustery Northeast woodlands — and see how great a simple knife can be.

ESEE Sencillo Utility Knife(Photo/Reuben Bolieu)
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Many people might not know that ESEE Knives first started on the floor of the Amazon in the Peruvian jungle, running multiday survival classes. Randall’s Adventure & Training, which is also ESEE Knives, trained for years in South America before moving operations to the U.S. The training business started making knives and gear based on these challenges, spanning more than 20 years.

Since the knifemaker came to the States, it’s remained true to its intentions: to make practical, realistic field tools and knives. The ESEE Sencillo is a versatile and powerful tool that can be your lifelong companion. Whether you need it for everyday use, camp cooking, or hiking, it’s a knife definitely worth looking at.

In short: Randall’s training business was built on practical experience — whether surviving in the wilderness, rescuing someone from a cliff, or training search and rescue personnel. ESEE Knives in turn has stayed true to this mission of practicality. Tools like the ESEE Sencillo Knife ($155 and up) embody this perfectly — it’s designed to function well, can be carried multiple ways, and the price is reasonable. In fact, this knife accompanied me on a survival training mission down in Peru. It made quick work of bushcraft and camp tasks, and definitely proved its worth.

ESEE Sencillo Knife


  • OAL 7.25”
  • Blade length 3.05 ”
  • Blade steel A2/MagnaCut
  • Blade shape Drop point
  • Grind Flat
  • Hardness A2 57-58 HRC MagnaCut 62-63 HRC
  • Sheath KYDEX
  • Handle material Burlap Micarta (Brown)
  • Weight 3.88 oz. (6.49 oz. with sheath)
  • Price A2: $239 / MagnaCut: $276


  • Lightweight
  • Secure grip on scales
  • Ambidextrous sheath
  • Tapered tip for slicing


  • No 90-degree spine
  • Limited finishes
  • Need a Torx wrench to adjust sheath

ESEE Knives Sencillo Review

(Photo/Reuben Bolieu)

The Sencillo knife lives up to its name, which means “simple” in Spanish. It’s an exceptional tool, meticulously designed and prototyped by Jeff Randall, the founder of ESEE Knives. This knife is known for its simplicity, capability, and durability. It has undergone extensive testing by the industry guru, consistently delivering exceptional performance. Its impressive track record is a testament to its quality, reliability, and suitability for rugged use.

The Sencillo is a knife you can rely on for daily cutting needs. Its 3-inch stonewashed blade is razor-sharp and tough, boasting a thickness of 0.125 inches that’s perfect for both piercing and slicing. With its full-flat grind and drop point shape, the blade provides excellent control and precision.

At 7.25 inches in overall length and a weight of only 3.8 ounces, the Sencillo is a lightweight and portable option for outdoor enthusiasts and everyday users. Moreover, its blade length of 3.05 inches and cutting edge of 3.3 inches make it suitable for various tasks. Trust the Sencillo to be your go-to knife for all your needs.

The handle, made of brown burlap micarta, is rigid and grippy, ensuring a comfortable and secure grip with a lanyard hole for added security—if you’re into lanyards.

Design & Features

The Sencillo, highly adept during food prep; (photo/Reuben Bolieu)

According to Randall, this knife is what the Izula II should have been designed to be. The Sencillo started off being made in A2 steel, Randall’s favorite steel.

But the ESEE Sencillo is made in the USA by White River Knife and Tool, which differs from its regular maker, Rowen Manufacturing. So, it’s crafted with the option of durable A2 steel or MagnaCut stainless blades, and has a dapper stonewash finish.

Like all ESEE Knives, the Sencillo comes with a lifetime warranty, which means that if it breaks, ESEE Knives will replace it — no questions asked.

First Impressions

Gripping the Sencillo while batoning some wood; (photo/Reuben Bolieu)

This thing is sharp and slicey, which I did expect from an ESEE. The grind lines and the way the scales marry with the tang are flawless, reflecting the top-notch quality for which both White River and ESEE are renowned.

The handle allows a full four-finger grip with an integrated guard, ensuring a secure grip in hand. The perfectly rounded scales make transitioning from one grip to another a breeze. And the oval butt nestles in the palm comfortably for chest-lever-cutting tasks.

The knife’s handle is ¾ inches wide at its widest point (middle) and ⅜ inches wide at its narrowest point near the bolster area where the logo is. However, it even felt slightly narrow for me — and I wear large gloves.

Other impressions off the bat: the knife and sheath are a match made in heaven. The Kydex is smooth and well-designed, featuring a well-placed drain hole for conventional carry. (And if you get mixed up, the A2 version and MagnaCut can fit in either sheath.)

Return to Green Hell

The Sencillo at home chopping fruit in the tropics, branded with “first production run” on the blade; (photo/Reuben Bolieu)

After several years away from the Peruvian jungle, I finally returned for a week-long expedition. But I didn’t come all this way for pleasure, or to test a knife (I wish). I was there to teach a jungle survival class to a group of 10 adventurers who were interested in experiencing life in the jungle alongside native Peruvian jungle inhabitants.

