Is a neck knife the only knife you need?

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by Juany118, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. Juany118

    Juany118 Tracker

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    Hey all, first let me say I am not talking one tool option. Also this is only from a week long excursion.

    I did lots of wood working. Stakes, pot hangers, wood processing for fires etc. What did I use? A 7 inch folding saw, a 14 inch camp axe/hatchet and a neck knife, in this case a KBAR BK11.

    Even though I had a larger knife I just kept finding myself going to the Becker, even when it came time to baton wood on the odd occasion I could find enough kindling (aka was too lazy to hunt for dry stuff.) I actually stopped carrying the larger knife just a couple days in because it just seemed like unnecessary weight to be carrying. The only complaint I had was the fact on occasion the ergonomics of my Paracord wrap made the blade shift in my hand but that could be easily fixed with a purchase of micarta scales.

    Has anyone else had a similar experience? Asking because I was rather surprised.
     
  2. Bridgetdaddy

    Bridgetdaddy Guide

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    I much prefer a small knife and a hatchet rather than a large knife.
     
  3. mtngoat

    mtngoat Supporter Supporter

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    I carry my Esee CR2.5 and find myself drawn to it for ease or convince. I still carry a larger knife because I can’t bring myself to leave it at home.
    41B12735-4549-43B0-A0D0-5F6848C5E7FD.jpeg
     
  4. tarzan

    tarzan Supporter Supporter

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    Nesmuk trio with the proper tools for the job, made the little knife very handy for the other jobs. I found that all around needed was my Swiss Army knife for a lot of small jobs, based on the type of camping I do, others may have different needs.
     
  5. Mikewood

    Mikewood Supporter Supporter

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    Nooooo!
    I need a big knife. I do I do...


    How dare you say you don’t need a big knife when you do.
     
  6. TAHAWK

    TAHAWK Guide

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    I am happy with a 3.5-4" knife, SAK, and folding pruning saw. It took some experimenting to get there - and learning how to split wood with a saw, but I have not felt undertooled [ new word] in the upper Midwest 12 mos of the year. I am being prepared for backpacking, not TEOTWAWKI. A neck knife only would be a stretch, but I suppose I could carry a standard 95mm puukko around my neck.:D
     
  7. Top Gibson

    Top Gibson Tracker

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    I take 3 knives with me....the biggest one only has a 4.25" long blade.
     

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  8. arleigh

    arleigh Guide

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    So send me all your ugly heavy big knives .
    I can take them to my bench grinder and chop them short
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
  9. arleigh

    arleigh Guide

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    Personally I like big knives.
    If you have ever been in a position where a predator is in too close a proximity, you will then believe size matters.
    Of course if it's never happened to you yet so it's not likely to any way, right ?
    And I'm sure if it does, the predator will give you plenty of time to dig it out from the bottom of your bag. They are so understanding.
    I am not so trusting , it's just my nature, and past experience . but that's just me.
    I have nothing against neck knives per-say but I don't like wearing any thing on my neck personally, not even a light chain .
    I'll wear a knife on the small of my back, my calf, boot , or thigh, I'm getting away from wearing any thing on my hip but my "pocket knife/flashlight /and phone rig" .
    Hunting I wear a shoulder holster for the ,357 mag or a chest pack ,neither hang on my neck .
     
  10. Coryphene

    Coryphene Guide

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    Your area plays a huge role in that, I'm sure. Big difference between east coast and west coast predators.
     
  11. Coryphene

    Coryphene Guide

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    I find I like neck carrying more and more as long as it is a small knife. I will neck carry a Mora Companion or Kellam Wolverine which is fine for most tasks. If I'm carrying a lighter fixed blade, I also have either my hatchet or folding saw. I also use discretion when choosing a stick to baton to get kindling and/or tinder. I've never come across an area where the only option are foot thick or larger trees that never taper and have zero branches. If I have a 4" knife, I'm gonna baton only 2" thick pieces or smaller. You also don't HAVE to baton a log before making feather sticks. You are allowed to start on the outside and work your way in.
     
  12. central joe

    central joe Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    When I got out more, I found it depended on my mood and location. Lots of vines briars = big knife / machete, Process wood, camp chores = smaller knife hatchet. Sometimes I carried a big knife just because I wanted to, but always have a small knife. joe
     
  13. Juany118

    Juany118 Tracker

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    The thing around the neck I get. I also carry numerous knives due to my cautious nature, always wanting a tool close at hand (and obsession with Filipino Martial arts.)

