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Gear Review: Tops Knives Shango Survival Knife Kit

A tough knife and a fire starter all in one.
august 2010 survival gear shango knife 445x260Tops Knives Shango Survival Knife Kit (Courtesy Photo)

We like to say our testers know gear so well they could make their own. And now they have. This fixed-blade knife—a multitool, firestarter, and rescue signal all in one—was designed by Backpacker.com gear tester Joe Flowers. The 2.75-inch, stainless-steel blade is thick enough to use as a pry, and you can maintain its sharp edge with the included sharpener.

The magnesium-and-steel firestarter is one of the best we’ve tested; a 10-year-old Scout was able to light a fire. Use the blade to flake off some magnesium (included) and the butt-end scraping edge to produce a spray of sparks from the steel striker. (See it in action at backpacker.com/shango.) The Shango comes with a slotted handle (for lashing), plastic sheath, mini-biner, neck loop, and whistle. Downside: The flat handle needs cord wrapping (not included) for comfort during high-pressure cutting or prying. $119; 6.2 oz.; topsknives.com

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