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Ultralight Knives and Other Sharp Things
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Benjamin Smith
(bugbomb) - F - M

Locale: South Texas
Ultralight Knives and Other Sharp Things on 05/22/2007 21:05:18 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Ultralight Knives and Other Sharp Things

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Destroy the right knife (update--it's not the Wenger) on 05/22/2007 22:10:46 MDT Print View

Wenger scissors are way superior to the Victornoix equivalent (better blades, more efficient and durable spring) so if one is going to tear apart a knife, go for the Wenger Esquire.* NOT!!

For backpacking, I carry the Esquire---I need scissors for 1st aid applications and I like a tiny blade for cutting food items. Hell, I like the tweezers and nail file, too. We wants to keep going and we wants to keep pretty. :-)>

* Read my post futher down about the Wenger scissors----DO NOT try to remove from knife!

Edited by kdesign on 05/23/2007 12:44:17 MDT.

Pamela Wyant
(RiverRunner) - F - M
Re: Ultralight Knives and Other Sharp Things on 05/22/2007 22:21:27 MDT Print View

I carry the Swiss Army Knife with the heavy plastic sides (.60 oz). I must admit I'm intrigued by the idea of removing the scissors & just taking them. I find them essential for cutting sharp edges on my toenails, and I think they'd do about anything I'm likely to need on a backpacking trip (cut a bit of moleskin, cut open packaged water treatment tabs, etc.)

Michael Martin
(MikeMartin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Ultralight Knives and Other Sharp Things on 05/22/2007 22:48:36 MDT Print View

If you just want scissors, take a look at the ones in the Victorinox Swisscard. They're much like the scissors you could amputate from their Classic, but have a small finger loop attached. Plus, no gear surgery is needed to remove them from the Swisscard. ;)



Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
how true: re:Ultralight Knives and Other Sharp Things on 05/22/2007 23:51:41 MDT Print View

Reading this article made me realize I too followed the progression from heavy knife to small sharp item in my years of backpacking.
About all I need now are sissors for cutting food and water treatment packaging, and a knife for cutting cordage. Currently I carry a Leatherman S4 (120g) for the former, and a Gerber Fast Draw Mini combination knife (54g) for the latter. Since the knife is carried near climbing ropes it must lock closed; the Gerber is the lightest I've found which does that.
I am going to try to remove or file down the un-needed tools in my Leatherman; or replace it with the sissors from a Victorinox Swisscard (thanks for that great tip, Michael!)

Edited by Brett1234 on 05/22/2007 23:52:12 MDT.

James Pitts
(jjpitts) - F

Locale: Midwest US
Re: Ultralight Knives and Other Sharp Things on 05/23/2007 00:59:14 MDT Print View

I eat the MONSTROUS weight of the Leatherman Micra today. I love that thing but in truth I would say I use the scissors and the knife blade heavily. I have used the tweezers a few times (cactus thorns in the Grand Canyon). The other items are generally unused.

I really liked this article and it got me thinking about a way I might be able to cut an oz from by ditty bag. It never dawned on me that my knife weighs more than my cookset... I am not sure why that seems wrong to me but it does.

Great article. Thanks!

Joseph Aulwes
(eispickel) - F
Trango Piranha Knife on 05/23/2007 06:24:07 MDT Print View

I carry a Trango Piranha, (.7 oz). I use it for everyday use like opening beer bottles. I really like the fact that I can clip it to my harness and I don't have to worry that the blade will open accidentally.
The serrated blade is an added bonus for me, I will need to do some time trials to see if it will cut through a rope faster than a razor blade.

Brian UL

Locale: New England
Re: Ultralight Knives and Other Sharp Things on 05/23/2007 07:17:10 MDT Print View

I carry the Victorinox "rambler" which is basically the classic with the addition of a "cap lifter"(for beverages)and phillips head screwdriver combo. I would add that I carry this everyday on my keychain and use it regularly. So this is what I also carry with me backpacking.
Of coarse I own other knifes ( mora) and also have a Vicorinox "compact" which includes a much bigger pair of scissors and a pen among other things.

Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
Gerber Deluxe Clippers... on 05/23/2007 07:50:59 MDT Print View

I don't have the weight in front of me, but they weigh about as much a normal nail clippers....

Small blade, scissors, nail clippers, lanyard loop. Everything you need.

(cuzzettj) - MLife

Locale: NorCal - South Bay
Leatherman Micra on 05/23/2007 10:12:22 MDT Print View

Wow! My entire kit is changing and I just joined a few weeks ago. I have used the leatherman Micra for as long as it has been on the market. It replaced all of my larger tools based on its function.

Now I read this article and realize I can go further... I will change to the Wenger Scissors (removed of course). The scissors are really the only tool I use anyway.

Edited by cuzzettj on 05/23/2007 10:14:01 MDT.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
larger knives and multitools have a place.... on 05/23/2007 10:35:54 MDT Print View

...but not for UL backpacking---IMHO. However, a larger folding blade that can be opened one handed is de rigeur for climbing ----cutting rope--like that heroic suicidal climber did in the "Eiger Sanction" or for self preservation a la "Touching the Void" or the more mundane cutting of jammed prusik loops. >:-)>

I use a CRKT K.I.S.S. (2.25 " blade, 2 oz.---gasp!) as a part of my climbing kit ( although, something like the Trango is more climbing-centric with it's ability to be clipped in a 'biner). I like it because not only does it fullfill it's mission but it's a design object in it's own right---shear functional elegance.

For backcountry skiing, including multi-day snow camping, I'll bring something that can tighten up or help repair ski bindings, in my case the BD Binding Buddy (3.5 oz. shudder!). I'm open for suggestions for a lighter ratcheting tool.

