By Mark Kenyon
I was in need of a new knife this year that could serve two purpose. One, it needed to be a functional and dependable knife for field dressing deer. Second, it needed to fit the bill for use as a basic survival knife as well – given my second passion – backpacking in the mountains. That said, when I was sent the SOG Field Pup II Knife – my gut told me that I might just be holding the right knife for the job. Now around 6 months later, I can confidently say my initial impressions were right. The SOG Field Pup II knife is a no frills, no nonsense solid knife – perfect for use by hunters, backpackers and everything in between.
At the core of the Field Pup’s identity is it’s unrelenting functionality. This is not neccessarily a “sexy” knife. It’s not the fanciest looking, it doesn’t have the most high tech gizmos built into it – but it just does the job. And it does it well. I used this knife in two capacities, one as a gutting knife and two as a camp knife while hiking, camping and backpacking in the Wind River and Teton mountain ranges in Wyoming. In both instances this knife was able to handle every task I threw at it.
As a camp knife or survival blade, I’m looking for a couple things. One, it must obviously be sharp and keep an edge, and secondly it must be sturdy enough to handle tough tasks in the wild. Cutting rope, whittling wooden stakes, slicing meats and cheeses, shaving tinder for the fire. It did it all admirably. If I was ever in a “survival” situation, where I needed to depend on this knife to baton wood or cut materials to build a shelter – I’d be confident it could handle the job – given a very sturdy construction and the full tang blade.
Now as a hunting and gutting blade, again the Field Pup meets the expectations. I needed a blade that again was very sharp right out of the box, and it needed to be easily held and maneuvered while working on a deer. I was able to test the blade for these characteristics back in November when I killed my Iowa buck and I was pleased with the results. The blade from day one has been sharp as a tack, I could easily shave off a layer of my finger nail with the edge of this blade. This made cutting through the hide, muscle and other tissues of my buck a breeze. As for manueverability, this blade again was well suited for my needs. The unique grip that SOG blades are known for made for an easy to hold knife, even while my hands were coated in blood. Additionally, it’s a surprisingly light knife and it was comfortable in my hand for the duration of the gutting process.
I’ve laid out above the observations and experiences I’ve had with the Field Pup II and the conclusion I’ve come to is that the knife is perfectly functional for what I need. But I think it’s also worth exploring why it’s so functional. And the why is design.
Again, the Field Pup in my opinion isn’t terribly sexy. But it works. The folks at SOG rather than trying to make a fancy or cool looking knife, devoted thier engineering prowess to designing an incredibly functional knife. How so? First, lets talk about the blade itself. It is a full tang blade, made from 7Cr17MoV steel. A full tang means that the blade is a single piece of steel that extends from the exposed blade, all the way through the handle. A full tang is critical to overall strength, especially if you’re using it to chop or baton wood. 7Cr17MoV steel is made in China, which helps keep the costs down on this knife – but it is the equivalent of 440A steel. From what I’ve read 440A steel is impact resistant, easy to sharpen, and pretty corrosion resistant. While not the absolute top of the line steel, for an affordable knife like this – it does a great job.
The other half of a good knife is the grip, and again I think the design here lends itself to the Field Pup’s prowess. The grip on this knife is made from molded “Kraton” – which is a synthetic rubber replacement. From what my research has shown me, Kraton is more resistant to heat, weather and chemicals than rubber. It is also lighter, while retaining the gripiness that rubber handles often offer. Additionally this grip utilizes a comfortable 4 finger grip design, which makes the knife easy to hold.
Through simple but smart design and a focus on function – I believe the SOG Field Pup II is a great option for someone looking for a no nonsense blade for hunting or any other demanding outdoor activity. It is comfortable to wield, durable and sharp. As a hunter, backpacker and overall outdoorsman – there’s not much more I could ask for in a knife.
If you’re interested in learning more about the SOG Field Pup II or purchasing one for yourself visit the SOG website.