Knife Recommendations
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Max Downen
(MaxwellJ) - F

Locale: Northern California
Knife Recommendations on 11/09/2011 19:30:46 MST Print View

Hey folks,

I'm looking to buy a new knife and was wanting to get some opinions/ideas on what's out on the market now or what you all have experience with.

I don't have my heart set on either fixed blade or folding blade.
What are your opinions on best uses for each?
I'm wanting something fairly light but still something I can do some productive (positive) damage with.

Another consideration: College kid on a budget...however, I understand it would be a long term investment.

All information and opinions are much appreciated in advance!

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Knife Recommendations on 11/09/2011 19:34:43 MST Print View

Gerber Paraframe from Wal-Mart.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Knife Recommendations on 11/09/2011 19:44:51 MST Print View

Check out the Mora Allround for a fixed blade on a budget. Any of the Moras will do the job and are excellent for food prep and general cutting chores.

For food prep and light use, the Victorinox paring knives are 0.75oz and $4.75. For something similar with a sheath, the Dexter Russell Net and Twine knife is a very handy and light too.

Scroll down to see photos of the Dexter Russell with the sheath adapted:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=41234

Nothing wrong with Swiss Army knives for utility/cost.

For a quality folder, I like the Benchmade Griptilian.

The Sanrenmu GB-763 knife is a super buy for a smaller folder with an excellent lock.
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=54203&skip_to_post=457037#457037

The Spyderco Byrd line has a number of good folding knives. Sierra Trading Post often has deals on them. The Meadowlark 2 is a good balance of weight and size and is lefty friendly: http://www.bladeauthority.com/product_p/by04psbk2.htm

Edited by dwambaugh on 11/09/2011 19:53:48 MST.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Benchmade Griptilian, Bark River NorthStar on 11/09/2011 19:47:24 MST Print View

For a locking folder, the Benchmade Griptilian is one of the best deals around. It's a very durable knife with one of the strongest locks made. They generally have great steel, and come quite sharp. There are a number of different models, including minis, which are of course smaller and lighter. For a high quality knife, they are quite cheap.

For a non-folding knife, the Bark River NorthStar is an excellent knife. It is one of Bark River's lighter weight models, is available in A2 (not stainless) and CPM 3V (almost stainless). Both are very tough steels. Bark River uses a convex grind, which is an older grind that stands up well to outdoor use without needing to be sharpened every time you whittle a twig. However, Barkies are not cheap!

Kevin Lutz
(mtntrailrunner) - F
Re: Knife Recommendations on 11/09/2011 19:55:18 MST Print View

There are a bazillion knife designs out there. It's hard to recommend anything without knowing your requirements/prefences. What do you want to do with it? Cut cord? Process firewood? Is it just for emergencies? Does it need to be rustproof? Do you want it to be quickly deployed? Do you want a serrated blade?

"Fairly light" is a relative term. For some people an 8oz knife is fairly light, for others it's a brick.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Knives on 11/09/2011 19:56:35 MST Print View

+1 on the gerbers, decent quality and easily available at Walmarts etc. I found a really good deal on one of the bigger CRKT knives. A couple of the serated teeth have broken off. Now to be fair I was using the knife pretty hard (splitting kiddling on a ridiculously wet campout in NY). Good knife though. Seems to take forever to sharpen.
If you want to spend more money I really liked my spiderco till I misplace it. It was very sharp and held up well to a lot of abuse. My cousin got an updated model and its even better.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Knife Recommendations on 11/09/2011 20:01:07 MST Print View

OK, brace yourself for 100 different responses, a debate on metallurgy, and countless $100 + offerings.

Here's my take.

Mora Bushcraft model, with the 4" blade.
http://www.shop.bushcraftnorthwest.com/product.sc?productId=9&categoryId=2

My experience:
Bought one of these many, many years ago. While it may not be fancy enough to satisfy the real aficionados out there, it's an awesome, practical chore knife. Not tactical (I really hate "tactical" looking stuff these days), more like something you'd find in your Scandinavian Grandma & Grandpa's kitchen drawer. Came plenty sharp. I think the size is great. It cuts tomatoes and spreads butter as well as it carves wood. I find the handle size/shape very comfortable. It's easy to sharpen. You can also carve/customize the handle yourself.
It's cheap enough that you don't have to worry about really using it (I use to use it to cut saltwater bait...you won't see fancy knives doing that), dropping it, etc.

