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Knife review |L.T. Wright Gen 5


A solid, dependable bushcraft knife can be invaluable and a life saver.

The L.T. Wright Gen 5 may be the bushcraft knife you’ve been looking for.

by Leon Pantenburg

Disclaimer: I did not get a free knife to review, and was not paid to write this review. No one had any input, or influence, on the content of this post. All opinions expressed here are strictly my own. All I ever promise is a fair review. 

I had waded out in the Mississippi River up to my waist, helping load canoes onto a trailer. The Genesis 5 on my hip got soaked. The knife and my shirt got tossed into a bag, while we got ready to transport everyone back to the company headquarters in Clarksdale, Mississippi. I was helping guide a Quapaw Canoe Company trip, and a quality belt knife is part of the standard equipment for guides.

L t Wright knives, gen 5
This Gen 5 was put away wet, in a sodden leather sheath, and presumed lost . It was found a month later, after a month of Mississippi heat and humidity.

In the hustle and controlled chaos of packing canoes and gear, my Gen 5 and wet shirt got misplaced. I thought the knife was lost – the shirt never did show up again. A month later, the Gen 5 re-appeared. It had spent August in the extreme heat and humidity of a Mississippi summer, in a hot storage shed, in a wet leather sheath, zipped into a bag with other gear.

The A2 steel blade showed some rust. But the edge was quickly restored to shaving sharpness by stropping it on my pant leg.

A river guide’s knife has to be a combination survival/bushcraft tool. The knife will be used for everything from cutting up watermelons, to cleaning fish, to whittling wiener sticks. The knife has to be relatively rust resistant, since it will probably get wet. Edge-holding ability is important – in an emergency, the knife might be used to cut a tangled rope, life vest or line.

The L.T. Wright Gen 5 has been on my hip for the last two trips on the Mississippi, and it has performed very well. Here is what I think of it. First: the specs.

L.T. Wright Knives: Gen 5

Specifications (Courtesy of Knivesshipfree.com)

 Overall Length:   10.125″ 
 Blade Length:   5.2″ 
 Blade Steel:   A2 Tool Steel 
 Blade Thickness:   .125″ 
 Weight:   9.5oz. 

Features

 Thumb Scallops 
 90-degree Sharpened Spine 
 Lanyard Tube 
 High-quality Leather Dangler Sheath 

The good stuff

Steel: A2 is one of my favorite user steels. It provides the ideal combination of toughness and ease of sharpening, IMHO. No steel is completely rust proof, but A2 can hold its own, as my abuse of the Gen 5 shows. I own knives in many other super steels, but I always come back to A2 for a hard use knife. (Here is why you can depend on A2.)

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This rust appeared on the spear point of the Gen 5 after a month of extensive abuse. I polished the blade with Flitz, and could remove all the pitting, but it adds character.

Point: The spear point is one of the most useful designs. It combines a good belly design, with a drop point for piercing. That makes this point an excellent choice for a hunting knife that may be pressed into service as a survival knife.

Grind: The blade on my Gen 5 has a saber grind. It is flat ground, with a micro bevel. The Gen 5 is also available with a Scandi grind. For my guide knife, the saber is a better grind choice. I do more slicing than wood carving, and a scandi grind is too thick to slice very well.

Besides, I strop all my knives, and eventually the saber grind will evolve into my favorite convex configuration.

Handle: The L.T. Wright handles are generous, oblong and fit my large hands just right. One reason I regularly use knives in the Genesis series is that they have no-nonsense handles like tools should. Swing a hammer or use a shovel all day, as I have, and you get definite opinions on handle designs! L.T. Wright has it dialed in with this Gen 5.

Handle material: For a working knife’s handle material, I want micarta – it seems to be almost bullet-proof. Micarta also gets almost tacky when wet, and this is a big consideration when cleaning fish, field dressing game or using in a wet environment. I like a matte finish green –  the color and texture reminds me of the wooden pilings on the Mississippi River.

Lanyard hole: The Genesis series knives have a hole to insert a lanyard. I prefer a lanyard on all my river and user knives. The lanyard can assure the knife doesn’t get dropped in the water and lost. A loop of fluorescent orange paracord goes on my knives, so if it does get dropped on dry land it can be found.

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Spine: The Gen 5 spine has a sharpened, 90-degree angle on it, like an ice skate. This often overlooked part of a blade is very useful for shredding tinder, stripping bark off a stick or scraping a ferrocerium rod to make sparks.

Save the blade’s sharp edge, and use the spine.

Blade length: The Genesis series lets you pick the blade length best for your needs, ranging from three inches to six inches. The only difference in any of the Genesis knives is blade length and minor variations in the handle.

The Next Gen is the best choice for an EDC. The Genesis has proven itself with multiple appearances on Alone. The Genesis 6 has a six-inch blade and is a badass, hardcore survival knife.

The Gen 6 was made at the request of Larry Roberts, a two-time contestant on Alone. He used his Gen 6 in Season 5 to help him survive for 86 days in Mongolia.

Decide which blade length will work best for you.

Made in USA: All L.T. Wright Handcrafted Knives are made in Wintersville, Ohio. When you call the factory, a pleasant receptionist with a Midwestern accent will answer.

Whenever you might be tempted to by a cheaper, imported knife consider this: American craftspeople make a living wage. The company and workers pay local, state and federal taxes, and contribute to their communities. These are your neighbors. Buy local. Buy American!

Do you need a Gen 5?

Everyone needs a solid, dependable knife. It doesn’t matter if you are a river guide or an urban dweller – a knife could be critical to your survival. Get one with a proven performance record.

As a river guide, I must have a knife that can be depended upon under any conditions. That the Gen 5 frequently gets taken along on river voyages is the best endorsement I can give a knife. You won’t regret buying a Gen 5.

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