    That said @Coryphene makes a good point about region. Also I think it might be even more complicated. Many of my excursions are back packing trips. Even if I was on the west coast, if faced with a predator while on a section hike I am not dropping my trekking pole to pull a knife, unless I lose that pole (as an example) BUT if you don't use poles, it's obviously a different story. That said one of the reasons I got the BK11, over others, was blade length. At 3.25 inches it's really more of a companion knife you can wear around the neck than a neck knife.
     
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  14. Haggis

    Haggis Guide

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    No neck knives for me.

    I carry an Opinel #8 and a Mora #2/0 or Companion in my pack, but I honestly never use them. For 99.9% of what I do with a knife, my SAK Farmer does admirably. The only other knife I use is a filet knife, for cleaning fish. If I were really clever, I’d own a Mora filet knife, and carry it on my belt. Knives in the bush, for me, are about cutting string, or kitchen duties. Of course, I never use cutting tools in the bush if there is any way to avoid it,,,
     
  15. fishiker

    fishiker Scout

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    If I have a hatchet and saw with me there's little need for more than a small knife whether carried in my pocket, on my belt, or around my neck. The necker is convenient when I'm in or on the water fishing or just canoeing. For me to carry a necker it has to be light with a well made sheath. Regardless of need I still like my larger blades;)
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2018
  16. MaximIsayev

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    Another thing to consider is the weather. For example in the winter I usually carry my Mora Classic as a neck knife, cause it’s easier to access it that way rather than having to dig under my coat to retrieve it. In the summer it goes on my belt. I got a dangler-type setup on it with an s-shaped carabiner so I can attach it to a button/zipper pull rather than hanging it on my neck which can be somewhat hazardous without a breakaway lanyard. It’s a simple setup that can be very versatile.

    96530260-7727-4F73-9D18-B92CD4AD442C.jpeg
     
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  17. hr80

    hr80 I love Bushcraft USA! Lifetime Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Depends how strong your neck is
     
  18. Richinva

    Richinva Lover of Sharpened Bits of Steel... Supporter

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    "Is a neck knife the only knife you need?"

    Need? Maybe. Want? NO.
     
  19. will62

    will62 Scout

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    It depends on what I plan on doing, sometimes a neck knife and a Farmer are enough. There are times that packing a hatchet and a large knife are required.(or at least wanted)

    Sometimes for a day hike a Farmer is all I carry.
     
  20. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    I wouldn't know, I've only ever really used a neck knife on my outings. Just wait until you realize that you can do all that with a humble SAK. Is a slipjoint all you really need?
     
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  21. GreyOne

    GreyOne Elder Lifetime Supporter

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    It is all you need, right up until you need more. Then it isn't.
     
  22. Keyser Söze

    Keyser Söze Usual Suspecto Lifetime Supporter

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    you can't properly Bear defense yourself with a neck knife , so No is not enough !!
     
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  23. arleigh

    arleigh Guide

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    Keep in mind that cats, bear, wolves, and so forth, hunt with roughly 20 permanently attached blades , grizzly being the longest dirtiest and most aggressive .
     
  24. Calicoast

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    +1
    Love the SAK's, but a fixed is essential.
    C
     
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  25. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    So with a hatchet and a saw along for the ride as the OP stated, what exactly might one need a large knife for?

    I've been on plenty of day hikes and even backpacking trips with just a Farmer. Other trips with a hatchet and my Farmer. And also trips with a neck knife, camp axe, and SAK. Never felt under knifed.
     
  26. anrkst6973

    anrkst6973 Scout

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    I prefer a big knife...a reeeaaaally big knife. :D
     
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  27. Calicoast

    Calicoast Tracker

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    ^^^
    I lived in NW Montana for about 5 yrs from 96' - 01'. About 15 miles from West Glacier Park. I have hiked all around that area and let me tell ya, there are predators about. Bears, Mountain Lions, Wolverines, even Bald Eagles if their hungry enough. An axe, a saw, a SAK, and fixed blade knifes: all serve their purpose for what they are intended to do.

