Ultralight Knives and Other Sharp Things

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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable Ultralight Knives and Other Sharp Things

Viewing 25 posts - 26 through 50 (of 62 total)
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    tkkn c
    BPL Member


    Locale: Desert Rat in the Southwest

    What does the awl look like on the toollogic?
    Is it metal or plastic?

    Dan Mitchell


    Locale: Colorado

    "A knifeless man is a lifeless man" -Old Nordic proverb

    Hey guys and gals. I'm new to the sight and this is my first forum post. Love the articles and discussions. Also, I'm a big fan of your books, Mike.

    I'm in outdoor education, and I just can't tell my students to go without a knife. I always carry one and like Mike, which knife depends on the nature and length of a particular trip. I don't carry a silly Rambo sized sticker and I'm secure with the size of my manhood, But I will carry something. My dad was an expert woodsman, and I was taught to always carry something, so I will. Besides, when hiking in Europe, you need a tool with a corkscrew in it!

    I do like the idea of the swiss scissors. In fact, I have a classic with a damaged case, so I'm going to extract the tiny scissors for my blister kit. Thanks for the tip!

    For those of you who go without, more power to you. You have my respect.

    Keep up the good work. I've learned much from this wonderful website.


    George Matthews
    BPL Member


    After reading this thought provoking article, I decided to take a razor blade and skip the knife on my last trip. I forgot the razor. Did not realize until after I returned and saw it just setting on the table looking rather sad.

    But I did still take a small pair of sewing scissors that I got at Targets for real cheap last year. They fold up. Weight is about 1/2 oz.

    I also had tweezers that were hiding with my bandaids. They are about .5 oz.

    For one oz, scissors and tweezers seem reasonable to me. And I will add the razor blade with paper case next time.

    Will add a knife back when I take my Bushbuddy. Otherwise, it will stay home.

    Thanks for the good article that made my mind expand a bit.



    W I S N E R !
    BPL Member


    I kind of agree with Daniel on this one. I loved Mike's story- I think every point is completely valid…but I still carry a decent sized knife (currently a Benchmade Pika at almost 3oz).
    I'm not sure I even used it much on my last extended trip, but that's neither here nor there to me- it's one piece of gear that I see as tradition and simply like to have. As a huge fan of early (like ~50,000 BCE) human culture and knowing how much time was spent in the development of specialized cutting tools, I kind of figure I owe it to my ancestors to carry something decent :) There's ample evidence that many of those poor chaps developed arthritic conditions in the jaw and wore their teeth down to stumps without blades. I don't want stump teeth. Maybe it is some trace Neantdertal/cross-species/ancient DNA in me, but I can't resist sharp shiny metal…even though I know it's not all that necessary anymore.

    Now if I could only lighten my flint hand axe….

    kevin davidson


    Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson

    …. in the footsteps of our ancestors, the last great flowering of paleolithic tools created a host of bladed artifacts that only got smaller.
    One of the chief characteristics of the late "stone age" toolkit was the microlith or microblade. Microblades are small stone (obsidian, quartz, etc.) flakes less than 1 1/4 inches long, with a sharp edge and a "backed" or blunted edge that could be guided with the index finger to sever meat from a carcass.
    Well, what do you know—-ancient SUL razorblades!

    W I S N E R !
    BPL Member


    Right on Kevin…What I'd give to get my hands on some early tools.

    And from what I understand, it wasn't just to make the actual tool smaller, but to make the whole process more efficient…Upper Paleolithic tool makers focused on the blade, gravitating away from the general-purpose (and much larger) hand ax favored by the Neandertal:

    "…from a pound of flint, the Upper Paleolithic blade technique could produce 305-1219 centimeters of cutting edge whereas the early Mousterian technique could produce only 102 centimeters." (F. Bordes- "The Old Stone Age")

    I suppose Mike's graph of experience vs. blade size holds true for over a hundred thousand years!

    I love being human…

    Caleab Spencer


    Locale: New Hampshire

    the k.i.s.s. is nice

    Cornelius Austin


    Locale: Minnesota

    Victor Swiss Army Bantam weighs only 35 grams. Opens bottles, cans, pouches, blisters, cavities, The tweezers are the best tick removal tool that I know of bar none. Cuts food well too. The main blade is also good for piercing eggs prior to hard boiling (gull,chicken,goose etc.)


    George Matthews
    BPL Member


    Look what I found tonight. Really old and had been forgotten. Having read this thread…


    I performed an extraction with extreme prejudice…


    My scale is in ounce units. It did not move when I put the scissors and tweezers on it. I guess they're weightless : )

    Thanks for the inspiring this madness (the article and responses).

    Neil Bender


    My everyday utility knife is a small pocket clip knife that weighs 1.8 oz. Usually a spyderco delica (serated)or a benchmade axis 530 (half serated). Both have about 3" blades and can be opened one handed and are quite sturdy. I say usually, because as a gear freak I collect shiny things, and knives score very high on the trinket index.

    Since I have one with me on the drive to the trail head, usually there is the last minute, what the hey, an extra 2 ounces won't kill me and I hate reaching for something habitually and finding it missing (That explains the beer holster on my mall ninja utility belt as well).

    Thus it gets taken along most times. I've never 'needed' the bigger blade, but for the first night's meal of frozen tenderloins and for prepping fresh veggies it's nice to have a real knife for a real meal.

