What's your backpacking knife?

Discussion in 'Backpacking' started by Phisikos, Mar 22, 2016.

  1. Phisikos

    Phisikos Scout

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    Obviously this one is based mostly on personal choice but I'm curious about who used what and why. And please note that I said backpacking knife, not bush craft... So we're talking something that isn't going to be used on smaller crafts.

    I always find myself drawn to Kukris or otherwise similar shaped blades, seem like it'd be perfect for chopping branches either by itself or batoning, and still able to do some slicing when needed. But other than that I'm sort of a clean slate with this... would love to learn more from those that have tried different options and would love to know if there are other shapes that are maybe similar to the kukri that I haven't seen

    Thanks all!

    Edit: few guys asking for a clearer question so I posted this but since I noticed a handful of folks still just replying to the original one....

    Fair point on the requests for a clearer definition...

    Not that I'm looking to add weight to my pack- I doubt I'll make any changes to what I bring as far as knives... but within the realm of a larger sized blades I really don't know anything about different makers and styles and blade shapes... And i'm just interested in learning more

    So I'll put it to you this way: You've just been selected to be on season 3 of Alone - what is your one blade that you bring along? Allen's Kukri from season 1 is honestly what sparked me to think about larger blades... doubt I'll ever want the weight but I definitely want the knowledge
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2016
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  2. BrandonJ

    BrandonJ Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    For backpacking, where I won't be doing any bushcraft or fire craft (much) - I prefer a simple SAK (bushcrafter, farmer) and a small leatherman squirt I believe its called. Lightweight and capable.
     
  3. UAHiker

    UAHiker Supporter Supporter

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    depends on your backpacking trip. if the trails are blazed and well marked a simple, just using a fuel stove or small personal fires with no batoning then a SAK, other type folder or small fixed blade like a mora will do. if your blazing your trail then a kukri or large knife will be better. if your trying to keep things light for backpacking why would you want to carry a 1lb+ knife/cutting tool on you if you don't have too? YMMV IMHO
     
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  4. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    If truly backpacking any significant distance then I tend to be very weight conscious so something relatively small and light. I have an adventure sworn "hiker" that fills that role well.

    On a side note, there's an established thread with quite a few responses on this topic already. If I can find it I'll post it.
     
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  5. T MAC

    T MAC In Memoriam Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    A SAK Day Packer Utility Knife in yellow, very lightweight and sturdy folding blade, or a Mora 511 for a fixed blade.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2016
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  6. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    For backpacking with a stove, it's a SAK, usually the Huntsman or Fieldmaster model.

    Without a stove, I might up it to the Trekker (handy saw, bigger blade, just in case I need to split something.)

    Weight is the primary consideration for me when purely "backpacking" (no 'mission' except covering mileage, seeing scenery, and getting to a certain spot to camp that night due to park or other facility regulations.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016
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  7. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    There are essentially two different extremes here.

    1) Many people think that backpacking should be a "high speed, low drag" mentality. Lighter is faster. Pounds equal pain. Many of these people do not plan to craft anything while backpacking. Many of them do not even plan to make fires, and opt for alcohol or canister stoves instead. These people only see the need for a lightweight and basic cutting tool. The most common answers you will hear from this crowd are "I just take a Mora 510 or a folder".

    2) One the other side of the spectrum are people that want a full toolbox with them, since they will likely be deep into the woods. These people want the capability to do everything they might want to do. These people will probably say something like, "I take a BK9 and a companion blade".

    And then there are people in the middle that fill out the spectrum. So who is right? No one. Or maybe everyone. It depends on what you want to accomplish. I don't know exactly where I fall in this spectrum. I just do what I want to do. For me, that usually means a small to medium fixed blade plus a folding saw. Something like my BK16 or my LT Wright GNS. Notice this is pretty much the same as a bushcraft setup, because I do a lot of backpacking/buschcrafting crossover. It isn't too heavy, and is fairly capable. I like the middle ground most of the time.

    But that's me. And other people's opinion are equally as valid, if not more so.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2016
  8. crewhead05

    crewhead05 caffeine, nicotine, knives and nature. Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Depends on your style of backpacking. Many backpackers like to go lightweight in the form of a mora, opinel, SAK etc mainly for food prep, and small tasks. It sounds like in your version of backpacking knife you are looking for something larger for chopping and wood gathering/ wood processing. So ill throw in my favorite big knife, its the tops tahoma field knife. For ME and MY style i usually prefer it over a small hatchet. When combined with a bahco I have a pretty useful pair of tools that can do the majority of cutting tasks that I usually need.
     
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  9. snapper

    snapper Guide

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    I'm pretty plain when it comes to knives so when backpacking, I always carry an Opinel in my emergency bag. So far it's done all that I've ever needed.

