If you really need the heavy duty features -- otherwise the Companion is sufficient

Verified Buyer Reviewed by Appalachian from The Blue Ridge NC on Monday, July 21, 2014
I own both the Companion (stainless) and the thicker HD (carbon). I find the Companion more convenient for most things. The handle fits my 8 1/2 glove sized hands better for precision work, which is what I am likely to be doing with a 4 inch blade. If you really need to baton wood, or shave tinder sticks (where I camp we use stoves, not campfires) then the handle is very well designed. There's a narrower grip area in front for more precise use, and a thicker area in the back to be gripped by your 3rd,4th and 5th fingers in a strong grip. There is a palm swell in the middle which is of greater diameter than the one on the Companion stainless. That's what makes the handle a bit less comfortable for some users -- but still very well designed. It's meant to be used with a more forceful grip, for 'grosser' tasks. The scandi grind is very easy to make extremely sharp. It was 'sharp out of the box', but so what....every knife needs to be sharpened by the user, eventually.

Some people have complained that the carbon steel stains easily. I tried to patinate it with mustard, left on for an hour, and got only a few measly spots, so i wiped it off, polished the blade on a honing pad, and kept on using the knife. So far I have used it for harvesting vegetables in the garden after rain, with no rust or spotting. I would be less likely to take it into wet field use, which makes it somewhat problematic...It's less (i.e. not much) useful as a slicer due to the more obtuse edge angle, so around the house/kitchen it's a bit less useful, but the carbon steel makes it more vulnerable in field use. I don't know about you, but I don't put oil or protective liquid coatings on knives i might use to prepare food.

I'm more likely to buy another Companion Stainless than another one of these, even though it's a wonderful knife for the money. I probably would not take this knife camping. The only time I had to baton wood in a survival situation I was lost backpacking in Yellowstone with grizzlies about, and had to keep a fire going all night (found my way easily the next morning). I used a Buck 119 Special, which worked very well, and was probably more convenient than the smaller and thinner Companion HD would have been. A Companion Stainless is much more convenient than the 119 for food prep and other small precision tasks. I've never had to skin out a large animal, only small ones for which a 4 inch knife is useful.

Still, the HD is a fine knife for the money, if you are willing to care for the carbon steel or live/camp in a dry area, and actually need a thicker knife for chopping, but don't need an even bigger knife for even more heavy duty stuff.
Previous Review “If you know this knife, then you know...”
“Great Tool! Super value!” Next Review