    Hi, I'm Neil and I'm a reformed trad backpacker. Last week I backslid three times, and had to call my sponsor for support.

    David Olsen


    Locale: Steptoe Butte

    Small multi tools

    Utilikey 12 grams


    Larger with more tools 1.5 oz.coastmicrotool

    Mike Clelland


    Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)

    Hey – I have that Utili-KEY thing (0.4369 oz) and it's nice. I got it from a website called Key Chain Tools.

    here's the cool website (for nerds like the crew posting on this forum):

    cary bertoncini


    Locale: N. California

    been a handy little $9 gadget for me

    even brought it on the plane with me (forgot it was on the key ring)

    Edward Silva


    Here are two other additional UL knives/scissors that weren't on the list.

    1. Coghlan's foldable scissors [1.0 oz]
    2. Olfa Touch-Knife (retractable) [0.2 oz]

    Both are stainless steel.


    John Haley


    Locale: New York/Vermont Border

    I just decided to not carry my Spyderco Delica, and am now just using a Leatherman Squirt S4 alone.

    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member


    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    Hi Kevin

    > You know, the one thing that hasn't been brought up for UL use is a disposable surgical scalpel —previously unused, of course :-)>.
    Tut tut: you should read the article more carefully. I listed a scalpel blade in my kit. Mind you, I suspect some of the other BPL staff probably have scalpels in their first aid kits too, and just didn't mention them.

    > A #10 scalpel w/ plastic handle will handle most chores and is far easier to use for precision work than a single bladed razor,
    Easier to use? Well, yes, but where do you get the plastic handle? Could be useful.

    Without some sort of handle a scalpel is more tricky. The blade starts out *very* sharp. So? Well, if the tip get a little blunt after some use, there is a temptation to grip the short metal handle end more solidly and to use a little more force. But that can so easily bring your finger into contact with the still very sharp edge at the handle end of the blade, leading to a rather deep cut in your finger before you have realised it. The edge is so sharp you don't feel it cutting in for a while…

    I must say I rather like the prep blades as an idea.

    David Olsen


    Locale: Steptoe Butte

    cutting blade from a broadhead. .019 ounces!! 1/5 of the razor
    blade.broadhead blade

    David Olsen


    Locale: Steptoe Butte

    arrow broadhead blade taped to groove in pencil

    Jeremy Cleaveland
    BPL Member


    Locale: Exploring San Juan talus

    so, does the arrowhead actually stay in place on the pencil? Do you cut a groove in first to stabilize it? how do you protect the cutting edge? Where does one get an arrowhead like that and how much?
    Looks really sweet though, and multi-use

    Forrest G McCarthy
    BPL Member


    Locale: Planet Earth

    Carbon Fiber can be used to make very strong, sharp, and ultra-light blades. They are harder to find in our post 9-11 world. If you like a rugged long blade carbon fiber knives are an ultra-light option. The best one that was ever manufactured was the Mad Dog Frequent Flyer.

    Carbon Fiber Knive

    Doug Johnson
    BPL Member


    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    Cool. And $325 seems reasonable…


    But still- REALLY cool.

    Jeremy Cleaveland
    BPL Member


    Locale: Exploring San Juan talus

    wenger classic firesteel mod

    Wenger Esquire, with the nail file ground down into a nice striker for the firesteel rod (from a magnesium firestarter). I'm considering just bringing a razor blade, as I very rarely use a knife, but then I'll need to get another striker. are razor blades effective and user friendly for using a firesteel?

    Holubar D


    Locale: Alaska

    First things first, my pack weighs 34lbs, so I'm no ultralighter. I pack in Alaska so I can’t safely spend nights under tarps with little to no safety equipment. The mosquitoes, bears and even some moose are a real threat.

    For a knife, I carry a real knife. The risk of cutting myself with a non locking folding blade, or some micro contraption made with a razor blade, far outweighs the extra ounces of a fixed blade knife.

    I now carry a Fallkniven WM1. It has a 2.8 inch blade and weighs 2.5ounces. The sheath adds 1.5 ounces. When I need to cut, whittle or even puncture a can, this knife can handle it.

    Another option would be a Kershaw Chive. It's a small locking folder that weighs around an ounce, and, it's a real knife that you can safely use without the risk of slicing your hand or fingers open due to accidental closure.

    When it comes to 'stupid light', knives are at the top of the list for an accident waiting to happen.

    Just a thought.

    greg degler


    Locale: West

    Dear Mr. Mark Denton,
    You don't sound at all like an UltraLight guy, which just makes me wonder how you arrived in and continue to tolerate this club.
    I have been using folding knives for about 45 years, and the ONLY times I've cut myself was when using a FIXED blade at the age of about 10, and when my little 3 year old brother sliced me with the breadknife at dinner when I was about 5 (my first and only stitches).
    I've spent 5 summers in Alaska enjoying many trips into the backcountry and usually alone: never had a problem with bears, moose or mosquitos .. I mention this just to let BPL members know that there is more than one side to The Great State of Alaska.
    Thank You and Safe Travels Ahead,

    Christopher Williams


    Locale: The Bluegrass

    I'm very interested in getting the Spyderco Ladybug as my pack knife. I will soon be getting a BushBuddy Ultra, and I'm wondering whether a straight or serrated edge is most appropriate for wood shaving purposes.


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