Contributors to this thread:
Havalon or Outdoor Edge Razor lite?
Curious what you guys prefer. I have both. Only ever used the outdoor edge. The havalon always felt too flimsy to me. But I like the idea that you can now get a gut hook and saw attachment blade for the havalon. When I used the outdoor edge, it was sufficient, however, it seem the blades dulled quickly and it was kinda a pain to clean blood and tissue out of the nooks and crannies. but it did feel sturdy
I have used nothing but a havalon for the past 7 years. Little learning curve but once you figure out how much pressure you can put on the blade your golden. Little tip for changing the old blades out. Use the new blade to pry and flip off the old blade. Changing blades is what will get ya. Hunt
Never used the Outdoor Edge but I am a big fan of the havalon. I've been using for years. I do carry a heavier knife for cutting around bone and such. But for skinning it is hard to beat.
Havalon for me. Let the blade do the work and it’s a great tool. Rarely ever use anything else.
I have and usually carry both. The Havalon is definitely sharper and will do most tasks once you realize it’s not a prying instrument. Easily do a whole moose with a few blades. I prefer the Razorlite when cutting knees, knuckles and boning.
I sharpen the new blades on the Razorlite and resharpen them after use. Then it’s a good knife. Too dull otherwise and no advantage over any other sharp blade.
I've used both. There's little difference, but I like the low profile of Havalon's knife and packages of replacement blades and the ability to carry enough blades for the hunt in the fabric pouch. I'm not well past 10 animals skinned/boned out in a row without breaking a blade and I sever all 4 shanks at the joint so that's 8 joints per animal too.
I have both. The havalon blades are slightly sharper than the OE. The OE razor pro has the swing blade on it (not replaceable) and this thing is the most useful tool for skinning/caping I've used. It slides right through hide like nothing in one stroke when used at the correct angle. I usually carry both as I'm not an ounce counter and they both shine in their own areas. If I could only carry one it'd be the OE razor pro.
Havalon for me...one deciding factor was you can buy the blades from a Taxidermy supply
Both for me too. I re-sharpen the Razor Lite blades also. I use the gutting blade a lot too so I can go fast. Not sure exactly why but I like going fast:)
I like the Havalon for caping around the face and antlers.
I use both and like both of them. With the Havalon you need to use the 60A blades they are thicker than the older 60 blades. I always carry a new pack or two with me hunting , if it seems to be getting dull a new one goes on. It only cost 10 bucks for a dozen new blades.
Havalon, a toothbrush cleans them up quickly.
I've used both prefer the havalon.
Cleaning Havalon is simple. Soak in a glass with dish soap and hot water for a couple hours. Then rinse off. I usually end up breaking a blade an animal, usually when the blade starts to dull. I love the Havalon.
Havalon the past 5yrs. Can skin, quarter, and debone an elk or two with a single blade. Weighs a few ounces with 10 blades and no sharpener required. $30 for 100 60xt blades or 50 60a blades. Throw it in the dishwasher when I get home. Won't ever own a different knife for field care. Keep a flip assist in my pocket I can get to quick should the horses get tangled or have a need for a stouter blade for camp chores.
Iron Will knife. Weighs 1 oz. Tough and holds an edge
The Tyto knife is nice too. Lightweight. Uses same blades as Havalon but a fixed blade
Havalon always. It’s a great trout cleaning tool too.
Always have a fixed blade if I’m camping in the woods overnight, though.
I switched to the Outdoor Edge this year after using Havalon for the past 6-7 years. I wanted a scalpel sharp replaceable blade with a sturdier feel. I have not yet used the Outdoor Edge but like the feel in my hand, feels solid. I had a scare last year when a Havalon blade broke off inside the animal, when I put my hand inside to retrieve the heart I cut my finger badly on the blade that had broken off inside. It scared me and It could have been a much worse situation but I got lucky. Granted, I have been using the same Havalon for many years and maybe the more recent models have better blade attachment, I dont know. I think Havalons are great and definitely serve a need, but I was ready to change it up.
The hot new kid on the block is the "Gerber Vital"....it uses the Havalon scalpel blade but the handle has some new features that is missing on the original Havalon. One has to do with a safer blade exchange feature.
Havalon fan here as well. Be sure and get the #60A blades. They are a bit thicker and not as prone to break.
I have both but if I had to choose, OE. A lot more ass behind that knife which I like.
and having a knife with ass behind it is a key factor.
My Thoughts exactly... LOL
OE for me, the Havalon always felt to flimsy and I like the handle and blade exchange way better.
Outdoor edge for me. Just one note either remove the blade and clean it right away after use or you run the risk of the blade getting stuck in it. Which is an easy fix soaking it in warm water.
