No badass knife is complete without a badass sheath to sit in, and you can find a worthy-enough sheath from Sagewood Gear. Sagewood Gear is a small outdoors equipment manufacturer whose gear is tailored for wilderness adventurers. A majority of their products are made-to-order leather sheaths for a variety of popular bushcraft knives such as ESEE Knives. Take it from someone who strongly prefers Kydex for all of his holsters and sheaths, their ESEE 3 Bushcraft Sheath is an exceptional leather product made from quality materials. Here are the specifications for the ESEE 3 Bushcraft Sheath from Sagewood Gear:
-Pouch Style Sheath
-Wickett & Craig’s Grade A, 9-10oz, Vegetable Tanned, Saddle Skirting Leather
-Water Resistant Wax Treatment
-Steel Black Oxide Chicago Screw Hardware
-DOT Scovill Mil-Spec Button Snaps
-Optional Dangler Belt Loop
My thoughts and review
Leather versus Kydex
Kydex sheaths are extremely popular for a good reason. Kydex sheaths usually offer a better fit, better protection, and better resistance from bad weather or environmental factors than their leather counterparts. That isn’t to say that leather sheaths are undesirable though. Despite the fact that leather requires more maintenance, plenty of people prefer its traditional aesthetic appeal. Aside from its aesthetics, leather sheaths are usually more comfortable and quieter than Kydex or plastic. If you don’t mind having to perform a little upkeep, it ultimately just comes down to personal preference.
The biggest disadvantage with leather sheaths is that problems can occur when they get wet. Water can ruin the texture and appearance of leather if it isn’t treated with leather conditioner; meanwhile, moisture can build up in your sheath and rust your blade. ESEE Knive, in particular,r are not stainless steel or corrosion resistant. In an attempt to mitigate the negative effects that water and moisture can have on a leather, Sagewood Gear applies a beeswax leather conditioner on the exterior and interior of the Bushcraft Sheath. Though it remains to be seen how well the Bushcraft Sheath holds up, remember that all leather must receive maintenance and be properly cared for, or you will risk ruining it.
Each of our sheaths is waxed inside and out with a Beeswax based Leather Conditioner. We apply this Leather Conditioner with heat, which liquefies the wax so it penetrates deep into the leather fibers. Our wax treatment in the interior of the sheath ensures that moisture will not be trapped within the sheath, to avoid the chance of rust forming on your blade. (Sagewood Gear)
The Bushcraft Sheath uses passive retention to keep your blade secured inside the sheath. There is not a strap or any other mechanism serving as an active retention component. Rest assured though, holding your sheath upside-down and shaking it vehemently will not force it out, I’ve tested this out numerous times due to my own concerns. There also isn’t any Kydex or plastic material inside the sheath, the retention comes solely from the molded leather. Your ESEE 3 sits deep inside the sheath and roughly half of the handle will be exposed.
Dangler Belt Loop
An optional attachment offered for the Bushcraft Sheath is the Dangler Belt Loop. The Dangler allows the sheath to hang an additional four inches from the belt by attaching a second belt loop and a D-ring. I originally thought the Dangler would be advantageous when wearing loose clothing because by having the sheath sit lower the length of a shirt, flannel, or jacket would not interfere with drawing the knife. However, the Dangler proved to be much more troublesome than efficient. Since the Dangler hangs so loosely from the belt, and the sheath’s passive retention keeps your knife snugly secured, it is incredibly difficult to draw your knife in an efficient manner.
In addition to producing quality gear, Sagewood Gear offers a lifetime guarantee on their products. According to their lifetime guarantee, “We stand behind all of our Craftsmanship and Materials. We guarantee that our product’s stitches will stay stitched, rivets will stay riveted, and snaps will continue to function for the life of the product.”
-Sheath utilizes passive retention
-Knife sits very well-secured
-Leather is more aesthetic than other materials
-All leather sheaths require maintenance
-Expensive, but most leather sheaths are
The Kydex vs. leather sheath decision comes down to personal preference. As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, I prefer Kydex for everything, but the Sagewood Bushcraft Sheath will serve as my dedicated sheath for my ESEE 3. Even though leather sheaths come with their disadvantages, with the right maintenance you can significantly preserve its life. What really won me over was how well the ESEE 3 secures inside the sheath without any play. There is no question regarding the high quality of craftsmanship that went into making this sheath. At the time of writing this review, the MSRP for the Bushcraft Sheath is $84.95. It may be expensive, but so are all leather sheaths. If the price isn’t a hindering factor, you can be confident that you are getting a leather sheath that is as practical as it is beautiful.
As always, if you have any experience with Sagewood Gear or any other sheaths, let us know what you think!