Kershaw 1074 Review: 18-Inch Camp Knife

Posted in: Machete Reviews, Survival Knife Reviews by Michael on February 28, 2014

Featured image for the Kershaw 1074 Camp KnifeThe Kershaw 1074 Camp Knife (18″ version available here) is one of the best in a series of popular and innovative knives manufactured by decades-old knife manufacturer Kershaw. The globally renowned US knife brand is a member of the KAI Group, which has knife manufacturing operations in China and Japan as well. The company is involved in manufacture of various kinds of knifes including camping knives, multi-tools, machetes, pocket knives and even kitchen cutlery.

With an 18-inch blade, the 2.1 pound Kershaw 1074 Camp Knife is the biggest in the Kershaw line of knives. In hand it feels more like a small sword than a knife. The sheer size of the knife makes it easy to use as a handy survival tool given its ability to cut, hack, slash, split and scrape among any other uses.

The massive 18-inch blade, high quality of the construction material, coupled with a comfortable and ergonomically innovative handle makes the Kershaw 1074 a formidable camping knife.

Blade Properties: Shape, Steel and Specs

The Kershaw 1074’s 18-inch (45.7 cm) fixed blade is made of 65Mn high carbon steel with a black powder coat for added durability and protection against corrosion. The carbon steel ensures toughness and resistance to wear while the powder coating makes the blade’s maintenance easier. The 65Mn steel used here is similar in composition to 1070, but has higher hardness, making for a tougher steel. The Kershaw 1074 has a full flat grind and drop point blade style. The blade is also fairly thick, despite being surprisingly light for the length. This is accomplished with a fuller that runs down about 60% of the blade length. The fuller removes a small portion of steel to reduce overall weight while still maintaining a reasonably thick blade.18-Inch camp knife with 65Mn high carbon steel blade.The Kershaw 1074 perpetuates the Kershaw legend of arriving “shaving sharp”. Right out of the box, you can use the factory edge to whack away at bushes or any other obstacles in your way during your outdoor expeditions. It is extremely sharp. The knife can be used for batoning, slicing, scraping, whacking, cutting, and slashing among other related chores associated with camping and other other outdoor activities. The knife’s overall length is 24 inches (70 cm), including a 6-inch handle. The 1074 is one of the best quality large blades you can you can find within the knife’s price range (around $50 or less).

Handle Material and Ergonomics

The knife has a 6-inch full tang polymer handle which has a Sure-Grip rubber over mold that completely hides the tang. The handle is contoured for better traction. For more convenience, the handle is also fitted with a hand guard at both the front and the rear to prevent slipping during intensive use. Furthermore, the handle has not one, but two holes for attaching a lanyard at both the front and the rear of the handle.

Polymer handle with rubber over mold for tractionMany times on these budget Chinese knives produced with a handle that obscures the tang you will find only a partial tang to save on material cost. Happy to say that isn’t the case here. The handle is held in place with two bolts and simply slides on and off once these are removed, revealing a sturdy full tang design.

With regard to the knife’s ergonomic aspects, the light weight does not in any way compromise the blade’s ability as a strong tool for chopping. If anything, the lightness adds to the knife’s usability and overall ergonomic benefits. In general, I have found the knife comfortable and easy to use due to its amazing balance and firm grip.

Sheath Quality and Features

The knife comes with a molded, hard plastic sheath (not Kydex) which has robust nylon straps for vertical or horizontal carry. It’s also ambidextrous, as the nylon straps can be removed and positioned for either right or left handed carry. Unlike a Kydex sheath, this one does not have a friction fit. It’s actually a little loose fitting (it rattles), but does have a strap that holds the knife securely in place.Camp knife in molded plastic sheathThe sheath has many points all around for tie downs or lashing, which could be used to add additional storage pouches or lengths of paracord if needed. A drain hole is also located on the tip of the sheath to prevent water from accumulating inside. For such a low budget knife I was quite impressed by the sheath. Much better than the average, low quality nylon sheath you are probably more accustom to within this price range (though I would still prefer a high quality Kydex sheath with a perfect friction fit).

Final Conclusion On The Kershaw 1074 Camp Knife

Without doubt, the Kershaw 1074 18-inch camping knife is in a class of its own with regard to value, quality of construction material and usability. The knife is generally meant for camping but can also be used for hunting and survival in the wild. The knife’s great aesthetics also adds to its appeal, making it a favorite among knife collectors as well. Despite having a very long and somewhat thick blade, the knife is surprisingly light for its size and easy to wield. The knife really needs to be seen first hand as pictures do not do it justice. It is definitely a robust and competent tool for a variety of uses. The Kershaw 1074 is clearly a game changer in the field of sporting knives.

Low budget, high quality camp knife with massive 18-inch blade and hard plastic sheath.The overall build quality of the sheath and Kershaw 1074 itself is quite impressive, especially when you consider the low price point. Ease of use, comfort, design and high quality materials merge harmoniously to constitute one of the best knives of its size available on the market today.

Positive Aspects

The knife offers maximum comfort and grip during use due to high traction on the contoured, rubber wrapped handle. Additionally, the relatively light weight makes it easy to swing for longer periods of time as you go about your work. You won’t tire as easily as you would with other similar sized blades. The value here is exceptional. The Kershaw 1074 can be found for under $50. For all you are getting with the 1074 (very large blade witch black powder coating, good quality steel, full tang design, decent sheath) the price is tough to beat. The range of chores this knife can handle also makes it an indispensable tool for anyone wishing to have a blissful camping or hunting experience.

Negative Aspects

Although a broad majority have found the Kershaw 1074 to be a magnificently crafted outdoors activity knife, some complain that it’s uses are mostly limited to heavy duty chopping and wood processing, though I would personally disagree. Additionally, some owners lament that for a knife this large, the grip would be more effective and balanced if it was designed with a two-handed handle. Minor gripes to say the least.

Kershaw Machete/Camp Knife

Kershaw Machete/Camp Knife

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1 Comment on "Kershaw 1074 Review: 18-Inch Camp Knife"

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I think the 10″ model is a bit better for this handle (and slightly more practical for more outdoor situations to boot). Unless you’re clearing lots of tall grass or something you don’t need a super long blade like this. I love my 10″ model though.

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