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Thread: How much knife do we really need ?

  1. #81
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    Protourist, that knife design came from a fellow that lives in Canada, It is what he wanted for his hunting knife.

    Bryan

  2. #82
    Discussed many times and at length. Truth be told IMHO opinion, I don't think there's any such thing as the perfect knife, be it for any scenario or any group of people. There's just toooooo many variables...everything from terrain/environment to intended usage...to user's skill and capabilities. I will say that when I recently commissioned a custom all-around outdoor/camp knife from NWA, I specified a ~7 x .25" blade of differtially heat treated steel, so that probably gives you a good idea on what my feelings are. I am a big believer in that a bigger knife can do things a smaller knife can do...maybe not perfectly well, but can manage through it 'good enough.' I don't think the reverse applies as frequently (a small blade doing a large blade's job).

    Again, what you 'need' has sooo many variables. A guy camping out of his 25 foot trailer with flat screen TV is probably going to need alot less than a guy 5 miles off the trail with only his pack on his back.

    For me, I take what I feel would get me through a bad scenario out on my excusions (I don't have a trailer)...that is getting hurt and not being able to walk out for a night or longer. That's my 8" bladed NMSFNO. Will I use it 99% of the time on my outings? Nope, probably not unless I'm just screwing around for fun. But if I twist my ankle and need to bed down for a night, It'll help get a shelter built, prep some firewood, etc. That works for me in my area with my skills and capabilities. YMMV. Could I probably do with less? Sure? More? sure. But to me, the NMSFNO is the best balance for my anticipated needs and usage...which I think is a solid arguement. A knife should not be so large/heavy/unwieldy that it outweighs its value. And again, that's gonna vary for everyone on alotta different factors.

    And as others have chimed in, part of their enjoyment of their experience is carrying a particular knife, be it large or small. They may not need it for use, but they simply enjoy having it, and since its their time and their dime, who is anyone to judge and say they shouldn't have it? Unless its something that is going to harm you down the road, have at it I say.

    And FWIW, there's LOTS of places where one can get lost and find themselves in a sticky situation. How far can you hobble, or worse, crawl, injured, across uneven terrain? Sprain or break a leg/ankle/knee etc. and if you're by yourself and don't have cell coverage in a remote area, and you could be in some trouble faster than you think. Plenty of SAR teams keep busy rescuing or recovering folks not too far off the beaten path.

    As to the mountain men of the 1800's, yes definitely a tougher lot than the "I want sprinkles on my latte and a flat screen' crowd of today. I must confess, while I don't have the flat screen, I do like lattes, but hold the sprinkles. But lets not downplay alot of those folks died out there...they went out and never came back...starving, exposure, injury, murdered, etc. It was just more accepted as part of life back then. It didn't make the national news.

    Just my $.02 worth.
    BOSS
    Last edited by BOSS1; 09-02-2012 at 09:53 PM.

  3. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by sicily02 View Post
    Protourist, that knife design came from a fellow that lives in Canada, It is what he wanted for his hunting knife.

    Bryan
    Thank you Brian. I think he designed a heck of a hunting knife.
    Rest in peace Bill. I wish I could have done more. You are sorely missed.

    #331 In Ryan W's 2014 GAW

  4. #84
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    This thread needs some pics..
    My last 2 camping trips..1 back country overnight, and one 2 day fam car camping at a campground (I actually used a knife much more during this trip than on any of my back country trips) I;ve been using a combo like this.




    I think for most average outing a cutting edge is all you really need.
    However for wood processing I like a heavy tool, be it axe, hawk, larger knife, etc..
    I find larger knives more versatile. and when I have one find I use it for most everything.
    However.. in most of the places I go. a larger knife is not as acceptable as an axe.

  5. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by RescueRiley View Post
    This thread needs some pics..
    My last 2 camping trips..1 back country overnight, and one 2 day fam car camping at a campground (I actually used a knife much more during this trip than on any of my back country trips) I;ve been using a combo like this.




