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What knife do you carry backpacking?
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Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Knife on 11/19/2008 20:51:17 MST Print View

"Now just how are you going to blaze a tree, split firewood,
cut stout tent pegs, kill and skin a pig, make stretcher poles, fell a tree to cross a deep chasm, fight off a
griz, or peel a potato, with just a razor blade?"

Ahh, the good old days, before anyone knew what this LNT bullcrap was. I remember when we used to EAT spotted owls and drag kegs 34 miles if we had to...10 pound packs...What in the hell's happened to us?

Matthew Robinson
(mcjhrobinson) - F

Locale: Waaay West
re: what knife on 11/20/2008 09:38:43 MST Print View

if knowledge is the key why not learn how to use a good fixed blade? in hawaii all i need is a sturdy fixed blade, the clothes on my back and a firesteel. thats a sub 2lbs "pack weight". i carry a gossman psk in o1 .25" thick 4" long with a convex grind.

Blue _
(lrmblue) - MLife

Locale: Northeast (New England)
Re: Re: Re: Knife on 11/20/2008 11:00:49 MST Print View

Craig wrote: "Ahh, the good old days, before anyone knew what this LNT bullcrap was. I remember when we used to EAT spotted owls and drag kegs 34 miles if we had to...10 pound packs...What in the hell's happened to us?"

1. Ran out of spotted owls.
2. Beer bellies that we can barely squeeze in behind the steering wheel.
3. Blown-out knees and ruined ankles.


David Poston
(dgposton) - F

Locale: Texas / Colorado
Re: re: what knife on 11/20/2008 11:49:23 MST Print View

Like someone else said, if you plan on bringing only a knife and trying to "survive" by running around the woods and chasing animals for food, you will likely use up more calories than you will catch.

I brought a razor blade on my last trip, but my wife keeps tell me I need a knife in case I have to pull an Aron Ralston (cut off my arm). :)

I, like any guy, think knives are cool, but realistically a razor blade suffices for most trips.

Now...what's the latest blade from Spyderco?

Edited by dgposton on 11/20/2008 11:52:28 MST.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Minority Report on 11/23/2008 16:49:20 MST Print View

Don, I understand your concern and have the same thoughts go through my mind every month when I take the boys out.
My approach is to train them on how to stay out of situations that will get them in trouble. If they have their essentials, they won't need a large knife (though at least 1 scout still brings his 1 lb SAN with 200 blades and things). If they follow what I've laid out they will be able to survive without bringing the kitchen sink.

I can make a point or bring up an example of why someone should bring a plethora of heavy items. But I’ve also seen someone survive in the woods without anything but the clothes on his back- he made a knife out of a chipped rock and skinned a rabbit with it faster then I could with my Buck knife (knowledge over material things), made a large fire, built a shelter and slept on warmed rocks, again with only the clothes on his back. Knowledge and training were the key.

>They are learning, but not yet to the point where they can function independently in difficult circumstances. And although they (and I) carry a lightweight, basic set of emergency essentials, it still falls to me, in the end, to be responsible for them. I go as light as I can, but I still carry basic, multipurpose tools for this reason<
All of my scouts have internal frame packs. To repair these we have needed a small sewing kit (0.3 oz) and Duct tape (part of their hiking essentials). We use canister stoves and alcohol stoves, if one isn’t working the other will (I’ve found the best tool to repair a pocket rocket is a SAN classic). I just do not see the need for a heavy knife or a multi-tool (if I carry a complete essentials kit).

> Kind of like explaining to a mother why her lost son can't be found - because he was doing as he was taught: when lost just keep walking, it can't be more than 20 miles cross country to a highway<
Standard operating procedure for what to do when lost is STAY PUT. This is the first and last thing taught! The above was only a demonstration to the boys that they aren’t far, less then a days walk from anywhere. This is if someone got hurt and they were sent for help, help was always close by! This is for when they are older and out on their own, they would know what to do. In my troop we use the buddy system and it works to keep a single boy from wondering off.

>But the stakes are different when you are responsible for a group of young men<
I find that the Parents are a bigger liability then the boys. I think the key here is to match the activity to the boys. If they are not able to properly deal with what might come up on an outing then we do a simpler outing.
Your training is far more important then that of the boys. And I’m not talking about just Woodbadge or Outdoor Leadership Skills or Scoutmaster Specific Training. Learn from others who have been there, done that, kind of training. Demand this kind of stuff from your roundtable meetings- search out other organizations, its there.

Man, what a ramble…. I had better wrap this up, I have to go and teach the Family Life merit badge at tonights meeting.
I’m going with just my SAN classic in my pocket... chuckle!