Incidentally, a single edged razor is very hard to use with a gloved or half frozen hand. Handles are our friends.

Edited by kdesign on 05/23/2007 10:47:52 MDT.

Jason Brinkman
(jbrinkmanboi) - MLife

Locale: Idaho
Re: Ultralight Knives and Other Sharp Things on 05/23/2007 11:19:45 MDT Print View

Leatherman Micra @ 1.75 oz. Those little Micropur tabs from Katadyn are tough to open without a scissors. The tweezers pulled a few cactus out of my foot on a recent Hells Canyon trip. Can't recall using the knife.

Probably switch to a Wenger Evo 81 soon.

Mitchell Keil
(mitchellkeil) - F

Locale: Deep in the OC
Re: Ultralight Knives and Other Sharp Things on 05/23/2007 11:50:38 MDT Print View

OK, I am truly schizophrenic about this. On the one hand I love my collection of knives. I have a buck that my Grandad gave my dad and then he gave it to me on his deathbed. Love the feel of this pocket knife with its rosewood handle -- I carry it most days. I have a pearwood handled Opinal, which is a 2.5oz monster, that I carry often when backpacking. I enjoy the wood handled feel and opening the razor sharp carbon steel drop point blade that is discolored from use and cleaning fish or whittling. You know whittling is a forgotten art that relaxs the mind, occupies the hands and creates something of beauty (as well as making a great toothpick for after dinner!)

Most of the time I carry either my Opinal or I carry a delrin handled gutting knife with a 2" blade weighing 1.5oz when I backpack. I feel naked without this piece of survival gear. But as one poster noted, a knife is not really "an essential" now is it?

(By the way, maybe it would be a good discussion here in the forums to really take a hard look at the 10 Essentials.)

So the other side of me, the lightweight backpacker side, often feels that I am betraying the cause of lightness by carrying a knife like the ones I own. I wonder how many of us suffer from this dicotomy. I know I need a pair of cuticle clippers because of the awful hangnails I develop on the trail. These I have use often and are a light .5oz. I know I need something to cut tape, bandages and other 1st aid stuff. So a sissors may be useful although a very sharp knife works, too.

Seems the best answer may be the Swiss Army esquire or classic at .6oz to .7oz.

But what happens when your arm is caught in between a fallen boulder and an rock wall miles away from anyone else and you have no way of escaping unless you are willing to perform an amputation -- Huh? What happens then?

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
Re: Ultralight Knives and Other Sharp Things on 05/23/2007 11:57:04 MDT Print View

I started with some sort of swiss army classic with just a thin blade, scissors, and maybe a nail file. But the blade was too thin for cooking so I switched to a Gerber ultralight LST. The wider blade it easier to cut sausage and cheese and to spread stuff on bread or crackers.

If there are enough of us we take both, mainly for the scissors.

Also, I usually carry a very fine pair of tweezers to remove splinters. I use it once a year, but I'm happy to have it when I need it...much easier and less damage than using a knife or razor blade.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
The Wenger Esquire Scissor on 05/23/2007 12:07:31 MDT Print View

Important note for those interested in creatively destroying their Wenger to remove the scissors----don't. After a thorough examination of my Esquire under a magnifying glass, I conclude that unlike the Victornoix scissors w/ their crude, breakable spring, the Wenger relies on the knife's frame to provide leverage for it's exquisitely designed lever/spring to operate. So removal alas =
non-functional scissors.

Also, for those interested---a replacement scissor for the Swiss Card is theoretically available so perhaps one wouldn't happen to spring for the whole card. Google it fellow UL'ers.

mark henley
(flash582) - F
Kershaw on 05/23/2007 16:00:47 MDT Print View

I carry a 1.5 oz Kershaw straight edge folding knife that I picked up for about $15 at Walmart.

I carry it and my firesteel together in my pocket, replacing the firesteel striker. If I need a fire in an emergency, the knife may come in handy for cutting down to dry wood and shavings for tinder, but also serves well for cutting cheese and summer sausage, cutting rope, opening freeze dried meals, etc.

I use my little knife all the time in the backcountry. I've left it home a few times, but ended up feeling naked without it, so back in my pocket it went. YMMV

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
THE 10 ESSENTIALS on 05/23/2007 16:24:50 MDT Print View

1. Map (in a watertight case)
2. Compass (plus an optional GPS receiver)
3. Extra clothing
4. Extra food and water
5. First-aid kit
6. Headlamp or flashlight (with extra batteries)
7. Matches (storm proof, or in a watertight container)
8. Fire starter
9. Knife (or multi-use camp tool)
10. Sunglasses

[The list above is from the REI website, note the added sneaky "extras"]

I had to google this, but here they are. The funny thing is, that there are LOTS of variations. So, there isn't any rule as to what these essentials really are. Some of the other lists included Lanterns, stoves, emergency shelters, water bottle, survival blankets and signal mirror or whistle.

I figure on short trips I use about 70% of the list. On longer trips, I take a map.

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
10 essentials? on 05/23/2007 16:30:20 MDT Print View

i don't see fishing gear or coffee on that list...

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
THE ten essentials? on 05/23/2007 16:35:47 MDT Print View

or chocolate! or single malt scotch!

UL tip # 47: Remember to get your hiking partner to carry these items so they don't count as weight on your gearlist. :-)>

Edited by kdesign on 05/23/2007 16:37:54 MDT.

Paul Luther
(eredluin) - M

Locale: Northeast
Re: THE ten essentials? on 05/23/2007 16:42:37 MDT Print View

Aye, Kevin, single malt scotch!