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Today we will review the famous BK2 Campanion knife from the legendary brand, Ka-Bar.
Ka-Bar makes a wide variety of knives. They began using the name Ka-Bar in 1923 after they received a letter from a fur trapper who had used one of their knives to kill a wounded bear which attacked him when his rifle jammed. The company adopted the name Ka-Bar from the “bear story.”
The brand “Ka-bar” could be read as “kill a bear. “
The BK2 Campanion was designed by Ethan Becker, the famous outdoorsman who has built up an impressive reputation for making ultra-tough knives with highly functional blades. Ethan Becker founded Becker Knife and Tool Corporation in the early 1980s to design high quality tactical and survival knives.
At first the BK2 Campanion looks like a mid-range belt knife but when you pick it up and you feel it’s weight, you realize that it is a beefy beast of a knife. The knife has a total length of 10.5 inches and weighs exactly 1 pound, which is a lot of weight for a knife of this length. The Bk2 Campanion has a strong extended tang that sticks out of the bottom of the handle. The knife has an excellent balance.
The BK2 Campanion has a thick smooth handle that is ergonomically designed to ensure a good grip. I had no problem keeping grip, even during wet circumstances. It is really comfortable to hold, feels tough and the material feels of high quality. The material used for the handle is Zytel, which is a high-density plastic. It has a glass reinforcement to make the material extra tough and durable. The handle is slightly textured and it has a smooth black finish, which gives it an elegant look.
The handle has front-rear guards that help with keeping your hand safe by preventing slipping. As part of the update over the original Campanion, the tang has been extended slightly, it lets you use the knife as a chisel or hammer without damaging the handle. A nice touch is that the handle has a lanyard hole, so you can secure your knife to something of your choosing. Ethan Becker did a fantastic job designing the handle of the Bk2!
The BK2 Campanion has a 5.5″ long blade that comes in a drop-point style with a high flat grind. It comes sharp out of the box and the blade is remarkably strong. The blade has a good thickness of 1/4″. That thickness makes the blade perfect for cutting and chopping tasks. I always use this knife for wood processing tasks and it never disappoints. The plain blade edge has an angle on each side of 20 degrees, which facilitates a variety of uses, this makes the Bk2 a jack-of-all-trades knife.
The blade of the Bk2 Campanion is forged from 1095 chromium-vanadium high carbon steel, which has an advantage over normal 1095 carbon steel with slightly better sharpness retention and ductility, due to the introduction of chromium and vanadium in the alloy. It has a Rockwell Hardness of 56-58.
Note: The steel will rust and stain if not properly cared for.
The blade has a textured, sand-paper like black powder coating that not only makes the blade look great, it also avoids the oxidation of the blade. The black coating on the edge will fade after a period of extensive use and sharpening. Some people might not like the textured feel of the blade. The blade holds a great edge and is incredibly easy to sharpen. The blade has BK2 stamped on one side and the Becker insignia on the other.
The Bk2 Campanion comes with a hard shell plastic sheath. The sheath has a plain simple practical look, I like it. The sheath is made of one piece of Kydex, a type of thermoplastic, a tough and durable material. What is a nice feature is that when the knife is inserted the sheath it locks into place for safety. It remains in the sheath until you put pressure using your thumb.
The sheath has six grommet holes and four slots, which can be used for lashing it to a pack or attaching additional gear to the sheath. The sheath is not made of the best material out there but the excellent build quality and its safety feature make it a fine sheath. The sheath doesn’t make to many rattling sounds, a big plus!
Because of its dimensions and weight, the Bk2 Campanion does not excel at one particular task. However, if you want a knife that is capable to pull of any outdoor task it won’t disappoint, Bk2 is beast of a heavy-duty knife. It is perfect for all wood processing and bushcraft tasks.
It is an excellent hunting knife as well. The drop-point style blade is perfect for piercing and poking and for prying joints apart during skinning and field dressing.
The Bk2 does not excel at some finer precision tasks like precision carving because of its size and weight but the overall performance of the BK2 is outstanding.
As an assurance of quality and premium craft-man-ship you’re getting a lifetime warranty with the knife.
note: the warranty does not cover rust damage.
Carry system includes:
Pros & Cons
The Becker BK2 Campanion is a jack-of-all-trades knife of the highest build quality. It can be used for all hunting, survival, camping and wood processing tasks. For some, the weight might be an issue over prolonged use, as it can tire the wrist and the hand after a while and it can be a pain to carry the knife on your hip when you’re out walking long distances.
With the excellent build quality, outstanding performance and the fair price/quality ratio, the BK2 still is one of the best heavy-duty survival knives on the market in 2020.
The knife is built in the U.S.A. (the sheath in Taiwan.) Overall, this is a knife that should last forever and serve you well along the way.
The Bk2 Campanion is often compared to the ESEE-5. The BK2 outdoes the ESEE-5 in my humble opinion. You can find our review for the ESEE-5 here.
For some other suggestions of the best hunting knives to buy in 2020, click here.