Howdy campers. I will be writing a series of survival focused articles in the coming months. I thought that I would start with the most important piece of gear in any well organized survival kit, which is the knife.
I am continuously impressed by all the knives that are offered from Extrema Ratio. An Italian company, I thought it very appropriate when, using Google Translate, I found that it means "Last Resort". These knives are standard issue to Italian military personnel, and if they need one piece of equipment to be used as a last resort you would be very hard pressed to find a more essential piece of equipment as the right knife. If you think about that, it makes a very compelling statement pertaining to the quality of these knives. Italians are very well known for taking painstaking attention to the design and functionality of the goods they produce, for instance you may have heard of a little company called Ferrari. The Italians have earned the reputation they hold for very well made products. And, I always urge people to consider military equipment to be used on the trail. It's typically the very best equipment that you could hope for in your pack. The only drawbacks are that it can be quite expensive, and will undoubtedly be heavier.
For this review I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to review yet another of ER's newest knives, the RAO AVIO. Actually the knife itself has been available for some time, but the AVIO includes a lightweight but extremely well thought out survival kit. The knife itself is a one of a kind configuration that I simply adore. Although it is technically a folder, the knife comes with a small metal bar that can be threaded into place to make the knife practically impossible to close while in use. Please refer to the pictures I have provided to see how this is accomplished. I tried many different ways to explain this in writing but always found the words to be lacking, you really have to see this to appreciate how outstanding this design is. Right out of the box the knife is terrifically sharp. This was the only thing I found lacking on the ER Ontos I reviewed several years ago. The RAO also ships with an OD green MOLLE scabbard that allows you to carry the knife in the open position should you want to. Otherwise, the knife is a bit chunky to be carried as a pocket knife, but you certainly could.
Now, as I mentioned earlier the AVIO edition includes an excellent survival kit. The pouch is also OD green, MOLLE construction. It can be attached right to the knife scabbard, carried on your belt or placed in a day-pack. It's very compact measuring only 5.5"x 3.25" and 2" thick. But the size is very deceiving. The kit contains: a high decibel whistle, compass, paracord, flint and striker, water purification tablets, snare wire, pocket chain saw complete with handles, LED light, and a diamond sharpener. For those of you that follow the five C's of survival, this knife and survival kit cover the first three by itself. Cutting device, Combustion device and Cordage. If you added a Container (for water) and a Cover to help keep you dry, you would have a complete survival solution.
Here are the knifes vital statistics:
Length Opened: mm 261 (10.28 inches)
Length Closed: mm 142 (5.59 inches)
Blade Length: mm 120 (4.72 inches)
Weight: gr 328.85 (11.6 ounces)
Weight with Sheath: gr 450.76 (15.9 ounces)
Weight with Sheath and Kit: gr 793.79 (1 lb 12 ounces)
Blade Thickness: mm 6 (0.24 inch)
Blade Steel: N690 cobalt stainless steel*
Blade Hardness: Rockwell 58 HRC
Handle: Anticorodal aluminum**
Clip on Knife: No
Sheath: Heavy-duty Nylon with liner
MOLLE Compatible Sheath: Yes
MOLLE Compatible Kit: Yes
* The blade is made with N690 cobalt stainless steel; a high performance steel with excellent cutting and sharpening characteristics. This steel is also used in the butchering industry and to make surgical instruments.
** The handle is made of black anodized Anticorodal, an aluminum alloy that is very strong and corrosion resistant.
Thanks very much for stopping by and letting me introduce you to an extremely impressive knife/survival kit combo. I think it's truly one of the best combo's I've seen yet.
Until next time, I'll see you on the trails