    I think for most average outing a cutting edge is all you really need.
    However for wood processing I like a heavy tool, be it axe, hawk, larger knife, etc..
    I find larger knives more versatile. and when I have one find I use it for most everything.
    However.. in most of the places I go. a larger knife is not as acceptable as an axe.
    What a nice set up. All you need in two tools. Most camping and outdoor use, any sharp edge will do. A pocket knife and a hawk/hatchet will do you for just about anything you need.

  6. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackknife View Post
    Knife knuts being obsessed by the knife are going to be more into the belief that it is an indispensable item, especially if it's a big chopper. But the truth is, a knife is not needed near as much as we those who are obsessed would believe. I seriously doubt that there are many, if any here, that face life as ruged as that of the old mountain men who lived in the Rocky Mountains in the depth of winter. They got by with a skinning knife that was basicly a large butcher knife, and a 'hawk.
    A large butcher knife is a large knife.
    Hence, it isn't unreasonable to think a large knife would be handy.
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  7. #87
    Quote Originally Posted by stabman View Post
    A large butcher knife is a large knife.
    Hence, it isn't unreasonable to think a large knife would be handy.
    True in a way, but the butcher knives of three hundred years ago have precious little in common with the sharpened truck springs which are currently in vogue, and which are considered indispensable by some and laughable by others.

    Also, the butcher knife was just that: a knife for butchering. Processing large carcasses was a frequent chore for the mountain men, as was skinning various fur bearing animals. The knives they used every day are pretty much like the knives the rest of us use every day...our kitchen knives.

    One thing's for sure, they didn't cary anything extra because it "might prove useful in a worst case scenario". Despite living for years in primitive conditions, they got by just fine with knives which would be considered fragile and flimsy by todays standards. Makes you wonder how they kept from breaking their blades while batoning firewood...

  8. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by sutured View Post
    Despite living for years in primitive conditions, they got by just fine with knives which would be considered fragile and flimsy by todays standards. Makes you wonder how they kept from breaking their blades while batoning firewood...
    Many people these days think evrything will fall apart will astounding ease because they never actually try and use their knives that aren't extra thick.
    We get people on here talking about 3/16" being too thin for crying out loud!

    Now it's true that I like big knives (and big butts, I cannot lie ), but 1/8" thick is good enough for most any use, as long as it isn't total garbage steel...I ran across some definite total garbage steel in my teens, when many of the knives we were getting were from a used furniture store. Total garbage steel lives up to the name.
    But any decent knife should do for most uses that are not absolutely idiotic.
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  9. #89
    There is a twist to some of this. For I hear and see many backpackers that do not take a knife at all. I asked on why? There is a local guide that works at my local Erehwon outfitter. His goal is to get by with the least amount of weight yet still be comfortable, dry, warm and so on. He is not a bushcrafter, gatherer or hunter. He hikes many miles and takes in the sights. He doesn't take a knife at all...I asked him how he get away with it for the thought to me is inconceivable. He put it simple, the type of food...mountain house and so on, don't require a knife to even open it, he is not building a fire, he is not fishing, and the gear he takes does not reflex the need for a knife...no food prep other than what a spork can deal with...his shelter is conventional lightweight tent. He has been doing this for over 17 years and is one of the best I know at it. Where as I took a 40lb pack to the same trip he takes a 22lb is is more comfortable then I am.

    Now I like a fire, I like to carve, I like to try my hand at some bushcraft and tinker in shelter building from time to time. I like to fish and eat what I catch...I am not typically into long hikes...I like to hike into a spot that has a lake that is within 5 miles and setup camp for the next few days in the same spot and enjoy. Not his style...but I do appreciate his style and have enjoyed it to.

    My point is a knife is relative to the style and your goal, as many have said. Myself I will always take one with no matter what style! Protection, capability, what if scenario and so on. My s1 is small and light, can handle anything and wearing it on my hip doesn't add much to my trips.

