Topic

Why a knife?


Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!

Home Forums General Forums Philosophy & Technique Why a knife?

Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 47 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #1266818
    Michael Reagan
    Member

    @michaelreagan

    Locale: Southern California

    I know there are plenty of threads here already on the various cutting tools our members carry, and I have found them all fascinating. From fixed blades to tiny folders, from single-edge razor blades to scissors to nothing at all, it seems the choices are as varied as the people and philosophies behind them. I have learned a bit from every discussion and really appreciate the ideas you've all given me. I hope you won't mind one more post on the subject.

    For my part, I now carry a small pair of scissors taken from a Victorinox SwissCard and a surgical scalpel blade in my First Aid/Repair kit. Before adding the scalpel, I usually packed a razor blade in a resealable cover. Despite these cutting tools, and my commitment to going as light as possible, I find I must always add a "real" knife, usually a Benchmade or Spyderco lock-blade folder with around a 3" or so blade, which I carry clipped to my right front pants pocket.

    My reason for this is two-fold. First, I normally carry this sort of knife on a daily basis and use it constantly. I find that I feel a bit naked whenever I am without my knife where it belongs. Second, on one trip in which my only knife was a SAK Classic, I discovered at mealtime that I had forgotten to pack any eating utensil. "No problem," says I, "I'll just whittle a spoon from a stick with my trusty blade". Ha! Have you ever tried to whittle with a Classic? If so, you can imagine my frustration at the attempt. After a few moments of the most pathetic woodscrafting ever seen, I had barely scratched the bark off the surface of the stick. I gave up at this ridiculous effort and asked my hiking buddy if I could borrow his knife, a 4" Al Mar folder. With his knife I was able to quickly split and whittle the stick to fashion a very serviceable paddle spoon that fed me for the rest of the trip. My buddy could not resist offering a few choice comments on my ultralight bladeware and his surprise that I would allow myself to go out into the forest so unprepared.

    And so I find that I *must* carry a knife, though I likely will never have to whittle another spoon. I find that being without an adequate tool to handle life's little problems, or worse yet, injuring myself by forcing a razor blade or non-locking "mini-knife" to handle a job too big for it, makes me feel a bit too "edgy". The 3-ounce penalty of carrying a "real" knife is worth it to me for the sense of well-bring it brings. Carrying such a knife has become a habit I can't comfortably break. I'll bet a few of you know what I mean.

    Michael

    #1676517
    David Noll
    BPL Member

    @dpnoll

    Locale: Maroon Bells

    Exactly, Michael. If you have to explain to someone why you carry a knife they won't understand. you are either a knife person or not.

    #1676531
    Mike M
    BPL Member

    @mtwarden

    Locale: Montana

    if your stove fuel happens to be wood, I think a knife moves up a notch or two in the grand scheme of things

    I got by OK w/ my Classic when using a canister stove (albeit I felt a little naked :)), when I went to a wood burning setup I went back to a small fixed blade (which also works better for fish and grouse than the Classic)

    I think there are a lot of folks that get by just fine w/ a very small cutting tool and I say more power to them, I'm definitely in the "knife guy" category and don't apologize for that, but certainly wouldn't advocate that everyone needs one

    #1676535
    W I S N E R !
    BPL Member

    @xnomanx

    I only carry a knife for the following:
    1. Leisurely trips. If I feel like sitting around the fire and whittling, practicing bushcraft, etc. Feathersticks are fun to make, but not necessary. (I do a lot of leisure trips but the knife is hardly essential to them).
    2. Trips centering on hunting and/or fishing: cleaning game. (rare for me)
    3. Rainy trips when I know I'll want a fire. While not totally necessary, a knife can certainly help prepare wet wood. (rare for me…I'll just go without fire).

    It's actually my more "ambitious/serious" trips (high miles, faster pace) that I don't really ever carry a knife…usually just a single-edge razor blade for first aid reasons.

    Whenever I carry a knife I tend to find/create uses for it.
    Whenever I don't have a knife, I don't miss it.
    So basically it's not necessary backpacking gear for me. To each their own.

