Field Steel TOPS Knives Cuts to the Chase in the Great Outdoors


Camp Creek

Around 25 years ago, TOPS Knives jumped into the tactical fixed-blade market to supply our soldiers in the Middle East with affordable yet highly effective knives. Once they established that benchmark, TOPS turned its attention to the sporting segment of the cutlery industry.

Just so you know, TOPS Knives doesn’t have offices in New York City. Their manufacturing facility is located in Eastern Idaho, where the outdoorsman can find just about any hunting, camping and fishing opportunity imaginable. The TOPS management and staff are seasoned experts in a myriad of outdoor activities, which gives them keen insight when designing their knives. While the tactical side of TOPS’ business continues to thrive, the outdoors side keeps on booming. We’ll focus on some of their sporting fare here with some stalwarts and new arrivals.

The Name Is Game

TOPS’ Camp Creek fixed-blades are based on the time-proven Nessmuk blade style, designed for skinning game without sacrificing utility around the camp. “Nessmuk” was outdoors writer George Washington Sears’ pen name, and the knife design first appeared in his book Woodcraft, dated 1884. The blade design is essentially a Drop Point with a widened, upswept tip (which, of course, negates it being a Drop Point) geared for riding under flesh and lifting it upwards as it goes. The main cutting edge serves the same utility functions as a Drop Point.

The TOPS Camp Creek is 9.0″ in overall length, with 4.4″ of the total devoted to a Nessmuk blade that would do its namesake proud. Premium Crucible Industries CPM S35VN stainless steel does the cutting chores and its tumbled finish cuts down on reflectivity. The Camp Creek’s full-tang handle offers finger grooves, and a protective guard flows off the blade and meets the upper handle for a comfortable grip. The ample handle scales are an attractive layered Micarta lay up of Tan and Brown, and there’s a fat, tubed lanyard hole at the base. A Coyote Tan Kydex dangler sheath is included.

TOPS’ Camp Creek Fire Edition is a spin-off of the original geared even more toward skinning. Roughly the same length as its older sibling (9.38″), the Fire Edition has a noticeably deeper Nessmuk blade with less of a point at the tip. The 4.50″ blade utilizes the same CPM S35VN stainless blade steel and tumbled finish. Designed as a “dream skinner,” the Fire Edition blade glides under flesh with long, clean cuts with less chance of puncturing organs. The Red/Black G10 handle is wider and has a slightly steeper angle to the blade for better positioning when skinning. Included with the Camp Creek Fire Edition is a black leather belt sheath.

Muley Kit

Skinning Machine

TOPS pulled out the stops on their new Muley Kit, which contains both a skinner and bone saw. Ideal for the serious hunter and tough enough to handle a rendezvous, the Muley Kit is primarily for medium to large game and comes with a leather dangler sheath to hold both the knife and saw side-by-side. The Muley Skinner is 8.75″ overall with a 4.5″ deep-ground 154CM stainless steel blade (tumbled finish) with a jimped thumb ramp for a surer grip. The Skinner’s 4.25″ full-tang handle has ample scales of Tan and Black G10 with bright orange G10 liners. Two finger grooves make for excellent purchase and there’s a tubed lanyard hole at the base.

The Muley Saw is 9.130″ with the same handle configuration and materials as its sibling. The 154CM stainless saw blade is 4.83″ with 4.0″ devoted to wicked ripping teeth and there’s a gut hook at the tip for slicing through hide. The Muley Skinner and Saw make for a highly efficient team that will make a processing machine out of the user. If you have a hankering for just one of these edged workhorses — skinner or saw — TOPS sells each separately with a black Kydex belt sheath.

Bull Trout

TOPS Filet

The Angler’s Angle

Our last two knives were designed with the angler in mind. At 6.13″ overall, the TOPS Bull Trout is a small, versatile fixed blade for processing fish in the field and other routine duty the angler encounters. The blade is a 2.75″ Drop Point of 154CM stainless steel with a tumbled finish and notching on the rear spine for a firmer grip. Below the blade on the front side is a deep index finger choil to enhance purchase further. Adding yet more grippiness to the Bull Trout are handle scales of rough textured Brown Burlap Micarta. Don’t count the Bull Trout out pulling extra duty as an EDC, either. Some knife users prefer a small, concealable fixed blade over a folding knife because, not requiring opening, it can be accessed much quicker — plus, there are no moving parts to break under duress. A chocolate leather belt sheath completes the package.

The TOPS Filet is for anglers who want a first-class processing knife to go with their top-shelf gear. The Filet is 11.5″ overall with 8.0″ devoted to a swooping Trailing Point blade of premium 154CM stainless steel with a tumbled finish. TOPS designed the blade (0.090″ in thickness) to tackle both boning and filleting, saving the user both time and effort. The Filet’s 3.5″ handle has thick, sculpted Tan/Black SureTouch G10 handle scales with plenty of palm swell — and there’s a jimped thumb rest on the backside of the blade for even greater purchase. Easy to handle at just 4.20 oz., the TOPS Filet has all the right stuff to turn a thankless task into a welcome challenge. TOPS delivers the Filet with a heat-formed OD Green Kydex sheath with a Black Kydex belt loop.

If you like what you see here, we’ve only scratched the surface of TOPS’ offerings. There are lines devoted to pure Bushcraft, cooking and clearing jungle paths as well. Check out the TOPS Knives website for a gander at their incredibly deep line of knives and tools.

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