ESEE is a well-established maker of knives and tools. They have a variety of products available including cleavers, small hatchets, survival knives, and other odds and ends. Their claim to fame is that their products are extensively tested in real-world environments.
I have three ESEE knives and each has been extensively punished through a lot of hard I’m not kind to any of my possessions and I expect them to hold up to abuse, not just use. My Camp Lore PR4 is the knife that hangs in the barn and is used for every sort of urban farm task imaginable from pruning hops to planting bulbs to cutting open bales of bedding.
The slim CR 2.5 I have is used for all sorts of tasks and is a common feature in the kitchen when cleaning game. All of these knives have been subjected to use that has broken or dulled other knives.
Of the three ESEE knives I own the ESEE RB3 is my favorite and the one that’s most often used. The RB3 is from the ESEE’s Camp-Lore line, which has since been discontinued. ESEE still offers the RB3, though, in their standard line with some minor cosmetic differences, among those a black oxide finish and the removal of the Camp-Lore logo, but it’s the same blade.
The RB3 has been my constant companion both in the field and at home. I use this knife for so many things that it’s a part of my EDC, although I almost never carry it on my person. It usually rides in my tool kit or in my laptop bag. It came with a leather sheath that covers most of the knife. The sheath fits on just about any belt you may own due to a wide loop and is comfortable to carry.
The knife has an overall length of 8.13″ and a weight of 6 oz. Blade length is 3.5″ and thickness is a relatively beefy .125″. This is not a large knife by any stretch, but it’s probably big enough that it isn’t something you’ll carry on your belt unless you’re out camping or hunting.
The 1095 steel blade has a very, very sharp edge that’s easy to keep sharp. With its scandi grind it also tends to stay sharp for much longer than others I’ve used. The grind is wide and wedge-shaped, almost like a chisel and it wants to drive down in a cut. This is the best meat-slicing knife I have ever used.
After breaking down an entire deer the knife is usually still scalpel-level sharp.
The comfortable handle is made of linen Micarta. This is a great material that’s durable and grippy, but also shows stains when wet and changes color with age. The grip is one of my favorite parts of this knife. It stays usable when covered in blood and fat, unlike many other plastic-gripped hunting knives I’ve used.
Overall, this is a fantastic blade. This knife has been so good and useful that I really can’t justify owning more knives. If I ever lost this one, I would immediately buy another. The size, weight, and edge profile make it hard to beat for my uses.
The best part of this knife is that it’s made in the USA. With an MSRP of $190, it’s not inexpensive. It can be had for around $150 on the street, but that isn’t bad for a quality knife that will last you your entire life.