I have both,,, got the OE Lite for Christmas,,,, they both work well
Another happy Havalon guy. Until Franklin suggested the Gerber Vital. It looks like the Gerber Vital folding knife (1.3 ounces and uses the Havalon blades) is similar to the Havalon but safer because it has a little button that helps change the blade. Changing the blade is the only drawback to the Havalon.
For all you guys using the Havalon do your self a favor and get the Piranta Blade Remover. It makes changing the blade so much easier. I carry both in my pack but the Havalon is my go to.
Havalon for me. Just use the packaging from the new blade to remove the old blade and you're good to go. Blade exchange always make me nervous, it's the only real drawback I have found to the Havalon.
Havalon user for a number of years. Happy camper. For moose, the Baracuda is nice. I also double with it as a filleting knife in a backcountry situation, though I've used the Piranta for that as well. Guess I'm the odd one out I've never been nervous changing blades and never had a problem. I grasp the blade between my thumb and forefinger on my right hand, and with my left hand holding the handle of the knife use the tip of my left forefinger to push the tab of the blade out closest to the hilt.
I always used my leatherman to change out the blade, now I see they do have some tool for it,,,,,
Havalon w/ 60A blades. I can do an entire elk gutless with a single blade, 2 at the very most. Smaller game like deer, antelope, Barbary sheep 1 blade.
Havalon, I carry a pair of cheap forceps in the pouch to change blades. If I remember right the Gerber Vital doesn't work with the heavier #60A blades...
I have several Havalons, the Gerber Vital and the Outdoor Edge Lite and regular. For a nice combination of features between the Havalon and the OE, the Vital falls right in the sweet spot. The only issue/problem people complain about with the Gerber is that very little of the cutting blade is actually useable due to design. If I'm on a guided hunt, where my knife work is somewhat limited, I always take the Vital. When I'm not ounce counting, I take the Outdoor Edge, if I'm ounce counting and will be using my knife a lot, the Havalon gets the nod. Like everything else, I've become a bit of a knife whore and have a drawer FULL of Havalon's, Outdoor Edge and a couple Gerber's. :) I just picked up a Tyto to play around with. Uses pretty much all the Havalon blades and is a great "fixed" option. Downside to the Gerber's is that they only use 60/60XT blades which are not as "robust" as the 60A's that most of the Havalon's take.
I have both but find myself only using the havalon .
I use both and have no complaints.
My son and I broke down an elk last fall. He had the OE and me the havalon. Both have their specialty but if I had to choose it was his OE by a minimal margin.
Both but more n more it's OE with hook.
The cool kids are using tyto franklin.
I have the Havalon, OE and the Gerber Vital. I have used the Havalon and OE to break down multiple elk, deer and javelina in the field. From my experience, everyone's comments are pretty much correct. I have not used the Gerber, and will likely not be using it in the future, because of a failure of the blade release mechanism which occurred very shortly after I purchased the knife. I am not sure exactly how the metal tab that is the blade release button is attached to the knife, but it looks like it may be spot welded. On my first knife, the metal tab fell off after only a few pushes of the button. It was replaced by the retailer I purchased from, but have lost some faith in the knife not to fail me. The loss of usable length of the blade was a concern, but I never used it to see if it was an actual problem. I keep going back to the Havalon as my first choice. Just feels easier to handle and seems sharper. But I can see how the OE would appeal to some with a different style. Neither knife has any problem breaking down an animal including all joints.
I will emphasize, the Havalon 60A blades, while "only" 20% thicker, are more like 200% more durable and hold their edge much, much longer than the 60 series...if you use a Havalon or any other brand that uses these blades, absolutely get the 60A no question.
Havalon for me. Like Hunt said there’s a learning curve. You won’t break blades once you get used to letting a inife that sharp do the work.
Looks like Havalon is way ahead in this poll with thumbs up from some pretty serious hunters.
I've used both, I like the feel of the OE a little better. Maybe I'm a klutz, but it seemed like I'd cut myself with a Havalon just by looking at it.
Ok, I'm a klutz.
One I bought a Havalon. I haven't looked back.
Did not care for the OE and gave mine away. Have used the Havalon since they appeared on the scene. I gut,skin and cape heads on 20 ish bears and 30 ish deer per year with an occasional moose or elk thrown in. As mentioned above the 60A blades are best. I do have an OE swing blade knife that I really like.
