CRKT and Ryan Johnson at RMJ tactical have produced yet another awesome tomahawk. The Rune is new for 2017 and with its short size and sharpened spike is designed to be a tactical breaching tool. But all blades have wilderness functionality to them, so I wanted to see if this was the right axe to add to my Search and Rescue kit. Axes are not really my fancy as I wrote in my previous article on big blades.

The Rune is a solid piece of SK5 carbon steel weighing in at 24 ounces. It’s 12 inches from head to handle and is .24 inches thick. That’s pretty hefty for a relatively small axe. The handle scales are glass reinforced nylon and have two cutouts to reduce weight and give a spot to tie in a lanyard. The Rune comes with a glass filled nylon sheath that snaps the blade in place and secures it with a quick release buckle. You can reverse the buckle to fit your mounting needs.

I found that the Rune is easy to control when chopping due to its short length and comfortable handle. A lanyard will definitely be necessary for prolonged chopping chores, but if you’re only going through one small log or doing a single breach, the tool will stay in your hand. The blade bit into small saplings very nicely and seems like it would perform just fine for cutting down kindling for your fire. I would not recommend this for logs greater than six inches in diameter. Leave that task to a saw. The grind and Nordic style head do allow you to choke up and do finer cutting chores. While these chores are best done with a small knife, the blade did trim very well. Choking up means placing your hands above the GRN handles, so you’ll be most comfortable doing a direct downward push or wrapping that part of the handle.

So far, the Rune seems like a capable tactical and outdoor tool. For the time being, I’m putting this axe in my SAR kit to see if it will be needed on missions. I have used an axe on assignments to clear out paths for litters, and I’m sure this tool will see some action in good time. I’m seeing a definite advantage in the Rune’s small size and ability to mount it just about wherever I please on or inside my pack. I will return to writing about the Rune after it sees action in harsher environments and situations than a short hike on my local trail on a sunny day.

Check out the Rune and other CRKT blades HERE. The Rune tomahawk is available for $150. Here are the specs:


  • Blade Length –  6.688″ (169.88 mm)
  • Blade Edge  – Axe Edge w/Beard
  • Blade Steel  – SK5 Carbon Steel, HRC 53-55
  • Blade Finish  – Black
  • Blade Thickness  – 0.243″ (6.17 mm)
  • Weight –  1 lb 8 oz
  • Handle  – Glass Reinforced Nylon
  • Style  – Compact Tactical Axe
  • Sheath Material  – Glass Reinforced Nylon; Black
  • Overall Length  – 12.0″ (304.8 mm)

Images from

We’re pretty in love with CRKT stuff and we’ve reviewed a few of them here on this site (here and here, and we have a “first thoughts” video gear review of the new CRKT Rune Axe scheduled for Monday, June 26).  The CRKT Crossbones everyday carry folding knife has won Blade Show’s Imported Knife of the Year, and we think that’s pretty cool.

Designed by Jeff Park of Mililani, Hawaii, the knife won the award at the 2017 Blade Show, which took place June 2 – 4 in Atlanta, Georgia. This CRKT production model is modeled after his first custom release. The unique dog bone shape and sleek blade recall a paring knife or a fillet knife, but this one is truly thinner, lighter, and universal.

Ten years ago, Park got in touch with nearby Hawaii resident and knife industry star, Ken Onion. The rest is history. Park has been his right hand man ever since, and after much goading finally released a design of his own. This streamlined, 3.5-inch plain-edge blade is stamped out of AUS 8 steel, and features a satin finish. The clean lines, and contoured shape flow flawlessly into the handle’s design. Purchase the Crossbones from CRKT for $100.

Here are the specs:


SKU:                7530

Blade:               Length: 3.536” (89.8 mm)

Edge: Plain Steel: AUS 8

Finish: Satin

Thickness:        0.124” (3.1 mm)

Closed:             4.503” (114.3 mm)

Open:               8.0163” (204.8 mm)

Weight:             2.4 oz. (68.0 g)

Handle:             6061 Aluminum

Style:                Folding Knife w/Locking Liner

A good writing utensil is a small but important piece of gear for a search and rescuer. SAR people are constantly taking notes for coordinates, subject descriptions, team lists, gear inventories, map doodles, and anything else we can fit in our notebooks. Such utensils must be durable, for as soon as they’re clipped into our radio vests, they’re dragged through the mud, smashed on rocks, and tossed around with the rest of our equipment.

While the space pen is certainly a fad that has caught on with plenty of people, the pencil still remains a favorite tool for use on the various waterproof notebooks available on the market, mainly because it’s a cheaper alternative. I carry a contractor’s pencil in my kit because I can sharpen it in the field with my knife. But, it does not carry a fine point, making it hard to get a good press into the pages. That can be an issue when you’re trying to fit a rope rescue gear inventory on a single pocket book page while in a downpour. To top it off, the odd shape makes it a pain to take detailed notes when wearing thick winter gloves.