    Majority of the time, I was fine with less,
    but it can happen. I am not one to risk my life. This is nature, and you are in their backyard.

    You dont want to have an axe when encountering a mountain lion or bear. If you do have an axe and get a good swing in, you got one shot, which will most likely stick. It better be a good swing and on target. To each their own.
    C
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
  28. MTplainsman

    MTplainsman Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I would just like to add this...

    The old time Woodsman, Mountain Men, and many types of Outdoorsman did for a living, what we like to do today for a hobby. They must have known what works well back then, as they certainly had enough time to figure it out over the centuries. One thing they all had in common was a "good sized" fixed blade... in fact they wouldn't leave their dwelling without it! They generally never carried all the different types and sizes of knives that we tend to do today, as they preferred simplicity and utilitarian, "universal" if you will. One thing to keep in mind though, that those men and women of old, usually were expected to procure game at any given time. Today, many outdoorsmen do not hunt or it's a short idea on the totem pole anyhow. This may change the style of your blade, but shouldn't effect the size so to speak. I wonder too, how many of those folks used their prized belt knife for processing wood if they didn't have too. I think that's why most of them carried a small type belt axe, to avoid any possible damage to their prized survival blade which was also the backup to their firearm. They had to be prepared for efficient skinning and processing of game when the time came, with a finely honed blade with no nicks. Another thing to consider too, was the fact that large predators were wide spread back in those days, and conflicts with humans were always a possibility too. Maybe this was another reason why they chose a larger carry knife? More leverage in the gut? :eek: I think it was the "market hunters" that were known to carry a larger inventory of knife styles and sizes than the typical outdoorsman did, as their profession required it. All I am really trying to say here is... When in question, look back to the fellows that did it all and staked their lives on it. Our circumstances have changed a bit these days, but some things "never" change...

    PS, From all the history I have ever researched, journals, historic photos, etc. a full sized fixed blade was the "Norm" I found it interesting too, that pocket folders were actually quite popular throughout a couple centuries or more. You just can't beat a good pocket knife!!! ;) My opinion of course...
     
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  29. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    I sleep and live in an area with the deadliest preditors on the planet. I've been attacked by them, in fights with them, and shot at by them. Needless to say I'm generally far less concerned when out in the wilderness. My axes are for work, not self defense, same with my knives. If I were concerned I would personally carry a firearm. In my case that would give me 17 +1 shots. HYOH
     
  30. werewolf won

    werewolf won TANSTAAFL Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I’ve been pretty happy with just a neck knife. When I hunt deer I frequently carry my Dad’s old Puma Whitetail. I have a few skinning blades that I’ll occasionally use hunting too, but day in day out I’m usually in the woods with just a neck knife.
     
  31. central joe

    central joe Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    If I am going into an area where I might be attacked by an animal, I'm going to carry at least a handgun. joe
     
  32. Keyser Söze

    Keyser Söze Usual Suspecto Lifetime Supporter

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    you mean a Neck Gun !
     
  33. Bryan King

    Bryan King Hobbyist Hobbyist

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    I've tried neck knives, I just don't like it, don't really like shoulder holsters either, but I've got both. Maybe something subconscious, had neck injury due to bad car accident. I carry a knife on my hip everyday, can't imagine replaceing it with a neck knife,, it would be in the way for EDC. But to each their own .
     
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  34. WhisperInThePine

    WhisperInThePine Wubba lubba dub dub Supporter

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    When it comes to carrying a knife for a defensive weapon... I weight 220 lbs, a medium brown bear weighs around 300, or more, pounds. A bear hunts daily and has to fight off more competition in a year than I have my whole life. One swipe is enough to open you up and put you down in the dirt, and with that animal on top, few are going to get back up. Even if I had a lightsaber, I wouldn't go up against a bear.

    As far as camp chores, Kephart and Nessmuk had it right. Three tools. Hatchet (or a saw), fixed blade (4.5" or less) and a folder. That's all I carry anymore (saw in lieu of hatchet) and in the SW, that's all I find I need. I haven't carried a hawk/hatchet/axe in two years. I will start carrying a Mora 2/0 to see if that's enough. Looking to downsize and lighten the load.
     
