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Knife for Appalachian Trail

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by xanderzuk, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. xanderzuk


    Jan 2, 2009
    Hey guys, I really need some help finding an outdoor, survival type knife, as I will be leaving in March to hike the Appalachian Trail in its entirety. I'm looking for something tried and true, between five and seven inches. Weight is a limiting factor, as it all adds up pretty quick in a bag for 2200+ miles, so I'd like to keep it under 16oz if possible.

    Price is also an issue, as I just graduated from college, and there is the cost of all my other gear. I cannot afford a Randall (actually had a less than stellar experience with them when I went to their factory this week - have to tell you about it later).

    I really like the Buck Vanguard, but the blade was just too small.

    I need something that can baton through wood etc. I know I'm asking a lot for a little, but I do need your help!

    So what's out there besides a Ka-Bar (which is an option)??
  2. lpd10574


    Feb 25, 2007
    check out M.D. Caldwell knives (A bit pricey though) its what I would carry. Also if you haven't read it already read Bill Bryson's "A Walk In The Woods" , very informative and entertaining story about his attempt of the AT with his out of shape buddy.
  3. rifon2


    Oct 9, 2005
    I like the Fallkniven S1.

    Convexed edge and a very tough, resilient blade.

    You can pick up an S1 for a bit over a hundred bucks.

    A multitool is a good idea as well.

    (Doubtlessly this thread will end up containing many excellent suggestions.)
  4. waterdogs


    Oct 19, 2008
    I`m pretty sure Swamp Rat would have something appropriate....excellent knives for the price ! Check out their menu.
  5. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    Welcome to BladeForums!

    There is an entire forum devoted to this:

    That'd be the best place to ask.Lot of friendly people who discuss these questions all the time plus share experiences in wilderness and survival skills.
  6. sidecutter


    Nov 28, 2008
    i got a new kabar (7") you can borrow. when you complete the trip , you can have it. i said COMPLETE. as in ALL THE WAY. send pm if interested. paul
  7. SPXTrader


    Dec 26, 2006
    Generous offer Paul! As for a knife I'd take, the RAT RC-6, or if they're out in time, the RC-5 SERE. Tough as nails, and every bit as much knife as you'll need.

    Enjoy the hike, and shout out "HEY" when you come thru Catawba, VA.
  8. Squeezymo


    Feb 4, 2008
    I would also suggest the Fallkniven, if it weren't for the convex edge. It works great, but to field sharpen it you would have to carry some extra gear.
  9. Nathan Ihrke

    Nathan Ihrke

    Sep 28, 2008
  10. SPXTrader


    Dec 26, 2006
    BTW, you going south to north, or north to south? Either way, it's a great hike. I did it over 20 years ago, and parts of the trail weren't complete then. I've talked recently (last year) with hikers I've run across, and they tell me the trail is in great condition.

    Shoot me an email...
  11. stitchawl


    Jul 26, 2008
    I'm and End-to-Ender, (30-odd years ago,) and carried only my Buck folding Stockman in my pocket. At no time did I ever find the need for anything else. YMMV. Enjoy your trip. It's the adventure of a lifetime! :thumbup:

  12. OwenM


    Oct 26, 2000
    I've only hiked a couple of sections, but if I were thru-hiking, I'd take my Victorinox Hiker, maybe just the Recruit.
  13. frogger42


    Sep 17, 2008
    Fallkniven A1 or S1. A1 is probably a better wilderness knife, but S1 is lighter. They both are fantastic knives. Their only short coming is the sheaths aren't great. I'd get one of those and then search for an after market sheath.
  14. kgd


    Feb 28, 2007
    Personally, I think you are going way too big for a knife. On a budget, I'd suggest a mora2000 for $30 and couple it with a folding saw. Seriously, a lot of hikers of that renowned trail take only a SAK and a small folding saw.

    If your are willing to go $100, you can get a nice custom knife from one of the BF makers. Trust me, custom knives are a great way to go. Here are two from Bryan Breeden (His email is: [email protected]). Bryan will make you a knife to spec. for about $100 + shipping. You can choose the steel thickness (although he strictly does O1), length and handle material. His turn-around time is usually 2 to 3 weeks. He performs a great heat treat (I baton the hell out of my knives) and makes really comfy handles. He also provides a nice leather sheath. Here are a couple of his popular models that would meet your specs.