    That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.

    snapper
     
  10. DrJosh

    DrJosh Tracker

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    Mora bushcraft survival + Bahco Laplander. I think they're worth the weight.
     
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  11. CaliforniaCanuck

    CaliforniaCanuck Guide

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    Like was said above, first you need to define "backpacking" as it applies to you.

    For me it means traveling "miles" with several thousand feet elevation gain. That translates into ounces = pounds = pain. So weight is a significant factor.

    I like the stainless Opinel no. 9 for its size and light weight and stainless for food prep.

    The Opinel is enough knife if fire restrictions are in place and I can't have a camp fire. IOW you carry fuel in place of larger wood processing blade.

    If camp fires are allowed then I'll include a fiskars saw (3 oz) and my new Stromeng 8 (9 oz).

    I much prefer to carry my wood processing blades and use camp fires over carrying fuel and not having a camp fire!
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2016
  12. DuctTape

    DuctTape Scout

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    For backpacking just a SAK or a buck nano folder. Even though I use a fire, cooking wood is not larger than can be broken by hand.
     
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  13. Elwha

    Elwha Supporter Supporter

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    Question is "backpacking knife", not axes or saws. If ultralight I go with a Mora and a SAK. If not ultralight (the usual 1 mile hike into our favorite spot) I bring the Mora and SAK plus one or two of my cool fixed blades (Blind Horse, Breedens, OTM, Wood Bear, Scandis like Ahti or Woodsknife, etc.) Sometimes a big knife like the OP said, like my Condor Varan or even the Kabar Cutlass.
     
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  14. Togus

    Togus Supporter Supporter

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    My region does not necessitate a large chopping blade or anything to slash my way through brush or small branches. All of the hiking / backpacking areas open to the public here in Maine are established and usually blazed trail systems. So, I never carry anything larger than a belt knife and my pocket SAK. Sometimes I'll forgo the belt knife and wear a neck knife. But I always have my pocket SAK.
     
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  15. ra2bach

    ra2bach Bushmaster

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    yes, definition of terms is required. hiking is not backpacking is not camping is not bushcrafting. though they are related...

    my "backpacking" knife is a Swiss Bianco Bushcrafter. that's a Victorinox Farmer that's been converted by removing the can and bottle openers, leaving just the blade, saw, and awl.

    If I'm day hiking, there's the probability of sitting down and making lunch and doing a little bushcrafting, I'll add a 4-6" fixed blade, and maybe a SFA.

    and if I'm camping, all bets are off...
     
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  16. Skotelawe

    Skotelawe Guide

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  17. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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  18. Phisikos

    Phisikos Scout

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    Fair point on the requests for a clearer definition...

    Not that I'm looking to add weight to my pack- I doubt I'll make any changes to what I bring as far as knives... but within the realm of a larger sized blades I really don't know anything about different makers and styles and blade shapes... And i'm just interested in learning more

    So I'll put it to you this way: You've just been selected to be on season 3 of Alone - what is your one blade that you bring along? Allen's Kukri from season 1 is honestly what sparked me to think about larger blades... doubt I'll ever want the weight but I definitely want the knowledge
     
  19. Fiddlehead

    Fiddlehead Scout

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    Mora stainless Companion
     
  20. 308HB

    308HB Scout

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    "just one blade"

    Depends on the terrain / flora and fauna .
    A CS Smatchet is a perfect shelter building tool in most environments and a very effective weapon as well at quartering and butchering large game .

    Old Army Ranger saying --> If it works great ... I'll carry the weight
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2016
  21. ripcurlksm

    ripcurlksm Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    my backpacking knife is a sharp piece of metal
     
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  22. justin_baker

    justin_baker Bushmaster

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    I've hiked off trail through very dense brush and I've never felt the need for some kind of cutting tool to get through it, I've tried and it always makes things slower. Just shove your way through or spend time finding alternate routes.
     
  23. Badger5

    Badger5 Tracker

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    I like to carry a small folder(sak, benchmade mini grip, picking up a svord mini peasant soon) and my gransfors outdoor axe (got it new for 99 bucks). That thing is tiny and I barely notice its weight...and it's so capible. It has sort of replaced my belt knife...I like to carry the hatchet and a folder. Sorry if I went a little off topic...
     
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  24. Maven

    Maven Tracker (for now...)

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    If Im not building a camp or worried about my ability to walk out in less than a day, its just gonna be a SAK/whatever im EDC'ing at the time
     
  25. Togus

    Togus Supporter Supporter

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    LT Wright [A2 w/orange scales] dangler sheath with ferro-rod holder. Very comfortable to hold, medium sized knife that throws tons of sparks, holds a nice edge, and would be perfect for me.
     
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  26. Seacapt.