  35. THRsucks

    THRsucks Scout

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    It surprises me too sometimes, what I think I want , and what I actually use can sometimes be different. Bigger blades are lots of fun, great to pass around the campfire, and do a few heavier tasks, but typically a 3-4" blade you can draw easily, wear all day without fatigue, and sharpen to a fine edge is pretty much all the knife you need. I definitely don't use my esee 6 as much as my leatherman, and i don't use my leatherman even close to as much as my Kershaw leek or any other pocket knife.
     
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  36. americanstrat98

    americanstrat98 Wanderer Supporter

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    Yes, In the Southeastern United States a small knife is about the only blade you need for modern "camping". With a pocket saw and hatchet/machete you'd almost be unstoppable.

    Anytime I am in the Rockies I carry a bigger knife for the predators. All it takes is to be cleaning fish by the stream upwind of a hungry animal to grab their attention. Or at least that's what I imagine. My gut instinct has never failed to bail me out of a bad situation by properly planning my gear to match the environment. I really love getting out of my comfort zone and exploring new Forests up North.

    I've learned that the further you get off the beaten path in any state the easier it is to make fire, clean game, and live in harmony with nature. Sometimes I envision harmony as me standing on the carcass of a grizzly I downed with my sheath knife will carrying a lit torch in one hand and giving a rebel yell. But that's just me hiking my own hike:). To each, their own
    dda15d60c9374602955f2d2f1c575953--alien-vs-arnold-schwarzenegger.jpg
     
  37. anrkst6973

    anrkst6973 Scout

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    I think sometimes we forget that our individual choices, and opinions, are tempered by what the world looks like where we are. For example, this is what my playground looks like a bunch of the time. Pretty huh? :). But I've been places where you could walk all day and see nothing but grass. My much loved machete would be dead weight there. A long walking stick would be more useful. Northern forest, a hatchet or hatchet/saw combo would be ideal. Out west, an Izula, or Mora, or even just a Leatherman (with the handy saw blade) and LOTS of water carrying capacity would be my choice. There's really no choice.. In a market with 200 bazillion different choices. Amirite?
     
  38. Juany118

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    From a study of edged weapons (both FMA and HEMA) there are a host of factors to be unpacked regarding "old time" woodsman etc.

    First you have to look at some of the knives. Long yes but the steel was often meh and not always full tang. They were long but definitely "slicers" first everything else second.

    The robust knives we tend to think of were also to serve as weapons. When you see a clip point it's for stabbing, whether on a Bowie, a short Messer etc. We may have forgotten that but it's the origin. Same with spear points.

    Even then the old timers still had an axe and a saw because part of the purpose of that knife was as a weapon, not to chop the tree, split the wood etc.

    The Bowie is the one I am most familiar with regarding this history. One of my martial arts teachers was a student of Master at Arms James Keating. Keating focuses a lot not just on use but history of the weapons and he loves the Bowie.

    As we entered a more effective age of fire arms the only practical purpose, imo, for such a knife is if you are looking for a "one tool option". If you have the other tools then you need to weigh the pros and cons of the weight you take into the bush. Just my 2 cents
     
  39. Unistat76

    Unistat76 Nerd Supporter Bushclass I

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    I could do everything with an ax, saw and my Izula. Heck, I could do it with the Leatherman, ax, and saw.

    I just like big knives.
     
  40. werewolf won

    werewolf won TANSTAAFL Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    The other thing to consider is than a great many big old knives were not full tang, and good steel and heat treating were all over the spectrum of not to bad to really awful. So a modern smallish neck knife is more than likely a better, stronger and more usable knife than was available back then.
     
  41. charlesmc2

    charlesmc2 Scout

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    My take is we are quite spoiled as to knives: quality, value, availability, variety, pretty much you name it. When I was a kid the everyday Joe (not to be confused with Central) could get a knife of some quality at a price. Joe would take good care of said knife because of the major investment it represented. Many of us made do with improvised set ups based on whatever knife we could scrounge up. My first hunting knife was a sharpened saw blade. Pretty good steel, not so much for "geometry."

    So, yes, I agree even a small knife is probably adequate. BUT, a longer, thin knife for fish is really nice. And a substantial blade beats trying to kill a bear like the guy did (reportedly at least) by biting its jugular vein. Admittedly I don't stand a chance, but at least in principle I can carry a fighting chance knife that is bigger. In reality, I probably carry that knife for two legged predators, anyway.

