Knives & Multi Tools

So, you are going to need some sort of steel on the trail, whether it comes in the form of a knife or a multi tool. There are many reasons to have a knife on the trail, for cooking and shaving wood to make tinder or just simply for cutting rope. And of course you can choose between carrying just a plain ole’ knife, or you can bring a multi tool which of course has many other features. It all just comes down to what you need to do (like everything else….)

Just a few things with knives, you can choose between folding / locking blades or open fixed blades. There is also the choice between a smooth fine blade, or a serrated blade. And of course there is the matter of the blade. Blades are made of quite a few different types of metals, and I am not going to try to pretend that I have much of a clue about any of them. Also, each blade requires a certain amount of keep-up to maintain a sharp edge as well as to keep the blade from rusting.

Some other things to think about is how are you going to carry the knife? Do you want to clip it to your shoulder strap, or just simply slip it inside your pocket? Do you want to clip it to your pocket? Also, keep in mind some of the sheaths that come with some of the knives. Some are made of a hard plastic, while others are made of leather. Size of the blade must also be taken into consideration. What will you need the knife for? Just for opening meal packages or maybe cutting some rope every once in a while might warrant a small tiny blade. However, if you plan on using it to chop wood, you will obviously need a larger knife.

A lot of people like the multi tools. These of course offer lots of options. Some useful tools typically found on these are: a knife, scissors, tweezers, screwdrivers, toothpicks, pliers, can openers, and awls. The multi tools come in quite a few different sizes and weights. They also come with a variety of tools in them, so you have to be sure and read about each one to be sure it has all the tools you require. I have even read about a credit card multi tool.

Some carry both a multi tool and a knife because the knives on the multi tools are not always the best knife, or it simply will not do for the type of use that is planned and a larger knife is required. Either way, everyone should have a knife on their person, or in their bag, after-all, a knife is part of the ten essentials.

12 Responses to Knives & Multi Tools

  1. Stick,
    I think you are right on with this post in that most outdoors or even tactical enthusiast now carry a multi-tool and a knife. Not only for the sanitary factors outlined by others above, but those that are into being prepared just like the option of both. If it comes down to weight, and carrying capacity, and only one can be brought with for an adventure, I think the multi-tool has be the way to go. Just more to offer.

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  2. Morry Banes says:

    Great article, Stick.
    Not much of a hiker nowadays, but could recognize my thoughts from the old beer-belly-free days. When I used to hike, I would definitely carry both. I am pretty much obsessed with multitools and I tried carrying just a light multitool (the knives in some of these babies) pack some serious power.
    Having said that, I soon realized that at some point you will need something that can do some real “damage”. I’m the safety first kind of guy and I hated any delays on the trail.

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  3. bestmultitools says:

    Yep – I do the same thing Joe.

    Great article Stick. Appreciate it.

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  4. @Joe – I really like that idea – one blade for food and one for everything else. Good way to keep cross contamination at bay.

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  5. Sko Den says:

    Thank you for the tips. I will check out the Mora website. I think ultimately I want a new knife that is not as heavy as the blade I currently have.

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  6. Sko Den says:

    I currently have a CRKT tanto m16Z with the partial serration at the bottom, and was looking for a new knife. I would use the knife primarily for wood prep(not cutting down trees, but breaking up sticks etc) for my solo stove and some other random tasks. I was wondering if you could make a suggestion for me? not necessarily a company but about the blade itself. Like should it be tanto? serrated? flip vs fixed? Thank you for your time.

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    • Stick says:

      Sko Den,

      I will say that I rarely use a blade for these things, and when I do I have just been fine with one of my Mora knives. I do prefer just a plain edge because they are easier to sharpen, however, a serrated edge, or combo edge would help for actually cutting through larger pieces of wood. