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<1oz pocketknives
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Troll Goal
(trollgoal) - F
<1oz pocketknives on 12/23/2012 00:05:38 MST Print View

Are these 1oz. pocketknives (Victorinox Classic, Gerber LTS, etc..)really enough knife for hiking? Without getting caught up in the "what if" or "just in case" mentality do such small knives really cut the mustard out on the trail covering most if not all the basic cutting needs during trail life?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: <1oz pocketknives on 12/23/2012 00:09:13 MST Print View

I can't think of any time that I've had to use a knife of any kind while hiking on a trail. Camping is different. Knives get used a lot for food preparation.


Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
Re: <1oz pocketknives on 12/23/2012 00:37:17 MST Print View

Ugh, let me me try to be at least somewhat helpful and give you a decent response.

It really depends on your hiking and eating style. I've brought knives as tiny as a Victorinox Classic, to knives with 4 inch blade lengths. If i'm doing a simple overnighter, and know I'll be eating a mountain house or boil in bag style dinner, then a Vic Classic is more than enough, since the knife will simply be opening food packaging. When I hiked the JMT for 3 weeks, I brought along a lightweight 1.30z Opinel #7. This helped when I had to slice hard cheeses and salami, spread PB and J, etc...more food prep on an extended trip since I wasn't freeze dried boil in bag style meals everyday. For the bigger 3-4oz knives with 3-4inch blades, those come in handy when I'm bringing along a small wood stove or plan on building a fire. If it's wet, you're going to need a bigger knife to process wood and get to the dry bits. So there's no real one size fits all answer in my opinion, even though you will have guys that advocate a razor blade for every situation. I guarantee no person has ever sliced sausage or processed wood with a razor blade.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: <1oz pocketknives on 12/23/2012 00:47:40 MST Print View

I've always carried a knife while hiking. That being said the scissors in my FAK were all that I ever really needed while hiking. The scissors on my SAK Classic would have been more than adequate and up to the task.

If you are into other activities such as fishing and preparing your catch for dinner a moderately sized inexpensive kitchen paring knife is all that would be needed.

Once you get into the bush-craft area where you start "harvesting" tent poles and such a 4" Mora is still quite adequate and sufficient. The weight of the Mora including its sheath is right at 3 ounces.

If you are into bush-whacking and have to clear your path you're going to need something more than a knife.

Short answer is, Yes. The two examples you mentioned are quite enough knife for hiking.

Party On,


Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Rambo is dead on 12/23/2012 02:20:03 MST Print View

Konrad's reply has excellent insights on the whole knife discussion. My perspective as a survivalist/bushcrafter that has gone the full switch to an UL/SUL backpacker made the whole knife thing a bit more complicated. My father always taught me how important a knife is, but as most military dads I would imagine, exaggerated some, and didn't really emphasize the difference between a "safe" experience in the woods and all out war/survival situation.

I used to always take a small axe plus a folding saw with me, as I primarily relied on campfires for cooking, as well as having the heat from the fire contribute significantly to my sleep and clothing system. After getting my base weight under 20lbs, and approaching 10lbs I began to test myself. I would take only my K-bar survival knife with me rather than my axe, saw, and small pocket knife--which would actually be a big savings of weight. I was able to accomplish the same goals with the K-bar knife, i.e. make a fire to cook and help stay warm (even before/during/after light rain, though this is a pain in the neck). It was inconvenient for other things, like gutting and scaling fish, so I looked to experiment more. I then found I was able to make smaller, solo campfires that would fit most of my needs at the time with a 105g Mora knife.

I have since mostly taken either a Mora or a Swiss Army knife with me, and find that I still use them quite often at camp, and every now and then on the trail. I have never gone knife-less, I just don't feel safe, and find it far too inconvenient as Konrad so aptly pointed out. Some may attribute my uneasiness at leaving a knife behind to Machismo (I have seen this specific word used here on BPL in regards to knives that are not considered light weight), and while this may or may not be true (nor do I care either way), it evades the issue of how pragmatic in reality it is to either take no knife or take a tiny less than 1oz/28g knife. When I have gone camping with people who take no knife, they often ask to borrow my knife for whatever reason, and I can't help but wonder if those that decry taking a knife larger than 1oz/28g would do the same if they were to go camping with me in my neck of the woods.

If you have a system that allows you to have a good time, be safe, and are able to complete all your goals with a razor blade or no knife--good for you, and I mean that without any sarcasm or spite. But please allow for an open discussion of the limitations of this system, and encourage you to move past this whole "Rambo knife sux lol" type rebuttal. I think we all get it at this point that a big 1lb survivalist knife is absurd for the purposes of ultralight backpacking in general. Yet the multi-use and practical nature of my 105g Mora knife was important/pragmatic enough for me to take it with me even on the few XUL trips that I have gone on.

EDIT: to fix typos.

