ESEE Knives makes knives and survival gear in the USA, with a focus hard use survival knives and camp knives. Backed by one of the best warranties in the industry, their knives are very well regarded and enjoy an extremely loyal following. In more recent years ESEE has branched out into producing folding knives as well.
ESEE Knife Reviews:
Here is a list of all our reviews of ESEE knives to date:
- ESEE Avispa Review
I reviewed the ESEE Zancudo back in 2014. I gave it high marks, and since then it has gone on to be my pick for the best budget EDC knife. I stand by that recommendation, and still own and use the Zancudo to this day. ... continue reading
- ESEE Laser Strike Review
Alright, I’ll admit it – I’m a huge fan of ESEE Knives. I own a Candiru, Izula-2, and [easyazon_link identifier="B00X1PCQLW" locale="US" tag="brdfkdfk-20"]JG3[/easyazon_link], and I’ve had the pleasure of revi ... continue reading
- ESEE Expat Cleaver CL1 Review
Gripping the Esee Expat Cleaver leaves you feeling a little overwhelmed. You’re filled with the sudden urge to cleave things. There is something about its weight, its grip, and the fact you just know it can slice th ... continue reading
- ESEE-4 Review
If you are a fan of Randall’s Adventure Training®, then you are probably somewhat familiar with their influence in the knife world. Operating under the parent company TransEquatorial Solutions, Inc., which is co-o ... continue reading
- KA-BAR BK14 Becker Knife and Tool EsKabar Review
During the 2016 SHOT Show, I had the great opportunity to meet a man named Ethan. Ethan was working at the KA-BAR Knives display and approached me as I was viewing some of KA-BAR’s newest designs. We began talking ... continue reading
- ESEE Zancudo Review
Last Updated: September 30, 2017 By now most people are well acquainted with ESEE knives and their variety of fixed blade offerings. Hallmarked by their thick powder coatings, 1095 steel, USA origins, and unlimited l ... continue reading
- ESEE Candiru Review
Updated: 11/29/2015 Small, sharp, and damn near indestructible. If you want the short version of my Candiru review, that was it. Coming from ESEE, a company with a pedigree for making tough as nails outdoors and surv ... continue reading
- ESEE Junglas Review
Last Updated: September 24, 2017 Unlike a tattoo, a blog post is easy to edit. Easy to update. And that's a great thing because I originally penned this review of the ESEE Junglas back in May of 2011. Currently it's ... continue reading
- ESEE Izula II Review
Last Updated: September 22, 2017 The ESEE Izula is one of the most iconic small fixed blade knives of our time. Named after an infamous South American Ant, the Izula was designed to be a small, sharp, and incredibl ... continue reading
- ESEE-3 Review
Last Updated: 11/29/2017 ESEE specializes in outdoor fixed blade knives designed to take a beating and perform in a number of environments. Something special about ESEE knives is their no questions asked warranty tha ... continue reading
Brief Company History
ESEE originally started out as RAT Cutlery (short for Randall’s Adventure and Training), and they still use that name to some extent. ESEE originally had the Ontario Knife Company build RAT knives for them. This started out in the late 90’s and continued for over a decade. Eventually RAT wanted to break off from Ontario to have greater control over the manufacture of their knives and the RAT brand. A legal battle ensued and now RAT knives are branded ESEE knives and RAT and ESEE seem to be used interchangeably although the products are branded ESEE.
Today ESEE is headquarted in in Gallant, Alabama and manufactures their knives in Idaho Falls, Idaho. ESEE also offers survival training and makes and sells other survival products. ESEE knives are known for being no frills but incredibly durable and functional. Their knives are typically made of 1095 High Carbon steel and have micarta handle scales and feature durable powder-coated finishes. These knives are favored by outdoorsmen and military personnel all around the world. ESEE’s no-nonsense high quality knives have created an incredibly loyal following among the knife community.
One interesting aspect of ESEE knives is their warranty. ESEE offers an unconditional no questions asked warranty that recovers replacement of any knives that get damaged, except for rust. This is one of the best knife warranties I have come across and it is really cool to see ESEE stand by their products.
