I was discussing some different types of knives tonight with some friends and it reminded me of an article that I intended to write a while back. Originally I was going to write an article because I was a little perturbed at how different people talk bad about different styles of knives. It is important to recognize that most makers have a specific design in mind when they design a knife; chopping, skinning, carving, etc…, given that we need to understand that not all of those purposes will suit are needs at all times. There is one knife in particular that I am going to discuss because it seems to be the most commonly attacked, whether unfairly or not, and that knife is the Tops Tom Brown Tracker.
First off I have to say I don’t own this knife and have no intentions on buying one. It is not, however, because I think it is a glorified movie prop. I have heard that same accusation repeated over and over on Youtube. Let me just explain why this gets on my nerves so much, we all develop different methods through our years going out in the bush and trying new things and we come up with our own ways of using our tools and even modify them. Tom Brown did the exact same thing with his Tracker, he took the methods he used and created a tool which fit his purposes and methods. This is why the tracker comes with its own instruction manual. I know of no other knife which requires an instruction manual (I don’t personally think this is a good attribute, but I can understand it). My whole point is that we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water, just because that knife had some Hollywoodishness attached to it doesn’t mean that it isn’t a functional piece of equipment.
I have seen the same kind of stuff happen with other knives too. For better or worse, the Youtuber Nut-N-Fancy, has a huge influence over a lot of knife buyers (I myself have taken his advice on more than one occasion) and sometimes his fans seem to automatically adopt his opinions on certain gear rather than looking at other resources before making their decisions. Steel is its own animal and every piece has a different “soul” some just break easier than others. That being said there is no such thing as an identical knife, even among the same brand and style. What that means for us is that we should really put our own hands on the knives we buy, or at the very least get them from makers or companies that we trust and will back their own product. While I greatly appreciate others opinions on products, and seek them out daily, I am very careful to get a good consensus before I settle on my gear. I generally prefer to lay my own hands on it to make sure it is up to my standards or at least fits my methods.
If you have read my article on the Bark River Bravo you will already know what I consider to be the best knife for my purpose but that’s not to say that there are not others that could perform equally as well, the BK2 is an equally functional blade and better than the Bravo in some respects. Essentially what you have is a tool in the toolbox, it is totally up to you how you utilize its specific characteristics to fit your needs. There is no need to badmouth a certain design. Are some designs better for certain activities than others? Sure. Can you use a tool designed for one purpose to do something totally not intended? Absolutely. My point is, if you have a problem with a knife because it fits someone else’s methodology more than yours then just don’t buy that knife, it isn’t worth all of the drama.
I just have to say I think people are so mad about the Tom Brown tracker because it was in a shitty movie. If I was using that metric I couldn’t carry almost everything in my pack so lets take it easy on old Tom and his Tracker.