Edited by PrimeZombie on 12/23/2012 04:44:39 MST.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Multitool on 12/23/2012 07:08:31 MST Print View

My pocketknife (Leatherman Micra) is for cutting lengths of paracord for hammock tent repair (god forbid I break it!), adjusting the screws on sunglasses, poking holes in things during a repair, cutting thread during a repair, adjusting the locks on my trekking poles (big use), and cutting open food. Someday I hope to acquire a basic understanding of electrical circuits so I can use my disassembled headlamp to start a fire.

Scissors are a useful first aid tool, for trimming moleskine to fit, cutting bandages, and even cutting infection away in a survival scenario. Trimming logs or cutting up a piece of clothing for a splint can make a huge difference in your ability to move towards help.

I also carry a camera; I usually wouldn't attempt camera repair on a DSLR in the field, but a screwdriver is a useful item to have when carrying a DSLR if you want to quickly check on it after a drop or something.

My hope is that my uses add to your perspective!

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Micra on 12/23/2012 07:52:46 MST Print View

+1 for the Micra. It has become my go to carry on my hiking trips.


It is also helpful in tightening the screws on the flick-locks on my trekking poles.

Party On,


Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: <1oz pocketknives on 12/23/2012 08:03:35 MST Print View

I carry a 0.65oz Spyderco Ladybug for hiking and I find that I rarely ever use it for anything, maybe once every 500 miles or so. It is more than enough blade than I have ever needed.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
knife on 12/23/2012 10:26:47 MST Print View

I am with Bradford. I have a Buck knife that is about .6 oz. I have never needed more. Its a single folding blade and nothing else. It goes thru cheese, sausage, and food packaging mostly. I have rarely used it for anything other than food prep. I never even use it for fire making. If I can't break it with my hands, its either too green to burn or too big to cut with a knife. I really think a knife is an easy place to lose a few ounces. I have never wished for more

knife on 12/23/2012 10:30:33 MST Print View

Started with a multitool, 5 oz, never used it
Went to a regular pocket knife, 3 oz, never used it
Went to a leatherman style, 0.85 oz, never used it
Went to a dermasafe, 0.3 oz, still dont use it either.

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
It depends what you need on 12/23/2012 11:12:35 MST Print View

I started with a Boy Scout folder, and used it all the time, including on the canned food it was capable of opening.

I added an Opinel #8, and used it all the time, leaving the BSA knife as my backup/screwdriver/whittle knife and keeping the Opinel for food. (I still use the same Opinel and carry it on every single backpacking trip.)A similar version (in stainless) weighs 46 grams, for reference.

The Opinel #8, Stainless, at 46grams

I replaced the BSA knife with a KaBar USMC knife, usually strapped to my leg on long moto-packing rides. It got used to baton wood for campfires and to discourage malcontents from messing with the kid on the Suzuki at rural gas stations or biker-burger joints on the road. It *was/is* darn-tootin macho and *should* cause nancy-boy urbanites to quiver and shake, but I never carry that boat anchor anymore.

I added a Baladeo 22g, and use it all the time, eliminating the BSA folder forever and relegating the old-reliable Opinel to the e-bag in my pack. The Baladeo is enough knife for fishing line, food bags, fish-cutting, hard jerky and salami and nail-cleaning, but isn't enough to cut wood, baton wood or whittle, none of which I do these days. It's rust-proof, has a functional pocket clip and weighs a gram more than they said it would. With a single-bevel blade it's sharp but not nearly so as the carbon Opinel, for example.

Baladeo 22g knife, weighs 23g

Now, I'm beginning to work with two lighter knives I found at Big 5, really to see if I can come up with something to recommend to others but that's less expensive than other options.

Big 5 ten dollar knife A2 Big 5 ten dollar knife B2
Both of these are $9.99 on sale, periodically. The tanto-looking version is way better in the hand.

If you look in the Philosophy forum, there's a great thread on UL knives that includes some member's killer ideas for different uses and weights, some with photos of their knives.

Edited by EBasil on 12/23/2012 11:17:54 MST.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
knives on 12/23/2012 11:46:38 MST Print View

Erik, those last two knives from big 5 are copies of the CRKT Ritter Mk5 and the Folts Minimalist. I can't speak for the Ritter style knife, but I'm with you and personally think that the Folts Minimalist knife with the finger grooves is single handily the most comfortable UL knife I have ever held...that thing melts into your hand. I loved mine until I lost it. It comes in 3 different blade styles ( I had the wharncliff sheepsfoot style blade).


The creator Alan Folt licensed the design to CRKT to make it budget friendly (around $20 online) but if you were to get one direct from Alan Folts, they are close to $100 and use superior steels. I just thought it was cool that you had that style knife as well, as I haven't seen it make its round on BPL yet.

I love my's just such a classic/classy knife. Also, the edge is convexed! How many 10 dollar knives come with a razor sharp convexed edge?? I love it...even if it the wood swells up when wet. I wanted to love the baladeo knives but I can't stand chisel ground was also left hand oriented if you wanted to make a push-cut, which didn't work with me.

