The TOPS High Desert Harpoon is designed by Terrill Hoffman. This is a truly unique design for a blade, so unique it took me a little while to grasp the utility of it. Once I did I the knife grew on me and I began to love it. Now that I have used it in the field for a while I have experienced all this blade has to offer. First off, I found it very useful while in the kitchen. I bought a huge brisket at a local market. I decided to cut it up in to sections to stretch it out over a few meals. This blade sliced through it like a hot knife through warm butter. While preparing potato soup for dinner cutting the onions, potatoes, and celery was a breeze. I find the design of the blade allows me to rock the blade to cut instead of slicing, a skill I am still working on. However this blade made it a little easier for me to do this.
For use in the kitchen I was pleased. Now what about field use? I started out by taking off the handle scales and attaching it to a walking stick in the form of a spear. Personally for me, this is a very useful tool while in the desert. I have gathered many food sources using a spear and now I would try it with a harpoon. Sounds a little strange to use a harpoon in the desert, but let me tell you I found it to be and awesome experience. In a lot of cases I would remove the blade to make my fireboards for my hand or bow drill. In this case I left the blade attached to me stick. It did not interfere at all. I was able to carve the divot to seat my spindle as well as the notch for the hot dust to collect.
Next me and my son went on a camping trip. We took the harpoon along to see what kinds of things we could do using the tool. One of the nearby water holes was fulled with bull frogs. We saw this as a chance to get in there and really see what this thing was made of. We harvested 2 frogs and took them to camp and prepared them for dinner. The blade preformed well while cleaning them up for dinner. Later the next day we decided to gather up a bout ten more frogs to take home and cook up for another dinner. Ill leave out the graphic photos and just show you the cleaned legs and the final cooked product.
Cleaning the frogs up was a fairly messy job. once the legs were cut and the skin removed I rolled then around in a seasoned corn meal. I then placed them into a hot frying pan to allow them to cook. For those of you that have never done this I must warn you. The legs will continue to twitch and move around in the cornmeal. One of them even rolled itself over while I was cooking it. If this sort of thing gets to you I suggest not picking frog legs for dinner.
Once these were a beautiful golden brown I removed them from the heat and placed them in a stainless steel plate from one of my mess kits. I added some hot sauce and began chowing down on some of the freshest tasting legs I have ever eaten. This is one of my favorite treats to harvest from the desert, or anywhere for that matter.
In the photo you will notice that the bones are left sticking out. I have found that I prefer to do this because it gives me a handle to hold on to while i am eating the frog legs. I do this by cutting as high up the leg as I can then cutting around the joint. As the legs cook the meat will shrink up exposing the bone just a little more. The meat is very delicate and is one of my preferred foods while in the field. That is when I can find it.
As far as using this blade in the field I found it to be a very good experience. the jimping on the spine aided in two ways. It made a very sure grip while carving the notch in my fireboard as well as holding the frog onto the harpoon. This is pretty important because while the frog is fighting on the end of the spear they can slip off. The jimping actually seemed to hold it in place until I could remove it and place it into the bag. While using the blade with the micarta scales in place the handle felt pretty good in the hand and I had no worries of slippage. This is a serious blade and it is one I would put into the hardcore category when it comes to blades in the field.
Blade Length: 3 1/2″
O/A Length: 9 1/4″
Blade Color: Coyote Tan Coating
Steel: 1095 High Carbon Alloy RC-58
Handle: R.M.T. Black Linen Micarta Handle
Sheath: Ballistic Nylon
Weight w/ Sheath: 12oz
Made In The Rocky Mountains USA
Designed by: Terrill Hoffman
Please take the time to check out the photo gallery at the bottom of the page as well as the video on the High Desert Harpoon.