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Hudson Bay Camp Knife Review by Kevin Estela

Hudson Bay Camp Knife Review by Kevin EstelaI recently had the opportunity to field test the Bark River Knife and Tool Hudson Bay Camp on a canoe trip in the Adirondacks. Used as a camp knife for assorted tasks, the BRKT Hudson Bay excelled in camp crafting and all purpose cutting, chopping and slicing. There was something satisfying about using a traditional blade for traditional tasks in this region of NY. Unlike the many sharpened pry bars with painted on finishes, the Hudson Bay Camp doesn’t scream “threatening”, “Tactical” or “military-style.” This review demonstrates the difference between what you want and what you need. Far too many knives are overbuilt. Thicknesses in excess of .25”, rough handles with deep checkered handle slabs, “skull crusher” pommels, these are all features not necessary for a woods-going knife. While these features look great in movies, in the hands of camouflaged models in knife magazines or when drooled over in showcases, they serve no real purpose or function in the field. The BRKT Hudson Bay Camp on the other hand, is the perfect blend of function, style and craftsmanship. From the high polished brass to the period-correct sheath (mine was treated with the proprietary “E” Sharpshooter Sheath System extreme weather conditioning), the Hudson Bay Camp is a work of art and historically true to form. Measuring in at .215” thick and 8.25” long, the BRKT Hudson Bay Camp blade is thick enough for heavy duty use yet ground the full height grind aides in slicing. Combined with a convex edge, the blade is an amazingly sharp and virtually friction free design. The high finish (not quite mirror) is not something many knife makers provide in their products since it takes more time and skill to apply. The brass bolsters are held on by pins which are almost impossible to see since they are blended in flush. The handle on my test knife is Dark Curly Maple and it is large enough for use with gloved hands and smooth for use with bare hands. At 13” overall, the Hudson Bay Camp is not a fixed blade you carry with you all the time. You should already have a small 4” sized blade for that purpose already. It is a knife that can be hung in the camp kitchen and used by whoever whenever.

The knife was used by me and the rest of my group. Those who handled it said it cut nicely and had a good feel to it. Perhaps the best use of the knife came with an impromptu lesson on battoning the adults gave a couple of the younger kids in our group. I’d venture so far to say a little kid using a knife incorrectly can put as much strain on a blade as an experienced user with good form. In good form and in bad, the Hudson Bay Camp made its way through beech, maple and birch with no damage to the blade at all.

I carefully used the side of the blade to pound makeshift tent pegs into the semi frozen ground. The wide body of the blade worked great as a spoon and as a quick way to get roasted sausages from the fire to my mouth.

As a general purpose camp knife, the Hudson Bay Camp passes every test. There are no cinder blocks to chop through, no car hoods to pierce and no free hanging hemp rope to sever. These fantasy tests are for those who don’t use a knife in reality. Wood to be split, meats to be sliced and fuzz sticks to be shaved are the true measure of a camp knife and something the average user can expect to do in reality. As previously mentioned, this knife was a joy to test in a region where it could have been used years ago, the Adirondacks. Could I have used a sharpened prybar, yes, would it have worked, yes, but was it more than I needed, yes again. With the BRKT Hudson Bay Camp, I had more knife than I needed but well within reason. It is easy to want knives that are overbuilt or designed to look a certain way. It is also difficult to accept the knife you actually need. I think the needs of the average knife user could be met with a $20 pocketknife. However, these users are compelled to take out a second mortgage on their houses to afford an aesthetically pleasing and overpriced big blade. Now, a dedicated camp knife exists which combines practicality, value and style, the BRKT Hudson By Camp knife. As an outdoorsman you’ll have all the knife you need and if you are interested in historical pieces and quality, you’ll have all the knife you want.

You can click here to view our selection of Bark River Knives Hudson Bay Knives knives.

About The Author

Kevin Estela has been interested in outdoor survival since he was a child. Entertained by stories from his father’s jungle survival in the Philippines during the Japanese occupation of WWII, Kevin grew up with a desire to learn more about the outdoors. At a young age and throughout adolescence, his father taught him many practical survival skills. He grew up hiking, skiing, fishing and woods bumming with friends and family. He spent over 10 years working as a seasonal kayaking and canoeing guide on the Farmington River in Connecticut and 5 years working at a busy outdoors retail sporting goods store. Kevin’s formal outdoors education includes off-road driving, winter mountaineering, hunting and firearms safety, wilderness first-aid, primitive survival skills, traditional bushcraft skills and of course wilderness survival through the Wilderness Learning Center. Kevin is a certified PADI scuba diver, avid power boater and saltwater fisherman. Kevin’s passion for education translated into teaching High School History full-time in Bristol, CT. Kevin spends as much free time as possible getting out on the water or in the woods in anyway. Whenever possible, Kevin loves to share knowledge and know how with anyone willing to listen, practice and learn. Kevin worked for one full year with us and has earned the title of Instructor. He is also a moderator on and where he contributes equipment reviews and shares his expertise with all.

Hudson Bay Camp Knife Review by Kevin Estela