Choosing which knife to take with you on a camping trip is a serious matter. The most basic of tools, a good blade is essential for more tasks than you can imagine. Too long, and it can be cumbersome to carry around; too thick and the knife will be heavy and hard to work with. These and a host of other variables makes the knife you carry as individual as your personality.
As such, what one person considers a fantastic choice may be a poor choice for someone else. So when I come across a knife that makes darn near everyone I give it too happy, I take notice. The Enzo D2 by Kizlyar Supreme was one of those knives. This knife takes up where their popular Echo knife leaves off, with a slightly longer blade and different point design. A full tang construction makes for a very stable configuration over its 9 ¾ inch length. The blade is a long 5 ¼ inch length, and is a hefty 5/32 in thick at the guard. This blade configuration comes in a variety of offerings, varying the steel and finish, but the version I took into the field was the Enzo D2-Satin. These are offered at an MSRP of $137.00, but if you shop around you can find dealers who offer them in the $125.00 price range. All of the variants come equipped Micarta handle slabs, and the individual finger groves are spaced wide enough to accommodate a gloved hand. The coarse surface on the handle provides a good gripping surface, and is perfect for wet or sloppy jobs. Each Enzo also comes with a molded Kydex sheath and PA fiber clip. The clip is customizable, and can also be installed for horizontal carry in high or low configurations. As with most well designed molded Kydex, the knife fit very secure, and I had no concern about it dropping out as I have with other scabbards. And as the name indicates, D-2 tool steel is used for the primary construction. Now I’m not getting into chunky specifications here since most of you probably know about the metallurgy, and the rest of you could care less. Around the camp, the pros and cons were discussed ad-nausea. More on this later…
One of the first things that went through my mind when I pulled the Enzo from the sheath was that it looked like an over-sized kitchen knife. Contrary to what you might think, that is a very positive assessment in my mind. While I love the look of a jagged curve, and the sweep of a blade appeals on a very viscerally aggressive level, they typically aren’t all that practical in the field. Have you ever tried to carve a spoon with a claw-hooked blade – you better have a good supply of band-aids! The Enzo isn’t a pretentious ‘look at me’ kind of knife; rather a ‘git-r-done’ sort of vibe is conveyed. And as proved at the camp, this thoroughbred made the rounds and did well at every task we put it though.
Our camping group was at a rather large gathering, and we had set up about twenty tents of various designs, from a four man bubble tent all the way to my family’s 18 ft diameter Ger (yurta), and one 24 ft long community dining fly. The first task I set the Enzo to was rope cutting for high wind ropes. One of the first things you notice is the wide handle and comfortable grip. My hands aren’t particularly thick, rather overall large (I have heard the term ‘meat-hooks’ on more than a few occasions), so this was very comfortable to me. The factory edge on the D-2 steel worked very well, and sliced through sisal rope with hardly any noticeable resistance. Also while setting up, I made a few improvised tent stakes just for fun. The knurl on the back of the blade, just above the handle provided good friction for my thumb to rest on, greatly assisting in blade control. Again, the edge held up well and made short work of the maple that I used, and the mass made chopping much easier than a comparably sized blade.
The next set of tasks for the Enzo came from my wife, who happened to volunteer in the camp kitchen later in the week. With her smaller hands, I was a bit concerned that the beefy handle might be an issue, but she said that while it was wider that she expected, it wasn’t really an issue. The rough surface and finger cut outs on the Micarta handles provided her great control, especially when the blade was covered in cooking goo. In fact, she commented that others doing prep found it well balanced and suited for a variety of tasks. It went from cutting meat, to carving bread (with liberal cleaning in between) with ease.
The real tests came later in the week, when my friends and I were prepping for the day’s activities. In the middle of getting ready to head out, one of my camp mates discovered a serious issue with a piece of gear, and needed replacement leather strap, and fast! Now as a group, we pack prepared. Unfortunately the gent who has the awesome leather working kit wasn’t around. Out came the Enzo, and in short order a length of strap, complete with buckle holes was done and we were on the march. I was very happy with the way the curved edge was able to shear through the thick hide, and the length of the blade made cross cutting easy. And while I don’t recommend this, I was able to use the metal on the back of the handle as an impromptu peaning surface, producing a passable rolled copper rivet head that held until we could get a real peaning hammer.
Around the fire later that night, the Enzo made its way through a few hands for the usual ‘check out the new thing’ once over. Here is where some contention occurred, as previously mentioned, around the D-2 steel. It was pointed out by a couple of folks that D-2 is at best considered semi-stainless steel, and can oxidize quickly in the right conditions. Also, as a tool steel, it is harder and can be more easily chipped that a softer steel. Finally, as hard steel, D-2 may hold an edge a long time, but re-sharpening can be a laborious and time consuming task. While none of these facts were disputed, what followed was a discussion that became rather heated, and frankly really fun – if you can’t argue and insult your friends, get new ones. I would like to point out that I’m paraphrasing this rather heavily, and removing the more colorful references to human anatomy, farm animals, and deceased Soviet dictators. The essence of the discussion was this; D-2 isn’t for the faint of heart and is best left to folks who can appreciate their knives in the same way that the Indian motorcycle isn’t the kind of bike for a weekend rider. If what you want out of a knife is simple, low maintenance then steer clear of D-2. You won’t be able to slop this around in the mud, try and use the tip for a screwdriver, chuck it in a drawer, then come back to it a year later and expect it to look sale-case new. And yes when the time comes to re-sharpen it, you will have to take your time and probably break a sweat. If you do want a knife with a little more rust resistance and that’s a little easier to sharpen keep in mind that the same Enzo is also available in AUS-8 stainless steel as well, and that both it and the D2 version can be had with black titanium coatings to further increase rust resistance. The AUS-8 version is a little cheaper too and currently listing at right around $105 for the basic version on the CAS Hanwei website.
With that in mind, the positive feedback was overwhelming from around the fire pit. So keep the fancy damasked mini- flamberge inspired lock-back at home safe in the box, and take the Kizlyar Supreme Enzo along on your next weekend outing. And just like all of your other dependable tools, keep it cleaned and maintained, and who knows, maybe your Grandkids will take it with them and remember you around the fire pit to their friends.
The Kizlar Supreme line of knives is imported and distributed by CAS Hanwei.