    Seacapt. Supporter Supporter

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    I'm not a through hiker, only short hikes up to 3-4 mi. to get to a specific area for 1 to 4 overnights or just longer day woods bumming/hunting jaunts, as such only 2 knives carried an SAK Hiker in my pocket and Condor Kephart on belt and have never carried a knife in or on my backpack.
     
  27. chris67

    chris67 Guide

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    SAK or doug ritter griptilian sometimes I ad in an AS mountaineer.
     
  28. CaliforniaCanuck

    CaliforniaCanuck Guide

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    Based on your new definition, I choose the Stromeng 8 but I'll still have my Opinel 9 in my pocket.
     
  29. thederrick106

    thederrick106 Hunter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Just hiking or backpacking? A SAK in my pocket minimum. Usually another spare SAK in my pack, or a Mora #1... I always have a backup.

    I usually bring a belt knife but when hunting and covering longer distances I tend to bring a lighter Mora #1. Very lightweight and there is not much I can't get done with it when paired with a Bacho Laplander folding saw.

    I recently got a Havalon with replaceable blades for game processing and will be trying that this upcoming hunting season. My pocket will always contain a SAK of sorts but its going to be hard for me to leave the Mora at home... The Havalon is very light and will be paired with a one of those tops pocket saws.

    When hunting I just get sick of carrying the extra weight...

    Plus my keys are with me about 90% of the time, which include a micro tool currently a Gerber Dime.

    Oh the life of a gear nut! :30:
     
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  30. aaronu

    aaronu Armchair Bushcrafter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    For backpacking I always carried a Gerber Magnum Jr. model #500. It is all I ever felt I needed for backpacking or as a survival knife. A few times I brought a SAK -- a Deluxe Tinker IIRC -- mostly for the saw.

    Backpacking in my case means traditional hiking kit: 80 liter pack, 4 pound synthetic bag, dome tent, kitchen tarp, Ridge Rest pad, stainless steel cook kit, Coleman white gas stove, cold weather gear, etc. Seems like I usually was around 60 lbs or so.

    For season 3 of Alone maybe I'd want a TOPS Haket. But only because I can't find the machete my dad made for me out of a piece of bandsaw blade. It's somewhere on my parents' property but who knows where. Blade length a hair under 12". Thin enough to use as a knife but probably three inches of blade height gave it enough heft to be a great chopper. Flat profile with a convexed edge -- not that I knew what that meant at the time.

    FYI a band saw big enough to carve up a big redwood was two stories tall and at least half as wide. The blades were maybe two feet across, maybe a hair less. When they needed replacing, the millworkers would cut the old blade into manageable pieces with a cutting torch and toss them. My dad probably still has a few blade sections he brought home from the lumber mills. The blade was cut from the width of the blade, not the length. You'd think it would have a curve to it but it's perfectly flat and chops true.

    If I had to stick with reality and bring something I have on hand I don't have any big choppers to speak of. I'd bring my M.D. Caldwell Model 1-4. I'd bring my Benchmade Bushcrafter but it needs a better sheath first. The Caldwell is a better all-around knife but the Bushcrafter is a more substantial knife and might be better at heavier tasks.
     
  31. Taliesin

    Taliesin Guide

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    Vicky Tinker in the pocket and a Mora Companion HD on the belt or attached to my pack.
     
  32. UAHiker

    UAHiker Supporter Supporter

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    another member here let me borrow and try out his kukri. it's a knife that takes getting used to and learn how to use it well and correctly. i only used it for a short period of time but i could see how useful it could be and the more i use it the more i would like it. if i was going on alone or doing something like that i think i'd go with a kukri only after getting very intimate with it for a long time before doing it..... otherwise it would just be a standard knife and axe that i was more comfortable with
     
  33. Zebra Alpha

    Zebra Alpha In Memorium

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    It's no secret that I'm a HUGE fan of the Condor Pack Golok. It does everything a smaller knife would do (fire prep, wood splitting, shavings, etc.), and is a good chopper, as well. It goes with me on most hikes, along with my SAK Farmer. Sometimes take the Bahco Laplander, but it rarely gets used.

    A friend of mine has a Kukri, and he likes it just fine. Whatever works for you is the answer to your question.
     
  34. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    I've used a myriad of different knives throughout the years backpacking, from the diminutive SA Classic to a Bark River Aurora- I continue to use a wide variety of knives based on weather, length of trip, fuel choice for stove, amongst others

    what usually holds true is that my knives tend to be smaller in nicer weather with little need for wood prep, they tend to get larger in colder weather trips where fire prep is a certainty
     
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  35. Phisikos

    Phisikos Scout

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    Lots of different opinions, the only one that seems to be consistent is the "whatever works for you" approach

    one thing I'm really surprised about is how many just bring a folder or SAK -not that I've got a problem with that but in one of my previous threads I had swapped to a folder to save weight and the general consensus was that this was a bad move even if it did save weight, so I really didn't expect so many folding knives.