I think I just like knives as the end of the day, even if they are overkill for the task at hand. Sharp things make me smile :D

Edited by Konrad1013 on 12/23/2012 11:53:41 MST.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: It depends what you need on 12/23/2012 12:06:16 MST Print View

Many times I have wanted for nothing more than...

Proper tool for the job at hand or foot.  ;-)

...and it was at home in my EDC bag. ;-(

Like Eric said, "It depends what you need."

Party On,


Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
1 ounce knives on 12/23/2012 12:53:37 MST Print View

when I'm using my canister stove the little Spyderco Ladybug gets the call


when I'm using my wood stove, my Izula gets the call


Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: <1oz pocketknives on 12/23/2012 14:25:29 MST Print View

Troll Goal asked, "Are these 1oz. pocketknives (Victorinox Classic, Gerber LTS, etc..)really enough knife for hiking? Without getting caught up in the "what if" or "just in case" mentality do such small knives really cut the mustard out on the trail covering most if not all the basic cutting needs during trail life?"

It IS a what-if game. Many folk here have ventured out with a single-edge razor blade or the scissors dissected from a Swiss Army knife. My personal preference is to have something more knife like and I'm quite aware of the weight involved. I daily carry a Benchmade Mini Pika that is 2oz/56g and has a 3" stainless blade. I wouldn't feel totally under-equipped to be off the pavement with it, but I usually have a Benchmade Griptilian or Mora Robust when hiking. My main concerns are shelter and firemaking; otherwise the Mini Pika or something like the Victorinox Little Vickie would take care of my needs, like food prep and repairs. The Gerber LST is fine on the chores and repairs goals. Most of the Swiss Army knives are quite adequate, although I prefer the 111mm models with locking blade and saw.

In fact, the only area I fall out from the UL canon is with essentials and you will find me with a little more knife, repair supplies, first aid kit, compass and fire making gear than most SUL gear lists. And all of it is pointed at what-if. I hike solo most of the time and feel the need to be self-reliant and have just enough stuff for improvising. I still apply UL principles, looking for high performance at light weight, multiple use, etc.

You won't find me with an 8oz multi-tool or some monster Rambo knife. IMHO, once you get past a 4"-5" blade, you need to go for some Freudian couch time :)

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: <1oz pocketknives on 12/23/2012 17:14:11 MST Print View

Ordered me an Opinel #6. light but with a decent size blade for food prep and light work. I don't do campfires backpacking so needing fixed blade strength wasnt a concern.

plus i think they just look nice.

I may bring my grandfathers old Shrade-Walden H15 sheath knife (4-6oz) on an overnight or weekend trip just for giggles though ;)

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: just for giggles ;-) on 12/23/2012 18:51:50 MST Print View


This Remington fixed blade isn't UL and definitely not SUL but it does feel good in my hand and the price was right at Academy Sports. It's kind of "blade heavy" towards the front which makes me think it would be helpful preparing wood for a campfire.

CRKT Polkowski / Kasper

I found this picture online of the same model CRKT Polkowski / Kasper fixed blade knife that I own. Again not UL or SUL but it just feels right in my hand. This knife has a neutral "feel" to the weight. It is neither blade or handle heavy and I can seen it dressing game or cleaning fish.

"Feeling right in the hand" is kind of hard to describe. My best description is to visualize the voids between your fingers when you make a loosely closed fist being filled completely by the handle scales of the knife.

The Remington has a nylon sheath and the CRKT has a hard plastic sheath that snaps around the handle scales to secure the knife in the sheath securely.

I am a much bigger fan of the hard plastic sheaths in the outdoors as dampness doesn't affect them.

Leather sheaths can be works of art and nylon sheaths can be useful but are the least desirable IMHO.

Party On,


Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
<1oz pocketknives on 12/23/2012 19:27:18 MST Print View

All year round I use the Opinel N6,in winter I add to that the Mora knife.

Edited by Franco on 12/23/2012 19:28:25 MST.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: <1oz pocketknives on 12/23/2012 19:41:30 MST Print View

Are these 1oz. pocketknives (Victorinox Classic, Gerber LTS, etc..)really enough knife for hiking?

Depends entirely on how much knife you need. :)

I think Cesar makes the relevant point. For every task, there are a million ways to go about doing it. How you prefer to do them determines how much knife you need.

Andy F
(AndyF) - F

Locale: Ohio
Re: <1oz pocketknives on 12/23/2012 20:39:40 MST Print View

I always carry a #1 Mora fixed blade (a little less than 4" blade). I use it at least every other trip in a substantial way, usually to get a fire going with wet wood. I also rarely carry stakes, so it's also sometimes used to sharpen a few tent stakes if I can't find an already suitable stick.

If I didn't want or need a fire, I probably wouldn't need the knife. But, if things go wrong, I'll probably need a fire.