When I was a boy visiting Yellowstone Park, I saw a knife in a gift shop in that I just had to have. Like the vast wilderness all around, it called to me. I begged my parents; they relented and for the next several years, that knife was my most prized possession. It made me feel like a mountain man, even as I used it to fillet bluegill and skin squirrels in the forests of suburban Illinois.
I have no idea what became of that knife, but when I saw the Morakniv Scout 39, it's the first thing I thought of. The classic design, with its unadorned wooden handle, double finger guard, and rounded butt—it's a spittin' image. And I immediately understood why I liked it so much: it made sense. Simple, nothing fancy, every aspect of the knife has an obvious purpose. Which is just what a budding outdoorsman needs.
What's more, the Scout is a well-made knife. It feels good in the palm and the blade is stout, capable of years of whittling, filleting, skinning, and whatever else comes its way. Which is more than I can say for that gift-shop knife, and which probably explains what became of it. The Scout 39, on the other hand—it's designed to last, maybe even as an heirloom, passed down from one generation to the next. I'm giving one to my nephew, and though I may not be around when his son is ready for a knife, I'm pretty sure the Scout will be.