Knives, do you use one? What for?

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Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby wildwanderer » Mon 10 Jun, 2019 7:15 am

I lost my 12 23 gram mini swiss army knife about 4 months ago and have been contemplating a replacement.

As I only use a knife as a food chopper, I’ve been getting by using my teeth. And its worked fine. Perhaps not great for two person cooking but for one, a quick chop with my front teeth and in the boiling pot it goes.

About the only times I’ve wished I had a knife are at 3am in the morning when hearing a large crash or disquieting noise close to my tent.. and at those times I was thinking I wanted a harpoon with a crocodile dundee style blade on the end rather than a swiss army knife. :wink:

So it got me wondering do I really need a knife? Or if I do get one, perhaps I should be upgrading to a bigger knife?

What do others use their knives for? Are you a mini swiss or a great white hunter?

For those with larger (hunting style) knives do you regularly use those features? (what for?)

EDIT. Opps actually a bit heavier than I thought.
Last edited by wildwanderer on Mon 10 Jun, 2019 11:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby Huntsman247 » Mon 10 Jun, 2019 9:16 am

I use a carbon steel opinel knife. Super super light and it holds a shaving edge for a long time.
Then I have the leatherman ps style which is the lightest multitool I could find. The pliers, tweezers and scissors variety. Although I'm tempted to do away with it and just get a superlight scissor and small tweezers but I have used the pliers in important field repairs so I have kept the multitool.
I find this combo really good though. Specially having the knife separate is really nice.
A bit heavier than a 12 gram knife but can you really do anything else with it than clean fingernails and open packets?
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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby markg » Mon 10 Jun, 2019 9:39 am

I always carry one. A handy tool for many a task, and can be a lifesaver. You can pay a lot or a little for one . A handy little knife that has a huge following , and for good reason is the Mora Bushcraft. It's small, has a good grip, carbon or stainless blade that can be sharpened easily, good length. And they are cheap. Simple knife that will do what most hereabouts would need I would say.
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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby slparker » Mon 10 Jun, 2019 9:42 am

Opinel carbon for me too. Light, cheap and holds an edge - they also come in every conceivable size you could want
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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby ofuros » Mon 10 Jun, 2019 10:01 am

Thanks for reminding me to sharpen mine.... :D
Just a small, light, basic old school Higonokami with a titanium folded handle.
Keep your thumb on the little lever while using or it might close up on you...you'll only forget once. :wink:
Sharp. Holds it's edge well. Easy to sharpen.

Mainly sharpens my note taking pencil or smooths any rough bits around the handle of a natural hiking staff i pick off the forest floor.
Guts/portions the occasional trout for the pot if I'm down New England way.

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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby Petew » Mon 10 Jun, 2019 10:08 am

Opinel as well. I also have a Victorinox classic in the ist aid kit.

Opinel carbon knives are fantastic, easy to sharpen and keep an edge extremely well. Cust keep the blade a little greasy/oiled.
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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby crollsurf » Mon 10 Jun, 2019 10:12 am

I use a Gerber STL drop point knife. Cheap, light, has a good edge. Good for food prep and cutting cord but not much else.

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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby wildwanderer » Mon 10 Jun, 2019 10:14 am

thanks everybody.

What specific tasks are people using their knives for?

So far we have.

gutting fish
opening packets/cutting food
shaving :shock:
sharpening/pruning pencils and walking sticks.
cutting cord
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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby Neo » Mon 10 Jun, 2019 10:29 am

Cleaning fingernails
Trimming thread
Opening packets
Slicing food

I also carry a small $5 sharpening stone.
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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby Lamont » Mon 10 Jun, 2019 10:43 am

I like this-https://www.litesmith.com/gerber-ultralight-lst-folding-knife/
17 grams-has a lock. Can be had for a couple of bucks-Amazon I think was where I got it. Excellent lock!
I linked the Litesmith version because it has the best description of it's capabilities and lots of pictures. Does everything I could want with a good grip. Surprisingly robust.
Sip your poison, do some whittling, get out the banjo.
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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby Neo » Mon 10 Jun, 2019 11:00 am

I have the next size up Gerber, a great knife!
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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby CasualNerd » Mon 10 Jun, 2019 1:35 pm

I usually only open packets and cut cheese or salami, but a sharp knife is useful for repairs or cutting dressings to size. I definitely wouldn't go too far without one.

