Scandi knives are legendary so it only makes sense a legendary knife company, TOPS, would produce the world’s best Scandi Knives. Sorry Scandinavia.
Origin of Scandi Knives
The Scandi knife’s design and usage came from Scandinavian countries. In Finland they are called Puukko but are of the basic knife design we and others call Scandi. They were used as a general cutting tool. The people of this area of the world used the Scandi or Puukko for cleaning game, cutting rope, carving wood designs and basically every chore we will do with our TOPS. I have seen, held and owned many Scandi style knives. I have owned and used a Scandi style filet knife. This knife was made in Finland. I bought it about 50 years ago for around $8.00.
Traditionally the Scandi was carried in a leather sheath. The sheath hung on a belt, around the neck or even on a large button. It was carried in such a way which worked best for the owner. I found the “button carry” to be interesting as I have never heard of a knife in its sheath being attached to button. Maybe the owner did not have a belt but suspenders. So he or she figured a way to carry this tool without a belt. Just sew on a large handmade bone button to your pants or smock (traditional open full length dress).
By my count on the TOPS website, they make sixteen or maybe seventeen basic Scandi knives. The TOPS Mini Scandi Folder 4.0 is the only folder with a Scandi style blade. However the traditional Scandi knife sports a fixed-blade. I must say it was difficult to choose two examples from all of the Scandi knives TOPS makes. However, I chose the Mini Scandi Survival neck knife for the accessibility and readiness. Being a fourth generation fly fisherman, I can say the TOPS Mini Scandi Survival neck knife will serve my purposes well. I also chose the Scandi Trekker for its perfect size for cleaning your trophy chipmunk to trophy elk. The Scandi Trekker is ideal for hunting, working around the campsite and working around the home place. I liked both of these designs.
TOPS Mini Scandi Survival Knife
In looking over and testing the TOPS Mini Scandi Survival Knife I can highly recommend it to those of you who like the neck knife carry. I carried the Mini Scandi Survival around my neck for the better part of the day. This mini knife weighs only 3.8 ounces so after the new feeling of something larger than my neckless wore off, I forgot I was wearing this knife.
In deploying the Mini Scandi Survival from its black Kydex sheath I can say this test sample was well secured. This knife was not difficult to extract from the sheath but I can say my test sample will not fall out or be easily removed by snagging it on brush or like obstacles. I am confident this Kydex sheath will serve the owner well for many years. In carrying my test sample, I wore it over a tee shirt to keep it from my neckless. I then wore a button up shirt to cover this TOPS Scandi. This seemed to work very well.
The Mini Scandi Survival has a three inch 1095 RC 56-58 steel blade which is 0.130 inches thick. The overall length of this little bad-boy is 6.13 inches. The handle is a little over three inches long and made of Black Canvas Micarta which is my favorite handle material for hard outdoor use. The combination of the Canvas Micarta handles and the 1095 steel makes for knife I can get behind. Of all of the steels available, I prefer the high carbon steel knives to any others available. This is just my personal preference and says nothing negative about all the others. The 1095 carbon steel, 95% carbon, can be somewhat brittle in thinner samples. It can rust easier if not cleaned and oiled regularly. The Mini Scandi Survival is coated with a “Coyote Tan Coating” to protect the blade from rusting. Once the knife experiences some long term hard use, it could show signs of rusting if not properly cared for like all tools should be.
The Mini Scandi Survival feels great in my hand. The handle is shorter than say my TOPS C.U.T. 4.0 (I love this knife). Short handle notwithstanding, for light work in cleaning small game, cutting up meat to be roasted over an open fire the Mini Scandi Survival is perfect. I found it perfect for detailed cutting where finesse is needed and not brute force. The ergonomic design of the handle makes the finer cutting duties much easier. This is a great knife and a great product. The combination of the ball neck chain, high tech Kydex secure sheath and great functional mini Scandi knife is unbeatable. If you are looking for the ultimate neck knife then look no further.
TOPS Scandi Trekker Knife
The TOPS Scandi Trekker Knife is very close to the traditional Scandi knives made in Scandinavian Countries. The overall size, blade and handle design sings to the folklore of this Northern Countries of Europe. This knife design no doubt was fathered from the time of the Northmen. I can only reason a warrior who was also a farmer, didn’t use his sword or large dagger for every use. I can see him using a much shorter and functional knife much like the TOPS Trekker I was holding in my hand.
