Why a knife?
Jan 2, 2011 at 1:09 pm #1679863Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
That's why God gave us rocks! Or the brains to get out of harm's way. Anything with pointy things on it's head and sharp hooves is a threat. Far more campers are injured by deer than predators. It's the WILD part in "wildlife."
I like to carry a pocket knife, but I'm not about to take on wildlife with it, even if I had the time. I've read all kinds of posts on survival threads concerning the possibility of taking on a bear or cougar with a knife. Good luck.
Knives are just tools, like spoons or scissors or potty trowels. You see a need for them within you weight budget or you don't. Some carry two band-aids and some tape and call it a first aid kit; other may have a more complex kit. It's the same difference between carrying a single edge razor blade or a 3oz folder. Obviously, no hiker needs a 12" Rambo Special.Jan 5, 2011 at 1:19 pm #1680765spelt with a tBPL Member
@speltLocale: Rangeley, ME
I think you either are used to using a knife or not. If you are, a knife is part of your SOP for any number of daily activities. If you're not, you're used to doing those same activities some other, knife-less way. A knife to me meets the literal definition of a utility item: I take it to use. For someone else it might be a luxury, or just superfluous. Is a knife strictly necessary? I would say no (though some sort of edged tool ought to be–razor blades seem to be the UL choice?), but neither would I encourage someone to ditch their knife unless it was clear they were treating it like dead weight instead of as a tool.Nov 26, 2020 at 12:03 pm #3685902David KBPL Member
This. All the way. I live with a knife on me and while I know that I can figure out how to accomplish most things without one (either urban or back country), the fact is it makes everything easier. It is one of the two most critical and most used inventions in the development of human history. Almost everything we have accomplished as humans is only possible because through the use of a blade or fire (or both).
I agree that if you have a blade along you will find more ways to use it than if you didn’t have it, however it is also likely to not have one along and find the few things where you end up thinking. “I really wish I had a knife.”
With a 4 inch, 3 oz fixed blade I can accomplish anything from slicing food to building an entire camp. Add an SAK (awl and saw) onto that and I’m completely set for anything life throws my way. And I know that my CPM 3V blade will stay sharp and strong the entire time, unlike a razor or scalpel blade which works for a few cuts then dulls to the point of being dangerous.Nov 26, 2020 at 12:24 pm #3685904KatttBPL Member
Another good thread resurrected and I could not agree more on the utility of a blade. Daily.Nov 27, 2020 at 6:17 am #3686013Jeff YBPL Member
I’ve tried to slim my knife down to be “ultralight”. It was hard for me. I like knives, and carry one daily. I even bought the ultralight benchmade bugout just for hiking, then convinced myself to keep it lightweight by leaving it at home in favor of the smaller Victorinox. I found the victorinox to be a pain to hold and cut with, and went back to carrying the Benchmade. Good thread!Nov 27, 2020 at 7:22 am #3686015Bob KernerBPL Member
Knife = tool
I carry the small SAK because it’s LW but honesty it can barely cut thru a piece of salami the blade is so small. Maybe you can cut a piece of cordage or do a minor repair. I’ve never needed tweezers, maybe the toothpick once to pry apart a tight knot. I carry floss for my teeth! Anything I ‘d need scissors for could be cut with a blade in a pinch ( bandages for example). It’s a tiny collection of barely adequate tools but it’s UL Doctrine not to carry a proper knife. Same doctrine that specifies that a Nalgene bottle is too heavy and takes too much space ( this one I mostly agree/ comply with).
I believe the knife is one of those items that unjustly distinguishes UL from Bushcrafter, at least that’s the impression I get from various hiking and camping forums.
Like others I have a knife on me or within arms reach every day. Yet when I pull on my pack, it’s the miniSAK that saves what…..an ounce or two over a more useful small folder? I’ve just convinced myself to be courageous and start carrying my small Benchmade folder again!Nov 27, 2020 at 7:45 am #3686019DanBPL Member
Slightly OT, but here was a day that I was very happy to have a multi-tool with me.Nov 28, 2020 at 12:36 am #3686126Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
I carry a 3” lock blade pocket knife every day and it goes on the trail too. It’s just a tool.
Pocket knives are a cultural thing. All the men in my family and even a few of the women carry pocket knives. No Rambo stuff, just basic folders. I have my grandfathers old slip joint in a treasure box on my desk.Nov 28, 2020 at 11:20 am #3686162Todd TBPL Member
@texasbbLocale: Pacific Northwest
Unless I’m on an airplane, I have my little folding Gerber Ultralight LST with me. 2″ blade, about 4.5″ total length, 0.6 oz. I use it far more often in the civilized world–at least once or twice a day on average I guess–than when hiking. I can’t remember the last time I needed it while backpacking, but it happens now and then.Nov 28, 2020 at 4:16 pm #3686190Crystal GBPL Member
My dad passed away a few years ago and when it became clear my daughter (now 15) was going to backpack with me, I passed his Buck pocket knife on to her. She loves that it was Pop-Pop’s knife, carries it religiously on trips, and uses it mostly to whittle marshmallow sticks. I love that it has a really good locking mechanism. Funny enough, after carrying a lightweight Gerber for years and rarely using it, I am considering taking a pair of ultralight scissors (like cuticle scissors) instead. I find most of the time I am cutting tape, bandages, and toenails (and occasionally cord) and that would work better for me. But it is so hard to give up my knife.Nov 28, 2020 at 5:27 pm #3686199DanBPL Member
I just can’t help feeling that this thread would be 100x more enjoyable if I could see the knives people were talking about. Oh, how I wish the forum allowed photos. ;-)Nov 28, 2020 at 9:13 pm #3686247Todd TBPL Member
@texasbbLocale: Pacific Northwest
nmNov 29, 2020 at 12:27 pm #3686314Anthony HBPL Member
My MTK Genesis II Neck Knife Goes on every trip I’m on. Very sharp and durable and filets a fish like no bodies business plus any other task I need it for.Nov 30, 2020 at 1:13 pm #3686512Andre MBPL Member
I have an older micarta Al Mar ultralight eagle on the way. Probably the lightest weight 4” blade folder and a decent locking mechanism on the market. Nothing really comes close to the efficiency if the design and the high level of fit and finish. Its a shame theyre discontinued and expensive.Dec 5, 2020 at 10:17 am #3687376Joshua BBPL Member
I have a few “neck” knives that I rotate on trips. I don’t like to wear them as neck knives though (personal preference), just prefer to have them handy via pocket, clipped in waistband via Ulticlip, or fanny pack. Basic requirements are fixed blade, plain edge, full tang, 2.5″ – 3″ blade, and kydex sheath. The Brisa/Enzo Necker and Bobtail w/kydex sheaths have been recent favorites due to the comfortable handles. Paring knife sized blades that are fully capable of much bigger tasks when needed. The White River Backpacker pro is also an excellent blade.