    Thanks guys, was fun doing all the googling to see what all the different knives listed look like =)
     
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  36. woodstalker

    woodstalker Tracker Minor age 17

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    It would be my 1980 kbar. same as for bushcraft cause I just go on bushcraft outings and I carry that knife every day.
     
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  37. MrDublin

    MrDublin Scout

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    This is what I take when I go out for a day in the woods. It's my Esee Laser Strike with a firesteel attached, an AZWelke Dangler attachment, and a Grizzly-Outdoors altoids tin attachment on the face that I use as a tinder box.

    [​IMG]
     
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  38. Seacapt.

    Seacapt. Supporter Supporter

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    As stated in previous responses of the pro folder boys you will notice that it's area specific usually from some of the Northern tier states that are heavily forested such as Maine which is still 90% forested (most in the nation) and as such a 4 season abundance of dead, dry, standing or blow down tree wood available up to about 4" dia. which can be easily leveraged snapped to length and no need of splitting /batonning so and average SAK type folder with small saw can take care of all wood fuel, shelter poles, game/fish/fowl processing needs and general camp chores. This is not to say that those of us that plan extended overnight woods bumming do not also bring along a fixed blade back up even though seldom or if ever used.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2016
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  39. EDCRunr

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    These two for everything I do.

    I'm new to BC and don't know any better
     
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  40. CaliforniaCanuck

    CaliforniaCanuck Guide

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    Well said!
     
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  41. Corvin117

    Corvin117 Scout Bushclass II

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    Regardless of the type of trip I always carry a SAK hiker, and my GSO 4.1
     
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  42. cal77

    cal77 Tracker

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  43. jaydendyck1

    jaydendyck1 Scout

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    I carry a delica for food prep and general cutting and Gerber clutch for gear repair mostly, the blade is also pretty functional but mostly redundant for me.
     
  44. bostonaholic

    bostonaholic Tinder Gatherer

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    Great thread. I'm starting to get into backpacking so I'll need to put down my OKC RAT-5 for something lighter weight.

    Sounds like SAK and Morakniv are the most mentioned in here. With an occasional Bahco laplander for those that plan to make fire.
     
  45. aaronu

    aaronu Armchair Bushcrafter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Exactly.

    +1 here too, and to Zebra Alpha.

    Would like to add, this is a bushcrafting site. When folks on here talk about going in the woods, we safely assume activities like building a fire, carving implements like pot hangers or spoons, building fire reflectors, shelters, etc.

    IMO traditional backpacking means cooking with a stove and/or cold meals, pitching a tent, etc. No trapping, no hunting and definitely no fire. No bannock and probably not much bacon either. It's all about Leave No Trace. Stick to established trails. Visit nature but don't in any way despoil it. In that scenario a knife does little more than slice open a bag of apple chips or cut a piece of moleskin.

    The main justification for a hiker to carry a big knife is two legged critters, and IMO there are better options for that. And to quote some hikers I met on the trail once: "We'd like to think there's a better class of people out here."
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2016
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  46. aaronu

    aaronu Armchair Bushcrafter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Woods knife: M. D. Caldwell model 1-4
    EDC knife: Benchmade Ares 730S
    Hiking knife: Gerber Magnum Jr.

    Three knives.jpg

    Many moons ago my brother (a Marine, former survival instructor and all around savvy woodsman) gave me the Gerber with the admonition that it was all the knife I needed for hiking or survival. That's been true for the last 30 years. The areas we're in really don't require a big knife or hatchet. All the wood I need to build a fire or simple shelter can be gathered without tools.

    That's not to imply life isn't easier with a bigger knife, a saw or a small axe; just that one can make do with less.
     
  47. Mannlicher

    Mannlicher Guide

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    I like a SAK One Hand Trekker for hiking. For camping, it's a whole different ball game.
     
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  48. Canajun

    Canajun Guide Bushclass I

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    More and more I seem to be carrying my Mora Companion HD as my go-to knife. I simply clip it onto my cargo pocket and it never comes loose. Love it! My khukuri always comes along, too, but I REALLY like my little Mora.

    My BK-7 seesm to be spending far more time in the drawer than I'd orignally planned.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2016
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  49. aaronu

    aaronu Armchair Bushcrafter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    A while back I got a Becker BK-2. I'd never handled a Becker knife before but lots of folks seemed to like them.

    I got it and I really, really liked it. What a capable knife. But at the same time, what a massive chunk of steel! I can hardly imagine you guys packing BK-7, BK-9 or a Machax. Might as well carry a machete. Or a khukuri, I suppose. :)
     
  50. 2jka

    2jka Guide

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    Esee 4 here. I find that it bridges the gap between super speed leave no trace distance hiking and the bushcraft very well. An Esee 3 might be a better choice but for now this works fine for me.
     

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