- 01_phatchfinalOne trick for using a sawback survival knife is to cut a circle completely around the log and then break it off with a strong blow against a hard object.
- 02_phatchfinalOne trick for using a sawback survival knife is to cut a circle completely around the log and then break it off with a strong blow against a hard object.
- 03_phatchfinalHere in the Northwest “kindling” means western red cedar. The TAC-7 both split and cut these sticks to length with ease.
- 04_phatchfinalWhile the knife won’t take the place of a good axe, it did lop off this hazel sapling with no problem.
- 05_phatchfinalReal springtime survival food, stinging nettles. These are full of many essential vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy in an emergency situation.
- 06_phatchfinalEvery survival guide points out the many uses of cattails but most don’t mention how deep those roots can be in the bog muck. Author dug this fresh spring root and shoot out with the SURV-TAC from his pasture swamp.
- 07_phatchfinalThe point of the SURV-TAC is hybrid tanto/spear cross with a fully sharpened false edge.
- 08_phatchfinalThe serrations on the spine may not be a substitute for a real saw but you will find many uses for them you weren’t expecting until the situation arises.
- 09_phatchfinalThe butt of the SURV-TAC provides a small but handy pry bar.
- 10_phatchfinalWhile these items haven’t been used on the show, TOPS ships each knife with a Snaplight and a combination magnesium/sparking rod fire starter.
- IMG_9906_phatchfinalTOPS SURV-TAC 7 (detail)
- IMG_9905_phatchfinalTOPS SURV-TAC 7 (detail)
As most dedicated followers of the Discovery Channel’s hit show “Dual Survival” know, the program was forced to make some casting changes after it came to light one half of the team had “embellished” his military background a bit more than necessary. Barefoot Cody Lundin’s new partner is Joe Teti, a combat veteran of Marine Force Recon, Army Special Forces, and a government counter-terrorist unit (from what I was told, the Discovery Channel went to great lengths to actually verify Teti’s background this time around). With the new team member came an equally new survival knife, the TOPS SURV-TAC 7.
The SURV-TAC 7 features a 7-inch long, ¼-inch thick blade of 1095 carbon steel Rockwelled to 56-58 on the C scale. The handle is black Micarta and is available in both a smooth and a ridged pattern. The black nylon sheath has a front accessory pouch and loops on the side for a magnesium fire starter and a SnapLight lightstick. The weight of the knife alone is 18 ounces or 21 ounces in the sheath. The SURV-TAC is available only through Teti’s website at a price of $295.
I made a special point of watching all the recent episodes of Season 3 “Dual Survival” in rapid succession on the Discovery channel website. Not having much experience with the earlier programs, I don’t know how important a part their knives played in the past, so I also watched a couple of the old versions offered on Amazon.com. While it might be considered inconsistent with the rest of their survival scenarios, it seems their personal choice in cutlery is the one piece of equipment they always start the problem with.
Cody Versus Joe
The subject of Cody Lundin’s knife often comes up in cutlery circles. From what I have observed on the TV program it is almost always some type of basic Scandinavian puukko-style utility knife. The exact knife has varied from episode to episode, but Cody is famous for his minimalist view of equipment, so this has not been important to the scenario.
Teti’s knife, on the other hand, has been starring in many of their emergency situations. I’ve talked to Joe and, in the Hawaiian episode, he really did kill that wild boar with a Cold Steel spear point and the TOPS knife. The same goes for sticking that nasty looking tigerfish while paddling a dugout canoe down an African river. Close observers of the show will probably notice that in a couple of scenarios this year, Teti was using a TOPS Anaconda rather than the SURV-TAC. Both Mike Fuller of TOPS and Joe Teti have told me this was because the new model wasn’t ready at the time of filming those shows. I believe it was the Anaconda that was used to butcher what I think was a “paca” (a medium size jungle rodent) in Nicaragua. Along the way there are numerous saplings cut for shelters, vines lopped off for rope, bamboo poles chopped off for the water inside and fire struck from the spine of the knife. The TOPS knife seems to be really earning its keep on the show.
One of the unique features of the SURV-TAC is its point pattern. It forms an almost symmetrical double-edge spear tip, but with the extra vertical ridge on the primary edge common to American tanto style blades. The top false edge is roughly 1.38 inches long, followed by a short flat area and 4.25 inches of “sawteeth.” The integral double-guard offers three holes for tying the knife to spear shafts and the butt is shaped into a stubby pry bar.
Learn more at topsknives.com.