In addition to bringing us knives and multi-tools designed for working professionals (read: people whose life and livelihood depends on edged weapons and tools that work), SOG also offers products that appeal to outdoor enthusiasts. Their Bladelight knives are a perfect example, packing extra features worth having.
When the original Bladelight knives debuted, we liked the concept, but the actual execution left most people either loving or hating them. That has certainly changed recently. Of the eight different Bladelights available, five are new, and we expect them to be very popular. Two of them, the Bladelight Tactical, and Bladelight Camp, are twins, although not identical. The Camp has a satin finish blade and white LED lights, while the Tactical sports a hardcased black finish and red LED lights. Despite the name and light color, we chose the Tactical model to review, as we felt the red lights would come in handy for camping, as we already had all sorts of brilliant white lighting, and red would preserve our night vision.
Other than the light and blade finish already mentioned, the spec on both is the same. Overall length is 9.2 inches, with 4.5 inches of that comprising the 8CR13MOV blade. For those not up on their metallurgy, that’s a steel that is easy to sharpen, holds an edge well, and is popular with many quality knife makers for delivering excellent value on a price/performance basis. Each also includes a nylon sheath with belt clip that has a built in sharpener and a notch for cutting rope or webbing with the blade still sheathed. While both models use a single AAA battery, the Tactical runs for 288 minutes with 20 lumens of red light, versus the 84 minutes and 30 lumens of white light from the Bladelight Camp. *Note that these are SOG’s times.
In use, the Bladelight Tactical is a great knife. Its black and grey handle is a nice mix of hard rubber and molded plastic that feels good in the hand and doesn’t slip. Output was enough to light up a tent or pathway, and plenty bright for preparing a meal or making a fuzz stick to get a fire going. Cutouts in the sheath let you use the lights without exposing the blade. We ran it through our usual test of cutting wood, rope, twine, and slicing boxes and veggies. It did not let us down one bit. Opinions on the sheath were a bit mixed though. The Bladelight locks in securely, but the light button on the butt of the knife was too easily engaged. A recessed button would work better. It also fit so snug that the whole sheath would come off a loose belt before the blade came out. Lashing points on both ends of the sheath were appreciated, but the velcro strap seemed a bit out of place on a “tactical” knife, although it did quell any rattles.
If you need a general purpose camp knife, the Bladelight’s MSRP of $92 for the Camp model and $101 for the Tactical might seem a bit steep. But if the added utility of the built-in LED lights appeals to you, then either knife becomes a real value. For more details, go to sogknives.com
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the SOG Bladelight Tactical for free from SOG, in consideration for review publication