Behold the Uinta V2, our favorite fixed-blade knife.
I’m a sucker for simple things done well. Whether it’s a cup of coffee, a retro-style game, or a basic pocket knife, there’s a beauty in the thoughtful execution of an object or task that most folks would take for granted. It was this attitude that brought me to the Uinta Hunter V2.
When the company reached out to offer a review sample, a quick look at its website was enough to almost make me salivate. High-carbon steel, G10 handles, and a graceful, utilitarian design. It was like the perfect scoop of mashed potatoes — no outlandish ingredients or flair, just love, butter, and a touch of spice to make things interesting.
But maybe it’s unfair to compare the Hunter to a side dish when it is most certainly the meat. Read on to see how this simple design has become a newly minted favorite.
In short: Buyers can assume that the Hunter’s “V2” designation stands for “very, very.” As in, V2 sharp, V2 comfy, and V2 well-made. This compelling offering from Uinta is a simple thing done incredibly well, and is worth every penny of its $225 price tag.
Uinta Hunter V2 Knife Review
The Hunter clocks in at 7 inches overall, with three of those being dedicated to the cutting edge. The blade is notably slim, measuring just 0.112 inches across the shoulders.
Per the company’s website, the metal of choice is “52100 high carbon steel that has been hardened to 61 HRC.” G10 handle scales with Torx screws bracket the cerakoted blade and full tang, and the whole affair snaps nicely into the included Kydex sheath.
Uinta’s site doesn’t list an overall weight, but my handy kitchen scale measured 3.35 ounces for the Hunter (4.55 with sheath). All of these numbers above put it squarely into my favorite category of outdoor knives — the small, do-anything camp blade.
Performance and Peers
For many years, the kings of this personal hill have been a pair of ESEEs — my beloved Izula-II, and a slightly less-carried JG3. The former has been a regular hiking companion, clipped handle-down on the left strap of my pack.
And while I was high on the JG3 when it first came out, my enthusiasm there has cooled a bit. I still love the design, but my sheath is loose, and the blade has been difficult to touch up on my Spyderco Sharpmaker.
What the Hunter does better than both of these is simple — it cuts. Sure, the others are more than capable of parting a solid chunk of material. But thanks to its significantly narrower profile, the V2 glides where the others tend to drag.
And while all three are comfortable in the hand, the finger guard and gentle swell of the Hunter’s G10 offer the perfect middle ground.
Continuing with this theme, we come to the sheath. Uinta’s included model offers the same Kydex-like construction and fit of the Izula, while swapping in a belt loop similar to that on the JG3.
At first, I was skeptical about this mishmash. But after a few brief hikes and bike rides, my opinion has changed for the better. While perhaps not as versatile as the clip, it beats the pants off the questionable retention on the JG3’s otherwise beautiful leather.
If there’s a weakness here, it’s in the spine. Uinta has chosen to round off the blade’s shoulders, which is great for the comfortable placement of your thumb.
However, the combination of the slope and cerakote means that you won’t be lighting too many fires. You can produce sparks if you scrape it hard enough across a ferro rod, but it’s nothing like you’ll get from the JG3’s 90-degree upper edge.
Also, the V2 costs significantly more than the ESEE — $225 versus the Izula-2’s $75 and the JG3’s $140. And that duo also offers their maker’s legendary lifetime replacement warranty.
A quick exchange of emails with Uinta detailed its policy: “If there are any defects or issue with the quality, either the part in question or the whole knife will be replaced.”
That’s good, but it’s yet to be officially listed on the website. So, if you’re looking for more of a beater, you may want to check out the cheaper options. And I’m generally in favor of cheaper blades.
A Side-Quest Companion
So, why am I so drawn to the Uinta?
Maybe I can explain it with a quick digression. I, like many others, went through a short bout with COVID earlier this year. And while my case was minor, I did the responsible thing and put myself under quarantine.
Still, the extended time at home made me restless, and I started looking for a way to enjoy the outdoors vicariously. This culminated in me finally obtaining a copy of “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.”
Ten years late and $10 poorer, I finally dove into the medieval fantasy world that my friends and long-ago roommates had obsessed over. If you’ve played the game, you’ll know that you can build your character’s skills to Level 100. So, if you spend enough time smithing iron daggers and leather armor, you’re eventually able to forge equipment from dragon bone or magical super-ice.
The point I’m getting to is this: Immediately after removing the Hunter from its box, I thought, “Oh! It’s like someone’s been crafting ESEE blades for so long that they were able to refine one into a legendary blade.”
For all their rugged capability, the Izula-II and JG3 are cruder tools than the Hunter. Both, make no mistake, are solid as sharpened bricks. But the Uinta feels more refined, more nimble, and able to tackle the fine sort of slicing and detail tasks that give the others pause.
Nerdery aside, I want to underscore the real-world capability of this knife. For all my hyperbole and whimsical comparisons (and despite my qualms on the warranty), the Uinta Hunter V2 has become my favorite small fixed blade.
In an industry of super-steel price gouging and flavor-of-the-month designs, Uinta has created something that’s almost bold in its simplicity. Its solid construction, subtle craftsmanship, and boundless utility come at what I’d consider a justified price point.
Whether you’re a simple hiker or the kind of wild-game enthusiast that the blade’s name invokes, this is a truly excellent tool.