Sure, most times you camp you can just pick up dead wood off the ground to use in your fire, but if it’s raining or there’s not much wood on offer, you need some ability to process logs and limbs into usable firewood. This knife gives me the ability to do that and to perform other bushcraft skills.
Calling the ESEE a compromise knife doesn’t do its quality or usefulness justice, but while it’s just about long enough for real woodwork, it’s fairly light, so it’s not a chopper. That’s down to its relatively thin .188-inch thickness. In return, it’s way easier to pack and carry than something like a machete or even other, thicker wilderness knives. ESEE also uses unfashionable 1095 carbon steel, currently unpopular because stainless knives have made people too lazy to do basic upkeep in the field. If you let this knife sit around wet, it’ll get surface rust. The flip side to that is that this 1095 is the easiest steel to sharpen I’ve ever worked with and it holds an edge longer and through more abuse than any other knife I’ve owned.
Check out the tang on this thing, this is a very strong knife. The handle is micarta, which helps justify the $120 price as it’s more expensive than other materials, but positively spoils your hands. No blisters here. Other quality touches are the full flat grind, 1.56-inch blade thickness, the exposed pommel, and the powder coating. The ESEE-6 will last a lifetime.