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Knife of choice if you were stranded in the wilderness?

Stuck anywhere in the world I'd take my chances with a Strider MT with the parachute corded handle and a diamond coated sharpener in the sheath pouch. The first thing to go would be a six foot shaft of fire hardened hardwood. Split that, take that para cord off the Strider and lash it into the shaft and go small game hunting or spearfishing. One can rewrap the handle on the knife pretty fast with some practice (you'll have time on your hands I suppose). The cordage also comes in sufficient length to make small game/bird snares make box trap lanyards on the triggering stick or hold up what is left of your pants after a few months. With care, the cord will outlive you. As for the knife, it will outlive all your descendents. One was once used repeatedly as a climbing piton in a sheer rock face for crying out loud. ATS-34 or BG-42, a 6.5 inch blade, about a foot overall, in numerous configurations, and a lifetime warranty come with this full tang knife. Don't worry about removing that handle material either. The steel beneath the cord is relieved to make handling easier. Strider makes the toughest, most versatile knives in the world IMHO. Want a machete or an axe?--stick to the game trails--they're there for a reason all you hackers.
Jeff --

Any comments on lawdog's contention that the cord on a corded handle will "outlive you"? Under jungle conditions, do you expect the cord to be durable?

It would probably be my Newt Livesay ICU.Absolutely bulletproof.

"To grow older is inevitable.To grow UP is optional."

Livesay RTAK without a doubt. When all is taken into consideration (price, availability, durability, value, strength); At $150, Livesay RTAK is the way to go. It'll take you to Hell and back, twice! Next choice, a quality Kukri. Busse would be third choice - too bad they're so expensive and you have to wait forever to get one.

My only contention for the parachute cord was tongue in cheek. Most people aren't going to survive in a wilderness situation for the year cited as a parameter of the scenario. I fully suspect that the quick-drying mil-spec paracord used by Strider would outlive the survival skill of most people in the world.
The thing I hate about paracord is that it gets real gross real fast when working in a swampy environment like the `Glades, and it gets absolutely revolting when it's contact blood and guts, like when clean or killing game.

I have no problem outliving the paracord, so I want something that's a little more immune to the effects of mold, bacteria, and gore.
I didn't see where Jeff Randall actually said the brand name, but I agree with him. Probably something like Newt Livesay's HRK.

Just one knife Hmmm.....

Well I'll guess I would have to go with a nice big SAK (e.g. the Swiss Champ or similar).

The big bush knives are cool and solid; but, if I am going to be stuck out in the middle of nowhere for an extended period of time I'd like to take along the maximum no. of tools in the smallest and lightest package available.

Despite Robinson Crusoe, I have no intention of rebuilding my own economy in a survival situation. Shelters and log cabins, other than what is readilly available naturally are out. So is hunting with my one and primary tool (sporting is out under these circumstances - go with traps and snares).

A small tool that can readily provide fuctionality and redundancy (multiple blades etc.)and can be used by someone in a weaken state (low calary diet, sickness, injury) is probably what we are looking for here.

p.s. now if I had a second knife available it would probably be either my Randall mod 14, or a Busse BM, CS Trailmaster, Greco Mod 5, Becker Knife and Tool Machaxe, Gerber BMF,Buck Frontier.....(some other big camp knife).
CD :

Cliff -- what are your thoughts on the efficiency trade-offs of length (say 15"-18")vs thickness (WWII vs Ang Khola)?

If I didn't want the strength of the AK I would go with the WWII model. The added length makes a very significant difference when chopping on brush (protecting your hands) and on large diameter wood.

The advantage of the thicker khukuris when strength is not a factor is that they are slightly better splitters and bind less in really soft wood.

As for raw chopping power, as long as the blades don't bind excessively, thinner will generally outperform thicker with a little effort.

Budman :

I wouldn't expect a knife to do the job of an axe ...would you???