I got a Gerber US1 which has rubber sides that are nice to grip when wet. 36 grams including a bit of reflective guy line so I can't lose it.
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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby Mark F » Mon 10 Jun, 2019 4:38 pm

I have a Swiss card in my 1st aid/repair kit but for kitchen duties I carry a Victorinox 8cm paring knife in a homemade sheath over the blade, $8 and about 20 grams. Wonderfully sharp and it holds an edge well, available with serrated or unserrated blades and in a few bright, hard-to-lose colours.
"Perfection is attained not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to remove".
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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby Ms_Mudd » Mon 10 Jun, 2019 8:03 pm

I have a Gerber Ultralight LST Knife, 34grams. It is small enough to not be a bother to carry but not so tiny that it gets misplaced. I use it mainly for opening packets, chopping cheese or salami. My youngest son used it to whittle a spear (!) when we went walking together, that use of it bought me about an hour of quiet tranquility as he concentrated on the task.
I always have it within grab range in my tent at night, but much like Wildwanderer, wish it was a Crocodile Dundee knife at those times that I am woken.

I have considered making another knife purchase, a small fixed blade knife to wear on a sheath around my neck. I figured if I attached it with leather thonging, it would break under tension if I got it caught on something and could be worn at all times, tucked into my baselayer at night etc. I know it is false security, but if I needed to cut myself out of my pack harness if I had a stack, or needed to defend myself against bunyips at night, I can just easily pull it from it's sheath and be good to go. Not find it and then open it...
Something along the lines of this https://www.extac.com.au/crkt-rsk-mk5
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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby keithy » Mon 10 Jun, 2019 11:45 pm

CasualNerd wrote:I got a Gerber US1


I have a similar knife as well. The old model Gerber Compact Scout (branded as Bear Grylls). I got my first one back in 2013, but have lost one and have picked up 2 more of them since then. Weighs about 25g. It is a pretty cheap knife, but unlike the US1 or the LST knives, this one is not made in the USA (mine was made in China), the steel is ok for the price, and mine held its edge for a while. I wasn't sure about the serrations, but they have proven useful, just a bit more difficult to sharpen.

I've used mine for repairs, cutting straps/rope, cutting fruit, cutting meat, gutting fish, whittling wood.

While using my little metal foldable wood stove I used it to whittle some damp wood down to make a feather stick firestarter. Bushwalking locally I tend not to use it as often as I have used it hiking overseas.

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Gerber Compact Scout 25g & folding scissors 18g
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I tried swapping it out for a 18g pair of folding scissors but found out that while the scissors were handy, it couldn't always do what I used the knife for.

Last year I hiked around the Azores Islands, and I one place I camped had a plantation of passionfruit. The guys working there said I could help myself to any that had fallen on the ground, so I had quite a few in my backpack. My little folding scissors wouldn't have worked so well in opening these up.
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Opening Passionfruit - some unripe fruit still on the tree and a freshly cut one
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On the island of Graciosa, I met some locals who were having a BBQ. They fed me, but gave me some pork to take as well. I didn't have anything to keep meat cold so only took two small chops and some ice and cut them up with the pocket knife to cook on my tiny titanium pan when I got back to camp for the night.