That said, I lost faith, thought I'd try a "better" knife, and picked up an ESEE Izula. While it's a decent knife for what it is, I hate the feel of it compared to the Mora. The blade, in my opinion, is too short for food prep (not long enough to easily slice food) and the handle is short and uncomfortable in the hand.

I've since lost my Mora and I've been using the Izula...but I miss my original.
Will either get another Mora ($12, you can't go wrong) or an Opinel No.10 with corkscrew.

http://www.opiknife.com/proddetail.asp?prod=Opinel-knives-no-10-Corkscrew-picnic&cat=11

Johnny Duke
(jd1987) - F
Re: Knife Recommendations on 11/09/2011 20:08:55 MST Print View

I had a paraframe for a couple of years, actually 3, and loved them for daily carry. Lightweight and slender. The only problem I ever had with one was that the locking mechanism lost its rigidity after a while and the blade would collapse occasionally. But I had that particular one for a long time and used it heavily until I lost it. I carry a CRKT m21 now and its my favorite pocket knife I've owned. Its a little more hefty than the paraframe. It has the liner lock and then an additional lock that locks the liner lock. So its closer to being a fixed blade when open.

I personally carry a gerber prodigy in the woods. I like having a fixed blade and I like the size of it. I think it's bigger than what most people would recommend here, but I love it. For me its not too big or too small. Just right. Plus its under $50.
- I do think that they have changed the blade material since I bought mine though. I'm not positive what kind of steel they use now.

On my scale:
CRKT m21 = 3.6oz
Prodigy (knife only) = 7.4oz

I like neck knifes a lot as well. I don't own one at the moment, but I'm thinking about getting one. Lightweight fixed blades. I this one caught my eye today:

http://www2.knifecenter.com/item/TM4900/

Its 440 steel but I didn't see what grade. Most likely 440a. Seems like a good knife and a good price. Plus its only 1.6oz

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: Re: Knife Recommendations on 11/09/2011 20:17:34 MST Print View

>lightest weight - single razor blade
>light but easier to use - Dermasafe
>the all-you-need - Swiss army classic
>various folders of various quality - ????
>food prep - Kuhn Rikon
>wood working - Mora

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Mora #1 on 11/09/2011 20:29:34 MST Print View

I like the Mora #1 and have been using it for a few years, but I think I'd like the #2 better due to a slightly longer blade and larger handle. The #2 is the same model Craig linked to above. The #1 is 2.8 oz with sheath. I like a fixed blade because one of the most important tasks I expect a knife to do is preparing wet firewood by splitting it. Folding knives don't hold up well to batoning when doing this.

See this review with important warnings about the design and lack of a blade guard:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JaoSZ0rb_I

If it's too scary, get the Mora 711. The #1 and #2 are also available with guards.

I purchased several different models here:

http://www.ragweedforge.com/SwedishKnifeCatalog.html

Dustin Snyder
(DustinTSnyder)

Locale: Southeast
ESEE Izula on 11/09/2011 20:33:14 MST Print View

I really like my ESEE Izula. I great sheath knife for every day carry or for small wood chores while base camping or bush crafting. Look on eBay you can find them for $50 on there. But for backpacking a derma safe is plenty of knife.
Dustin

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
finger guards on 11/09/2011 20:45:08 MST Print View

Finger guards are designed to protect the fingers when using a stabbing motion.
In daily use you never need to "stab" anything with ay real power behind it- enough to force the fingers forward onto the blade.
Moras with guards on them are intended for children. I read somewhere that being allowed to use a normal knife is one of those coming of age moments.

Johnny Duke
(jd1987) - F
Re: finger guards on 11/09/2011 20:50:43 MST Print View

What happens if you're being mauled my a bear? You'll cut your fingers.