Naturally, this is big blade country, though I’ve found slick companion cutters are always welcome. 

During my expedition, I used the Sencillo for various tasks, including slicing pineapples, making feather sticks, and carving spears. Its thin grind and broad 1.375-inch blade made it easy to slice through the skin and meat of wild game (snake, chicken, and gator), and its taper toward the tip provided excellent maneuverability in tight spaces.

The A2 model soon donned a handsome patina, and the blade formed its unique protection from the elements. In the following weeks, the A2 version formed a super-sporadic patterned patina that I don’t understand to this day. (If you are looking for ultimate toughness and abrasion resistance, you can always consider the MagnaCut version.)

On Kitchen Duty

Prep work in the kitchen; (photo/Reuben Bolieu)

The Sencillo knife was very effective in deboning chicken thighs (for my Tuscan chicken recipe while traveling down south in Georgia). The knife’s thin blade made it easier to remove bones, and its curved belly allowed for roll cutting. Its edge was also outstanding at slicing through different types of veggies like garlic, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and broccoli. I noticed its broader blade helps guide the user’s knuckles in a chef’s pinch grip.

I tested it in several camps, cabins, and homes throughout my travels, and it proved to be a reliable kitchen tool. Something else I discovered in the kitchen: the Sencillo also made an excellent cheese knife! (Who said you can’t use a fixed blade for charcuterie in a pinch?)

(Photo/Reuben Bolieu)

In the Woods

Recently, I assisted leading in a multiday Advanced Bushcraft Class in Alabama. While there, I let students utilize the MagnaCut Sencillo to create bucksaws, bow and drill sets, and various camp tools. It did well due to the thin flat grind and comfortable handle. 

Back at home in northern New Jersey, I used the Sencillo to section green witch hazel via baton, to create a bushcraft-style try stick with several notches. Its thin grind allowed for smooth notches without splitting the wood beyond the intended point, especially when crafting dovetail notches. Thicker blades can accidentally split green wood, resulting in a do-over. But not the Sencillo.

(Photo/Reuben Bolieu)

With the help of a bucksaw, I also used the knife to section small hardwood rounds for an Uberleben Stoker Stove, where I made a camp staple — sausage, onion, and pepper kabobs. I batoned several chunks of oak and maple perfectly sized for the stove. The blade never faltered despite the frozen wood and heavy pounding it took from the oak baton.

The blade made quick work of both food preparation and cutting wood, especially carving a mound of thin, curly feather sticks to act as tinder for the fire.

MagnaCut vs. A2 Options

(Photo/Reuben Bolieu)

There’s no drama here — they both cut exceptionally well. The A2 will look like it’s been used for extra woods cred’. Whereas, the MagnaCut will look almost indefinitely the way you bought it.

Because of use, my MagnaCut Sencillo lost its hair-shaving sharpness first. It happens. I used an old Lansky keychain Crocstick, and a few licks on each side got it hair-popping sharp again.

The key to any super-magical-unicorn steel is to keep it touched up and never let it get to the point where you must go to coarse stones. When my A2 got dull, I gave it the same treatment and called it a day — simple!

Sencillo Carry Options

Testing the Kydex sheath carry on a belt clip; (photo/Reuben Bolieu)

The carry options were stellar on this bad boy. I carried it inverted (handle down), and then switched to scout carry — all without messing with my belt. The retention was spot on, and my confidence was high. It’s also easy to adjust the sheath to accommodate a lefty, as well as adjust the height of the belt clip. Trust me, this knife and sheath combo is unbeatable.

One Minor Drawback

No 90-degree — why ESEE? These days, I feel it’s a standard feature to have a 90-degree spine for tinder and Ferro rod scraping. ESEE uses them on its Camplore series, and White River uses them on several models. It just wasn’t in the design for this one.

Who’s It For?

I would categorize the ESEE Sencillo as a general woods/utility knife, rather than an ordained bushcrafter. If you have small to medium hands, this knife will feel acceptable. Larger mitts and up may have qualms about handle size.

And, the two steel options will please nearly everyone. If you want to keep up with the cool kids and be maintenance-free, the MagnaCut is for you. However, if you like the look of a well-used blade and ease of sharpening — the A2 is for you!

ESEE Knives Sencillo Knife: Conclusion

Using the Sencillo knife to baton a try stick; (photo/Reuben Bolieu)

The ESEE Sencillo is a knife that embodies the spirit of adventure and the dedication to quality that ESEE Knives has always stood for — in a way that prioritizes reliable functionality and day-to-day simplicity. Whether you’re braving the Peruvian jungle, frequently fashioning kindling from wood, or just need a reliable tool for everyday use, the Sencillo is a must-have addition to your kit.

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