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Frying up some pork on the tiny titanium pan
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I lost that first Gerber Compact Scouts somewhere in Hungary in 2016, and ended up buying a single blade Victorinox Sentinel to tide me over while I was still walking over there. But at about 75g, I don't tend to carry the Sentinel anymore. I missed the little Gerber, so I bought 2 more. I think I got mine from Anaconda, but they discontinued the old Compact Scout, and the newer Compact Scout II looks more like the US1, with rubber on the handle, and the weight went up by about 10g.
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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby wildwanderer » Tue 11 Jun, 2019 6:15 am

I noted most people prefer the more compact folding knives. But what about fixed blade?

I've heard they are good for splitting wood. I've had issues breaking large pieces of dead wood into manageable sizes on occasion.

Significant weight penalty though.

Found this article on pros and cons of fixed blade. https://gizmodo.com/what-big-survival-k ... 1572811597
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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby crollsurf » Tue 11 Jun, 2019 5:44 pm

I got a fixed blade which is fun for bushcrafting on a lazy hike but NSW Bush, you can always find some wooden stakes, tent poles and fire wood without one. Even setting up a branch to hang a pot over a fire is no worries.

So unless you want to get into it and make a shelter or a chair, fixed blades are over kill.

Still get tempted to buy a Fallknivan F1 from time to time.

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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby Gadgetgeek » Tue 11 Jun, 2019 6:52 pm

I carry all manner of knives, mostly folders for weight, but depending on location fixed blades as well. Not carried any "Mick Dundee" sized in australia yet, as no need, but I have in bear country. My current "big bad" knife is about 19cm overall and 212grams, shock-horror-gasp!
In general, unless you spend the time to get the skills, any wood cutting is more efficient and safer with a saw, in fact my Vic Rucksack is within a few grams of my smallest "survival knife" one I'd be willing to really beat on, and the saw is easier to use. I don't find much need to cut wood, but if I did (stretcher pole or walking stick) I'd rather the saw.
As far as the rest of the uses, if it can be done with a knife, should be done with a knife, cannot or should not, probably done it to some degree or another (strictly cosmetic surgeries only, no internals)

I carry far more knife than I need, but I'm forever cursed with the "what-ifs" and I'd rather not have to worry about tools that are in the safety category.
I've got a link here http://bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=21954 to a review thread I have updated a couple times. Might give you some ideas of what you want to look towards. For example in QLD you can carry a swiss army knife pretty well any time as its "obvious utility purpose" is its own justifiable cause.

My most common carry is the Benchmade Bugout, if I had to do it all with one, it would be the Vic Rucksack or Farmer. If weight was the big factor, I'd be looking at any of the spydero lady bug or manbug knives (the one in my thread is great around salt water no rust at all, ever) And if I was looking at a fixed blade and wanting to keep it light, then the Becker BK-13 would be where I'd go.

Heaps of good options out there though really, If one really wanted to get spendy there are some proper titanium knives on the market now. In the past they relied on a carbide coating for an edge, and that has a lifespan. Now there are alloys and techniques that can make them act like any other steel, but you can guess at where that cost sits right now.
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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby crollsurf » Tue 11 Jun, 2019 8:30 pm

+1 for a saw, especially if you're camping at a popular spot where fire wood is hard to come by


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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby Gadgetgeek » Wed 12 Jun, 2019 6:35 am

I'd have to weigh it, but my little firebox stove is the same weight as a 230g gas canister, and my silky pocket-boy is probably about the weight of a liquid fuel stove, so that pair would equal my whiperlite or dragonfly. Fire is not really a worry for me, if I need one, I won't be worried about it being pretty. But that's SEQ for ya.
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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby stry » Wed 12 Jun, 2019 8:30 am

My two picks have already been mentioned. A 6.5cm bladed Gerber folder, and the Victorinox fixed blade paring knife with a bit of cardboard taped up for a sheath.

Each weighs about 34 grams. The folder requires much less thought to pack.