    I visualize something like a Kephart being a good last line of defense, being thin enough to not require a lot of force to penetrate and broad enough to slice some arteries. And I like the blade for everyday purposes, anyway.
     
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  42. riokid87

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    I read a story in f&s when a man was gutting his kill with a buck 110, was attacked by a bear, got a lucky stab in bear's neck and killed it. I also think the "long knives" were more weapons than tools before cartridges but against a bear you would have to be real lucky even with an 8 inch bowie. As for neck knifes, I prefer a bsa or sac on a lanyard so I can fish it out of my pocket ez. I don't like a short fixed blade sitting in the middle of my chest any more than a larger one in the small of my back across my spine in that cool horizontal carry. Nor do I like a stout cord around my neck. Come off your horse, or just take a tumble down a hill and that little blade or cord could really injure you.
     
  43. Juany118

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    In terms of knives, any knife is "iffy" to kill, unless you luck out and hit an artery or vital organ. They can lacerate, they can stay but think of all the times a deer or other "big game" gets shot with a .308 or a broad head and runs away never to be seen again. Flip that to a Grizzly or Mountain Lion intent on attacking. The reason for knives being supplanted by swords wasn't so much reach, Spears can do that. A sword, due to leverage, can dismember and decapitate. That's why a great many systems that involve knives or arguably "short swords", I'll use Filipino Martial Arts, Wing Chun as examples as I studied both for a number of years, teach to go for the limbs. FMA calls it "defang the snake", Wing Chun calls their "butter fly swords" the Bart Jam Dao, or "eight joint cutting blade." if the opponent can't use their limbs, even if alive they can't fight.

    Can a knife kill, absolutely, but it requires a LOT of skill and knowledge of where to strike and/or blind luck.
     
  44. Juany118

    Juany118 Tracker

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    I actually found a cool thing online. They make "safety locks" for Paracord now where it will break, kinda like cat collars so they don't hang themselves when they climb a tree.
     
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  45. Daniel Klinglesmith

    Daniel Klinglesmith Ornory Old Dog Supporter Banned

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    In all my trips out hunting and camping, I only carried one knife. My 7" Bowie that I made or assembled from a CSA kit. It serves all purposes for me without ever a fail or need for anything else.
     
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  46. Bobsdock

    Bobsdock Still going Supporter

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    In my AO I like small blades 4" is more than enuf. I backpacked for years with only a leathermen micra. But that was just backpacking. Now when backpacking I carry a SAK fieldmaster I like having the extra tools.
    And since I've started bushcrafting I'll often carry a folding saw a hatchet (or hawk to save weight) and a izula.
    I bought the izula to use as a neck
    Knife but found out I don't like stuff around my neck but it's small enuf to put in a pocket. And I love it !
    As far as lions and tigers and bears go, I believe that a 357 magnum is a much better tool.
     
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  47. Bobsdock

    Bobsdock Still going Supporter

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    Sorry brother I got off track.
    Yes I think a neck knife could easily be the only knife you need.
     
  48. americanstrat98

    americanstrat98 Wanderer Supporter

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    Lol.
     
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  49. gm42

    gm42 Scout

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    I build my kit around my belt knife (CS SRK).

    For day hikes it’s my 7” folding saw, SRK and a pocket knife.

    For Backpacking I carry a Bob Dustrude’s bow saw, SRK and pocket knife.

    For backpack hunting I carry a Bob Dustrude’s bow saw, SRK, 6” boning knife, 3” skinning knife and pocket knife.

    For my BOB it’s a Bob Dustrude’s bow saw, GB Mini Hatchet, SRK, 6” boning knife, 3” skinning knife and pocket knife.

    The Larger belt knife gives redundancy to my kit in case I lose or break a knife and provides last line of defense from 2 legged and 4 legged critters. I have been in the woods where let’s just say there have been interesting situations and peace of mind is a good thing.


    Geoff
     
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  50. DomC

    DomC Retired Old Scrub Stomper Supporter

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    I own many knives, some I consider as neck knives, others are belt carried and still others are folders and pocket carried. I also own and use larger knives that are considered choppers. The way I look at it, a knife no matter the size must be sharp or it is useless to me.;):dblthumb:
    Dominick.......
     
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