Revised - IR - Zamberlan - Leesa
- Ok, I added what I forgot, at least what I remembered I forgot, lol.
December 1, 2008
Over the last two months, I have had the opportunity to wear the Zamberlans
on numerous occasions. I've worn them on over 10 hikes. 3 of those were
hikes of about 5 continuous miles (8 K) each, others were somewhat longer
but more broken up. I've also worn them for short hikes in the 5000 acre
wildlife management area behind my land, while walking the dogs, and around
The weather in northern New England has become much colder and wetter over
the last two months. Our night time temperatures are in the low 30s (-1 C)
and daytime temperatures range from 35 - 50 F (2 - 10 C). I encountered
rain on two hikes, thankfully both times were towards the end of the hike.
Many of the hikes were after rains that left the trails very wet and muddy.
My hikes were all at elevations below 3000 ft. (1067 m) and covered some
groomed trails, rocky pathways, and bushwacking through pine scrub areas.
I have found that the Zamberlans have provided my feet with very comfortable
support, allowing me to walk farther than usual, without any discomfort.
The shoe offers firm support, with a high enough instep that it helps to
hold my somewhat flat foot in the proper position for comfortable walking.
Even when walking for 6-7 hours a day, I end up with no hot spots or areas
that rub uncomfortably on my foot. The tongue of the shoe just barely
touches the front of my ankle - but the V-notch cut out of the tongue keeps
it from rubbing against my skin. Another spot that sometimes causes
problems for me in other hiking shoes, is the back of the ankle. Again, the
V-notch cut-out keeps it from rubbing uncomfortably against the back of my
The soles show very little wear, which surprises me after wearing them so
much. I expected to see more wear than the slight wear on the inside edge,
near the balls of my feet. The wear is minimal, it just enough to take the
edge off of the outer tread.
While hiking Province Mountain in New Hampshire in early October, on a wet
trail I managed to soak one of my feet. When I got back to the car almost 2
hours later, I found that my sock that had been soaked was almost dry. The
best part though was even though the temperatures were in the low 40s F (4
C), my feet were warm enough and comfortable. I found that the shoe had
enough air circulation, that it allowed my sock to dry almost completely.
The inner part of the shoe was dry to the touch.
I did notice that the shoes, when wet on the inside, leech color onto my
socks. I wasn't too surprised when it happened when the shoes were new, but
after weeks of wear, it was still happening. Its not a big deal to me,
since it is the marks aren't very dark, and doesn't show up on any colored
socks, just my white ones.
On a few trips, the trails were wet. I was able to wear the Zamberlans
while hiking over wet rocks, mud and fallen leaves. I did well on all but
the leaves. The shoes had great gripping power on the rocks, and did fine
on the mud. I really think wet leaves are almost impossible to avoid sliding
on, no matter what I wear, especially when they stick to the bottom of my
shoes. My feet didn't get wet at any time from splashed water. The water
ran off the shoe quickly, without wetting out the shoe.
One a hike in southwestern Maine that involved climbing over a lot of
branches and rocks, I was a little concerned that I might twist my ankle,
since I am used to wearing high top hiking boots most of the time. I was so
pleasantly surprised - I did fine, and my ankles had enough support in the
One nice thing about these hikers, that is not always the case with my
hiking shoes - they don't smell 'bad' after wearing them all day. I can
actually take them off, and leave them in my tent at night, without needing
to increase the ventilation in the tent. I'm sure there are others in my
tent who appreciate that too.
As I started to write this report I noticed something unusual about the
hikers. The still look clean. I've worn them in mud, they've been soaked,
and they still look clean. I'm not complaining at all, I love that I can
wear them out and they still look good. I'm not sure if the colors are what
helps them look new, or if they just shed dirt easily. I did take a medium
bristle brush to one of them - and no dirt seemed to come off, and they both
look the same after brushing one of them. I would say this is a huge plus!
Of course, comfort and durability are most important - and the Zamberlans
are strong in both of those areas also. I am looking forward to continued
testing of these hikers. The next two months will allow me to try them out
with snowshoes, and walking on frozen ground. Check back in February for my
long - term report.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Html here
Benchmade Griptilian 551 Knife
Initial Report - December 3 , 2008
Field Test Report - January, 2009
Long Term Report - March, 2009
40 years old
5 ft 11 in tall (1.8 m)
175 lb (79 kg)
Southeast Texas, Houston Area
I grew up in the piney woods of southeast Texas. Camping was a quick trip
into the mosquito-infested woods behind the house. My style has evolved and
over the last 4 or 5 years, I have begun to take a lighter weight approach
to hiking gear (I still use sleeping bags and tents, just lighter versions).
While I have flirted with lightweight hiking, I feel that I am more of a
mid-weight hiker now. My philosophy is one of comfort, while carrying the
lightest load possible.