Joseph Morrison
(sjdm4211) - F

Locale: Smokies
Re: Re: Minority Report on 02/19/2009 14:05:49 MST Print View

Knowledge and training is the key. If you go to any respectable survival instructor one of the things they will teach you is to always have a good knife with you in the woods. He will also train you on how to use it properly. I don't care how good a survival expert is at flint knapping or primitive firestarting he will always have a good knife and a man made firestarter with them on there own trips in the wild.

Jarred H
(calculatinginfinity) - F
krei on 02/19/2009 22:45:30 MST Print View

moras are really fun out in the woods so i usually bring mine, if not i bring my gerber mini fast draw

Brian UL

Locale: New England
Re: Re: Re: Minority Report on 02/19/2009 23:22:03 MST Print View

"My approach is to train them on how to stay out of situations that will get them in trouble. If they have their essentials, they won't need a large knife"

Thats funny because the point of a good bush knife is to help stay out of trouble.
Also what is a "big" knife?
A knife is like all other tools -Its designed to do a job, nothing more nothing less (if its good).
Knifes always attract attention by those who have emotional and cultural associations with them gleamed mostly from Hollywood and have nothing to do with the actual use of a knife as a tool-which it is.
As has been said a 100 times a bush knife only needs to carve wood and split small diameter logs (up to wrist thick)
It needs only to be big enough to do that -about 31/2-6inches -any bigger and we may say its too big. If you need to cut bigger logs its time to look at axes.
If you have no intention of ever using it that way then Im guessing your having trouble opening Mountainhouse packets? You only need a razor blade for that- anything more may be too big, I actually favor folding sewing box scissors for that and they can be taken on the plane.
As for "running around the woods hunting" -ah? hunting with a knife? Well anyone with any brain would use the knife to make traps and let the animals do the running. But you need a license and even then 'primitive" traps are usually illegal. Its a long-term survival only skill, not for a weekend hiking trip.
So, if you see someone with a fixed blade maybe they are planning on sitting by a fire that night or they are going off trail and need a little more to fall back on.
Not every one with more than a Swiss classic has a Rambo complex and is out playing "Man vs Wild".If you think using "big" fixed blades is only for the ignorant I invite you to go to one of the many gatherings or schools in places like Alberta CAN and meet some of the people who dedicate their lives to preserving bush lore for your self.

Ali e
(barefootnavigator) - F

Locale: Outside
"What knife do you carry backpacking?" on 02/20/2009 20:03:22 MST Print View

In an emergency situation I can make a cutting tool out of a rock easily found anywhere so I dont always carry a knife. My small knife is a dogfish neck knife. If I want a really good bush knife I carry my tops T2, it also works as an ax. When I lived in Hawaii out of my pack the locals tought me how to hunt pig with a knife. This may be a stupid way to hunt but it will change you forever. I dont hunt anymore but I know I can If I ever had too. Ali

tracker t2

I should add that on many trips this knife replaces my shelter, trekking poles, bear bag, map and compas and all cooking utensils minis a small mug. It weigs 1 lb and has a 6" edge but saves a good 3 plus pounds. I can easily make fire with two sticks but still carry a small fire tool. Cheers

Edited by barefootnavigator on 02/20/2009 20:27:24 MST.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Mora knives Downunder on 02/20/2009 21:21:26 MST Print View

Now I know why I spotted Les Stroud running away whimpering, he must have bumped into Ali.
Good news for Aussies in Melbourne, Mora knives have arrived . Frank O"Reillys, 869-871 High
Street, Thornbury.
No I have not been there yet.
The Swedish agents replied to my enquiry in about 10 minutes, that was weeks ago ( I forgot all about it)

Joseph Morrison
(sjdm4211) - F

Locale: Smokies
Re: "What knife do you carry backpacking?" on 02/20/2009 21:27:14 MST Print View

Like I said yesterday just because you can make a cutting tool from a rock doesn't mean you should just leave your knife behind.
Some people carry a big bizzare looking bowie knife or black coated tanto to look tough. Its nothing but bravdo. If something bad actually happened in the woods they would be the first to curl into the fetal position and beg for mommy. So feel free to make fun of them. Hell, I will join in with you! But most intelligent outdoorsman carry a knife because we know how important it is to wilderness survival and everyday tasks in the woods. We aren't trying to prove anything, we don't think we look cool. We aren't hoping for a chance to kill a bear with a knife, we just know that bad things can happen and we want to be a little prepared.

Edited by sjdm4211 on 02/20/2009 21:29:20 MST.

