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Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
how big of a knife do we really need (or how small of knife can we get by with)? on 09/08/2013 18:25:30 MDT Print View

just got back from a two day trip in the Belts Mountains (Edith & Baldy Basins) and am happy to report that my tiny Swiss Army Classic was up to the task, which in addition to the usual- opening of food packaging, food prep, etc; I had no problems whatsoever cleaning fish and fowl

I wouldn't want to dress an elk out w/ it :), but for most backpacking duties it sure seems like it fits the bill

 photo cutthroat_zps4d2cd289.jpg

 photo bluegrouseampknife_zps3cedd672.jpg

 photo grousecleaned_zpsa6dd62a0.jpg

John S.
(jshann) - F
knife on 09/08/2013 19:12:59 MDT Print View

For some reason, maybe it's me, the image does not look like a swiss army "classic" (model) knife.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
how big of a knife do we really need (or how small of knife can we get by with)? on 09/08/2013 20:33:04 MDT Print View

Any better ?
SAK yellow

Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F - M

Locale: norcal
tiny knife... on 09/08/2013 21:10:57 MDT Print View

I too have a tiny knife. The biggest issue is leverage.

it would be interesting to take a tent stake and have it somehow screw into the handle of the knife so you have a larger hilt...

I have thought about just carrying a razor blade. However, in emergency situations a REAL knife can come in handy. You can make extra tent stakes from it, spears and improvised weapons for small game traps. I can't see myself doing that with a razor blade.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: tiny knife... on 09/08/2013 21:19:01 MDT Print View

"I have thought about just carrying a razor blade. However, in emergency situations a REAL knife can come in handy. You can make extra tent stakes from it, spears and improvised weapons for small game traps. I can't see myself doing that with a razor blade."

Gosh, I've never had to do any of that with a knife. I usually take a razor blade or a derma-safe. Sometimes a Classic SAK, and can confirm you can indeed clean a trout with it, fairly easy too. Could probably do it with a razor too.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: west coast best coast
Re: how big of a knife do we really need (or how small of knife can we get by with) on 09/08/2013 21:24:23 MDT Print View

Yeah but can you build a shelter, split a log, fight off a bear, and fell a redwood with it?


There are limits to what you can do with a tiny slipjoint knife, but most backpackers don't go beyond that. The limits are still there though.

Richard Cullip
(RichardCullip) - M

Locale: San Diego County
Not very big on 09/08/2013 21:37:20 MDT Print View

Put me in the razor blade camp. I've been knifeless over the past three years carrying only a single edged razor blade. In fact, the razor blade has been dead weight, albeit not much dead weight, since I have yet to use it. I guess I'm not finding any need to cut something on my recent back packing trips.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
re on 09/08/2013 21:39:09 MDT Print View

Having a good knife that locks back is a huge safety thing. Razor blade is a hazard is you have to use it .

M W
(rcmike) - MLife

Locale: California
Situational on 09/08/2013 22:20:18 MDT Print View

If all goes as planned, then a razor blade should do fine. However, I opt for a more capable knife depending on what else is in my kit. That might be a small lockblade or straight-blade knife (anything similar to a Fallkniven U2 or F1).

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Just watch the handle on 09/08/2013 22:22:46 MDT Print View

I'm less interested in the blade and more interested in the handle length. I don't like tiny handles if I'm doing serious cutting. Small handles are tiring and I'm concerned about slipping and cutting my hand.

Edited by Cameron on 09/08/2013 22:23:31 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Situational on 09/08/2013 22:24:57 MDT Print View

I bought a Buck sheath knife in the 70's. I bought a Classic SAK in the 80's. Razor blades are almost free. Bought a derma-safe a few years ago. All the money I have saved by not buying any other knives has gone into investments for retirement.

I have a few other knives that were given to me as gifts, but I don't use them. :)

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: knifes on 09/09/2013 00:10:59 MDT Print View

I hate cleaning fish/bird/squirrel guts out of the bowels of a folder. A little fixed blade is my preference.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
+1 on SAK. And on Paklites. And a potentially clever new idea. on 09/09/2013 01:22:12 MDT Print View

Mike, Thanks for the post - I've never gone so UL on a hunting or fishing trip, but it is helpful to know that an SAK Classic suffices.

Others: Mike's knife is an SAK Classic, but with an aftermarket, hi-vis orange plastic handle. I saw it in the R2R2R trip.

