Introducing the Phoenix Talon

The Phoenix Talon is a D2 steel hunting-survival knife.

You know who you are…you wake up before the birds are singing and hike/scout/track/trek all day and 10 min before sunset, you fill your tag. You have 10 minutes of light and still need to field dress, plus pack out 160 pounds of meat for your family. Your truck is a solid 6 miles hike in pitch black. …albeit your adrenaline is at an all-time high you know in 30 min you’ll be getting the case of the hangry’s. You pull out your trusty pocket rocket camp stove but can’t find any matches. …The Phoenix Talon has your back. Trust it for field dressing, trust it to get your stove lit. Explore with confidence. D2 Steel, skinning blade, comfort thumb grip hole, replaceable gut hook, full meaty extended tang, G10 scales, survival pocket, get outdoors and bring home the meat survival blade.

We launched this product on Kickstarter and were blessed to have some awesome supported who joined us on this journey. Much respect and gratitude for those of you who dare to support startup companies.

After talking with numerous outdoorsmen it became obvious that there was a need and high demand for a trusted blade in the great outdoors. Mojica sat down with our good friend Doug, an avid and well respected hunter. He brought over 16 different knives and said, “I like all of these, make me a better one.” He had different features he liked about each one and wanted us to see what we could do. We took copious notes for the ultimate hunting survival blade. So we worked on it for over a year and a half…and built one. Well, we actually built two with all the right curves in all the right places.   

Phoenix Talon and Feather on transparent background
Doug field testing

While in the the backcountry, hunters may find themselves on long hikes as they track and pack out – many times those long hikes turn into long nights. And sometimes it becomes essential to get a fire going. In mountaineering courses we learn that “two is one, and one is none” in terms of fire making implements. We should always have at least two ways to make fire. In times of emergency, fire can be a game changer. Stay warm, be seen, be found.

Thus, we integrated our EverSpark Fire wheel into the handle of the Phoenix Talon (patent pending). From lighting your camp stoves to starting emergency fires, this feature will become a great asset in time of need. 

GIF of Knife in action

We’ve all done it. As you’re setting up your tent and staking it down you realize the ground is a little tougher than you thought. You go for the classic “heel of your boot and pound” technique. The problem is, as you stand on it, or kick it, you end up bending the stake! You need a hammer. That’s when you reach to your side and pull out your trusted knife. You know it’s not the best idea but you do it anyway. Well, what if it wasn’t such a bad idea to reach for your knife when what you really want is a hammer? We designed a meaty tang (5/32″ thick!) and extended it past the handle for that very reason. So, when a hammer is needed but none is found, you’ll walk away a hero with your Phoenix Talon in hand.    

 These blades have been field tested and they are ready for any adventure.   

Field tested blade

It started and ended with balance. When you hold it, you can’t help but smile at how well this knife is balanced and feels in your hand. We placed the center of gravity just before the guard to increase control and comfort, and to decrease fatigue. Those smooth, filleted holes ain’t just for looks either. They not only lighten the weight and finesse the center of gravity, but also allow for a solid grip and greater control even when your hands might be a little messy. We softened those edges around the lightening holes to avoid uncomfortable, damaging, sharp edges.  Go ahead and run some paracord thru those holes without fear of intense chaffing. Yup, we put some thought into this design and are thrilled with how it turned out.    

Knife being balanced

The 1/4″ hex hole in the Phoenix Feather can be used with a standard #1 Phillips hex driver for gut hook replacement and anytime you need leverage while turning a screw bit and don’t happen to have your tool set with you.   

Hex hole image

The gut hook, with its replaceable (patent pending) surgical steel blade, can be used for many things.  Mojica used it to go thru some tough custom OE paracord …6 times in 30 seconds. (OE Survival Paracord contains 7 standard strands of nylon for 550 pounds of tensile strength, 2 lines of braided fishing line, and one line of jute – great fire tinder- all wrapped up in a very strong nylon sheath)    

We were also asked how does it hold up to some batoning action. We took it for a test drive and it help up fine: 

Each knife is great as a stand-alone tool but are even better together. The Phoenix Feather, with its convenient flat head screwdriver tip at the end of the handle, compliments the Talon and can be used to open the G-10 handle. And, we won’t be offended if you use it as a pry tool to get those pesky beverage tabs up.  

Handle image

When designing the Phoenix Talon, we chose flat-head screws for the G-10 handle for ease of use. The striker plate on our Kodiak Survival Braid or the Woolly Mammoth Survival Bracelet can also double as a screwdriver for the handle screws.    

Flat-head screw image

The handle can easily be removed from the Phoenix Talon’s tang to access the inside storage and to make cleaning the knife that much easier. The inner pocket of the Talon is conveniently sized to hold a replacement gut hook blade and a couple of TinderQuiks or it can be outfitted with our Go Prepared Survival (GPS) collaboration of the Talon Handle Survival Kit…but it’s okay to get creative here and customize the contents as you desire.    

Inside the handle

We gave Go Prepared Survival (GPS) a challenge to develop a miniature essentials kit for the handle compartment of our new Phoenix Talon knife. Nailed it! They met the challenge! The Talon Handle Kit they developed includes an Eagle Claw bronze #6 bait holder hook, Eagle Claw split-shot sinker 3/0, Kevlar™ 45 lb. test thread (can double as fishing line), sewing needle, button compass, and 2 Spartan Fire EDC Multi-Use Tinder. Spartan Fire’s also lubricate and protect blades and can act as a repair patch using the needle and thread. Oh yeah, the Spartan Fire Strip is also waterproof tinder!  …that happens to also fit great in your wallet! To learn more about the Spartan Fire Strips check out the GPS site.

Go Prepared Survival handle kit

Go Prepared Survival (GPS) is a company with a background in fire, EMS and military services. Their main focus is “our Customers, our Country and providing the best gear for a fair price. Specializing in American made, high quality outdoor products for military and civilian use. Worldwide Distributor for Defense Contractor, Speedhook Specialist Inc.” Feel free to check them out at www.gopreparedsurvival.com.

Long live American entrepreneurship!

We let GPS “handle” the Phoenix Talon (to create the custom Talon Handle Kit)…this was Sam’s first impressions about the knife:  

“I received a prototype of the new Phoenix Talon from Outdoor Element last week. They asked us to build a custom kit for the handle compartment of the knife.

As an avid knife collector, I have a working knowledge of how a fix blade knife should perform in the field. My initial impressions of the knife were mixed as the blade profile was unique to say the least. I first grabbed a stick of hardened fat wood and attempted to choke up on the knife using the nicely provided jimping on the top of the blade. The rear straight edge of the blade carved fine shavings and preformed flawlessly. The knife was comfortable in the hand while making feather sticks. Next, I began to baton through a quarter inch piece of oak with zero issues. The removable gut hook that protrudes from the tip of the blade glides through 550 cord effortlessly saving your primary edge for other tasks.

Unfortunately, my prototype did not have the spark wheel. In my opinion, having a sparking device integrated into a fixed blade knife is a game changer. In addition to the sparking wheel the Talon also offers storage for tinder and other small items. I was able to store a button compass, Kevlar thread, sewing needle, fish hook, sinker and a Spartan Fire strip multi-use tinder with ease in the handle compartment.

The combination of blades, striker and the ability to stow navigation, food procurement items, repair/fishing cordage with waterproof tinder earns this compact knife an exceptional rating.”

Sam Howell
Go Prepared Survival

More Field Testing!

Here is some of our OE team enjoying a moment during field testing after using the EverSpark wheel to start a cooking fire and using the Phoenix Feather as a very capable steak knife.   

By the way, the steak was a perfect medium rare. Go Mojica!

Relaxing

The Phoenix Feather will quickly become your favorite sidekick from caping around all of those tight areas to dinner time and apples.  

Steak image
Apple image

The Phoenix Talon and Feather set are the perfect complement for all hunting adventures. They both have their own perfectly fitted Kydex sheaths that are modular and designed to be carried alone or together. Check it out in the technical data below.    

Phoenix Talon and Feather in sheath

The Phoenix Talon sheath has an integrated sharpening plate for those field refining moments. 

Dimensions and specs for Phoenix Talon: 

Dimensions image
Dimensions second image
  • Material: D2 (HRC 61-62) Hold an edge and not a complete beast to sharpen.
  • Considering VG-10 as a small production run (100 units-150) for a stretch Goal
  • Blade Thickness: .158” (about 5/32″) …meaty! 
  • Weight: 7.7 oz
  • Full fixed tang:  Extend tang can be used like a hammer (for tent stakes)
  • Fillets in holes: for hand/finger comfort and to prevent slipping or cord chaffing
  • Replaceable 420 Surgical SS field dressing gut hooks
  • G-10 handle, removable for cleaning and to expose storage pocket
  • EverSpark Wheel to create fire
  • Main Use: Gutting, Skinning & Survival 

Rockwell Hardness Testing
The knives average between 61 and 62 (HRC). This is always a fine line to walk. Do you make it crazy hard so the you never lose your edge…but then suffer it becoming too brittle…and it also becomes a beast to put an edge back on? Do you make it simple to resharpen? …then risk having it too soft and it’s constantly losing an edge? We found a good blade in the lower 60’s offered the best of both worlds; not brittle, great for longer tasks, and you won’t have to take a day off work to get that edge back on.     

Hardness testing
Hardness testing continued

Phoenix Talon Sheath

  • Material: Kydex 
  • Weight with knife: 10 oz
  • Integrated diamond sharpening plate 
  • Weep hole 
  • Provisions to combine knife set
  • Removable, multi-position belt clip

Dimensions and specs for Phoenix Feather:

  • Material: D2 (HRC 61-62)
  • Considering VG-10 for  Stretch Goal 
  • Blade Thickness: .098” 
  • Weight: 1.5 oz
  • Full fixed tang Provisions to be wrapped in cordage
  • ¼” hex driver for standard hex bits 
  • Aft end ground down to be used like a screwdriver or pry 
  • Main Use: Caping

Phoenix Feather Sheath

  • Material: Kydex 
  • Weight with knife: 2.2 oz
  • Weep hole

1.5 years of R&D

We took our time because we wanted to get it right. Doug is an avid hunter and helps run a YouTube Channel for Epic Mountain Hunter. He is one of the most responsible hunters we know. Any excess pack out is donated to the local area. He has spent his days in the mountains literally “bringing home the bacon” as he has provided for his family. Doug met with Mojica over several months and explained what he loved, hated, and wished for in a basic hunting knife. He also shared a couple of mishaps that caused him and/or a friend to have some unplanned nights in the mountains…hence the need to integrate some survival features. Doug used several prototype iterations and gave plenty of feedback. Yup, there were a few screw ups, but that’s why you field test your prototypes! We feel we have come up with a very functional design and are ready for production. 

…Doug can be a real mountain goat!    

Doug on the mountain

We did not stop with a seasoned mountain dweller. We also reached out to a third-party engineer to consult with ergonomics and balance.  
 

Eric Luke: Consultant-Mechanical Engineer-Knife Handler-Outdoorsman-Martial Artist Extraordinaire

Eric is a smart dude…on his off days he enjoys skiing, surfing, climbing, hiking, SCUBA diving, and shooting. For his traditional 8-5 he deals with rotorcraft mass property for one of those fancy helicopter shops. Again, he’s a smart dude.    

Eric understands the discipline of martial arts. He has a couple years of training in Kung Fu San Soo in his college days. He’s currently an apprentice Instructor at Warriors Way Martial Arts (training since 2007). During this time he studied Jun Fan Gung Fu (Jun Fan is the base art for Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do), Indonesian Silat, Muay Thai, and Kali (Filipino Martial arts specializing in edged weapons). 

Since Eric is trusted with helicopter rotor blades and spends a lot of time studying knife handling techniques, he was a great adviser in this design. He offered in depth feedback on proper center of gravity and ergonomics when it comes to blades. …his insight was invaluable. Thank you sir!

Honorable Mention: Eric is also a licensed EMT with plans on becoming a Wilderness Certified EMT … ’cause that’s what awesome people do.

Spark

Received and once again a happy backer, always will support!!! Thank you again.

M. Gentz

Hi, Just wanted to let you know I received the large binding barrel replacement. Thanks so very much for the excellent customer service! I took the knife set on a camping trip this weekend and the knives performed flawlessly!

