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Has your knife ever helped you out of a dire situation?
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Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Has your knife ever helped you out of a dire situation? on 10/21/2010 09:32:43 MDT Print View

Dire? Hmmm. Mostly it cuts salami, cord, occasional tent stakes, & so forth. I've also used it to carve a rough spoon after mine broke, infrequently to clean fish. Note that a razor would not do any of those tasks other than cut cord. None of those situations were dire, but a decent knife made things easier.

Several years ago a friend and I were paddling deep in the BWCA in early spring, and spent most of a day paddling & portaging in 30-ish degree rain. By the time we got to camp we were cold to the bone. All of our critical insulation (ie sleeping bag & spare layers) was safely stashed in dry sacks, & our stoves immediately fired up to get some warm tea down the hatch, but we needed something a little more.

One might argue that need was largely psychological, and indeed that might have been the case. Perhaps we could have just donned our dry stuff & shivered into our sleeping bags. But we were miserably cold.

All potential firewood and tinder was pretty much soaked. A stout knife (4" fixed blade) worked fine for splitting into wet wood to the dry core, and we were able to get a decent fire going. The fire rigged under a tarp, the two of us got out of the freezing rain & warmed up externally, nursed feeling back into our fingers, and cheered up a bit. I was glad to have a few ounces worth of knife, & continue to carry one on all my trips. It's also a good complement to a wood-burning stove...

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Has your knife ever helped you out of a dire situation? on 10/21/2010 09:33:12 MDT Print View

Some of it's age. I know my Dad would get angry if I didn't have one, because in his world, men carried a pocketknife. Our education system starts early with the indoctrination that knives are bad though.

There have been a couple of times when I was in dire need of a knife, because sometimes you get a tough steak.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Young folks on 10/21/2010 09:34:29 MDT Print View

Gabriel says,
"I wonder if young people carry them less than their middle-age and beyond counterparts. Ridiculous?"

No, I think you're probably right. I've often had a "Who are you going to kill with that?" response when I've opened my SAK to cut a chunk of broccoli from the salad bar down to size, or to open one of those clam-shell packages that are so common these days. Younger folks seem to see a knife primarily as a weapon, probably due to our tv and movie culture, and not primarily as a tool. Why carry a knife, unless you are an evil murderer?

FWIW, carrying a knife while backpacking won't do you much good unless you know what to do with it. If you don't use a knife at home, it has no inherent magic that will protect or save you in the woods.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Has your knife ever helped you out of a dire situation? on 10/21/2010 09:35:10 MDT Print View

What's really funny are these discussions about not needing to carry a knife in the backcountry yet some of you carry guns. Daily.

Uh oh - did I just say that?

Brandon Sanchez
(dharmabumpkin) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Mtns
re:Has your knife ever helped you out of a dire situation? on 10/21/2010 09:46:06 MDT Print View

bravo david, i completely agree with you sentiment and incitement to thread drift!

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Has your knife ever helped you out of a dire situation? on 10/21/2010 10:02:52 MDT Print View

(I'm in hiding right now...)

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Has your knife ever helped you out of a dire situation? on 10/21/2010 10:42:21 MDT Print View

>What's really funny are these discussions about not needing to carry a knife in the backcountry yet some of you carry guns. Daily.

You say that like it's a bad thing.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Has your knife ever helped you out of a dire situation? on 10/21/2010 10:52:20 MDT Print View

Yes, you are correct.

Arthur Forbes
(FNF) - F
A multi-tool helped me out in a dire situation recently on 10/21/2010 14:48:25 MDT Print View

Last month I was doing a 8-day trip in the Wind River Range which included a lot of fishing, both spin and fly. I am fairly new to fly fishing and while standing on a rock at the waters edge I was roll casting and managed to sink a fly deep into my cheek.

The hook was in deep past the barb (forgot to remove it) and would not pull out without taking a nice chunk of my cheek with it. I got out my survival signal mirror and a friends Leatherman, pushed the hook through the other side of my cheek and grabbed the tip of the hook with the Leatherman's pliers and bent the hook straigh until it snaped. It snapped right at the barb and I was able to pull it out. While not a huge safety issue, sleeping and life on the trail would have really sucked those last 3 days with a wolly fly stuck in my cheek!

kevin timm
(ktimm) - M

Locale: Colorado (SeekOutside)
Knife on 10/21/2010 16:18:29 MDT Print View

I have a Leatherman multi that is fairly weighty, but I don't count it if it's on my belt or in my pocket. I worry about pack weight and foot weight, the rest fluctuates. I could lay off IPA and save some weight as well. After borrowing someone's swiss army for cutting moleskin due to a last second change of shoes on a 5 day, I regretted not having my leatherman.