Anything bigger (and heavier) in S/E Australia is simply boyish amusement, not that there is anything wrong with boyish amusement :lol:
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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby Lamont » Wed 12 Jun, 2019 10:11 am

I took a kitchen knife (20cms blade) to NZ the once in a homemade scabbard, made from PVC pipe formed (heated) with a hairdryer. Combination of car and walking camping. I wrapped three heavy 'lucka' bands around it. I never could relax.
Should have seen the compliments tho'. Choice bro'.
It was however, a Johnny Farnham moment. Not to be repeated on latter visits.
The wee Gerbinator now sits in it's place.
Opening food sachets and whittling when bored is about all it's used for.
Anyone doing any carving?
Spoons seem popular I have read.
A small knife would be perfect for that.
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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby Orion » Wed 12 Jun, 2019 11:21 am

The only thing I typically use a knife for is cutting food. So I take a smallish Swiss Army knife if that's important enough. But often it's not that important and I make do like you have in the past, cutting salami with my teeth. I do sometimes take a plastic knife for spreading soft ripened cheese on the crackers. Most other needs are also satisfied by scissors. Baby scissors or some other tiny scissors are quite useful at times. They also perform functions for which a knife is less capable.

But occasionally some sort of cutting blade is highly desirable. So when I don't have a knife I carry a single edge razor blade, just in case.

Of course having a knife is easier, but a little bit heavier; or a lot heavier depending on your point of view.


Recently I couldn't get one of my poles unstuck. The thinner shaft was locked by corrosion in the wider shaft. I needed pliers. Fortunately I came across someone carrying a Leatherman style tool. He said it had been dead weight in his pack but it sure proved useful for me!
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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby gbagua » Wed 12 Jun, 2019 9:42 pm

I carry a very light CRKT Ripple knife mainly if I need to cut a section of a rope/cordelette/webbing in case something happens. The very sharp tip has proven to be useful to remove those pesky splinters that manage to lodge in our hands; one of the perks of hiking in thick Aussie scrub. ;)
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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby Snooze » Wed 12 Jun, 2019 10:10 pm

Definitely whittling cutlery! After stirring powdered milk for breakfast, I left an old wooden chopstick (one half of a pair) behind on a rock at our campsite. That afternoon my hiking partner whittled a new serviceable chopstick using his No 8 Opinel.
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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby Huntsman247 » Thu 13 Jun, 2019 8:12 am

gbagua wrote:I carry a very light CRKT Ripple knife mainly if I need to cut a section of a rope/cordelette/webbing in case something happens. The very sharp tip has proven to be useful to remove those pesky splinters that manage to lodge in our hands; one of the perks of hiking in thick Aussie scrub. ;)


One could argue why not wear gloves and prevent splinters in the first place if going into the lovely scrub.
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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby gbagua » Thu 13 Jun, 2019 4:54 pm

Yuck. I much prefer splinters than wearing gloves!! :)
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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby legend » Sat 15 Jun, 2019 9:45 am

I have the Leatherman Squirt PS4. It is tiny, comes with pliers and a few other tools.
The blade, though small is razor sharp and good for cutting dynema cord, fishing line and braid.
The pliers are good for unsticking zips, and repinning studs on boot chains, etc.
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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby north-north-west » Sun 16 Jun, 2019 11:59 am

gbagua wrote:Yuck. I much prefer splinters than wearing gloves!! :)


I'll take you on a few off-track Tassie walks. We'll see how long your aversion to gloves lasts... :twisted:
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Re: Knives, do you use one? What for?

Postby racca » Thu 20 Jun, 2019 5:49 pm

II have way too many knives. Mostly folders for work, folders for hiking and bushcraft knives.

Short lightweight trips I carry a Benchmade bugout. Used for cutting food, cordage and other little bits and pieces. Still love my Opinel though and if you're not keen on spending hundreds, the Opi would be my recommendation.

If carrying a heavier pack I take my fixed blade. A Bradford guardian 4. I love this thing, perfect size, excellent steel (CPM3v) and great ergos.
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