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April 9, 2009 Comments (0) Blades & Tools

KA-BAR Dozier Bobcat Review

Some of us have already experienced it, and some of us will in the future as well.  It’s that rare occasion when you’re out in the wilderness and something happens that heightens your senses just a step.  You hear the rustle of the leaves turning in the wind as you watch the trees sway to and fro, reminding you that there is movement and life in everything in the wild.

You can smell snow coming in the crisp, cool air as your knees press against the firm earth beneath you while you build the evening’s fire.  It’s those few moments that you realize that you aren’t just in the outdoors, you’re part of it.  No matter how briefly, you’ve inserted yourself into the cycle of things.  Somewhere within you resonates that instinctive memory that this is how it has always been.  I had one of those moments recently when I went off into the woods to spend the day just being outside.  I kept the gear to a minimum because I wanted to focus on the experience while honing my skills.  But, I took one knife with me to see how it would do during my outing.  It was KA-BAR’s new Dozier Bobcat folder, and what would be more fitting for the experience than a knife named after a species that spends the entirety of its life within the confines of a wooded territory?  I received the Bobcat review sample a couple of weeks ago and decided to immediately take it outside for a workout.  I wanted to work on some of my outdoors skills, and I wanted to make the Bobcat the only knife I took with me on my backwoods adventure.

I believed making it my primary user for the day would allow me to truly test its limits and give me a real-world feel for how well it would hold up and perform.  Typically, I would have a larger fixed blade with me for the heavier chores, but I thought it would be a great way to test myself as well.  The Bobcat appealed to me immediately because I am a fan of clip-point blades.  Though clip-points give up the benefit of some extra strength at the tip, I like the trade-off of a more aggressive profile for self-defense purposes—even if it’s a last resort defense against a four-legged predator instead of the two-legged variety.
 
But, just looking at the Bobcat won’t tell you the whole story.  I was astonished at how heavy the folder was when I picked it up for closer inspection.  It has a beefy, hand-filling grip that immediately inspires confidence with its construction.  This confidence was reinforced by the positive engagement of the lock-back mechanism when the blade snapped into place.  The thumb-studs are well-positioned and aided nicely in a smooth, one-handed opening of the Bobcat.  The grip slabs are made of black Zytel, and they are ergonomically designed to fit comfortably in the hand.  In addition, there’s a sculpted groove for the forefinger that aids the user in getting a firm grip on the knife.  After hefting the rugged folder in my hand, I knew it was time to get to work. 

Since I was working on my fire-making skills, I needed to gather some materials to make it all happen.  The first thing I decided to do was acquire a baton for splitting wood for kindling.  I found a right-sized sapling, popped open the Bobcat and quickly took it down.  Once done, I took off the other end with the Bobcat so that I had a baton about three feet long.  I’ll qualify the exercise with the admonition that folding knives aren’t really intended for tasks such as chopping and batoning wood.  But, there are times when you are pressed into using what you have on hand, and you just have to make do.  However, with each new tool comes the necessity of testing and usage to learn limits and build trust.  The KA-BAR Bobcat had no qualms about stepping outside of the box of its intended purpose, so I pushed the envelope a little more.  After the baton was fashioned, I then set about splitting wood for a nice pile of kindling.  The grind on the 4 inch AUS8A blade helped it slip right along the grain of the wood as I helped it along with my makeshift club.  It wasn’t too long before I had enough to start three campfires–with very little effort expended during the session. 

After these two endeavors, I checked the edge of the coated blade, and found no damage or rolling.  The Bobcat had held up quite nicely for the first half of the game.  The second half involved finer work fashioning a spit and a couple of fire forks for cooking different items for the meal.  Through the previous activities, the Bobcat had still retained a sharp enough edge to zip right through the more exact carving chores.  The speed with which I was able to slice off wood made it look like I was at a corn shucking contest.  The Bobcat had proven its worth out in the field for a variety of tasks, and it was still good to go for even more action. 

As I mentioned before, sometimes you have to go with what you’ve got on hand, and, while not intended as a bush knife, the Bobcat pulled its weight out in the woods quite admirably.  In fact, it just might be more at home in the outdoors.  Though it has a pocket clip, it’s a fairly large folder and heavier than most you would use for normal pocket carry.  But, on a belt or with heavy clothing, it’s going to feel right at home.     

The model I had been using throughout the day was the partially-serrated version, and that would be handier for more urban use such as cutting tough items like seat belts, rope, or heavy cardboard—which is a tough task for any knife.  With those more urban considerations in mind, I believe the Bobcat would play an excellent role in a tactical scenario as a backup knife for defense, or as a tool for an emergency kit.  It can be worn on a vest or in an out-of-sight location as a last-ditch safeguard from attack.  Its stout build quality and fast-opening blade makes for a robust tool that can be quickly deployed in just about any environment. 
 
Considering the suggested MSRP of $66.00 and a probable, lower street price, the user gets a lot of value for their money with the KA-BAR Bobcat Dozier folders.  The recognizable design aesthetics of the Dozier line coupled with the quality construction implemented by KA-BAR is a powerful combination at that particular value point.  If you’re looking for a folder that will serve you on the streets as well as in the wild, no matter the task, the KA-BAR Dozier Bobcat should definitely be at the top of your list of candidates.  It’s a worthy tool for both security and utility needs, and with its lifetime warranty, it will give you decades of satisfactory service.

Visit:  www.kabar.com 
 

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