Sep 8, 2013 at 5:25 pm #1307447
just got back from a two day trip in the Belts Mountains (Edith & Baldy Basins) and am happy to report that my tiny Swiss Army Classic was up to the task, which in addition to the usual- opening of food packaging, food prep, etc; I had no problems whatsoever cleaning fish and fowl
I wouldn't want to dress an elk out w/ it :), but for most backpacking duties it sure seems like it fits the billSep 8, 2013 at 6:12 pm #2023104
For some reason, maybe it's me, the image does not look like a swiss army "classic" (model) knife.Sep 8, 2013 at 7:33 pm #2023139
Any better ?
Sep 8, 2013 at 8:10 pm #2023165
I too have a tiny knife. The biggest issue is leverage.
it would be interesting to take a tent stake and have it somehow screw into the handle of the knife so you have a larger hilt…
I have thought about just carrying a razor blade. However, in emergency situations a REAL knife can come in handy. You can make extra tent stakes from it, spears and improvised weapons for small game traps. I can't see myself doing that with a razor blade.Sep 8, 2013 at 8:19 pm #2023168
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
"I have thought about just carrying a razor blade. However, in emergency situations a REAL knife can come in handy. You can make extra tent stakes from it, spears and improvised weapons for small game traps. I can't see myself doing that with a razor blade."
Gosh, I've never had to do any of that with a knife. I usually take a razor blade or a derma-safe. Sometimes a Classic SAK, and can confirm you can indeed clean a trout with it, fairly easy too. Could probably do it with a razor too.Sep 8, 2013 at 8:24 pm #2023173
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
Yeah but can you build a shelter, split a log, fight off a bear, and fell a redwood with it?
There are limits to what you can do with a tiny slipjoint knife, but most backpackers don't go beyond that. The limits are still there though.Sep 8, 2013 at 8:37 pm #2023178
@richardcullipLocale: San Diego County
Put me in the razor blade camp. I've been knifeless over the past three years carrying only a single edged razor blade. In fact, the razor blade has been dead weight, albeit not much dead weight, since I have yet to use it. I guess I'm not finding any need to cut something on my recent back packing trips.Sep 8, 2013 at 8:39 pm #2023181
@m-lLocale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Having a good knife that locks back is a huge safety thing. Razor blade is a hazard is you have to use it .Sep 8, 2013 at 9:20 pm #2023196
Mike In SocalParticipant
If all goes as planned, then a razor blade should do fine. However, I opt for a more capable knife depending on what else is in my kit. That might be a small lockblade or straight-blade knife (anything similar to a Fallkniven U2 or F1).Sep 8, 2013 at 9:22 pm #2023198
@cameronLocale: The WOODS
I'm less interested in the blade and more interested in the handle length. I don't like tiny handles if I'm doing serious cutting. Small handles are tiring and I'm concerned about slipping and cutting my hand.Sep 8, 2013 at 9:24 pm #2023203
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
I bought a Buck sheath knife in the 70's. I bought a Classic SAK in the 80's. Razor blades are almost free. Bought a derma-safe a few years ago. All the money I have saved by not buying any other knives has gone into investments for retirement.
I have a few other knives that were given to me as gifts, but I don't use them. :)Sep 8, 2013 at 11:10 pm #2023224
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
I hate cleaning fish/bird/squirrel guts out of the bowels of a folder. A little fixed blade is my preference.Sep 9, 2013 at 12:22 am #2023228
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
Mike, Thanks for the post – I've never gone so UL on a hunting or fishing trip, but it is helpful to know that an SAK Classic suffices.
Others: Mike's knife is an SAK Classic, but with an aftermarket, hi-vis orange plastic handle. I saw it in the R2R2R trip.
If I wash up on a distant beach (again) or get flushed down the river and need to feed myself, 1) I'm picking berries, edible plants and even bark before I chase down a Dall sheep or a black bear with a spear, and 2) I'm far more likely to land a fish, throw a rock at a ptarmigan or club a porcupine with a stick and have a gutting job more like Mike showed, than skinning out big game.
For actual big stuff, which I deal with a few times a year, I'm liking:
I got the version with the "black traction coating": 2.4 ounces in a very functional sheath and 1.3 ounces without. It is just as functional and vastly lighter as what most hunters carry with them.
I'm seeing more hunters use these replacement blades:
in knives designed for them. They get super-sharp blades instantly by popping in a new blade into the holder. But my UL and uber-cheap thought is that you could buy just the refill blades and use it like you would a razor blade, but as a whole lot more capable blade. There are several lengths of blades available from $0.80 to $3 each. If someone else would be interested in giving that a try, PM me with a snail mail address and I'll toss one in the mail. I don't have them in hand yet, but I'm guessing I'll belt-sand some finger grooves into the replacement blade and maybe paint a little plastic goo on the back side (the stuff you can dip tools into to form a handle around it).Sep 9, 2013 at 3:39 am #2023240
@ikeLocale: Central Michigan
I prefer a fixed blade for ease of access when paddling and ease of cleaning when fishing.
