Just about every hiker, camper, outdoorsman, or bushcrafter will have a different opinion on the ideal blade setup. Some will rely on one jack-of-all-trades knife; others will carry a small folding knife and a larger fixed blade. But one of the most common and versatile backcountry loadouts is the combination of a fixed-blade knife and an ax, hatchet, or tomahawk. This pair provides efficient chopping force for heavier tasks, and delicate precision for lighter ones.

TOPS Hammer Hawk backup knife tomahawk blade combo 2

Recognizing the value of a paired blade system, TOPS Knives has developed one of its own. The TOPS Hammer Hawk and Backup fixed blade were designed to be carried and used together as a complete cutting tool solution for the outdoors. They can be ordered separately, or purchased together at a substantial discount (more on that below).

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The TOPS Hammer Hawk is a full-tang 3/8-inch-thick piece of tough 1075 carbon steel, ground to a 4.5-inch cutting edge. Opposite the tomahawk blade, a differentially-heat-treated hammer head is designed for blunt-force impact tasks — pounding in tent pegs, cracking skulls, that sort of thing. The Hammer Hawk's handle is contoured for multiple grip positions, and fitted with handle scales sculpted from thick green canvas micarta.

TOPS Hammer Hawk backup knife tomahawk blade combo 5

The hawk includes a two-piece leather sheath. One part snaps over the head as a blade cover, and the second “belt frog” (highlighted below) remains on the user's waist, allowing the hawk to be drawn easily. The belt frog also features a pocket to hold the Backup blade or other small fixed blade. MSRP for the TOPS Hammer Hawk is $280, including the sheath.

TOPS Hammer Hawk backup knife tomahawk blade combo 3

To complement the Hammer Hawk, TOPS has also released the Backup knife. This 5-inch skeletonized knife is made from 1095 carbon steel, with a 2.4-inch upswept blade. This design looks like it'd be a good choice for skinning game, whittling trap triggers, or shaving tinder material.

TOPS Hammer Hawk backup knife tomahawk blade combo 8

The TOPS Backup comes with a kydex sheath and beaded chain, so it can be carried as a neck knife, or placed in the Hammer Hawk's leather sheath as mentioned above.

When purchased with the Hammer Hawk, the Backup is a $20 add-on, bringing the total price for the pair of blades to $300. The Backup can also be purchased on its own for $60.

For more info on these two blades, go to TOPSknives.com.

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