Cleaning fish, cutting rope, moleskin, food, etc, unless my purpose is to go fast (think race), or I'm going on a local hike I do all the time, I carry a knife.

Edited by ktimm on 10/21/2010 18:01:41 MDT.

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
No country for old men on 10/21/2010 16:57:12 MDT Print View

When I first told my dad, a 70-ish Mexican immigrant, that I was now into walking for days in the woods and in the mountains with only a backpack full of gear, he gave me a smile. Kind of a "I always wanted to do that myself" kind of smile. He was the one that got me hooked on the great outdoors. He listened to me explain some of the places I had been and some of the adventures I've had. When I was finished, he paused, and in a very concerned voice said to me (in spanish), "you better take a good knife".

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Sr. Lopez on 10/21/2010 18:56:50 MDT Print View

Your dad is a wise man!

Jeremy Platt
(jeremy089786) - F

Locale: Sydney
coke can stoves on 10/22/2010 05:59:41 MDT Print View

I have never needed a knife in dire situation, but I often use one to make a couple of coke can stoves every other time I go hiking. If everyone brings a can of beer you can usually pump out a couple of stoves over the evening which make excellent presents for friends, family and anyone you are hitchhiking/ staying with.

This weekend I am going to try out a super light $1 pen knife and see how it holds up. It can cut through aluminium fine so I reckon it will stand up against veggies and the odd snag.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
IPA on 10/22/2010 09:47:46 MDT Print View

>I could lay off IPA and save some weight as well.

That's crazy talk Kevin! If you weren't supposed to drink IPAs, Ska wouldn't have put Modus Hoperandi in those nice, packable cans.

Sorry for the tanget. I wouldn't think about not going into the backcountry without a knife.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Has your knife ever helped you out of a dire situation? on 10/22/2010 10:34:54 MDT Print View

In the past 5 decades I have never encountered a dire situation that required a knife to extradite myself.

I have found more use for the scissors in my Victronix Classic than any blade.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Has your knife ever helped you out of a dire situation? on 10/22/2010 10:36:12 MDT Print View

I truly believe that much of whether you carry a decent knife will be based on where you hike and at what time of year.

Not carrying a knife in Northern BC, for example is stupid.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Dave's right on 10/22/2010 10:53:19 MDT Print View

I'm with you, Dave. I've been cornered by an angry moose twice in the last 4 years, and I feel the need to carry my razor sharp Spyderco Endura in case I need to fight back. A couple of well placed slices into a moose's fleshy delicate and sensitive nose should run it off. The knife also slices salami and cheese quite well too, and opens FD meal packages.

By the way, I've asked these forums several times in the past, regarding whether pepper spray would be useful against a moose (or just make it more goofy). No one has replied with a personal experience. I contacted Counter Assault about this, and the office manager thought that it would work. He attached a flyer from the Alaska Fish & Game office that suggested using a strong blast of spray if one was being attacked by a moose (and then running away as fast as you can, unlike when attacked by a bear or cougar).

Javan Dempsey
(jdempsey)

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: I carry a Bark River on 10/22/2010 14:37:41 MDT Print View

"Michael you are one of the few people I have ever heard mention Bark River knives"


Obviously you haven't seen my multi-page tirades about how the Bark River Bravo Necker and Necker-2 are the best UL fixed blade available. ;P

I freaking love it. Although I do feel bad about how much I abuse my BN2, but she doesn't seem to mind.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Has your knife ever helped you out of a dire situation? on 10/22/2010 18:05:36 MDT Print View

No dire situations to report. But, I do carry some sort of tool to cut with. Mostly, it's a Leatherman Micra. I actualy find the scissors more useful than the blade, plus I like having the tweezers. (less than 2 ounces)

When I take fishing gear, I take an Opinel folding filLet knife (also less than 2 ounces) and leave the Micra at home.

I am currently contemplating using a wood stove. If I do, I will take a more substantial knife. I have a few that would fit the bill that weigh 4 ounces or less. I figure that would still be a weight savings over carrying alcohol or canisters.

Chris Peichel
(momo)

Locale: Eureka
Has your knife ever helped you out of a dire situation? on 10/22/2010 18:20:06 MDT Print View

My knife has never helped me out of a dire situation, but it sure slices salami, cheese and bagels beautifully.

Bark River Bravo Necker...hands down the best UL knife i have carried, and the only one I carry now.