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Revised - IR - Zamberlan - Leesa

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  • Leesa J
    Ok, I added what I forgot, at least what I remembered I forgot, lol. Field Report December 1, 2008 Over the last two months, I have had the opportunity to wear
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 2, 2008
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      Ok, I added what I forgot, at least what I remembered I forgot, lol.

      Field Report
      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]
    • Thomas Vickers
      Html here http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/TESTS/aBMG551IR-TV/ Benchmade Griptilian 551 Knife Initial Report - December 3 , 2008 Field Test Report
      Message 2 of 3 , Dec 3, 2008
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        Html here

        Benchmade Griptilian 551 Knife

        Initial Report - December 3 , 2008
        Field Test Report - January, 2009
        Long Term Report - March, 2009

        Thomas Vickers

        40 years old
        5 ft 11 in tall (1.8 m)
        175 lb (79 kg)
        Southeast Texas, Houston Area

        Tester Background:
        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.

        Manufacturer Information:

        Manufacturer: Benchmade

        Website: http://www.benchmade.com

        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)
        Class: Blue
        Information From Tester:
        (all measurements approximate)

        Color/model: black/551SBK

        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)

        Other details:
        ComboEdge/BK1 blade coating
        Noryl GTX handle scales
        Lanyard Hole
        Ambidextrous dual thumb-stud

        Initial Report
        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.
        Tester's Description:
        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.

        Initial thoughts:
        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

        Final thoughts:
        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
        quality suggests.

        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.
      • cmcrooker
        FR - Zamberlan - Leesa Hi Leesa, HTML looks good. Just a few comments. Carol, Monitor Our night time temperatures are in the low 30s (-1 C) *** It s pretty
        Message 3 of 3 , Dec 4, 2008
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          FR - Zamberlan - Leesa

          Hi Leesa,
          HTML looks good.
          Just a few comments.
          Carol, Monitor

          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 ***

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