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Buck Compadre Knife in hand

Review: Buck Compadre Camp Knife

An immensely strong, top quality, full tang knife for camping and outdoors

Whether you’re after an everyday chopper for campfire cooking and campcraft, or you need a tough blade for survival and bushcraft, the Buck Compadre Camp Knife will not disappoint. With a high carbon, fixed blade that is as strong and durable as it is stylish, this enviable knife is most certainly a knife for life.

Buck Compadre Camp Knife: The stats

Weight:7.1oz / 201.3g
Best use:Bushcraft, survival and camping
Blade length4.5″ / 11.4cm
Overall length:9.5″ / 24.1cm

Features of the Buck Compadre Camp Knife

Blade

Knife bladeThe drop point blade is constructed from 5169 Carbon (or spring steel). This is high carbon steel that offers superb strength, shock absorbency and shatter resistance. To combat the common issue of high carbon blades rusting, the blade is coated with Cerakote Cobalt. This adds abrasion, chemical and corrosion resistance to the blade.

Handle

Handle of knifeWith a very subtle grip pattern, the stylish handle is made of natural canvas Micarta. This is a composite of canvas in a thermosetting resin or plastic that is very hard wearing and known for its strength and durability. There is a lanyard hole at the end of the handle.

Sheath

Knife and sheath on boardMade of genuine black leather, the sheath is an excellent addition to the whole package, and an essential for safe storage and carrying. There is a popper button to keep the knife securely in place and a belt loop attachment for carrying.

Cross guard

Crossguard of knifeThere is a small cross guard between the handle and the sharpened end of the blade. The guard is integrated into the blade. On the top edge of the blade, above the cross guard, is a thumb grip.


Buck Compadre Camp Knife review

Made in the USA and designed with hunters and campers in mind, the Buck Compadre Camp Knife oozes quality, durability and performance. It’s the kind of knife that is a pleasure to hold, nevermind actually using it!

Put it to task and it’s very clear to see, and feel, why Buck knives are so highly coveted (and why they have a rather high price tag attached to them!).

But is the price worth it?

Well, first up, Buck knives are market leaders when it comes to blade edge retention. Each blade goes through a rigorous heat treat process and then tempered through a series of heating and freezing processes. So yes, this is an expensive knife. But for good reason. It’s not thrown together for a quick sale. And the result is a knife for life that holds its edge for longer and is easy to resharpen.

Point of knife

Secondly, there is no expense spared in the construction of the knife. As mentioned, the blade is mega durable and shatter resistant. But unlike many high carbon blades, it is also resistant to corrosion, chemicals and abrasion, thanks to the coating. Plus, the full tang blade (the part of the blade that extends into the handle) adds even more strength and reliability when taking on heavy duty tasks. The tough, full tang blade combined with the mega dense, and seemingly bomb-proof Micarta handle, offers a good level of shock absorption and makes me feel secure and confident using it on tasks that need force applying.

Full tang knife

Additionally, the leather sheath is as tough as old boots! The popper button keeps the knife securely in place when not in use, and there is zero chance of the blade compromising the dense stitching when removing the knife.

Oh, and did I mention that the Compadre comes with a forever warranty?

So based on all of the above alone, yes, the high price is totally valid. One knife to last a lifetime? Who can argue with that?

Knife on cutting board

Performance

But what about performance? Does it do what it’s supposed to do?

I’m not going to lie… I’m no knife expert. But I do use knives regularly, not just for dicing my vegetables, by the way! And I do understand and appreciate the importance of a knife that performs well.

For me, knife performance is a three-fold thing:

  1. Is the knife easy to use?
  2. Do I feel safe using the knife?
  3. How versatile is the knife?

There are also other factors that come under these points, like: comfort, feel and even enjoyment.

So let’s delve a little deeper.

The blade

The drop point blade is the most common blade type, often favoured by hunters. But it’s also versatile for lots of other jobs. I’ve not gone (and won’t go) near cutting up game with the Compadre, or any knife, for that matter! But I have used it for killing, gutting and filleting fish. The drop point style makes the point easy to maneuver when gutting and cutting fish. And I’m certainly improving my filleting skills, though it’s certainly a work in progress!

Cutting fish on board

The combo of the strong point and full belly of the blade provides control and power in equal measure – essential for fine tasks like filleting, and heavier tasks like batoning wood.

Batoning is a breeze with this knife. You can really give it some welly with little transference of power extending through the handle. Though I probably shouldn’t have (not sure the warranty would cover this sort of abuse?), I tried batoning with a rock the other day! Not many strikes and only to test it. The rock didn’t leave a single mark on the top edge of the blade.

Battoning with a knife

I find the knife a little heavy and clunky to use for whittling. It’s fine for the first rough cuts, but as soon as I need to refine my movements I need to swap knives as I can’t gain enough control over the Compadre. With practice, this is getting better. But there are certainly better knives for intricate jobs like whittling.

The feel

Though not especially ergonomically shaped to fit the hand, the handle actually feels really great to hold. I have pretty small lady hands and it doesn’t feel too big in my palm. It also has a unique texture that feels subtly grippy but smooth at the same time. Nothing to rub skin against that might cause blisters or calluses. For finer work, I enjoy using the thumb grip on the top edge of the knife. However, I struggle to get much power behind the knife when holding it, compared to a closed-palm grip.

Knife handle

Also linked with the feel of the knife, is how safe I feel using it. It’s sharp and remains reliably so, which is a big tick on the safety front. Blunt knives mean ragged and dirty cuts. Keep a knife sharp, and cuts stay clean and repair more easily. But the crossguard helps with feeling safe, too. Some knife users dispute the need for a cross guard as it only really gives protection during a stabbing motion – a movement which is not often used. Regardless, I like having the extra, just-in-case bit of protection.

Buck Compadre Knife

What I love the most about the Buck Compadre Camp Knife

The overall feel of the knife is easy and comfortable, and I feel safe and confident when using it. I also love how sexy it is! There is an abundance of knife envy each time I get this bad-boy out.

Whittling with a knife

What I don’t love so much about the Buck Compadre Camp Knife

On the whole, the Compadre Camp is a pretty versatile knife for general outdoor use. However, my only gripe is that, despite the Cerakote Cobalt coating, the blade edge is susceptible to minor rusting if you leave it wet. This is easily worked off if you catch it early. But I would rather a little more resistance to water exposure.


Whittling with a knife

Verdict

It’s tough, it’s strong, it retains sharpness and it’s resistant to corrosion. And though the Buck Compadre Camp Knife is a little on the pricey side, its superb construction is well worth the spend, especially if you are looking for a forever knife. It’s also VERY classy and feels excellent in the hand.

Two thumbs up from me!

Find the latest price at:
Whitby and Co

Disclaimer: Cool of the Wild received this product free in return for an honest review. We only recommend gear that we love from companies we trust and we are under no obligation to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are that of the reviewer and we are in no way influenced by the brand or company.

About the author

author-joey

Joey is based in Cornwall, UK, and runs Cool of the Wild. She can’t get enough of being outdoors – whether that’s lounging around the campfire cooking up a feast, hitting the trail in her running shoes, or attempting to conquer the waves on her surfboard – she lives for it. Camping is what she loves to do the most, but has also spent many hours clinging to the side of a rock face, cycling about the place, cruising the ski-slopes on her snowboard, and hiking small mountains and big hills.

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