CRKT seems to have solved this issue for me. New to the market in 2017 is their Bolt-Action Pencil, part of their collaboration series with Ruger. It has a 5 1/2-inch anodized aluminum body and uses .5 mm mechanical pencil lead. It takes the pain out of having to fumble with small mechanical pencils or a contractor’s pencil, while also having far more durability than its plastic cousins. In a pinch, it can also function as a non-lethal self-defense tool.

My only ding for this pen is the thickness of the lead. It’s .5 mm, whereas the still-common .7 mm would be a bit stronger. While a pencil may seem like small, even silly thing to rave about, it can make plenty of difference for those who need durable goods to do their jobs. Check out the Bolt-Action Pencil HERE. If you’re on the space pen train, CRKT also makes a Bolt-Action Pen. The pen is available for $50.

Check out more CRKT Ruger products HERE.

CRKT Ruger Pen CRKT Ruger Pen CRKT Ruger Pen

Columbia River Knife and Tool has a reputation for taking designs from custom knife makers and manufacturing them at affordable prices while still maintaining a high level of quality. Their blades are used the world over by outdoorsmen, first responders and members of the military. We wrote about two of their new knives Shadowfox saw at SHOT Show just a few days ago.

One of CRKT’s more recent programs is Forged by War, which takes designs from military veterans and sells them with ten percent of profits going to the charity of that veteran’s choice. The program has received widespread praise for both the purpose and designs coming out. And for 2017, CRKT is bringing three new knives to the program that are sure to satisfy anyone from hunters to tactical professionals.


The Tecpatl is a push knife designed by Michael Rodriguez, a special operations veteran with more than two decades of experience. The blade is piece of SK5 carbon steel with a clip point black powder coat. The package comes with a Kydex sheath and clip for attaching to webbing. The blade instantly presents itself as a self-defense tool as well a work of art; laser engravings can be seen along the entire blade which are inspired by Rodriguez’s heritage and service. The charities that benefit from the Tecpatl are the Special Operations Care Fund and the George W. Bush Institute.


The CST is a first responder’s tool designed by Kelly Rodriguez. Using her experience as an Army medic, Rodriguez designed a tool that replaces trauma shears for stripping clothing away from a patient. I admit, I was skeptical of the design’s functionality until I saw the demonstration in the video below. The CST design has no moving parts and doesn’t require fine motor skills to operate. The blades are replaceable, so the operator can change them out when dull. The CST comes with a MOLLE compatible sheath, and CRKT also sells replacement blades. The charity benefiting from the CST is Operation One Voice.


The second Forged By War design by Austin McGlaun is a knife that excites me particularly due to my love for medium sized fixed blades. The Rakkasan is designed to be a utility blade and self defense tool for someone in harm’s way. The blade’s large G10 handle will hold solid even when wet or dirty. The blade is SK5 carbon steel with a big recurve belly that may even draw the eyes of hunters. The Rakkasan comes with a Kydex sheath with paracord for mounting. The charity benefiting from the Rakkasan is the Green Beret Foundation.

These are only the newest additions to the Forged by War Program by CRKT. To see the entire lineup, click here.

Image of Tecpatl knife from

SHOT Show wrapped up last week and while most of the focus at that show is guns (it stands for Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trades), there were a lot of knives. As you can imagine, many different knife makers show their stuff at SHOT Show and it’s a pleasure to walk past a booth and be able to see so many different beautiful and functional knives. The knife maker CRKT is a favorite with our gear tester (you can read Rick’s review of the CRKT Homefront) and we were excited that there are new knives coming out.


The CRKT Pilar is supposed to be available early in the year. Designed by Jespers Voxnaes, it is small and affordable at only $40. I love the shape of the blade. It gives it a low profile and the shape of the blade makes it useful for different tasks without having only a sharp point that can get in the way. Since the designer is Danish, it has that understated, minimalist look that the Danes go for. For me personally, I wish the handle was a little thinner in the back end because my hands are on the small side. But overall, it feels nice in the hand. Blade length is 2.402 inches and a closed length of 3.530 inches. Plain edge on the blade with a satin finish.


The CRKT Hi Jinx Z is coming out sometime later in the year. The availability is yet to be determined so we’re not sure when you’ll be able to get your hands on this knife yet but as soon as we know we’ll keep you posted. Designed by Ken Onion, a Hawaiian man, it’s a simple and elegant knife. It opens with one smooth motion and has a locking liner safety. The blade is 3.293 inches and with a plain edge. Satin finish on the blade and a closed length of 4.721 inches. Weighs only 4.9 ounces and the handle is glass reinforced nylon. A little more than the Pilar at $80, it’s still a very affordable, beauty of a knife. You can sign up on the CRKT website to be notified when it’s in stock.


Images from