Jim :

the TUSK to me just "felt like a pig"

Both TUSK's I have had were very well thought out in terms of geometry both regarding the blade and the handle. My only complaints about the design were minor, a slightly longer and thicker handle (user specific obviously) and a slightly rougher surface. For the blade, it was about perfect actually, the edge was a bit thick which was my only complaint.

The blade is angled nicely (khukuri-like) which gives nice chopping performance. It is the only bowie-type blade that I have seen that is close to a decent khukuri (of its size) in regards to chopping ability. And of course it will slice much better. If is wasn't so fragile I would have a very hard time picking between it and my 18" AK.

The design is solid. The only thing stopping me from having one done in Talonite or 3V is that I don't agree with copying someone elses work. That being said Ed Echott makes large knives with very similar designs with a few minor improvements (recurve edges alongside the tilted blade), and of course the better steel should allow a thinner edge. I'll know more about that though once the 3V test blade has made its rounds and goes through the durability testing.

If I could have only one knife with me it would be a 6.5" Warhawk from Trace Rinaldi in either BG-42 or Talonite, full flat grind, titanium scales on the handle, and a Kydex multi-carry sheath. This would be more than sufficinet for constructing shelters, building traps & snares, personal defense, gathering firewood for drying & cooking, as well as preparing game for cooking.

Not too big, not too small... rugged... sharp... very usable for all the necessary tasks of surviving.

Having just spent 7 days training in the Mt. Adams Gifford Pinchot area with Greg Davenport and current USAF SERE Instructor Jeff Martin, I can recommend the TOPS Anaconda 7 for all chopping chores. I built two "Natural" shelters, using the A7 for hours to harvest pine boughs and other material. It never gave up. And it is an excellent, quick blade for extracting heartwood from dead standing trees (push them over first), which contain dry wood for fire during the wet seasons.

This knife was admired and desired by my fellow students during these rigorous chores. I think the Tanto point would make a difficult chore of skinning. I skinned a rabbit with a Swiss Army Hunter, and used its' very convenient saw on numerous occasions.

I would like a TOPS Steel Eagle with a standard curved skinning blade. A heavy chopper like this with a functional saw would be ideal. Or maybe the new Simonich Kanji.

Very easy choice/decision. Would have to be the Emerson/Neeley Spec-War knife. Knife is virtually indestructible and has a Kydex sheath which insures knife retention via a lock button. Nothing else like it on the market. Can't believe more people are not recommending this knife!

I cannot imagine going with only one knife, but for the sake of argument I'll play along.

The choice is simple: My Blackjack Anaconda II Bowie, 10" blade, tons o' belly. Specially modified sheath with my old Browning diamond steel in a pocket in the front. Kraton handle, old fashioned AUS-8 steel. Why? Because it's already gone through several two-week survivalist camps in the high Uintah mountains. I've had to build shelters with it, chop firewood, gut and limb mule deer and elk with it, the poor things ugly but still going strong. Best of all, it's easy to sharpen, holds and edge well, it was really cheap when I bought it thirteen years ago ($70). I've beat the heck out of it, and it's still going strong. Sorry, I'm misting up. I just love that knife.

Sorry for straddling, but it would have to be either a CS TrailMaster or a Busse Battle Mistress. An Khukri from Bill would be right in there too, if not my first choice.
If I was stranded in the wilderness, and had to fend for myself, and possibly others, I wouldn't mess around with my equipment selection, if I had a choice.

For heavy chopping and a phenominal edge, it's the Busse Battle Mistress Combat Grade, all the way. I would have the Kydex sheath have screw-driver slotted screws holding it together, to facilitate ease and simlicity of cleaning.

For a smaller fixed blade, I'd have to go with the Rob Simonick Talonite Cetan, for supurb ductility and edge holding, as well as resistance to the elliments. Mine would have carbon fiber handles, and come in a Kydex sheath with screws as described above, for the same reasons.

I need a bigger bucket.