M. Wood

Love my Phoenix Talon! Thanks for all the good updates and keeping us in the loop. It’s great quality and look forward to using it on my adventures.

M. Jacquez

Just Received my talon and feather “let’s go crazy” set up……..,,it’s incredible I can’t believe the quality and the variety of everything in my order. I’m ready to try everything out. I have to thank both of you for everything you did. Consider me a lifelong customer and you really exceeded all my expectations. I will tell everyone I know how happy I am. Please don’t stop your creative talent. Thank you!!!!!

R. Nichols

The Element of FIRE

Fire picture
Photo by Colter Olmstead on Unsplash

Fire is powerful. Use it correctly and it can provide warmth, light, and protection. Use it incorrectly and it can cause mass destruction.  We have over 610 million acers of public land in the United States. Over the past 10 years an average of 6.6 million acers are burned nationwide. In 2017, over 71 thousand wildfires burned 10 million acres. A 2017 study by University of Colorado, Boulder’s Earth Lab shows that 84% of wildfires in the USA are started by humans or human activity. Annual cost of fighting wildfires in the USA has exceeded $2 billion in recent years. Be Safe and be careful when building a fire. 

A safe fire should have nothing that will burn except the fuel that feed your flames.  Examples of fuel include: paper, oils, grasses, wood, twigs, pine needles, leaves, and fabrics (backpacks)…heck, I have had the soles of my boots catch fire because I was not paying attention. When you establish your fire area, ensure that the fire cannot spread beyond your safe zone. Many public parks have built-in metal fire rings or grills. Use them whenever possible. You can also build a stone ring, ideally on gravel, sand or dirt, and a good distance from bushes, dry grass and trees.  Keep a minimum 5-6 foot radius from your stone ring as your “fuel free area.” Don’t forget to look up! Camping near a tree for shade and protection is generally a good idea but the overhanging branches present problems for your fire ring. Be mindful of the area above and below, as well as to the sides of the fire. You don’t want to start a fire over tree roots causing harm to the tree. In addition, you do not want to blacken boulders or mountain walls with smoke. Keep a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher close by just in case things get out of hand. 

When you’re starting a fire on bare ground, it is best practice to build up the area up 3-4 inches vertically with sand or dirt. This will provide protection for the ground. Gather enough dirt or sand that is free of organic material for the extra height. Then build your fire ring on the raised area. Once you have extinguished your fire, remove unburned material, and mix the ashes into the raised pad you created, and spread out. Any material that was previously raked away should be placed back once the fire is completely out and cold. 

Start your fire! 

Patience and preparation is the key to building a fire….and twice as much tinder and kindling as you think you will need. First gather tinder, kindling, and wood fuel. Tinder is anything that catches fire easily and burns fast. Dry pine needles, dry grass, shredded bark, and small shavings cut with a knife are typical, natural tinder. We also sell various tinder: Tinder quik (wax infused cotton), Spartan Fire, Jute bracelets, and Fiber Light. Check out the product to review quick videos how each one works. Tinder is critical to starting a fire. It provides the first burst of heat/flames. It’s always a good idea to have dry tinder on hand.  The Boy Scouts have a good rule of thumb for gathering enough tinder: Fill a baseball cap once…that should get you there. (FYI we have a couple of Eagles in our camp and they shared some great insight). Kindling is any dead and dry twigs with the max thickness of a number 2 pencil. Take that same baseball cap and fill it twice. Good fuel ranges from finger thick to the diameter of your wrist. Not all wrists are created equal…but that’s okay it will likely burn. Plus, you can split the wood if necessary. Focus your wood gathering on the ground for dead, dried wood. Do not cut limbs off live, green trees. Not only will the trees thank you, but your fire will burn better. 

Feathering some of your kindling and fuel is also a great technique to get the fire going. Here are a couple of video links showing different methods of feathering. 

You will want to use your knife to partially cut shavings but do not fully cut them off. We like to prop the feathered sticks upright and form the start of a teepee.

Lay the fire: 

Heat rises. Keep this in mind as you arrange the tinder, kindling, and fuel so that the heat of a single small flame (from the tinder) will grow into the roaring flames of a warm campfire. A teepee fire is a great method for a fire. “Log cabins” are great as well.