Year Manufactured: 2008
Model: 551 Griptilian (Pardue design)
MSRP: $ 112.00 US
Blade length: 3.5 in (8.9 cm)
Blade thickness: 0.115 in (3 mm)
Blade material: 154CM stainless steel
Blade hardness: 58-60HRC
Blade style: 551 modified drop-point
Thumb-studs: 551T trainer
Weight: 3.25 oz (92 g)
Clip: black, reversible
Tip-up lock mechanism: AXIS
Overall length: 8.07 in (20.5 cm)
Closed length: 4.62 in (12 cm)
Information From Tester:
(all measurements approximate)
Weight: 3.39 oz (96 g)
Blade length: 3.5 in (8.9 cm)
Grip length: 4.5 in (11.4 cm)
Folded length: 4.5 in (11.4 cm)
Overall (extended) length: 8 in (20 cm)
Width: 0.5 in (13 mm)
ComboEdge/BK1 blade coating
Noryl GTX handle scales
Ambidextrous dual thumb-stud
December 3, 2008
Initial tester expectations:
After visiting the Benchmade website I was pretty sure that I had a grip on
this knife. From what I could tell, it was going to be a fairly nice
folding-blade knife with a nylon handle. After a little digging I was able
to discover the exact details of the AXIS locking mechanism and that this
knife should be foldable and unfoldable while using only one hand. The
amount of technical and practical details on the site was very nice. The
diagrams and photos clearly illustrated just how this knife and its
technology works and took a care of a lot of questions that I might have had
as a knife purchaser. Overall, the Benchmade website was easy to navigate
and very informative. I consider it the mark of success if a village idiot
such as myself can visit a website and come away knowing how to do something
and realizing that if I still had questions after the knife arrived, the
first place I would visit again would be the Benchmade website.
The Benchmade Griptilian 551 Knife is a folding knife with a locking blade.
It is also so much more. The black handle feels like plastic of some
sort, but it is apparently a nylon compound. The handle and grip can be
disassembled via five hex screws, but doing this voids the warranty. The
handle/grip area is textured in several spots and has a belt clip that can
be attached to either side of the grip area via 3 screws that require a hex
wrench of some sort to attach. The clip itself fits tightly against the
grip and can be rather difficult to slide over items, but it does hold the
knife firmly in place.
The blade can blade has a metal bar that runs through it near where it
connects to the grip. This bar provides a point to grip and flip the blade
out of the grip and into its locked position. Located within the grip
itself is another metal bar that extends completely through the grip and
protrudes on both sides. This is part of the AXIS locking mechanism and the
bar is spring loaded. When pulled backwards, it allows the blade to be
folded into the grip.
The blade itself is coated in a black substance and contains two cutting
edges. The edge closest to the grip is serrated and forward of the
serration is a regular knife blade. On one side of the blade is the
Benchmade logo and on the other side of the blade is the phrase "154cm"
which refers to the steel of the blade. On this side of the blade is also a
logo which reads "Mel Purdue Design," which I assume refers to the designer
of this particular model of knife.
The entire knife feels wonderfully balanced with most of the weight resting
in the blade area.
WOW. I just wanted to start off that way since I do not feel that my
description really conveyed my sense of wonder at this knife. I am a knife
using fool and after opening and playing with the Griptilian 551 for a few
minutes I realized just what a quality knife is about.
Benchmade starts right out of the box with instructions on how the clean the
knife (flush with water) and when to lubricate, as well as pointing out that
disassembling the Griptilian 551 would void its warranty. I also liked the
fact that Benchmade told me that the blade is sharp and the best way to keep
it this way is to sharpen it regularly before it gets dull. The literature
that came with the knife also explains the different level of Benchmade
knives (color coded) and I am very surprised to see that the Griptilian 551
is not considered a top of the line model. Just playing with it for a few
minutes put it heads above any other knife I have ever used as far as
quality is concerned. This is very visibly a well made and designed knife.
Gettin it open:
The first thing I wanted to figure out was if I could really open this knife
with just one hand and keep all of my fingers. I was pleasantly surprise to
find out that simply putting my thumb on the stud on the blade and pushing
forward with my thumb allowed the blade to slip out and lock into place with
almost no pressure or effort. The motion was smooth and fluid and I was
never in danger of cutting myself as the blade came out of the grip and
locked into place.
Closing the knife one-handed is a bit trickier, but almost as easy as
opening it. I hold the grip/handle in one hand, place my thumb on one side
of the AXIS stud and my middle finger on the other side of the AXIS stud and
pull back on this stud to release the blade lock. After I pull the locking
stud back, I then use my index finger to push the blade down into its folded
position. This motion is a bit harder to pull off one handed, but almost no
pressure or effort is needed to move the blade once the locking mechanism
has been pulled out of the way.
The Benchmade Griptilian 551 is easy to open and close one handed and that
was something that I had originally doubted after reading the website. I
was very happy to find that this feature was not only present, but works
wonderfully without any fancy hand grips or juggling acts on my part.
Now this is a knife:
What really impresses me about this knife are the small details that make it
just so much better. The most obvious are the textured areas on the grip
that are not located on the sides of the grip, but on the areas where my
fingers grip the knife when it is open. While not a huge deal, these are
details that really make this knife nice.
Benchmade used the metal from the locking mechanism as well as the grip
material to create these textured areas on the points on the knife were good
friction was of benefit. I have no plans to stab anything with this knife,
but it feels really good in my hands and makes me feel much more secure
knowing that my fingers are unlikely to slip off the grip and get cut on the
This is a serious knife. It looks great, feels great, and from all
appearances is designed great. I am looking forward to using this knife on
the trail and I seeing if it is as durable and useful as its design and
Things I like:
1. I can open and close it with one hand
2. Blade is sharp right out of the box
3. Textured grip areas in just the right spots.
Things I don't like:
1. Nothing right now.
- FR - Zamberlan - Leesa
HTML looks good.
Just a few comments.
Our night time temperatures are in the low 30s (-1 C)
*** It's pretty obvious but '30s F' is more consistent with rest of
your report ***
The wear is minimal, it just enough to take the edge off of the outer
*** it is just enough ***
Its not a big deal to me, since it is the marks aren't very dark, and
*** It's ***
The still look clean.
*** They still ***