    #1676539
    John Donewar
    BPL Member

    @newton

    Locale: Southeastern Texas

    Just this past weekend I attended a birthday party for a three year old. There were presents to be unwrapped and fiendishly clever packaging to be removed and disposed of.

    Never Go Anywhere Without A Knife!

    Fixed, folder or multi-tool sometime, sooner or later, someone will ask, "Anyone here got a knife"?

    Party On,

    Newton

    #1676556
    James holden
    BPL Member

    @bearbreeder-2

    I usually carry a multitool …. Its useful in winter or if you have gear that may need fixing

    its much easier to start a fire in winter or in wet conditions with a knife too

    for climbing you should always carry a light knife on u

    #1676593
    Jace Mullen
    Member

    @climberslacker

    Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.

    I had a multi-tool that I always brought with me camping. And I used the same logic: "well if anything breaks I can fix it". As Ive gone UL and now borderline SUL I have nothing that a multi-tool could fix. Alky stove- nothing that can really go wrong, Pack- no zippers or anything, Just a little zipper on my quilt and nature certainly does not create anything with a philips head.

    I now just use a SAK and will probably up-grade (downgrade?) to a derma-safe blade when I get an order together thats worth paying for shipping from BPL.

    #1676596
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    I always carry a Leatherman Micra that includes a knife which I use occasionally. Very sharp knife, but very small.

    It has a screwdriver which I use occasionally, for example to screw back together my glasses.

    It has a scissors and can opener that I use occasionally.

    2 ounces

    #1676602
    John Donewar
    BPL Member

    @newton

    Locale: Southeastern Texas

    Jerry,

    >>I always carry a Leatherman Micra that includes a knife which I use<<

    …..quite often! ;-)

    +1 for the Leatherman Micra.

    Party On,

    Newton

    #1676637
    BRIAN TACKETT
    Member

    @tacksman99

    Locale: So Cal

    To be prepared for the unknown.

    #1676640
    John Brown
    BPL Member

    @johnbrown2005

    Locale: Portland, OR

    I carry one because I like them. That said, I have never used one for anything essential, beyond cutting an apple.

    #1676655
    Mark Verber
    BPL Member

    @verber

    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area

    +1 to all of Craig Wisner comments. My choices (and experience) are almost identical except that I drop down to just scissors from the swiss card rather than a razor blade when I am really pushing it.

    Two other reasons:

    4. group trips where we are doing more fancy meals that require cutting / chopping for some part of the prep work.
    5. if I was going someplace (like canadian rockies) where there is a real chance I wouldn't see people for week or more, and might not to really use those survival skills I learned years ago.

    –Mark

    #1676677
    James Marco
    BPL Member

    @jamesdmarco

    Locale: Finger Lakes

    Well, I am not a survivalist, but a knife is one of the few basic tools you will have a hard time making.

    Overall, a knife is too handy to be without. There are thousands of uses for a knife, too many to list.

    One with a fairly good blade, good steel, but not brittle, about 2-3" long is my choice. A small piece of carbide paper (carborundum) is enough to sharpen it. Gerber or Buck makes good blades (LST or Rush versions.)

    #1676724
    Andy F
    Spectator

    @andyf

    Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic

    For something which weighs around 3-4 oz and, with the corresponding skills, can enable you to make almost anything you might need in an area where wood is available, it's hard to not carry a 3-4 inch fixed blade knife on a trip.

    #1676731
    Dale Wambaugh
    BPL Member

    @dwambaugh

    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    Why any piece of gear? I find that the utility justifies the weight. As with any gear, either you do or don't.

    Knifes do carry some emotional baggage as they can be considered a weapon. So can a rock or stick for that matter. The intent of the user is the thing to be concerned with, not the object.

    Ray Jardine mentions that many gear choices are based on an underlying fear of nature, prompting people to over-equip, and I think that is an accurate assessment. I do hold that a small amount of gear is needed to handle basic emergency/survival situations. That needs to be kept in check, just like any other gear category. The same UL principles should be applied, with an eye to multiple use and finding the lightest functional options.

