There are a few items that, even when trying to pack light, are essential on a canoe trip. A good pair of shoes, a flashlight, waterproof matches and a decent knife will all make life in the woods much easier and enjoyable.
The Swedish FireKnife is a tool that was given to us for review, and so I ran it through its paces on my previous trip to Algonquin Park. It’s a collaboration between Mora, a Swedish knife company, and Light My Fire, who primarily make flints and firestarters. This is a sturdy-looking knife, a practical size, has a solid sheath, and as a bonus has a flint in the handle. The Swedish FireKnife retails for about $30 USD and is available in four different colours.
This knife is sharp. It slices paper cleanly, whittled sticks for roasting marshmallows, and scraped rings of wood shavings to use as tinder. It’s strong enough to be used as a small log splitter and stood up to a bit of gentle bashing to force the blade through the wood. I ate my dinner using it, and it works wonderfully.
I’ve started my fair share of fires in my life, and I’ve never considered it difficult, but I don’t normally use a flint to light one. Before this trip, it rained for three days, and on each day there, we had at least a bit of rain. Everything was damp, providing a great opportunity to test the flint on the FireKnife. With a bit of patience, we successfully lit our campfire. It wasn’t easy, and required a bit of brute force, but the flint works perfectly. The handle of the knife provides a good grip, and the holder on the end of the flint has enough of a ridge that I didn’t feel my knuckles were in danger from the blade. Replacing the flint into the handle of the knife is easy. It fits securely and with its one-click fastener, there’s no danger of it slipping out of place.
I don’t normally carry a knife on my belt, so I don’t know if this a common problem, but no matter where I put it on my belt – at the front near my zipper, on the side of my hip, above my butt, it always caused some degree of discomfort. Its plastic sheath kept poking me in the rib, and then when I’d adjust it, it would poke me in the leg. The sheath is a solid piece of plastic, so the knife can only sit in one direction – directly perpendicular to the ground. Our walkie-talkies and even my old-school Blackberry case each have a swivel on the back, so they both turn parallel to the ground, avoiding the poking-me-in-the-ass issue. This knife would benefit from the same sort of swivel, though that would probably increase the price.
Worth noting, there’s a piece of cord looped through the end of the flint. The cord is help together by a plastic clasp, which shouldn’t be trusted. While packing for this trip, I grasped the cord and shook it, testing its durability. The plastic clasp didn’t break, but it opened, which released the cord and the knife dropped on the floor. It was a simple fix – I ditched the cap, tied the cord together and burnt the ends so it wouldn’t fray. The cord is very useful to help hold the flint while lighting a fire, but straight out of the packaging it’s not reliable.
This knife does not float. I haven’t tried sharpening it yet, as it simply doesn’t need it yet, but given Mora’s reputation for creating quality knives, I expect it will sharpen well.
Overall, this is a fine quality knife and the flint is a great bonus. There are some small problems with it, but for its price, it’s definitely worth buying.