First place a large handful of tinder in the middle of your fire site. We like to arrange them into a mini teepee. Next make a medium teepee over the tinder with small kindling. Continue this process working your way up to larger kindling until you have reached your fuel pieces. Sometimes it is a good idea to take advantage of the soil base and sick longer pieces of kindling and fuel into the ground to create stable poles for the teepee structure. When creating the structure, purposefully leave an opening in the teepee on one side to receive fresh air. You can blow in the air or stage it to receive the wind if you have a good breeze. Remember it takes 3 things to have a good fire: heat, fuel, and oxygen. All three are essential. Many people will get a fire started then smother it with fuel and it goes out. 

Once you have your layers of teepee set up, we like to use a TinderQuik, which is easy and quick to light with a firebiner. Once lit, place the TinderQuik with the other small tinder. To get the TinderQuik lit, spread out one end and expose the tiny fibers. Lay a spark from the firebiner onto the small fibers. The tinder quick is wax-infused cotton so it will light easy but still be a slow burn. You can hold the TinderQuik on the opposite side and place the flame where needed. Here is a quick link showing a single spark fire using a TinderQuik.

If you are in a wet or high humidity environment, try and gather tinder, kindling, and fuel before it rains and keep it as dry as possible. Always keep some dry tinder stored in a water tight container such as a plastic bag or a vial (like our Wombat Whistle-Vial).  If needed, use a knife to baton a wet stick or log to produce some dry tinder and kindling. 

Practice, practice, practice. Try different methods. Grow your skillset. In an emergency, you will then be confident and know what to do.

Build fires large enough for your needs. Let’s face it, you don’t need a bonfire. This will minimize the amount of wood you burn and can make it easier to leave no trace once you are done. Be responsible with a campfire by keeping watch on it at all times. If you are leaving the area, extinguish the fire completely before you leave. Soak embers with water, then stir the damp ashes and then give it another splash of water. Repeat this process until you can hold your hand close to the ashes, and you do not feel any heat. 

On a side note, Leave No Trace www.LNT.org has seven guiding principles for the outdoors:

  1. Plan ahead and prepare
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  3. Dispose of waste properly
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimize campfire impacts
  6. Respect wildlife
  7. Be considerate of other visitors

They have some great content on these principles. Check out their website to learn more. 

When you are finished, please make sure that fire is out! Smoldering embers can be brought back to full flame with just a gust of wind. When Mojica was in college, his neighbor “put out” a cigarette in a dead potted plant (on his balcony). His neighbors left for dinner and an hour later the 8×8 cedar post next to the potted plant had 2-foot flames. Mojica did not have renter’s insurance, so he Spidermanned up to the neighbor’s balcony, had another neighbor toss up a fire extinguisher and he put out the fire. Soon after, a fire truck showed up and firemen, seeing the smoke, raced up to the door with battle axe in hand. Mojica explained he extinguished the fire and received a handshake from the Fire Chief. There are several lessons to be learned here. Always have renter’s insurance, ask for free rent when you save a building, …and always make sure your embers are fully out when dealing with fire or cigarettes. Smoking is bad for your health anyway; get to the outdoors and kick the habit.

Below are some more fire facts and basic safety tips: 

  • In 2015, wildfires burned a record 10 million acres of US wildlands. Each wildfire averaged 220 acres.
  • In 2016, wildfires claimed 5.5 million acres, including many in California and Great Smoky Mountains areas killing 14 people and damaging 2,400 buildings.
  • Wildfires are a natural phenomenon with lightning strikes, however studies show that 84-90% of wildfires are caused by humans
  • According to the National Parks Service, lightning strikes over 100,000 times a day and 10-20% of these strikes cause fire.
  • According to Lakehead University Faculty of Natural Resources Management, wildfires can be caused by spontaneous combustion of accumulated dead leaves, twigs, and trees…but this very rare.

If we reduce the amount of human-caused fires, then we are exponentially better able to manage the fires that occur naturally. Be responsible. Be respectful. Be safe.

Colorado Outdoor Adventure Blog

Check out the following post featuring Outdoor Element from the Colorado Outdoor Adventure Blog:

https://blog.colorado.com/post/adventure-biz-outdoor-element