I've used both but prefer the havalon. My experience shows the OE edge to be quite fragile, easily curling under any contact with hard substance like bone. That quickly dulls a blade and I have not experiences such with the havalon. Yes, the OE feels more substantial in my hand and the Havalon can be tricky replacing blades, especially when hands are slippery with blood, but I still prefer the cutting abilities of the havalon system. They're also releasing newer models that have more heft to the handles, which should alleviate some of my form factor concerns.
Thanks for all the input guys. I have a buddy who has the Havalon Hydra. That seems really appealing to me, I like the idea of the larger handle, along with the large and small blades/saws that can be added. I have the Piranta for ounce counting scenarios.
I have used the Havalon for a few years now, and use my Leatherman multi-tool to replace the blades. I have a habit of cutting myself, and my Leatherman is always on my belt or in my pack, so why not use it?
Havalon hands down. I have both.
Have both never use the OE cant cape around antlers very well with the OE. Havalon piranta I can do a whole moose caped deboned with 3 blades max. dedicate 1 blade for skinning 1 for boning and 1 as a back up. Another pro to the havalon is blades are like 40 bucks on amazon for 100 compared to the cost of blades for an OE its a huge saver as a guide. Havalon is lighter. As for everyone changing blades not sure why its so hard or dangerous. left hand finger and thumb grab the blade of course on the backside, right hand holds the handle and thumb lifts the tab while left hand slides the blade off. I am on blade 450ish and yet to cut myself changing a blade.
X2 rattlinjunk, why not put the leatherman to use. It absolutely stifles that mental image of lacerating your thumb on a surgical razor 2mi from camp.
Outdoor Edge for me is the easy choice. .. I didn't care for the feel or build of the Havalon at all.
I carry a razor lite every day including hunting season.
Havalon would be my choice.
Like everything else in this world, I have a couple replaceable blade knives. ;). I prefer Havalon.
I actually wrote a review on replaceable blade knives. Here it is “copied and pasted”: (Warning, this may be a little TMI;)
Replaceable Knife Review
After a wonderful week in Omaha at P&Y, I was motivated to come back here and talk about gear. We’ve already discussed boots, packs, pants, soft shells, rangefinders, binos, bows, rain gear and of course the “puffy” jacket. What would be next...While rummaging around my shop one night, I opened my knife drawer, and the lightbulb came on: Replaceable Blade Knives.
When Havalon hit the scene a few years ago, I thought “what a great concept”. After buying and trying my first, it became clear that this was a “no brainer” for me. You see, I’m pretty much sharpening illiterate/inept? So the decision for me to switch from a fixed blade knife to a replaceable blade knife was an easy one. Havalon and surgery/taxidermy scalpels were pretty much the only option in the beginning. A few years later, (like everything else that works) we have a bunch of great choices.
As you can see by the photo above, I’ve tried/own most of what’s currently available. The beauty of trying/owning most of these these little knives is that they are relatively inexpensive. Most can be had on EBay for less than $30 a piece.
I’ve given most of these knives a workout on one hunt or another. I’ll try to do each post by brand showing the weight, talking about the functionality and the pluses or minuses of each knife I’ve used.
Let’s start first with the one that started it all: Havalon. IMO Havalon is the benchmark for replaceable blade knives. You pay a little more, but you also get a little more. I’ve owned a bunch of Havalon’s since they hit the scene. I’ve never had a failure, most of the models accept both the 60a and 60 xt blades, and even a small saw blade. They have several different models to fit your needs. My favorite is the Piranta Stag-. It is the lightest Havalon I’ve found—-. The rough handle is easy to grip and I like my knife to be “visible”, so I opted for orange. This is my “go to” mountain knife.
Another favorite Havalon of mine is the large blade Barracuda. This is their large knife with blade options for boning large animals, a fillet knife for fish and a saw blade. This knife works great on those Alaska DIY hunts where all three blades come in very handy. I’ve used this knife on several moose and elk hunts as well. I also use this as my boning knife at home.
I have nothing negative to say about Havalon. You need to be extremely careful when handling these knives, especially on a remote mountain hunt. For changing blades I generally use a small leatherman or the plastic tool that comes with the knife. I had my first Havalon accident this past fall when I stuck the big blade from the Barracuda through my thumb while breaking down my brother’s deer. The scar is a stark reminder to the sharpness of these blades as I stare down at it while I type. I have a feeling the Havalon has sent many to the emergency room!
Before we move on, let’s talk about blades. My favorite blades for these knives are the 60a. They seem to be a little thicker and less brittle than the 60xt. Most of the Havalon’s accept both. Some of the other knives shown above do not accept both. The Havalon’s will also accept the 22’s which are a short blade great for caping.
