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Manly Wasp camping knife review: high performance at a low price

Offering plenty of bang for your buck, the Manly Wasp boasts premium materials and high-quality blade steel, resulting in a top-quality knife that is built to last

Manly Wasp
(Image: © Matthew Jones)

Our Verdict

This capable and well-built knife from Bulgarian brand Manly offers, in our view, unbeatable value for money. The Manly Wasp is made for hard use, making it ideal for those who need a high-performance blade on a budget.

For

  • Excellent blade steel
  • Good build quality
  • Exceptional value

Against

  • Three blade stops are perhaps overkill

Manly Wasp: first impressions

One of Advnture's best camping knives, the Manly Wasp certainly delivers on Bulgarian knifemaker Manly’s mission to offer practical everyday tools made from top-grade materials and representing unbeatable value for money. It comes in two versions – one with 14C28N steel, the other with premium S90V. 

Our test sample was the former, featuring a brushed blade with a nail nick. 14C28N is a stainless steel from Swedish steel maker Sandvik that is basically a more corrosion-resistant version of their well-known 13C26 steel. Despite not carrying the cult appeal of S90V, it is still an impressive mid-range steel that sharpens to a razor edge (but you’ll still need to know how to sharpen a camping knife at some point).

The handle scales of both versions are solid and chunky G10 fibreglass composite, finished with a repositionable deep carry clip. Our test sample was an attractive black-and-red combo that looked particularly striking.

Similarly, the overall fit and finish was excellent, with all components well machined and flush-fitting. The blade arrived sharp straight out of the box, with a drop-point profile that has plenty of belly for easy slicing.

In short, you get an awful lot of knife for your money here, and in fact we are struggling to think of another EDC slipjoint camping knife that can compete in terms of overall value. (Wondering what EDC is? See our What is Everyday Carry? feature).

Specifications

• RRP: £41.95 (UK)
• Weight: 80g /2.8oz
• Blade length: 7.5cm / 3in
• Overall length: 17.4cm / 6.85in
• Closed length: 10cm / 3.94in
• Materials: 14C28N stainless steel blade and G10 scales
• Features: Flat grind / Drop point blade

In the field

The 14C28N is an excellent all-round steel that is ideally suited to hard outdoor use. It handled all sorts of general outdoor tasks with aplomb, including a long whittling session. 

However, the action takes a little getting used to – although the blade is non-locking (and incidentally under three inches long, so classed as UK legal carry), the slipjoint mechanism features no less than three stops. So, it essentially opens in three steps, stopping at 45, 90 and 135 degrees before extending fully. This doesn’t make for quick or particularly easy deployment, though it does offer highly effective additional protection from accidental folding. It’s extremely unlikely that the Wasp will close on your fingers. Some will like it; others will find it a frustration. 

That quirk aside, there is little not to love about this compact but highly capable knife. Having said that, we would be tempted by the upgraded premium S90V steel version. It costs a little more, but in our view the extra outlay would be worthwhile.