ESEE 5 — big, brutish, and capable


ESEE 5 Review

Big ol slab of steel, anyone? Anyone?  If you’re the type to go big or go home, then the ESEE 5 is worth your attention.

With it’s brutish force, it’s often compared to the Becker BK2, but there are many distinct differences.

With a 11 of 1/4 1095 high carbon steel sandwiched between linen micarta, the ESEE 5 is one of the most recognized and capable bushcraft knives ever made. From soup to nuts, this knife is built for any tough time you’re going to throw at it.

The ESEE 5 is fully loaded! The finish on the inch and half wide blade is powder coating which means you wont have too many maintenance issues of using a high carbon steel blade. But, that being said, the edge should still be oiled to prevent rusting.  Plus, although its tough as nails, powder coating will chip if beaten down. Plus, remember that if you want to use a ferro rod on the spine of your ESEE then you’ll have to grind a bare spot in order to throw a spark.

This is a beefy knife (16 ounces knife only), so you may need to downgrade to an ESEE 4 for smaller hands. It comes in a couple of different color schemes, but ESEE 5 uses canvas micarta exclusively.

The sheath is Kydex with an adjustable sheath tensioner, paracord lanyard (with cord lock), and drain hole.  The sheath also features an ambidextrous clip plate, so don’t worry about right hand/left hand issues.  Also, the mounting grommets makes it MOLLE ready with a wide range of mounting options.

esee 5

What is the ESEE 5 good for?

Well, its good for just about everything. Since the ESEE 5 is such a big knife, its going to excel at serious camp chores, but might be a challenge for anything detailed if your hands aren’t dexterous enough. For extreme or survival situations, this is absolutely the type of knife you’re going to want because its generally much easier to use a big knife on a small task than a small knife on a large task.

To overcome this, I always recommend carrying a small pocket knife (my personal favorite is a Moore Maker cowboy knife) along with a large bushcraft blade. With this, you get the whole range covered.

ESEE is a well-respected bushcraft knife manufacturer that field tests every design thoroughly prior to production. Their knives have been produced since 1997 out of a need to make the perfect jungle survival knife that wasn’t too big and thin like a machete, or too small like many sheath knives. With this in mind, you could call the ESEE 5 a Goldilocks knife this one is juuuuust right.

ESEE stands for Escuela de Supervivencia (School of Survival) Escape, Evasion. The ESEE 5 was designed by wilderness survival experts with decades of bushcraft experience who train military and law enforcement personnel to survive and thrive in extreme situations.

With some models of ESEE clocking in at almost $200 a pop, you need to do your homework. This knife is not for an armchair warrior or for somebody who babies his gear. This is a slab of high carbon steel that your kids are going to fight over when you’re dead.

Here are the color and blade combinations:

ESEE-5P (Black Blade, Plain Edge)
ESEE-5S (Black Blade, Partially Serrated)
ESEE-5P-OD (OD Blade, Plain Edge)

For Venom Green Blade w/ Orange Handles
Add -VG To Item #. (Available In Plain Edge Only)

Heres what people are saying about the ESEE 5

I just received my new ESEE-5 in the mail. This thing is a beast! Although I was fully aware of the specs, I am stills suprised with its weight and thickness. That being said, I dont see either of these as negative attributes.


This is 100% Made in the USA and ESEEs lifetime, no-questions-asked warranty is unbeatable. They will honor their warranty even if you bought it 20 years used.


Amazing knife, great weight, the steel is tough as hell. Cut a couple birch trees down with this swinging it axe style. You will need to condition your hand to the knife though, the canvas micarta handle will rip skin off with extended use on your first couple of outings

PhotoNameAverage RatingPrice (approx)Buy NowLanyard HoleFull TangLeather SheathLength, OverallHandle MaterialSteel TypeCountry of Manufacture




  • Spyderco BushcrafterSpyderco Bushcrafter
  • Becker BK2Becker BK2
  • Condor RodanCondor Rodan
  • Enzo TrapperEnzo Trapper
  • Mora Bushcraft BlackMora Bushcraft Black
  • Fallkniven F1Fallkniven F1
  • Bark River BravoBark River Bravo
  • Benchmade SibertBenchmade Sibert
Spyderco Bushcrafter4.3 Star Rating$188

Buy on Amazon

Becker BK24.8 Star Rating$68

Buy on Amazon

10.5Grivory1095 Cro-VanUSA
Condor Rodan4.3 Star Rating$33

Buy on Amazon

10.5Polypropylene1075 CarbonEl Salvador
ESEE 5P4.9 Star Rating$154

Buy on Amazon

11Micarta1095 CarbonUSA
Enzo Trapper4.5 Star Rating$136

Buy on Amazon

8.25MicartaD2 CarbonFinland
Mora Bushcraft Black4.7 Star Rating$48

Buy on Amazon

9.1RubberSandvik CarbonSweden
TOPS BoB4.4 Star Rating$140

Buy on Amazon

10Micarta1095 CarbonUSA
Fallkniven F14.9 Star Rating$128

Buy on Amazon

Bark River Bravo5 Star Rating$210

Buy on Amazon

8.5MicartaA2 CarbonUSA
Benchmade Sibert4.6 Star Rating$177

Buy on Amazon


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This