Tyto- This knife is a little different in that is not a folder. It is a handy little knife with a fixed skeletal handle. I don’t like carrying this one due to the fact that it doesn’t fold up. Works great for skinning, caping etc. Very high quality, no nonsense knife. Now also comes in a titanium version for the die hard oz. counter.
Gerber- I had high hopes for this one as it is the smallest lightest replaceable blade knife I have found. However, I just don’t trust the quality and mechanics of this one. The blade removal system on this one, while great in theory, just doesn’t stand up to any abuse. Multiple reports of this knife flying apart and the blade retention system breaking. Another disadvantage is that it only accepts 60xt blades. The blades that come with the knife trend to dull fast. This is one of the only “fails” in my group. I’ll carry it in the woods at home when I just want to carry a knife, but that’s it. The large version of this functions the same. The large one feels a little “more robust”, but I still can’t trust it.
Kershaw-This one is new to me and has not been on a hunt yet. It appears to have some potential. The blade feels a little flimsy when the knife is open, but not bad. The best part about this knife is the spare”handle” that comes with it. It is a polymer spare fixed handle that could be used as a backup knife. I’ll probably throw this handle in as a spare on all of my hunts. It’s thin and weighs nothing.
Outdoor Edge entered the market soon after Havalon. They use their own blades and come in a 3” or 3.5” version. The blades are much safer to replace but dull much quicker than a 60a blade. I’ve used these knives a ton and while I’ve never had an issue with the blade retention button, I’ve heard of a few that have. I’ve had great luck with these knives.
Summary: While all of these knives have worked and performed for me, there is only one I will take when having a reliable knife is an absolute necessity and that is a Havalon. I’ve had great luck with the Outdoor Edge knives and the Kershaw appears to be well made but when it comes to a mountain hunt, I’ll be carrying a Havalon.
I tossed my Havalons in the garbage once I started using Outdoor Edge. The last time I used a Havalon was in Alaska on a dall sheep hunt. The blade snapped and I came super close to royally stabbing myself. It could have been a super bad deal! I've snapped quite a few Hav blades and decided enough is enough! I'm not sure if make any thicker blades than what I used but it's super dangerous how easily they snap! Not worth the risk to me!
I have never snapped an OE blade and have been using and abusing them for the past 5 years.....and I use them the same exact way I used the Havs. I skin an incredible number of capes for pedestal and life-sized mounts and hardly ever have any accidental slices like I used to have with Havs. I also skin 3 to 8 turkeys/year for lifesized mounts and hardly ever have any problems slicing through the paper-thin skins of turkeys. I'm certainly glad I switched to Outdoor Edge! OE blades and knives themselves are pretty much a bargain. I have around 5 of them in different packs, truck, etc.
I have 6 replaceable blade knives. I usually go with the havalon. Tyto has it figured out selling a $4 piece of metal for $55. You just have to put your product on the right dudes hands and you'll make a fortune.
Had both and just prefer the OE Lite for how it fits/feels in my hand...
I have both Havalon & OE. I reach for the Havalon first.
If circumstances push me to be speeding up the process, I’ll use the OE. I am more likely to snap Havalon blades if I’m hurrying.
I also like to carry a lightweight fixed blade. I received a Kestrel as a gift, but the edge dulled amazingly before I was done with the first deer. It was replaced by an Esee Izula the following Father’s Day I believe. The Kestrel is now part of the canoeing cook kit.
Havalon with 60A blades. You need to learn how to finesse your butchering and be a surgeon not a hacker. I never break blades accidentally: I just don't push/twist that hard. Occasionally if the blade is getting dull and I'm working on joint separation and don't care about the blade anymore I will consciously allow myself to get too aggressive and sometimes break one, but even that is rare.
A single 60A blade will get me through anything smaller than an elk using gutless method, deboning and removing the skull. Sometimes I can even make it through an entire elk with a single blade, but usually it takes me two.
I know it's kind of dumb to resharpen replaceable blades, but on blades like the baracuda I find it worth it. 2 swipes per side and the thing is razor again. Because the blade is so thin it resharpens instantly.
If you're a "get a bigger hammer" type, the OE is probably for you. If you're a "don't be a tool, use the right tool" type, the havalon is probably for you. Kota-man, thanx for the review and write up......again!
I have both but prefer the havalon . I leave the used blade on to start the skinning process then switch to a new blade for the gutless process.
I looked at both. The Havalon looked fragile, and the blades more difficult to change. Also read (on the internet so it has to be true) the blades came out once in a while.
I went with the OE. No regrets. FWIW I bought the RazorLite 2 pack - 3" & 3 1/2" blade) for $20 at Menards. For that price I got 2 and gave a set to my Buddy and his boy.