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: Re: finger guards on 11/09/2011 20:53:33 MST Print View

"What happens if you're being mauled my a bear?"

throw your Mora at it and run....

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Ultra light options on 11/09/2011 21:07:39 MST Print View

Swiss Army Classic/Signature .75 ounces
Gerber LST .6 ounces
Spyderco Ladybug 3 .6 ounces
Spyderco LBK .5 ounces

And a new one I discovered yesterday
-Leatherman Style multi tool .8 ounces, I am thinking of getting this one.

Edited by WarrenGreer on 11/09/2011 21:15:54 MST.

Ryan Tir
(Ryan1524) - F
Mantis on 11/09/2011 21:10:24 MST Print View

www.mantisknives.com

I have 4 from this guy, very high quality and well designed.

BER ---
(BER) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Knife on 11/09/2011 21:16:37 MST Print View

Completely depends on what you want to do with your knife.
I am not one needing to split wood with a knife, no do I think a large knife is "needed" for survival bush craft. I have had several knives and over time and find a little blade is plenty for my needs.

Currently carry a CRKT Ken Onion Eros2. 22g. 2" blade, titanium frame.

Edited by BER on 11/09/2011 21:18:20 MST.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Knife Recommendations on 11/09/2011 22:04:46 MST Print View

I think you should really carry a fixed blade. There isn't much of a reason to carry a folder. I baton with my knife a lot.
Even if it's just batoning through a stick to make a pot holder, sectioning a long stick to make a set of stakes, or knocking off bows. Those tasks are very light on your blade, but not good on a folder. You can knock a liner lock loose pretty easy that way.
And then if you get stuck in a bad situation, you might need to baton it hard to cut shelter poles or cut dry wood.
I like a 3.5 inch puuko with a stick tang that goes all the way through. Much lighter than a full exposed tang and just as strong if it actually goes all the way through and is well tempered. 1/8th inch is about right, not too chunky. Kydex is probably the lightest sheath option.

Pete Anderson
(hosaphone) - F

Locale: Boston-ish, MA
imo on 11/09/2011 23:57:22 MST Print View

For the vast majority of my hiking I don't even need a razor blade, but I'd still carry a tiny victorinox just for the scissors.

On the other hand sometimes I bring a fixed blade (moras are awesome... 10 bucks, 3oz, full tang kinda, batons wood like a champ), sometimes I bring a multitool, and sometimes a combination of the above.

But for the vast majority of on-trail hiking on the east coast in 3 season conditions... You don't even "need" anything, it's just a matter of convenience really.


I'll second the idea that folders are pretty much pointless. Either a knife can baton wood or it can't. If it can't, it may as well be as tiny as possible. You probably could baton with some folders though, I dunno.


My suggestion to the OP would be to pick up a mora and pick up a leatherman style (basically just a nicer version of the victorinox... blade, scissors,file, tweezers).

Edited by hosaphone on 11/10/2011 00:01:20 MST.

Nick Larsen
(stingray4540) - F

Locale: South Bay
Re: Knife Recommendations on 11/10/2011 00:08:13 MST Print View

I'm gonna +1 the Mora. Hell, even if you don't like/use it for backpacking, for $10 it's worth getting even if you just use it in the garage or garden.

If you're on a budget, a Mora will perform just as well as many $100+ knives, although it certainly won't look like one.
They are cheap, so no harm in losing it. The scandi bevel is easy for anyone to sharpen free hand, and will teach you proper technique that will be carried over to other secondary beveled knives.
Also, being a fixed blade it "...can do some productive(positive) damage."

That being said, if the most you are ever going to do with a knife is cut open a bag or pick out a splinter, then a victronix classic will be more than adequate, and probably a little lighter.

P.S. If you decide on the Mora, check out www.ragweedforge.com $6 shipping no matter how much you buy, and great customer service. They also sell several other brands and blank blades if you ever feel adventurous enough to make your own handle. I have no association with the above company, just a very satisfied long time customer.