The Scandi Trekkers’ blade is a little over three and one half inches long. My optimal blade length for a working knife, is from three inches to four and one half inches long. This is my personal preference in blade lengths. So the Trekker fits nicely in my zone of preference. The handle of the Trekker is four inches long which just fits my medium size hand. With this four inch handle I can exert more power when cutting through thicker material. As in most TOPS knives the blade of the Trekker is made of 1095 high carbon steel. To protect the blade the designers and experts at TOPS added a Tumble Finish wherein the metal was placed in a device which smoothed the metal by tumbling or vibration. This technique is an excellent way to round out an excellent blade.
Another attribute I like about the Trekker is the fact it weighs only 3.7 ounces. When carrying a work knife all day, weight can be a factor. I know from my days working on ranches, farms and in the oil patch, I like to carry a fixed blade knife over the traditional pocket knife. What I like about carrying a fixed blade in a high quality sheath is the fact the knife is easily drawn, used and placed back in the sheath. While working on the ranches and farms of Kansas, it seemed like I was always using my knife. In these working environments, a good sized fixed blade like the TOPS Trekker will save much time. This fixed blade knife is much stronger than any lock on a folding knife. This fixed blade knife is much stronger than the usual thinner bladed folding knives.
For full discloser, just out of habit I did have my Case two blade trapper in my right front pocket. We could carry folding knives in school so my Case went with me everywhere I went. If I walked out of the house on the way to Church and did not have my trapper in my pocket, I would feel like I was not fully dressed.
I carried and used the Trekker for a few days. Like all TOPS knives, the edge is very sharp. I used the Trekker for opening boxes, cutting rope, digging out stables at the gun range, reaching that damn screw which fell behind my desk. I also used the Trekker in cutting up some very tasty smoked brisket my neighbor Beau was cooking. Beau saw my Trekker and asked to see it. I told him to go buy his own. However, I let him use the Trekker…only because he was cutting me out a chunk of brisket for my enjoyment. Got to love a neighbor with a meat smoker.
Conclusion of the TOPS Scandi Knives
No surprised on my end, I found both TOPS Mini Scandi Survival and Scandi Trekker to be of the highest quality and workman ship. I loved the design of each. Some blade designs from TOPS are not what I would have liked in a knife. However, I am one of thousands who likes TOPS products. Everyone has their own ideas on what blade designs would work for their needs. This is why TOPS Knives is at the top of the knife world. If you can’t find a cutting edge at TOPS Knives you would love to have, then you are likely looking for long bladed sword. TOPS has it covered outside of the sword category.
When reviewing and testing blades from TOPS, it is redundant to go through all of the testing I put unknown products through. What I look for when reviewing TOPS products is the intended functionality of the design. Is the blade too long, does the handle fit my hand? Is the grind and blade shape proper for its intended use? Does the knife come with a functional quality sheath? How does the knife and sheath feel when being carried?
I can say with all professional experience with knife designs and uses, the Scandi line of TOPS knives are the best production knife made. The two I picked out of many designs, were based on my preference in a fixed blade working knife. The Mini Scandi Survival and the Scandi Trekker did not disappoint me. I like both in their design and functionality. Both suited my current needs in a fixed blade knife. These are work knives. They are not combat knives, but could be used for defense. A TOPS Scandi will not be the only fixed blade knife I will be carrying next time I return to bear country. However, these two Scandi knives are perfect for those who work with their hands. Professionally I highly recommend the Mini Scandi Survival and the Scandi Trekker as your go-to fixed blade.
TOPS Mini Scandi Survival Knife Specs
- Fixed Blade Neck Knife
- Blade Length: 3.00 inches
- Overall Length: 6.13 inches
- Cutting Edge: 3.00 inches
- Blade Thickness: 0.130 inches
- Blade Steel: 1095 RC 56-58
- Blade Finish: Coyote Tan Coating
- Handle Material: Black Canvas Micarta
- Knife Weight: 2.3 ounces
- Weight w/ Sheath: 3.8 ounces
- Sheath Included: Yes
- Sheath Material: Black Kydex
- Designer: Leo Espinoza
- MSRP: $100
- Can Be Found: $65.00
TOPS Scandi Trekker Knife Specs
- Fixed Blade Knife
- Blade Length: 3.63 inches
- Overall Length: 7.63 inches
- Cutting Edge: 3.50 inches
- Blade Thickness: 0.130 inches
- Blade Shape: Hunters Point
- Blade Steel: 1095 RC 56-58
- Blade Finish: Tumble Finish
- Handle Material: Green Canvas Micarta
- Knife Weight: 3.7 ounces
- Sheath Included: Yes
- Sheath Material: Black Leather
- Sheath Clip: Belt Loop
- Designer: TOPS Team
- MSRP: $145.00
- Can be found: $94.95