Ali e
(barefootnavigator) - F

Locale: Outside
"What knife do you carry backpacking?" on 02/20/2009 21:30:19 MST Print View

shane sibert (grinder) I like the match holder?? do you know who makes it? Ali

Forrest Kelly
(frkelly) - F
lost me knife on 02/20/2009 22:22:58 MST Print View

on a month long trip I lost my knife the 2nd day out, went the whole trip without one and never had a moment when I needed it. go figure

Ali e
(barefootnavigator) - F

Locale: Outside
"What knife do you carry backpacking?" on 02/20/2009 22:25:31 MST Print View

Needs got nothing to do with it. :) Ali

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Knife on 02/21/2009 08:55:26 MST Print View

When I don't take my Gerber LST, I have a Spyderco Ladybug. VG-10 steel from Japan, .6oz.

Daniel Strange
(strangdj) - F
RE: What knife do you carry backpacking? on 02/22/2009 13:19:13 MST Print View

I think many people on this thread are talking right past each other. On the one hand you have people who say seem to be saying that's it's near suicide to step into the woods without a large fixed blade. And on the other hand you have the people who seem to be saying that a knife is only useful for trimming the extra grams off your pack straps.

The truth is that it matters a LOT where you are in the world, what type of trip you are doing, for how long, and what other equipment do you have with you.

I think that the majority lightweight backpackers are doing on-trail backpacking in the lower '48 or something similar. For these people (myself included) a knife is not a survival tool, it is a convenience. I have no illusions about building myself a log-cabin and spearing fishing or whatnot. I'm already carrying the essentials (shelter, food, fire-starting etc.), I'm treading lightly so I'm not building a lot of open fires or erecting natural shelters. If I find myself lost or with a broken leg or something I don't think a large knife is going to make any significant difference. For me a knife is for cooking and cutting cordage. I carry an ancient swiss-army knife which I paid like $15 for 20 years ago and has been resharpened so many times it probably weighs 2 grams less than when I bought it. And a lexan table knife.

However, I can see the usefulness of a large knife. Particularly if you are talking about more remote, Alaska type wilderness where you may very well be "living off the land" a bit more. In fact there's places on the planet where if you walk any distance without a 2 foot Machete you're crazy. Hunting, trapping, traveling long distances far from civilization. Building a lot of campfires and sleeping out in the open. If I was doing a trip like that I would bring a sturdy fixed blade. I don't think I'd spend more than $40 for it, though. Honestly there's a whole knife culture which gets a little kooky.

Unknown abc
(edude) - F
"What knife do you carry backpacking?" on 02/22/2009 14:18:20 MST Print View

Wow, it's been interesting to read what all of you have had to say in this thread. Now I will join the battle.

I used to take my Leatherman Micro, but I realized that it's a porker for what you get.

When I was researching and obsessing over my SUL list, Mike C. talked me into using a razor blade. Well, I picked one up at a store, and I don't like it at all.

Now, I'm going to be using my "ancient" (I call it that because I don't know what it's called, when it was made, I just know that it is so old that they don't make it any more) 2.5 in. folding blade Buck Knife. It weighs 1.2 oz., holds an edge well, and has all the utility I want.

I am a big fan of single-blade folding knives whereas I don't care for big sheath knifes.


Brian UL

Locale: New England
Re: "What knife do you carry backpacking?" on 02/22/2009 14:45:55 MST Print View

have you tried using one of those folding scissors?
you can find them in sewing boxes and sometimes first aid kits.
I also dont like using a lose razor blade -but the scissors are nice to use and I love that I can take them on the airplane. people also recommended using the scissors removed from a classic Swiss army but I found that without the extension of the knife handle they where way to finicky to use.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: RE: What knife do you carry backpacking? on 02/22/2009 15:44:01 MST Print View

>Hunting, trapping, traveling long distances far from civilization. Building a lot of campfires and sleeping out in the open. If I was doing a trip like that I would bring a sturdy fixed blade.

AND an axe!!

I carry a small wood handled folding knife (Opinel) to cut my cheese, salami, cordage, etc...I haven't yet been in a situation where I needed a knife for anything else, but then we don't have bears, snakes, etc...and if we did I would try to keep well clear of them. I have also used my knife to literally whittle away the hours while stuck in a hut in a storm...I made a very sharp stick with it.

Edited by retropump on 02/22/2009 15:48:16 MST.

Unknown abc
(edude) - F
"What knife do you carry backpacking?" on 02/22/2009 18:46:25 MST Print View

Brian, I've tried those too, but I'm just fixed on 2.5-3in. single blade folding knives. I agree with you that removing the scissors from a Swiss Army Knife is somewhat pointless because they are so awkward and hard to use.

Ali, I carried a hatchet on my very first backpacking trip on which I almost died...


Edited by edude on 02/22/2009 18:47:53 MST.