Get It In Gear: Zombie Acheron

George Thwaites • Jul 26, 2013 at 9:14 PM

With the success of the summer blockbuster “World War Z,” and another season of “The Walking Dead” eagerly awaited, it would seem that the zombie apocalypse is a pop culture meme that simply refuses to die. Or stay dead, as it were.

Various manufacturers of mainstream gear items continue to cash in. The knife and tool industry has been at the forefront. Remember that kit full of Gerber axes, machetes and other cutlery Carl found in that dead guy’s truck? That, friends, was zombie product placement way ahead of the curve.

Ka-Bar Knives is among those companies who have since jumped on the zombie bandwagon with a slew of outrageous, big-bladed models. Ka-Bar isn’t the only maker to do so — even ESEE has produced garish orange and chartreuse versions of its classic survival utility knives. But Ka-Bar has especially infected the internet with viral zombie marketing.

With names like Zombie Swabbie, Famine Tanto, Death Dagger, War Sword and Pestilence Chopper, these ostentatious green-handled behemoths are great fantasy props. They offer differing degrees of real-world utility. Switching to basic black handles (provided) does make them at least appear a tad more conventional.

One thing these knives all have in common is a sheath very similar to the Johnson Adventure Blades version, which includes an external pouch for extra gear. Also included is a smaller, lighter skeleton framed knife called the Zombie Acheron.

The Acheron is very similar in design to the Johnson Adventure Blades Piggyback in that it can also be purchased separately. It is in the $10 to $15 price range. Like the Piggyback, it can be a useful little backup utility knife.

The handle profiles are virtually identical. Both are manufactured in China. Whereas the Piggyback is finished in plain stainless, the Acheron has a black coating (the durability of which I have yet to challenge).

The blade profiles are also quite different. The Piggyback has a mild clip point with a slight recurve and pronounced belly for skinning. The Acheron has a more dramatic recurve and wicked-looking clip point. It looks cooler.

While the Piggyback is far better suited to small game processing tasks , the Acheron is far from useless. I’d say it’s a slightly better trout knife than a small game knife although not a first choice for either.

The Acheron’s blade profile excels over the Piggyback in a variety of general, more utilitarian cutting tasks. Food prep could be included, although the black coating is a question mark.

The skeleton handle of course lends itself to wrapping with paracord. Without a wrap, hot spots will abound while trying to leverage this knife for assorted bushcraft cuts (and you’ll need to creatively modify your usual grip, at that).

The trouble is, with a full wrap even gutted cord prevents the user from fully utilizing the (very basic) one-piece plastic sheath provided. For some users a half-wrap (lower half) is better than none. As is the usual case with knives of this type, you’d probably unwrap it entirely for fish or small game prep to make for easier clean-up.

Were I an actual zombie, I wouldn’t be much affrighted of the Zombie Acheron’s 3-inch blade. But for 10+ bucks and a little TLC with a diamond stone, one obtains an eminently stashable backup blade that is extremely light — less than one ounce — and takes up very little space.

The Zombie Acheron may not be very useful in repelling waves of the undead. But who knows? In a pinch it might be just enough knife to keep you alive.

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