If there was one tool that would symbolize the whole subject of survival it would be the knife. Even before John Rambo wielded his large Bowie style knife in “First Blood ” The knife has been the symbol of pioneers everywhere. Suffice it to say, you need a knife, probably more than one but at least, one good knife. To quote “Gibbs” rules on NCIS; Rule No. 9 “never go anywhere without a knife” A good pocket folder should be in every person’s “everday carry” kit.
The knife is a tool and the rule for tools is that it must fit the task. The first task of knife selection is to determine what you will be using it for; opening a blister pack from Wal-Mart, cutting wood for fire or butchering an animal to eat. Once you know how you will use the knife then the issues of Brand, quality, type and size can be assessed. Although any knife can be pressed into service when necessary it makes life much easier if you have the right tool for the job.
The right equipment for the job generally applies to ALL gear.
You will need to assess your own needs based on type of terrain, weather and other factors however I would recommend at least three knives if you will be out in the open for any length of time. A minimum of a pocket knife or “folder”, a larger fixed blade for cutting wood or hacking through something and a smaller fixed blade for more precision tasks.
A few brands worthy of your consideration: Kershaw, SOG, Mora, Columbia River Knife & Tool, Ka-Bar, Spyderco, Gerber, and Cold Steel to name just a few. There are many other great brands for your consideration. If you can test these knives in person so much the better, since you will get a good feel for the knife’s size and weight. While shopping don’t forget a good sharpening stone and sheath for carrying. You may be surprised by the cost of a good knife; although some have an economy price tag it is not uncommon to find these knives running in the one to two hundred dollar range. Considering a knife could save your life the high price may not be that out of line. (Note: some times knives are discontinued or are bought up by other companies and re branded so shop around)
Here’s a cutting tip: Don’t forget a good pair of scissors. I carry these on my belt wherever I go. Bonus tip: Always carry fingernail clippers; getting rid of that annoying hangnail can really ease your stress level. There is not really a good substitute for this tool.
When doing gear research; look for reviews and demonstrations on blogs, amazon.com and youtube. I have learned how to avoid many pitfalls by simply listening to the experience of others.
If you want a little knife entertainment, click on the link below. I am sure many will remember this scene from Crocodile Dundee.