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how big of a knife do we really need (or how small of knife can we get by with)?
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David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Ptarmigan on 09/10/2013 12:18:36 MDT Print View

Grouse and related don't need a knife. You just pull their little jammies off with your hands. The rest is similarly removed.

A razor blade works okay for trout.

That long fixed blade without handle reminds me of the blades used on my fabric knife. Razor sharp, I don't know what kind of sheath would hold up.

Bob Shaver
(rshaver) - F

Locale: West
depends on what tne "need" is on 09/11/2013 10:49:38 MDT Print View

If you never forget your tent poles or stakes, and don't fish, your knife needs could be pretty small. Even with fishing, a SAK classic would suffice in a pinch. For the added utility and ease of use, I'm happy to carry a 2 oz Mora knife. What I am considering is also taking a ceramic knife for fish cleaning. A ceramic knife with a plastic handle is pretty darn light, but not up to cutting off willow branches to make a tent pole.

On a recent trip, we were in a public campground and had only large wedges of wood as firewood. We needed smaller pieces to make a fire, as the area has been picked clean of small wood. With the Mora knife we cut off flakes of wood off the bigger pieces by batoning, and made some pieces 1" thick from the 4 inch wedges of firewood. Later in the trip, when fish heads needed to be cut off before cooking, it was "hey, can I borrow your knife?" Way easier to do that with a Mora knife than a razor blade or SAK classic. Plus with a Mora knife one never feels that you don't want your nice clean expensive knife to get filthy. A Mora is a utility knife, costs around $20, and is highly functional.

Phillip Asby
(PGAsby) - M

Locale: North Carolina
Re: CS tool + boker anti-grav knife on 09/11/2013 13:56:32 MDT Print View

That Boker is sweet - curse you I just bought the titanium handled version...

The worst part is that I will worry about the ceramic blade and likely end up bringing another knife along as a backup...

Between that and almost always at least 2 lights - well - no wonder I am far from SUL despite my efforts to lighten up. Although I do still beat out most of the adults who go on our Scout trips! The guys who pack in Kingsford charcoal and a portable grill to cook dinner kind of set the bar at a whole other level.

Edited by PGAsby on 09/11/2013 13:58:55 MDT.

And E
(LunchANDYnner) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
segue on 09/11/2013 14:31:58 MDT Print View

Oh man, a charcoal grill eh? I would love to see a packable, UL backcountry smoker, although, as I'm allergic to fish so can't can't catch and smoke it, I'd have to pack in heavy meat or hunt a boar or something and hope I can eat the whole thing then and there.

Benjamin Meadors

Locale: Central Arkansas
ESEE Izula on 09/11/2013 14:55:58 MDT Print View

It's hard to beat the ESEE Izula at only 2 oz. I can baton wood and clean game with it. For a while, it was actually my everyday carry knife (belt clip). Micarta scales can be added for a better grip at the cost of another ounce I believe. I love modular items.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: ESEE Izula on 09/11/2013 15:03:49 MDT Print View

I'm also a fan of small neckers but I use the blind horse knives tiger knapp. You can beat the hell out of those things.

Desert Dweller

Locale: Wild Wild West
how small? on 09/11/2013 15:56:24 MDT Print View

I have lots of knives, but my favorite lately is this tiny leatherman. Perfect for BPL!itsy bitsy!

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Re: how small? on 09/11/2013 16:34:07 MDT Print View

What does the leather man weigh,it appears to have the same length but wider blade as a sak classic and smaller scissors lacks the toothpick and tweezers but stronger blade might be nice

Desert Dweller

Locale: Wild Wild West
leatherman weight on 09/11/2013 16:41:49 MDT Print View

.85 oz on my digital scale. I would not dress an elk out with it but that's what my Mora knives are for. its model #831219.

Edited by Drusilla on 09/11/2013 16:50:05 MDT.

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Re: leatherman weight on 09/11/2013 17:04:00 MDT Print View

Thank you that looks a bit stronger than the classic and a bit longer on the handle length. I will have to check one out.

John Coyle

Locale: NorCal
how big of a knife do we really need (or how small of knife can we get by with)? on 09/11/2013 17:49:27 MDT Print View

Naw, those aren't knives, this is a knife:

K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: ESEE Izula on 09/11/2013 18:08:36 MDT Print View

Received one as a present. Beautiful knife!

smALL on 09/11/2013 20:20:43 MDT Print View

Ive taken a liking to a #11 xacto blade, 0.03oz

I cant imagine using it for anything but cutting dental floss, bear cord, moleskin, ducttape, or a food package.

howver, Im starting to think a scalpel with the plastic handle cut very short would be a nice option too.

wiiawiwb wiiawiwb
(wiiawiwb) - F
ESEE on 09/12/2013 13:54:03 MDT Print View

I'm never in the woods without my ESEE IZULA neck knife. Small and will get the survival job done. If alone on an overnight I'll also carry an ESEE-4.


robert van putten

Locale: Planet Bob
Gerber LST on 09/12/2013 17:31:35 MDT Print View

An-D, I loved those photos!

For me the smallest I’ll go is the Gerber LST ( the bigger version ).


It’s a heck of a knife and has served me well for a very long time as EDC and for backpacking.
I’m very impressed with what it can easily do, including field dressing a deer and light batoning. It’s also reasonably priced!

The swiss army classic is a great and very useful knife, but when I carried one backpacking it went in my backpack and my Gerber LST still rode in my pants pocket, I just couldn’t leave it behind.
My Classic has a G.I. P38 can opener on the key ring making it even more multipurpose. Typically it does toe nail and finger nail duty at the end of the day, or is broken out to open the rare can of tuna or what-not, and that’s about it, but I reckon it is a useful backup.
The Gerber gets used several times a day and is always close at hand in my pocket.

A knife I have just gotten this summer is the Wenger Evo 17.

This handy little tool has a nifty saw, scissors, a great nail file ( the main reason I got this knife over similar Victorinox offerings ) a locking main blade ( pretty cool on a swiss army knife ) in addition to the usual can opener, bottle opener/screw driver, crock screw ( essential since I drink wine ), awl, tooth pick and tweezers.

evo 17

I figured this knife has everything a backpacker could ever want, but it is slightly heavier than my old Gerber LST / Swiss Classic / P38 combo, and a little bulky in my pocket.
I’ve been carrying it alone on trips this summer. The nail file got used a very great deal it seems either my wife or I was always breaking a nail!
I’m still a little on the fence about it, part of me still prefers the slender-yet-very-robust-Gerber.

John Coyle, I find it interesting you brought up the one-handed GAK.
I also purchased a black handled version of that knife this summer, also with an eye towards backpacking, and am very impressed by it.
It’s heavy, but rides in a back pocket well. The saw is awesome and the blade locks very sturdily. I think this is an excellent choice for fieldcraft.

My wife has used a Victorinox Spartan for twenty years now. I’m pretty sure it was the first decent pocket knife she ever owned, and she has no complaints or desire to upgrade.

Edited by Bawana on 09/12/2013 17:32:59 MDT.