Best ESEE Knives and Most Popular Models
Izula – The ESEE Izula and the Izula II is arguably their most popular knife. Small, simple, and customizable are 3 words that come to mind to describe this knife, and 3 reasons why it is so popular. It’s a great size for outdoor use or for EDC, and you can’t find a more simple and reliable design. ESEE offers this one in a variety of colors and you can customize it with a paracord handle wrap, OEM handle scales, or after market scales. I’d challenge anyone to break this knife, but if you manged to somehow break it, the Izula is covered by ESEE’s no questions asked warranty.
ESEE-3 – If you are willing to shell out some more money, the ESEE-3 is a natural choice for a small to medium sized camp or field knife. Like the Izula it’s compact and durable, but unlike the Izula it’s a larger knife that comes with handsome G10 or Micarta scales. Add a rugged plastic sheath and you have a knife that works great for fire building, whittling or even “bush craft” if you have the skill set. For around $100 it’s a nice knife for the money.
ESEE-4 – If you are looking for a larger field knife with some batoning capabilities, I think the ESEE-4 is tough to beat. It shares the handle of the ESEE-3, but features a bigger and stouter blade. Perfect for batoning tough wood and other bigger jobs, the ESEE-4 is a popular model due to it’s size, solid ergonomics, and durability.
Junglas – If you need a knife that has some serious chopping capabilities, then the ESEE Junglas needs to be on your short list. This is a personal favorite and a perennial best seller for ESEE. That’s because this tool has the ability to chop wood like little else on the market. I’ve used mine for years and it’s my go too yard knife, hurricane preparedness tool, and all around “SHTF” option. The comfortable handle is paired to a large carbon steel blade. It’s tough to beat. Add the beautiful kydex sheath and you have a tool that will get you through pretty much anything.
I’ve picked out a few themes in ESEE’s knives. Here are few core components that make an ESEE what it is.
1095 Blade Steel – ESEE uses 1095 high carbon steel in all their fixed blades. 1095 is tough and easy to sharpen. It is perfect for working with wood and can stand up to the rigors of chopping and batoning. The only issue with 1095 is that it is not a stainless steel, so it will rust more easily than a stainless steel knife. ESEE powdercoats their knives to try and mitigate this, but you still have to keep these blades clean and oiled. 1095 is a popular choice for outdoor fixed blades, and I think it’s a good one due to its proven capabilities in the field.
Powder Coated Blades – As I mentioned, ESEE powder coats the majority of their fixed blade knives. This helps keep the rust off them, and is part of the signature look. The powder coating is thick, and in some cases I’ve found it impedes fine slicing, but it’s crucial for wet climates that will otherwise wreak havoc on a high carbon blade. ESEE does offer some uncoated knives, especially in their newer Camp Lore series, but when they first started out the thick powder-coating unified their entire lineup.
Full Tang Construction – All of ESEE’s fixed blades are full tang. Meaning the knife is a single piece of metal that goes from tip to the pommel. This makes for an extremely tough knife that can hold up against batoning and chopping. This simple design feature ensures you will have a robust knife.
Unconditional Lifetime Warranty – ESEE offers what is arguably the most robust warranty in the business. It’s a “no questions asked” warranty where they will repair or replace your knife if you break it. They don’t require any kind of receipt or proof of purchase, and the warranty transfers with the knife. So you are covered if you buy one on the secondary market. Here’s a link so you can read it for yourself. ESEE knives are a little pricey, but part of what you are getting is this excellent warranty. Plus a USA made knife manufactured to a high level of fit and finish.
ESEE Knives – Final Thoughts
Although ESEE is still a relatively young company, they have already made an indelible print on the knife world. Their knives are simple, beautifully made, and field proven. I have personally owned my ESEE’s for 5+ years now. They remain fixtures in my collection and I use them as benchmarks when I review other fixed blades. And while I have been mostly referencing their fixed blade knives, the ESEE Zancudo is one of the best budget folders I have ever reviewed.
So there is a lot to like with this company. If you are looking for a tough and capable outdoor knife then I think you should at least consider an ESEE knife. They have earned their reputation, and it’s no coincidence that their knives continue to resurface in lists of best survival knives all over the internet.