Even spending a hundred dollars or more on a knife does not guarantee much in the way of functionality. In fact, the high end of the market is virtually flooded with knives that elevate form and beauty over function, and some of the most prominent custom knife makers regularly turn out knives that display some truly glaring deficits with regard to actual, in-the-field functionality.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. Knife collectors, after all, represent a large slice of those who are interested in spending one, two, or three hundred dollars on a single knife, so it is entirely appropriate that knife makers would have them in mind. At the same time, it can be a frustrating state of affairs for river guides, survivalists, back country campers, and others who require their equipment to actually perform well.

All that means, though, is that it makes sense for such buyers to focus on those brands that consistently focus on functionality. In most cases, this is fairly easy to do, as a relative few stand out in this way, and most of them produce knives that anyone who puts them into use in the field will be happy with.

ESEE, for example, has forged a strong reputation for doing exactly that. The product of experiences gained at one of the world's top jungle survival skills, the company's knives are designed, above all else, to perform reliably in the harshest of environments.

Among those who work with retailer Knifeworks to find a knife that will stand up to a long, demanding excursion into the wilds, then, ESEE tends to be one of the most popular brands. Visit Knifeworks on an average day, in fact, and a shopper will find that a good ten percent of those who do the same have just such goals in mind.

While it can be a little disheartening to contemplate a display case filled with expensive knives plainly designed to please the eye, the fact is that there is plenty of function to be found on the market, too. It might take a little more in the way of looking, but few who do so come away disappointed with what they find.