I agree with others here who either use knives as part of their everyday life or who appreciate non-petroleum based fire making – a capable little knife is an invaluable tool in the backcountry.Dec 12, 2020 at 9:52 pm #3688650Diane “Piper” SoiniBPL Member
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara
My knife really just keeps my tweezers, nail file and scissors safe.Dec 15, 2020 at 12:10 am #3689087KarenBPL Member
Oh that poor doggy! I hope he has learned his lesson; some never do, and some want revenge. Antibiotics are sometimes needed…been through this too. Yeah, a multi tool or pliers is the only thing that works.
Backpacking sans dog, I have a tiny knife, big enough to slice fruit or cheese only. Just haven’t needed anything larger.Jun 15, 2021 at 11:36 am #3718724Jim HBPL Member
@jraiderguyLocale: Bay Area
My knife NEEDS are very different from my knife WANTS. The only things I reasonably NEED a knife for on most trips is cleaning fish and cutting salami/cheese. However, if I have a decent knife on my I will inevitably WANT to start whittling sticks for no reason while sitting in camp. Also, I really only fish for trout in small streams and alpine lakes, so I’d probably actually be better served with a small pair of sharp scissors for that purpose, but that doesn’t satisfy the knife WANTS. Right now, I’ve been bringing a stainless #8 Opinel fillet knife. Stays sharp, lightweight, and cheap. But I still bring the small victorinox with scissors/tweezers/file, which is really more part of the first aid kit. I have been wanting to splurge on one of those Benchmade Bugouts for a while.Jun 15, 2021 at 12:10 pm #3718725MarcusBPL Member
I only recently started carrying an EDC knife. Before a couple months ago I would have said I never need a knife. But now after having one in my pocket every day, it is much more handy than I previously gave it credit for.
I bought a Spyderco PM3 Lightweight in a premium stainless blade and am very happy with it. 2.6oz, 3″ blade, good sized handle, stupid sharp. So far i’ve mostly used it for food prep but it has also come in handy for cutting thread (friend sewed up a small hole) and taking loose threads off my clothes. Plus I hike alone at night about half the time, and it makes me feel a tad better having something immediately available should I need it.
So my take is I didnt know how useful it would be, and I assume I will only find it more useful should I ever actually need it. for 2.6oz I feel it is worth carrying. Spyderco also has the Dragonfly or Ladybug which are ~1oz, but I prefer ~3″ of blade mostly because thes the smallest handle that fits well in my hand. I got turned onto Spyderco after 2 hiking buddies were showing me their Manix2 and Delica 4. All great hiking knives. Anything with LC200N steel is also a perfect hiking knife because its tough and does not rust.Jun 15, 2021 at 4:12 pm #3718800Dustin VBPL Member
I’ve started to carry a Victorinox Ambassador, which is basically a Classic, only a little bigger. I feel like I can just barely get away with whittling a stake or a spoon with this. I don’t have huge hands, but that little bit of extra handle and the tiny amount more thickness in the blade seems to give me just enough control and confidence. Even so, I rarely use the blade. It’s the scissors I use most.
It’s becoming more rare, but if I do plan on making a fire at a backcountry site again, I’ll bring an additional knife. Either a $7 hardware store knife that has a 2″ blade/saw combo or a Victorinox Walker. Neither weighs more than 3oz and the loss or breakage of either would probably not make me too sad.Jun 15, 2021 at 5:27 pm #3718810jscottBPL Member
@bookLocale: Northern California
I don’t fish or bring salami on hikes so rarely need a knife. I have a super sharp 1-ish ounce knife that folds up. (An older version Spyderco, I think.) Then the back of the knife becomes the perfect tool for opening a Bearikade.
I suppose one day I may need a knife to cut cord or something. Hasn’t happened yet. It’s a great can opener tho!
p.s. I’m reminded of the old Marx brothers’ joke on the word “viaduct”; why a duck? Frankly, for backpacking I find duct tape more useful than a knife overallJun 17, 2021 at 7:11 am #3719015HkNewmanBPL Member
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
I find the blade from a multitool does not give enough “clearance” to cut into a semi-serious block of cheese or a salami without getting organic matter into the rest of the multitool… other tools or deep in the bolt holding the thing together. I’ll still carry a small multitool depending on what’s needed (almost always tweezers, file, etc..), but for actual cutting on longer trips. it would have to be a larger multitool. At that point go with dedicated knife (on person) and UL tool in the pack (usually the ditty sack).
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