    I think the real issue comes to carrying equipment that is not used every time we hike. I carry some survival items with the great hope that I will *never* need to use them. In my case that would be a whistle, space blanket bivy, some alternate fire-starting options, back-up lighting, and some larger first aid items— maybe 4 ounces more than the more Spartan SUL gear lists, plus my choice of knife. IMHO, hiking without the essentials is foolish, particularly when hiking solo.

    Buy why carry a knife specifically? It is part of my personal safety/survival gear, a repair tool, cooking gear, and I do consider it to be a self defense option. That said, I don't think it needs to be some massive Rambo chopper. I prefer a quality 3.5" folder with locking blade that weighs 3-4oz.

    On a typical hike you would find me with a Victorinox Classic on my survival keyring and a Benchmade Griptilian clipped in my pants pocket. I carry the Griptilian daily, along with a Leatherman Style CS.

    Other knife options I like:

    Leatherman Micra
    Victorinox Trekker one-hand opening
    Victorinox Farmer (non-locking)
    Victorinox Hiker (non-locking)
    Victorinox paring knife (fixed blade)
    Mora All Round (fixed blade)

    #1676738
    D G
    Spectator

    @dang

    Locale: Pacific Northwet

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPk28DiIWPU

    Ray Mears constructs a bowdrill set from scratch with no knife by knapping a stone!

    #1676845
    Mike M
    BPL Member

    @mtwarden

    Locale: Montana

    ^ good idea but ray mears probably weighs close to 180 lbs, lighter to just carry the knife :)

    #1676899
    John Devitt
    BPL Member

    @cabana

    Locale: Colorado

    "I think the real issue comes to carrying equipment that is not used every time we hike. I carry some survival items with the great hope that I will *never* need to use them. In my case that would be a whistle, space blanket bivy, some alternate fire-starting options, back-up lighting, and some larger first aid items— maybe 4 ounces more than the more Spartan SUL gear lists, plus my choice of knife. IMHO, hiking without the essentials is foolish, particularly when hiking solo."

    +1 Dale. In the backcountry for multiple night trips is no place to be w/o a few key survival items and the skills that make them effective.

    On the AT, I carried a spyderco ladybug. It was fine for the uses I needed a knife for. I was never very far from a town, road, or another hiker. I emergency items were just as compact for the same reasons.

    When I started hiking in Colorado, I changed up my kit a bit. I learned from years of hiking that cold hands don't work well with folding knives, matches, small shelter bits, ect. I use a mora fixed blade, either my clipper or miki, most times it is a bit more than my needs but is great when way out from a town or another hiker. Heetsheet, fero rod, tinder, whistle, and chapstick w/sp are now standards in my kit. Even with these additions my pack for 5 days w/ 1 liter of water is only 20 – 25 lbs bepending on the time of year. Yeah, I know it isn't a light as some on here, but I can easily handle it and it offers very safe margins when the weather gets wacky.

    At any rate… HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Regards,
    John

    #1676981
    jeffrey bennett
    Spectator

    @jollygreen

    Locale: Near the bottom

    ^ good idea but ray mears probably weighs close to 180 lbs, lighter to just carry the knife :)

    Now that was funny!

    I carry a 530.

    #1677102
    John Devitt
    BPL Member

    @cabana

    Locale: Colorado

    I missed that….that IS funny!!!

    #1678171
    Ken K
    Member

    @thefatboy

    Locale: St. Louis

    Not the "LOL" type, but I just woke the wife laughing at that… Now I have to put the phone away for the night.

    #1678847
    James holden
    BPL Member

    @bearbreeder-2

    the REAL reason you need a knife …

    #1678857
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    This summer someone was killed by Mountain Goat in Olympic Peninsula, somewhere near Hurricane Ridge I believe.

    That person should have carried a knife as in your picture.

    #1679828
    Timothy Cooper
    Member

    @zosoiv

    That gave me a good chuckle

    #1679858
    Jerry Adams
    BPL Member

    @retiredjerry

    Locale: Oregon and Washington

    When I was in Enchantment Lakes in 2008 there was this Mountain Goat that came right up to us. I had to shoo it away. If I knew then what I knew now, I would have been more fearful:Goat, Enchantments

Viewing 25 posts - 1 through 25 (of 47 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!

Loading...