    The orange one below is his Pathfinder model. It looks a little funny, but it is one of my best all rounder camp blades. That handle is super comfy (5") made of orange G10 with 1/4" slabs. The blade is O1, 5" length and 1/8" thick. It is nice and light to carry, but can baton through hardwoods with ease, slices great and super comfy to use. The orange handle means its not likely to get lost at the campsite - a great feature for a long trek!


    Bottom one is his Peacemaker model. This one is 6" in blade length, 1/8" thick again in O1 steel. The handle on this one is 4.5" and made of osage orange. Like the pathfinder, this one is very light in the hand and more importantly light on the hip. You won't even notice it is there. The extra inch of blade does come in handy when batoning through wood. Not a great chopper, but most hikers don't need to chop - batoning suffices. (Its companion is a modified kat knife (3.5" blade, 3/32" thick) with osage handles).


    For productions in the $100 range, I'll second the fallkniven and rat cutlery products. Personally, I think you would be better off with an RC-4 than the RC-6. The RC-6 is only 6" in lenght, but at 3/16" thickness and 1.5" wide it is a rather heavy blade. Okay for the pack, but too much weight to trek the distances you intend to do.
  15. PG5768

    PG5768 Basic Member Basic Member

    Apr 28, 2008
    Years ago when I still went backpacking, I liked to carry an Opinel and a Boy Scout knife. They served me well over dozens of 50-milers. Never did get around to starting, let alone completing the PCT or even thought about the AT.

    Nowadays, I'd still go with the Opinel and maybe a lightweight multi-tool.

    Good luck on your adventure and congrats on graduating from college!
  16. PG5768

    PG5768 Basic Member Basic Member

    Apr 28, 2008
    +1 on the folding saw if you really need to cut wood.
  17. kgd


    Feb 28, 2007
    My little Opinel #7 cuts better than anything I have. Just the sharpest thing on earth. Only problem with them is they get sticky under high humidity. But I love them.

    To the OP - I didn't realize you were new here and I shouldn't have jumped up with a suggested knife maker so soon. Welcome to blade forums. Follow the advice given above and try posting a thread in Wilderness & Survival Skills. You will get lots of friendly opinions there on different production models as well as customs. The great news is that there are many, many great knives that will suit your purpose and not all of them are expensive! Good luck on your quest - and stay a while. You might find a lot in common with W&SS'ers :D
  18. PG5768

    PG5768 Basic Member Basic Member

    Apr 28, 2008
    You might also want to think about bring along a sharpener to keep your knife sharp. The DMT Credit Card Sized sharpeners seem like they'd be good for backpacking. Or may a Smith's Pocket Pal.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2009
  19. Frostyfingers


    Aug 27, 2008
    +1 for a mora of some sort. Light, cheap, and tough enough to handle anything you might need. Paired with a saw or even better, an SAK (Swiss Army Knife) with a saw, you shouldn't have any problems. Good Luck!!
  20. BarkRiverfan


    Dec 19, 2008

    My friend,
    first of all, good luck in yor endeavor... I envy you. I would love to have the time to do it.
    My recommendation to you goes based on both requirements, Weight and Money. Please take a look at the Ontario GEN II Knives. They were designed with the knowledge that Ontario gained through their association with Randall Knives, because the blades resemble those of the RATs. The two models that I would recommend are the SP-42 (7" blade) and the SP-43 (8"). They are very light and have a comfortable grip, that is one of the things that I really like about most Ontario knives. The blades are constructed out of 5160 Carbon Steel, a very good steel for knives with good balance of Carbon and Chromium. I own the SP-43 and like it a lot. In fact the weight seems unreal for a knife that size. I would complement the carry of a big knife with a small one, like a Mora 911 or 711 with Carbon blade, that is also very reliable, very light, and very cheap. You could get both knives for less than a hundred.


    The second suggestion: try to get an Ontario RAT-7 with 1095 blade. They are around $90.00 (and the Mora)


    Third suggestion: KA-Bar/Becker BK-7 also in 1095. Around $70.00 (and the Mora)


    Good luck
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2009

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