While attending a charitable fundraiser recently I chatted with a professional knife sharpener. Here’s a man who sees a lot of knives, I thought. So I asked: who in Texas makes the best knives?
“Knives of Alaska,” he replied.
I’d never heard of it. Even if I had, I wouldn’t have guessed it’s a Texas product. The obvious name issue aside, their logo is of a (big) bear, and a a (big) snowy mountain range decorates their website.
Texas has bears and mountains, but they’re little.
Nevertheless, it’s true: Knives of Alaska is of Texas, so to speak, based in Denison, just a knife’s throw from the Red River.
The connection to Alaska is traced to KoA’s President and Owner Charles Allen, who is a professional outfitter and all-around avid outdoorsman. While his family and corporations are based in Denison, Charles and his wife Jody spend a great deal of their time in Alaska. That’s in part because their other company, Alaska Expedition Company, organizes fishing, fowling, and hunting trips to the Driftwood Lodge on Alaska’s Tsiu River.
I’ve not had the chance to personally handle any KoA knives, so my observations are limited. Regardless, my praise is confident: it’s hard to imagine anyone more qualified to make precision tools than folks who spend their time in the Alaskan wilderness, and I can’t imagine a better judge of such tools than a professional knife sharpener.
Here’s my File on Knives of Alaska:
Filed Under: Fillet you some bear.
Overview: High quality, field-tested cutlery for the outdoorsman, including fixed blade and folding knives for hunting, fishing, and survival, as well as cleavers, saws, and hatchets for general (but legal) mayhem in the wild
Appreciate: Field & Stream Magazine’s list of “The 20 Best Knives Ever Made” included two KoA knives: the Brown Bear Skinner / Clever (shown at right), and the unique Magnum Ulu. The Brown Bear Skinner was KoA’s first product; the Ulu is based on a Native American tool used for skinning and chopping
Know: All of KoA’s knives are very reasonably priced given their reputation for reliability. Case in point, their excellent Featherlight Hunter G10 (shown below), a 3" blade folder for under $75. The best value is probably their Super Pro-Pack with Bone Saw (top photo), which includes three fixed-blade knives, a bone saw, a hatchet, and a sharpening steel, housed nicely in a cordura nylon sheath for under $300
Special Comments: If you’re impressed with Knives of Alaska, you may be delighted to learn that Charles Allen has a second knife company, DiamondBlade Knives, which he started with his friend and synthetic diamond manufacturing expert Hobie Smith. DiamondBlade owns multiple patents for their Friction Forged® knife blades
Prices: $189.99 for the Brown Bear; $64.99 for the Magnum Ulu; $74.99 for the Featherlight Hunter; and $289.99 for the Super Pro-Pack
Visit Knives of Alaska: Here.