The Tops Air Wolfe is a little thicker than the other blades in the Arizona Bushman’s Top Picks of 2013. However, the over all geometry of this blade is great and will do the job when called upon. My overall opinion of this blade; it is a very good multipurpose knife that can stand a horrendous amount of abuse and come back for more. While testing this blade I wanted to do smaller tasks with it. Tasks like carving steaks for my tarp. This required a lot of beaver chewing, notching, and a lot of shaving. If a thick blade is going to give you trouble it is while performing light carving. This blade not only welcomed the challenge but also preformed just as well as a smaller knife in my opinion.
The handle of the Air Wolfe felt very comfortable in the hand. The G10 scales top the grip off nicely and while it was very hot while testing my hands never slipped. There is a generous guard on the handle to keep your hand from sliding up on the blade while stabbing or thrusting the knife. This makes it a very good defense tool in my opinion. The point of the blade is also well designed. I found while carving divots for hand drill spindles it finished the task with great ease. This point is also designed for penetration; this goes hand and hand with what I said about the guard.
While using the Air Wolfe it was very comfortable and I could tell I had a lot of control over the blade. Each time I sunk the edge into the wood it sliced through with great ease. In some instances the blade went right through the wood I was cutting with no effort. After hours of use the edge was still very sharp and was not in need of sharpening.
In the photo at left you can see the 1/2 inch diameter stick I am cutting. The blade sunk into the wood very easily each and every time making this task a breeze. Another task I preformed with this blade was a lid lifter for a pot. This is a very simple tool that can be made quickly and easily while in the field. While carving the notch for the handle on the lid this knife only took two cuts to make the tool.
I see the Air Wolfe as being a great addition to any kit. This means a tactical load out, a bug out bag, or even a wilderness survival kit. I would even go as far as saying this blade will function very well as a bushcraft knife as well. With as robust of a blade as this one if needed prying the bark off of a dead and down cottonwood or even a willow can be done with out damaging the knife. On several occasions I have used thinner blades to do this while constructing shelters or while looking for larva as a snack or for bait. The thinner blades seem to take much more time and care to not bend or break while the thicker knives there is less worry of this happening.
Ive heard in recent months a lot of talk against thick blades. While a lot of people are moving in this direction however, I am staying with the blades I have always used. I find that with thicker blades I do not need to carry more with while in the field. My load is lighter and in the desert that is very important. If I can chop with my knife I will leave the axe at home or in the truck. If I can carve notches for lid lifters and even traps with the same blade I feel I am ahead of the game. The Air Wolfe from my experience will the work that I need to do in the field. This is a no bull crap knife for serious knife users.
At right you can see the knife on top of the stick I had beaver chewed. I like to do this with blades because I can tell pretty quick about the edge geometry. This task can be done to just about any diameter wood to quickly cut it to length. To do this simply hold the blade while turning the wood as you cut in at a 45 degree angle. Once you have cut all the way around the stick you can simply snap it in to two pieces. I have done this with branches of 3 inches by chopping into the side at a 45 degree angle and snapping it to size. It is a very good method to use, it saves time and energy. From shelter poles to hand drill spindles it is my preferred method.
One task I simply could not pass up what making feather sticks. This is also something I will do to test out blades. It is also a very good way to make tinder for a fire. The wood I chose to do this with was pine. This was not fat wood but it was very close, this stuff filled the air with the smell of pine resin with every cut. I could tell it was well seasoned while I batoned through it. Even though it was pine the wood had become very dense.
In the left photo you can see the shavings being cut. The edge on this thick blade made it very easy to slice the long shavings from the pine. The wood was left by some previous campers so I decided to put it to good use.
The blade you choose to carry and use is your own choice. With some skill you can do what ever you need to do with any blade. However I like to find tools that fit well in my hand and are comfortable to use. The TOPS Air Wolfe is definitely one of these blades.
The sheath for the Air Wolfe is a high quality nylon that has a large pouch on the front with a clip closure. This pouch is large enough to toss in a multi tool if needed. It comes with a TOPS whistle and a paracord leg tie. The knife can be worn on the belt or used with any PALS or MOLLE webbing. Inside is a formed kydex liner to securely hold the blade as well as two straps to hold the handle in place.
- Blade Length: 5 3/4″
- Overall Length: 11″
- Cutting Edge: 5″
- Thickness: 3/16″
- Blade Color: Tactical Gray
- Steel: 1095 High Carbon Alloy RC-58
- Handle Material: Black G-10 / Traction Style
- Sheath: Ballistic Nylon
- Weight: 11.5oz
- Weight w/ Sheath: 16.5oz
- Handcrafted in the USA