We move around a lot in our lives. Whether we are meeting friends
at a weekend house rental, or embarking on a solo fly fishing float down a remote
Alaskan river, the one thing at the top of our packing list is always our
knife. Or maybe two knives… After getting our food and gear together, we carefully wrap our oh so versatile Japanese santoku knife in a dishtowel, and
carefully pack it away. We did this for years- because if you cook, you use a knife. But if you love to cook, you use a very sharp, nice knife. So, if you travel and love to cook, you
probably recognize this routine.
Our knives have come to cook with us all over California, Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, New Mexico… But when we booked a month-long wilderness and van camping trip in Argentina and Chile’s Patagonia region, we had to seriously step up our knife-packing game.
Chile's Corcovado Volcano and the knife case in this photo are somehow overshadowed by a surprisingly full bottle of Jack Daniels...
We were going to be traversing rugged terrain for a week on horseback, staying in a remote rental cabin fly fishing for four days, and then exploring the Carretera Austral in Southern Chile in a two-person camper van for two week (complete with “kitchenette”…and you know they’re not providing a nice knife.) Since not cooking was out of the question, not bringing our knives never even crossed our minds.
A kitchen town can keep your knife safer than nothing, but being a believer in the theory that most problems can be solved through better design, I got to work in my studio to build the best traveling knife case possible. It would have to be simple and relatively lightweight, exceptionally durable, and easy to pack, use and clean. I am of the belief that in addition to a pocketknife, having two cooking knives is more than sufficient for any and all camp cooking needs. If you need more than that, you’re probably a professional chef and already have and use a knife roll.
After multiple not-quite-perfect prototypes, I arrived at my ideal two-knife leather case for convenient, safe knife transport and away we went.
Talk about product testing! After one month of cutting up whole lamb and goat assados with gauchos, filleting trout, slicing up choice Chilean fruits and veggies, the case gets an enthusiastic two thumbs up! It fit nicely in a saddlebag, resists water, is easily cleaned of grit, grease and food bits, and kept our knives in perfect condition.
The interior sheath is thick, stiff leather to protect the blades from the possibility of bending, while the outer case cover is durable, yet pliant to allow for movement in soft shell luggage. The closure is a simple wrap around strap- this is not only the easiest and quickest closure in my opinion, but eliminates the pressure you put on your blades if it were a snap, and the fiddling if it were a buckle.
We have officially added a new item to our “essentials list” for camping, glamping, and weekends away! Check it out- you may just have found your next favorite thing.
Just like it’s impossible to pick a favorite child (or so they say…) I have a hard time picking a favorite Brass + Blade bag. They’re all so different, and each with its own qualities and use cases that picking a favorite wouldn’t just be an act in futility, it simply doesn’t make sense because it always begs the question, “favorite for what?”
However! (of course there’s a “however,” otherwise this post would have stopped right there) However, every so often I find that I have made a bag, usually just a first attempt at a new concept, that I absolutely will not part with.
This backpack design came together quickly and I decided just as quickly (before I was even finished) that it was my new go-to bag….for test purposes! That’s what prototypes are for, right?
While testing for strap length and comfort, weight limit suitability, magnetic snap strength, interior pocket position, and all around easy and joy of use, I traipsed around the East Bay for a week collecting compliments on my new bag!
The most recent and final test came on a two-hour waterfall hike in the Hawaiian mountain rainforest (poor me) when half way through the hike it started to rain enormous Hawaii rain drops. Both the backpack and I got very wet while the contents of the bag stayed surprisingly dry.