The smallest blade that fits the bill is a titanium-carbide knife from Javan Dempsey that now travels with me everywhere for daily use. At about 0.2 oz, there's never a reason to leave it behind.
When a little more edge is needed, I like my bark river bravo necker. This weighs a hair more than the SAK, but not much.Sep 9, 2013 at 6:29 am #2023269
@pgasbyLocale: North Carolina
Nice to see that the classic – as noted – is capable of handling most jobs (if perhaps not elegantly).
I'm a bit of a knife knut so I typically have more knife with me than I need. I recently picked up a Zero Tolerance 0550 – which is a beautiful knife and my largest blade at 3.5". But it is one big honking knife – capable of serious duty but overkill for most backpacking trips I think. I mostly use 3" and under blades so this was a purchase intended to fill a gap of a larger blade and also check out the Hinderer design. It weighs 6.2 ounces and feels every bit of it.
I usually take a Benchmade mini griptilian – 2.56 ounces and really about perfect for most needs – 3" blade – excellent grip as the name suggests – axis lock is super solid. But arguably even that is a bit of overkill – but I camp with Boy Scouts and admit that I take a bit more blade than I need to assist with some rope cutting etc… when the kids show up with 100' of rope for a bear bag, etc… I could cut that with a classic but I really prefer a more substantial blade.Sep 9, 2013 at 9:52 am #2023335
I'm sure most here all know but the classic also has a small file, screwdriver,scissors,toothpick and tweezers and the orange cord Mike added really helps keeps it and the photon that Mike also has on from getting lost as those are my most frequently lost items.Sep 9, 2013 at 4:45 pm #2023476
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"I hate cleaning fish/bird/squirrel guts out of the bowels of a folder. A little fixed blade is my preference."
+ 1 back in my fishing days. Especially if there are bears around.Sep 9, 2013 at 8:27 pm #2023566
@diablo-vLocale: Orlando FL
I will be carrying two knives.
The leatherman CS tool and for more serious knife-centric tasks, the 2.1 oz Boker.
Blade length: 3 1/4". Overall length: 7 3/4". Weight: 2.1 oz.Sep 9, 2013 at 10:18 pm #2023608
@lunchandynnerLocale: Pacific Northwest
Really? Really? How has nobody posted this yet?
I have a light my fire (Mora) fire steel knife. It's nice and light and pulls double duty as emergency fire tool. Sometimes, just for fun, my fiancé or I will carry our Gerber Gator Jr machete for some overnighters.Sep 10, 2013 at 10:39 am #2023701
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Do not EVER cheat on that (armed) woman!Sep 10, 2013 at 11:18 am #2023714
@owareLocale: Steptoe Butte
Grouse and related don't need a knife. You just pull their little jammies off with your hands. The rest is similarly removed.
A razor blade works okay for trout.
That long fixed blade without handle reminds me of the blades used on my fabric knife. Razor sharp, I don't know what kind of sheath would hold up.Sep 11, 2013 at 9:49 am #2023967
If you never forget your tent poles or stakes, and don't fish, your knife needs could be pretty small. Even with fishing, a SAK classic would suffice in a pinch. For the added utility and ease of use, I'm happy to carry a 2 oz Mora knife. What I am considering is also taking a ceramic knife for fish cleaning. A ceramic knife with a plastic handle is pretty darn light, but not up to cutting off willow branches to make a tent pole.
On a recent trip, we were in a public campground and had only large wedges of wood as firewood. We needed smaller pieces to make a fire, as the area has been picked clean of small wood. With the Mora knife we cut off flakes of wood off the bigger pieces by batoning, and made some pieces 1" thick from the 4 inch wedges of firewood. Later in the trip, when fish heads needed to be cut off before cooking, it was "hey, can I borrow your knife?" Way easier to do that with a Mora knife than a razor blade or SAK classic. Plus with a Mora knife one never feels that you don't want your nice clean expensive knife to get filthy. A Mora is a utility knife, costs around $20, and is highly functional.Sep 11, 2013 at 12:56 pm #2024009
@pgasbyLocale: North Carolina
That Boker is sweet – curse you I just bought the titanium handled version…
The worst part is that I will worry about the ceramic blade and likely end up bringing another knife along as a backup…
Between that and almost always at least 2 lights – well – no wonder I am far from SUL despite my efforts to lighten up. Although I do still beat out most of the adults who go on our Scout trips! The guys who pack in Kingsford charcoal and a portable grill to cook dinner kind of set the bar at a whole other level.Sep 11, 2013 at 1:31 pm #2024016
@lunchandynnerLocale: Pacific Northwest
Oh man, a charcoal grill eh? I would love to see a packable, UL backcountry smoker, although, as I'm allergic to fish so can't can't catch and smoke it, I'd have to pack in heavy meat or hunt a boar or something and hope I can eat the whole thing then and there.Sep 11, 2013 at 1:55 pm #2024024
@thebenternLocale: Central Arkansas
It's hard to beat the ESEE Izula at only 2 oz. I can baton wood and clean game with it. For a while, it was actually my everyday carry knife (belt clip). Micarta scales can be added for a better grip at the cost of another ounce I believe. I love modular items.
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