  10. #90
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    I agree with what everyone is pretty much saying caring what you need for the job at hand. In a pair of jeans casual wear I carry a small benchmade limited addition Osborne. Since I'm in the army while in uniform I carried a pre-production benchmade striker for over 10 years. Out camping I take a sog seal pup it handles all my camping needs. So carry what's appropriate for what your doing that day

  11. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by soapboxpreacher View Post
    There is a twist to some of this. For I hear and see many backpackers that do not take a knife at all. I asked on why? There is a local guide that works at my local Erehwon outfitter. His goal is to get by with the least amount of weight yet still be comfortable, dry, warm and so on. He is not a bushcrafter, gatherer or hunter. He hikes many miles and takes in the sights. He doesn't take a knife at all...I asked him how he get away with it for the thought to me is inconceivable. He put it simple, the type of food...mountain house and so on, don't require a knife to even open it, he is not building a fire, he is not fishing, and the gear he takes does not reflex the need for a knife...no food prep other than what a spork can deal with...his shelter is conventional lightweight tent. He has been doing this for over 17 years and is one of the best I know at it. Where as I took a 40lb pack to the same trip he takes a 22lb is is more comfortable then I am.

    Now I like a fire, I like to carve, I like to try my hand at some bushcraft and tinker in shelter building from time to time. I like to fish and eat what I catch...I am not typically into long hikes...I like to hike into a spot that has a lake that is within 5 miles and setup camp for the next few days in the same spot and enjoy. Not his style...but I do appreciate his style and have enjoyed it to.

    My point is a knife is relative to the style and your goal, as many have said. Myself I will always take one with no matter what style! Protection, capability, what if scenario and so on. My s1 is small and light, can handle anything and wearing it on my hip doesn't add much to my trips.
    If he is lucky he will be able to do this his whole life and never have a problem. If he is ever unlucky and is stuck out in a freak storm or longer than the provisions he is carrying last he may wish he had a knife.
    Rest in peace Bill. I wish I could have done more. You are sorely missed.

    #331 In Ryan W's 2014 GAW

  12. #92
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    Protourisit, you make a good point there, things like that do happen.

    When I read that some like the obove poster said, That this guy does not even take a knife. To my way of thinking that is one boring way to live. I use one of my knives every day and I mean every day. It is 9:17 am as I write this and I was already outside cutting a notch in a hearth board, while kelly girl did her morning stuff. Even if Just carve on a stick that I pick up out in the woods by the river or at one of the parks while Kelly Girl and I go for a walk at. If there is a stick lying around it is getting carved on lol.
    I cut more fishing lines this year than I have in the past 5 years. I just love using my knives and knowing just how much easyer they make life for that WHAT IF situation or for just woods loafing because I am a woods bum.
    To each there own.

    Bryan
    Last edited by sicily02; 09-09-2012 at 09:16 AM.

  13. #93
    Most backpackers dont take knives...go to your local REI or outfitter and ask around. I was shocked! These guys arent into bushcraft, shelter building, hunting, fishing and what not. Their skills and experience far and away exceed mine in that category. And they have done far more trips in far worse conditions then I have. They seem to do just fine. Thats not my kind of trip. I will always bring one with me...no matter what!

    Up until about 4 years ago I never carried a knife. I did fine. However I do better with one. At least I think so. As for camping, hiking...only over the past 3 years have I taken a knife with me. I took a Junglas with on one trip...only to realize I would never again. Way too heavy, not very well rounded and a waste of space for what we did. I did the same with my wetterlings...neither go with anymore. I like my 6" and under crowd (one of) and a folder. That is all I need. A good amount of the time I dont use them for it depends on what the trip is about. Shelter building...fishing, hiking, hunting...then yes. With my little guy who is 4 on a car camping trip...other than a SAK will do.
    Last edited by soapboxpreacher; 09-08-2012 at 11:28 AM.

  14. #94
    Quote Originally Posted by protourist View Post
    If he is lucky he will be able to do this his whole life and never have a problem. If he is ever unlucky and is stuck out in a freak storm or longer than the provisions he is carrying last he may wish he had a knife.
    Just playing devil's advocate here.

