Ontario’s RTAK II should need no introduction among long-time survivalists and outdoors enthusiasts. But that said, here’s a quick rundown of my history with this blade.
Around 08 or so, I picked up a book called “Adventure Travel In The Third World” by well-known survival trainers Jeff Randall and Mike Perrin. The book was awesome, and gave a lot of solid advice on fitting in with locals that applied even outside South America, where the two work and train quite a bit. But above all, I was taken by two items featured- the Becker Patrol Pack and the Randall’s Training and Adventure Knife (RTAK). The RTAK was designed as something like a short machete. Thick enough to handle knife tasks, long enough to work like a machete, but still not obnoxious on the belt. It was made of 1095, which is an excellent steel for ease of field maintenance and durability.
The original RTAK went out of production some time ago, with the RTAK II taking its place with a few updates. Jeff Randall split ways with Ontario and formed ESEE knives in partnership with Rowen manufacturing, Ontario kept producing Randall’s original designs, the RTAK, Rat 7, 5, 3, and 1 as well as the Training and Adventure Knife (TAK). After customer feedback of problems with the heat treat under abuse on the 1095, Ontario switched the RTAK to 5160 spring steel for greater strength and durability when under high amounts of stress. 5160 doesn’t quite have the same edge retention ability, but it is incredibly durable and easy to sharpen.
I picked one up back when they made the switch and have used it quite a bit- in fact, its become one of my go-to blades. But instead of telling you how much I like it and my opinion, I’ll just beat it through a knotty piece of hardwood and show you.
So, as y’all can see, I’ve beat the ever living hell out of this blade. Not only has it performed for me, it’s held up to abuse beyond what it was designed to do. Its a hell of a hardwoods blade for a large number of tasks and I’m glad I have it.