Tuesday, March 3, 2009

RAT Cutlery, tools for real world survival

RAT Cutlery's new 2009 Model 5:

So, I've written briefly about my fantastic RAT (Randall's Adventure Training) Cutlery Izula knife. It's bulletproof, cool looking and built for real world hard use like all of RAT's knives. Jeff Randall and Mike Perrin have been teaching people 3rd world and wilderness survival skills for a very long time, and this experience extends into the realm of hard use knife design. The guys have their designs manufactured to very high standards by Rowen Manufacturing, here in America. The fit, finish and quality of my RAT Izula is second to none. That being said, I'm looking forward to RAT's Model 5 Pilot Survival Knife. It's a SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape) knife. It'd be an all around great general outdoor knife, and features a pointed pommel spike for breaking glass, and a bow-drill divot in the handle to make the old-school fire starting method a bit easier. I love small to medium fixed blade knives, and I've found RAT's stuff to be of high quality and thoughtful design. The best thing about RAT though, is that they offer a very generous warranty on products which are made in the USA at very fair prices. RAT also has an upcoming collaboration with survival journalist and world adventurer Robert Young Pelton, of "World's Most Dangerous Places" fame. The RAT/Pelton H.E.S.T. knife promises to be outstanding as well, and should be available this summer.

This is one of those posts where I can't help but sound like a commercial! Aside from my personal experiences with RAT, Tactical Knives Magazine has given RAT's blades very high marks as well. I feel that TK magazine is back on a good and interesting path that reminds me of some of the writing being done there 10 years ago. Sure these guys are given lots of sample blades to test and keep, but reviewers like John Larsen, Joe Flowers, Terrill Hoffman and editor Steven Dick are all very experienced and generally very honest about their impressions of various knives. I trust their opinions, I've been reading that magazine a long time.

Here's RAT's Model 3 knife which has become a classic in a short time:

Randall and Perrin routinely take groups into the jungles of South America. I think it'd be a great adventure to sign on for one of these trips. You learn all about jungle survival by actually doing it. They eat crocodile and strange exotic fish, participants are taught several ways to make fire in the wet environment and how to find shelter. There's a nice article by a guy named Reuben Bolieu in the new TK magazine, he covers some of the blades that were brought along on a recent trip. RAT also just came out with a Fire Kit that is a Misch Metal Flint attached to a watertight capsule for survival uses.

You can throw a lanyard on it and attach it to a pack or even the butt of your survival knife. No cheesy Taiwan-made Rambo junk here! RAT Cutlery is hardcore, quality American made gear.

The Izula is a good "entry-level" RAT Cutlery knife that I'd be comfortable having as the *only* blade on a light camping trip, or even a trip alone into an unsavory urban area. The Izula (knife and sheath *without* the survival kit) can be found at Knifeworks.com for under $50.

Knifecenter.com and Knifeworks.com are the only 2 online cutlery shops that I feel 100% comfortable recommending to others. I'm sure there are other great knife retail shops online, but I've been ordering from these two for many years, a decade actually, and both are known for their reliability, and they both actually stock the items they advertise, instead of using shady "drop ship" methods of getting orders to customers. I recently got screwed over by an online retailer whose link used to be on our list here. My order was placed 2.5 weeks ago and I've gotten nothing, the original knife was not in stock, I had to find out for myself that the company went out of business 4 years ago. So, this nameless retailer gave me the option of picking another item, to my knowledge, it still hasn't been shipped. If you need to know what site this was, email me. Meantime...take my word that both Knifeworks and Knifecenter are excellent retailers with expert owners and staff who will get your order to you quickly and at a fair price. They would both be good sources for RAT Cutlery knives. For more info though, check out RAT Cutlery's site

Here are a couple photos from RAT's website, showing the larger RC6 in action:

Here's an amusing RAT ad that you'll see in cutlery magazines lately. I'm pretty sure the Pink Izula was created for high visibility if dropped on the floor of the jungle. But I've read some forum posts lately that some young women saw the pink Izula and demanded one from their husband or boyfriend when he ordered his in black, tan or green. I prefer the desert tan myself.

I'll definitely be keeping an eye on future releases from RAT Cutlery.