A little background info for Brian: he is an experienced backpacker who has been backpacking for over 25 years in Utah – his native State. (Anyone who has been in Utah knows this beautiful State is a backpacker's paradise.) He is an all-season backpacker whose enthusiasm takes him into the back country regardless of the weather. Brian is an extremely knowledgeable, well-qualified backpacker and the ideal person to test the Ontos. He is the Salt Lake City backpacking columnist for "Examiner.com”. Here is his assessment of the Ontos:
Howdy Campers. In the coming week I will be writing more about knives, and offering some suggestions for excellent knives that will see you through the most extreme situations. However, as I searched I came across one that takes the concept of a self contained survival knife to a new degree.
When the knife community began asking for Extreme Ratio (actually the company is named Extrema Ratio, out of Italy) to consider making a survival style knife, the company took the idea to a whole new plane. The answer to that call was the ONTOS. The Italians have taken their love of precision and function (ever heard of a little company called Ferrari?), and applied the same principals to a self contained survival system, knife included. I call this a system, because it truly is.
The core of the system is of course, the knife itself. A brilliantly crafted full tang fixed blade knife with a 6.5 inch blade made of N690 Cobalt Stainless Steel (yes, that's the very good kind). With a total length of 11.73 inches and a weight of 14.1 oz, the total package becomes a beautifully balanced blade with enough heft to handle the big jobs. Chopping (wood, not parsley) is very easily accomplished because the weighty blade makes short work of thicker wood. I often wonder how people plan to tackle these heavier duty jobs with the light and even ultralight pieces that you often come across. Smaller pieces are quickly dealt with by using the serrated portion on the back side of the blade, another thing I keep seeing more and more knives without. A razor sharp edge and tanto style point and the whole package contains all the makings of a knife that will last you a lifetime. But the fun doesn't end here, in fact I'm just getting started.
As I mentioned before, this doesn't really fall into the "knife only" category. Those ingenious Italians have coupled this knife with an entire survival system. The Nylon scabbard doesn't simply hold the knife fast in any position, but houses a separate compartment where the real goodies are. Inside a watertight aluminum lock-box are the many items one needs to keep themselves alive when called upon for an extended period of time. This kit includes: a water bag, Nylon cord, a button compass, candle, flint/striker & tinder, fishing kit, mini multi-tool, matches, sewing kit, water purification tablets, razor, signal mirror, whistle, some snare wire, toothed wire saw, pencil, survival instructions, a 12 hour fluorescent stick, and last but certainly not least, an Extrema Ratio diamond knife sharpener (whew). Now that's a knife!
At this point it would be very normal for you to wonder what size Radio Flyer wagon accompanies all this. But, have no worries my friends. The design of the scabbard and storage pouch has been so well conceived that the entire system is very comfortable. An incorporated thigh strap secures the system in such a manner as to make even running with this knife on your hip a very comfortable thing (yes, I did actually try it). Functionality, mobility, and accessibility are all attributes of the ONTOS.
If the thought of having a knife with a few tricks up its sleeve has crossed your mind, consider the ONTOS. If you view quality gear as an investment in your safety as I do, you'll never be sorry.
To view more information about the ONTOS, please visit www.xtremeknives.com
I'll see you on the trails
QUICK TIP: A very small amount of high quality oil, sometimes just a single drop, will ensure that your knife's blade stays free of rust from moisture in the air or trapped in the scabbard when put away wet. Just watch those fingers as you spread it.