    While I completely agree that going anywhere knifeless is
    A: a lot less fun than having a knife,
    B: limiting your options for a variety of situations,
    C: somewhat insane,
    I'm just not sure how a knife, any knife, will make a bit of difference for the aforementioned backpacker who is caught in a storm or forced to stay out beyond his provisions.

    He's got shelter. He's got insulation. Unless he's diabetic he can function just fine for at least two weeks without food, and in any event, a knife isn't going to feed him.

    No doubt a knife is a tremendous aid in starting a fire, but if he uses his head, he'll never need to make a fire. Pitching the tent and climbing inside with a sleeping bag trumps sitting in the rain next to a fire any day. If for some reason he gets too cold to complete these tasks, well then he's also too cold to build a fire, with or without a knife.

    I think the beauty of having a knife is that it gives a thinking person some ability to fabricate tools or modify their surroundings. In short, it gives a person more options to improvise and adapt to situations they did not predict. But those options are quite limited, both by the skills and ingenuity of the user and by the environment.

    There are a lot of situations and circumstances where having a knife isn't going to make much, if any difference. 99 times out of a hundred most people would be much better served by carrying an extra jacket and hat and water bottle than by carrying a knife. There are also a lot of situations where accidentally cutting yourself with a knife will end in disaster.

    I suppose I bring this up because there seems to be a prevailing belief that a person with a knife (especially a big, thick, full-tang, convex ground wunder-steel creation made by X) is somehow prepared for anything, when that isn't true at all. Without the skills and ideas and ingenuity to use it, the knife is worst than useless; its a hazard. A person with skills can use a knife to his advantage, but it's still very, very far from a fix-all.

    I've been fascinated with knives since I was a toddler. Throughout my life I've gone out of my way to see how much I could do with a knife, even if a better tool was at hand. I've traveled extensively throughout most of the wilderness climates on the planet, and for a twelve-year period I averaged five nights sleeping on the ground for every one night spent under a roof.

    I have a reasonable understanding of survival, which is really just living in circumstances you didn't forecast. When people talk about how this knife or that knife is what is going to keep them alive when the shit hits the fan, I just don't get it. I especially don't get it when the discussion veers towards the attributes of knife X which will allow you to flourish, while a "lesser" knife will surly lead to your demise.

    I know how to use a knife and I know just how handy they can be. But this concept that a knife is some sort of wonder cure for every conceivable emergency just doesn't make sense to me. The "ultimate survival knife" might be a entertaining thing to ponder while sitting at your desk avoiding work, but it's a subject (in my opinion) of very little value. The tool doesn't make the craftsman any more than the bicycle makes the racer or the water makes the swimmer.

    These thoughts aren't intended as a rebuttal to anyone, so please don't take offense. Just one of those things I've been mulling over.a

  15. #95
    It could be that the old-timers were too tired by the end of the day to discuss the benefits of their butcher knives. They used what they had to the best of their abilities. Many days found the old-timers in semi-survival situations which we (in modern times) rarely experience. We could do a great deal with a Mora, Opinel and a Columbian machete if we REALLY had to. The thing is this: we get super bored with the concept of having just one cutting implement.

  16. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by protourist View Post
    If he is lucky he will be able to do this his whole life and never have a problem. If he is ever unlucky and is stuck out in a freak storm or longer than the provisions he is carrying last he may wish he had a knife.
    Even if it is for cutting string (cord) or to make a simple tent repair a knife is a good thing to have.

    That said I can get by any day trip with just my Endura.

    If I want to play harder; a small, sturdy fixed blade fits the order.

    If I go overnight, it helps to have some wood processing gear.

    I was leaning towards the small axe / hatchet, but after batoning
    with my kukri this last trip, I'm sold on a knife big enough to baton.

    I'm trying a B11 and a Browning Competition knife now; but a smaller one for batoning, such as a 7" blade,
    along with a folding saw works too, I guess. I have a Bravo 2 and I think it would be perfect in the knife / saw role.

    All in all I love knives, and it ain't getting better.
    I must have 30 quality blades in the 3-4" range, it is always a
    matter of which one do I want to use,
    not how much do I need?

    Weight is one concern,
    fun factor is the other.


