Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mora Pathfinder Knife UPDATE- Does the new revised Pathfinder stand up to the test?

As some of you may recall in our Mora Pathfinder Knife review last May, the Pathfinder I tested chipped and rolled its edge while chopping dead pine branches. Mora then sent a second sample for us to test, in case the first sample had a factory defect. The second sample also chipped/rolled it's edge.

Mora was understandably concerned, and set about revising the grind angle and Rockwell hardness of the edge on the Pathfinder knife. They promised to send us the improved version as soon as it became available. This new and revised Pathfinder arrived late last month, and after giving it a sound thrashing, here is what I found.......

Field Test

My goal was simple-- take this new revised Pathfinder out into the backcountry, and as Bob Ross would say, "Beat the devil out of it!" 

To test the edge and see how it would hold up, I found a Pinyon Pine tree with a bunch of dead, knarled lower branches and started hacking. It was a veritable chop-a-thon:

(click to enlarge)

The pile of branches chopped off with the Pathfinder. I cut through a total of 14 sections of various diameters:

Despite the fact that these branches were dry and very hard, the Pathfinder's edge suffered no damage:

In fact, the Pathfinder still had enough of an edge left to feather like a champ:


The engineers at Mora managed to fix not only the Pathfinder's chipping/rolling issue, but also pulled off a rather difficult task-- create a lightweight Scandi-grind knife that handles chopping like a survival knife, yet carves like a Mora.

Another plus is that the Pathfinder chops much better than you would think for its weight, and I attribute this to its scandi-grind, which bites into wood without much effort. In fact, the Pathfinder is actually fun to chop with (especially now that I know I'm not going to destroy the edge when doing so).

One thing I was worried about is that in fixing the chipping/rolling issue, Mora would have to compromise the Pathfinder's fine carving ability. Not so! This new version carves as well as the first production Pathfinder. Great job Mora!

Now that the Pathfinder's edge is finally up to snuff, where does it leave this interesting new design in the grand scheme of things? Personally, I love it. It has the excellent carving capability of the Mora Black Carbon, yet can baton larger pieces of wood, chop limbs and boughs for shelter/firewood duties, and at nearly 7" long, is large enough to give you a fighting chance if attacked by a dangerous predator.

What don't I love? As I mentioned in the previous review, I'm not a big fan of the Pathfinder's sheath, nor it's hefty price tag ($90 plus dollar street price).

Mora, if you're listening, sell this knife with the same survival sheath that comes as an option with the Mora Black Carbon Bushcraft Survival knife, drop the price by $10-$20 and you'll have a smash hit, I promise.

The revised Mora Pathfinder is available from Lifeview Outdoors:

About the author
Jason Schwartz is the founder and senior editor of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft. He is a former Red Cross certified Wilderness & Remote First Aid Instructor, and has taught bushcraft and wilderness survival techniques to the Boy Scouts of America, interned with the US Forest Service, and studied wilderness survival, forestry and wildland firefighting at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Colorado. Jason has also written for magazines such as The New Pioneer and Backpacker, including writing the "Tinder Finder" portion of Backpacker's "Complete Guide to Fire," which won a 2015 National Magazine Award (NMA). Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ hotmail.com (without spaces)

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