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White River Knife & Tool - M1 Backpacker Pro

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    White River Knife & Tool - M1 Backpacker Pro

    I've never been able to keep a pocket knife for more than a couple months, so while gearing up for a backpacking trip I decided to explore something with a sheath. Maybe if it doesn't fold, it won't get misplaced so easily.


    1. Size and weight. These won't be extreme weeks-long hikes so it doesn't need to be tiny, but it should reasonably service all cutting purposes on the trail while keeping weight in check
    2. Quality. Goes without saying. It needs to retain an edge and not break
    3. Made in USA. I work in manufacturing so this one is near and dear to me personally. YMMV
    4. Comfort and style. I don't want something that looks like it belongs on a basement dweller's fantasy pegboard (no offense to basement dwellers) and IMHO serrations only waste space and make sharpening a PITA. Plus it needs to be comfortable and steady--no accidental self-laceration in the backwoods
    5. Value. Quality costs money but everyone has a budget

    After much browsing, and considering a couple options (e.g. from Ka-Bar), I picked the White River Knife & Tool M1 Backpacker, and she checks all the boxes.


    When a heavy brick-shaped package arrived in the mail the weight scared me, but there was an explanation:

    Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_20210304_194723.jpg Views:	0 Size:	2.86 MB ID:	100731

    Do I need a fancy wood presentation box? No. Would I opt to save $10-20 if it were an option? Absolutely. But considering the overall price, it was a nice little surprise and definitely lends towards a good quality impression. The box itself has a tight fitting dovetail lid, woodburnt label, and even a seal like a box of fancy cigars. Hey, this might solve my misplacement problem.

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    The Pro version has 2 color options for the G10 handle (fiberglass embedded polymer). The standard version is wrapped in paracord which would have probably been fine, too. A couple other materials are available for an additional upcharge, but the G10 panels are removable if you elect to switch to paracord at some point while the fancier choices appear to be permanently riveted.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_20210304_194816.jpg Views:	0 Size:	5.45 MB ID:	100733

    The sheath stays in place with a nice fitting pinch point at the fingerguard/bolster. I wonder if it might not eventually loosen with wear, but it's quality Kydex material. There's a belt loop that can be positioned at several angles or removed entirely if you prefer.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_20210304_194834.jpg Views:	0 Size:	5.16 MB ID:	100734

    Comfy. Between the recessed finger guard and the thumb grooves on the spine, I'm not gonna have any slipping problems, and the steel is nicely radius'ed so it won't dig into the index finger.

    So how's it check my boxes?

    1. Size and weight. At 7" overall and 3.2oz, I'm happy. It's not the tiniest knife out there, but it's going to work for every cutting task on the trail without weighing me down.
    2. Quality. CPM S35VN is supposed to be one of the newer cutlery steels designed for increased wear resistance. Finish looks quite good. Metallurgy can't be judged by eye but I have high expectations.
    3. Made in USA. You saw the sticker. White River Knives are all made in the United States with American materials excepting only a few items not commercially available here, like cork.
    4. Comfort and style. Excellent 3" non-serrated blade and a handle that fits me perfectly. Obviously this is personal and I was nervous ordering online sight unseen, but I couldn't be happier.
    5. Value. This was the priciest option I considered, but as it didn't compromise on any other factors I'm glad I went for it. This version was $125, but you can find the M1 from $100 - $160 depending on handle and blade coating options. Shipping from MI to PA was $10 and took only a couple days. Let's face it, you've blown a lot more in paintball on a whim
    My sole complaint is that the steel of the Pro knife pictured on the webpage is polished to a high gloss while the actual product is stone ground like the other versions. I picked mine for utility and the G10 panels so it's a very minor complaint, but it's always mildly annoying when the burger on the menu looks different than the one they plop down on the counter.

    That said, I had no intention of writing a review, but the overall impression was so good that I felt compelled to spread the word. There will be more White River knives in my future for sure.
    Dulce et decorum est pro comoedia mori

    White river has been on my consideration list for a while. You may have just bumped them up on my knife collection list


      I've been on the lookout for a new hunting knife that I could attach antler handle to. My first deer had a pathetically small single antler and instead of just setting it on a shelf I'd like to make it part of a hunting tool. If you have got the time could you measure the overall dimensions of the grip panels?


        S35VN is a good steel, imo for field dressing or something that'll be hard use id prefer a carbon steel like a 1095. What made you choose this over something like an Esee Izula ?


          Thanks for the link and review. I am always looking for new knife manufacturers as I have a definite weakness for knives. I remember and still have my first pocket knife my dad bought be when I was 8 years old. I always have a knife on me except when laws/regs prevent me. I don't do the tactical EDC thing but always find a need for a blade of some sort so I always keep at least one pocket knife on me and prefer fixed blades when hiking/camping.

          "When you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it." - Theodore Roosevelt

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