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  17. #97
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    some one a few posts back mentioned going for up to 2 weeks without food. While medically possible. and touted by many people far more educated in the field of survival than I. I will add only this, I have done several survival themed trips where I went in excess of 24 hours with no food, or minimal rations, as a challenge.. and I can tell you that while yes, you can live..it is a grim existence, and energy, motivation, and the efficacy of self rescue attempts deplete rapidly.
    That being said the chances of a knife getting you food are astronomically poor, for people who are not highly trained and practiced in the harvesting of wild game and food..
    But I agree with the general sentiment of the thread. for most backpackers in the controlled environment they create for themselves. a knife is not deemed essential, and aside from the occasional hangnail, or stubborn thread or food bag.
    It is nothing more than a box cutter without the knowledge and practice of those versed in knife craft.
    whether those skills are necessary to the modern trekker is almost arbitrary today.
    both bushcraft, or survival skills or whatever you want to call it, and backpacking are 2 entirely different hobbies that just often happen to take place in the same arena. I;ve learned allot from ultralighter friends (granted nothing I use on the regular..except for the fact that I've learned to bring less stuff)
    Some of my friends have learned a thing or 2 from me (the last ultralighter I camped with has hiked all over the country, and had never made a campfire)
    but I digress.
    The resounding message for me throughout all my travels and interactions is simply a knife is not essential.... till it is, but when it is..it is often the essential.
    At least for me.
    Last edited by RescueRiley; 09-08-2012 at 09:28 PM.

  18. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by RescueRiley View Post
    some one a few posts back mentioned going for up to 2 weeks without food. While medically possible. and touted by many people far more educated in the field of survival than I. I will add only this, I have done several survival themed trips where I went in excess of 24 hours with no food, or minimal rations, as a challenge.. and I can tell you that while yes, you can live..it is a grim existence, and energy, motivation, and the efficacy of self rescue attempts deplete rapidly.
    That being said the chances of a knife getting you food are astronomically poor, for people who are not highly trained and practiced in the harvesting of wild game and food..
    But I agree with the general sentiment of the thread. for most backpackers in the controlled environment they create for themselves. a knife is not deemed essential, and aside from the occasional hangnail, or stubborn thread or food bag.
    It is nothing more than a box cutter without the knowledge and practice of those versed in knife craft.
    whether those skills are necessary to the modern trekker is almost arbitrary today.
    both bushcraft, or survival skills or whatever you want to call it, and backpacking are 2 entirely different hobbies that just often happen to take place in the same arena. I;ve learned allot from ultralighter friends (granted nothing I use on the regular..except for the fact that I've learned to bring less stuff)
    Some of my friends have learned a thing or 2 from me (the last ultralighter I camped with has hiked all over the country, and had never made a campfire)
    but I digress.
    The resounding message for me throughout all my travels and interactions is simply a knife is not essential.... till it is, but when it is..it is often the essential.
    At least for me.
    Well said, RR.

    Doc

  19. #99
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    I don't really go anywhere in the back country, except for western MD and parts of WV, there really isn't a backcountry in the mid Atlantic. Even those are fairly populated. I usually take a SAK and small fixed blade, about 3" of blade. All I really need. Hell, I don't go off trail, family knows when I might get the itch to stop off on the trail after a bad day at work, or a bad ride home in bad traffic. If I'm going to be stuck out overnight, I usually have a little pack with me, and a water bottle. Worst thing for me would be having no cell phone reception, or accidentally cutting myself with my knife.

  20. #100
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    I think it a little extreme to go without a knife even if you are self contained backpacking?

    I would consider a SAK for emergency use as the minumum safey
    A saw to be able to cut poles for a strether, crutches, or a splint
    Sissors first aid for moleskin for your feet or a gauze dressing

    Apart for emergemcy. I can see minimal use of a knife in long distance backpacking

    Personally for long distance backpacking
    A SAK Huntsman fills all my needs, as I need a can opener and a blade as I resupply with vegetables and cans for the first couple of days
    And a small Mora 3 1/2" leather sheathed knife
    Neeman

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