If I wash up on a distant beach (again) or get flushed down the river and need to feed myself, 1) I'm picking berries, edible plants and even bark before I chase down a Dall sheep or a black bear with a spear, and 2) I'm far more likely to land a fish, throw a rock at a ptarmigan or club a porcupine with a stick and have a gutting job more like Mike showed, than skinning out big game.

For actual big stuff, which I deal with a few times a year, I'm liking:

http://www.amazon.com/Buck-Knives-Paklite-Stainless-Skeleton/dp/B003W9HLUS

I got the version with the "black traction coating": 2.4 ounces in a very functional sheath and 1.3 ounces without. It is just as functional and vastly lighter as what most hunters carry with them.

I'm seeing more hunters use these replacement blades:

http://www.amazon.com/Unknown-Quik-Change-Blades-60A/dp/B00B295X0K/ref=pd_sim_sbs_sg_12

in knives designed for them. They get super-sharp blades instantly by popping in a new blade into the holder. But my UL and uber-cheap thought is that you could buy just the refill blades and use it like you would a razor blade, but as a whole lot more capable blade. There are several lengths of blades available from $0.80 to $3 each. If someone else would be interested in giving that a try, PM me with a snail mail address and I'll toss one in the mail. I don't have them in hand yet, but I'm guessing I'll belt-sand some finger grooves into the replacement blade and maybe paint a little plastic goo on the back side (the stuff you can dip tools into to form a handle around it).

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
Fixed blade on 09/09/2013 04:39:20 MDT Print View

I prefer a fixed blade for ease of access when paddling and ease of cleaning when fishing.

The smallest blade that fits the bill is a titanium-carbide knife from Javan Dempsey that now travels with me everywhere for daily use. At about 0.2 oz, there's never a reason to leave it behind.

When a little more edge is needed, I like my bark river bravo necker. This weighs a hair more than the SAK, but not much.

1914

Edited by Ike on 09/09/2013 07:31:48 MDT.

Phillip Asby
(PGAsby) - M

Locale: North Carolina
Interesting on 09/09/2013 07:29:25 MDT Print View

Nice to see that the classic - as noted - is capable of handling most jobs (if perhaps not elegantly).

I'm a bit of a knife knut so I typically have more knife with me than I need. I recently picked up a Zero Tolerance 0550 - which is a beautiful knife and my largest blade at 3.5". But it is one big honking knife - capable of serious duty but overkill for most backpacking trips I think. I mostly use 3" and under blades so this was a purchase intended to fill a gap of a larger blade and also check out the Hinderer design. It weighs 6.2 ounces and feels every bit of it.

I usually take a Benchmade mini griptilian - 2.56 ounces and really about perfect for most needs - 3" blade - excellent grip as the name suggests - axis lock is super solid. But arguably even that is a bit of overkill - but I camp with Boy Scouts and admit that I take a bit more blade than I need to assist with some rope cutting etc... when the kids show up with 100' of rope for a bear bag, etc... I could cut that with a classic but I really prefer a more substantial blade.

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Re: how big of a knife do we really need (or how small of knife can we get by with)? on 09/09/2013 10:52:14 MDT Print View

I'm sure most here all know but the classic also has a small file, screwdriver,scissors,toothpick and tweezers and the orange cord Mike added really helps keeps it and the photon that Mike also has on from getting lost as those are my most frequently lost items.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: re: knifes on 09/09/2013 17:45:22 MDT Print View

"I hate cleaning fish/bird/squirrel guts out of the bowels of a folder. A little fixed blade is my preference."

+ 1 back in my fishing days. Especially if there are bears around.

Daniel Collins
(Diablo-V) - F

Locale: Orlando FL
CS tool + boker anti-grav knife on 09/09/2013 21:27:21 MDT Print View

I will be carrying two knives.
The leatherman CS tool and for more serious knife-centric tasks, the 2.1 oz Boker.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004NS9PVK/ref=oh_details_o03_s01_i07?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Blade length: 3 1/4". Overall length: 7 3/4". Weight: 2.1 oz.Boker anti-Grav

Edited by Diablo-V on 09/09/2013 21:28:17 MDT.

And E
(LunchANDYnner) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
that's not a knife.... on 09/09/2013 23:18:49 MDT Print View

Really? Really? How has nobody posted this yet?

croc

I have a light my fire (Mora) fire steel knife. It's nice and light and pulls double duty as emergency fire tool. Sometimes, just for fun, my fiancé or I will carry our Gerber Gator Jr machete for some overnighters.

rarr

en garde

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
YIKES! on 09/10/2013 11:39:46 MDT Print View

Do not EVER cheat on that (armed) woman!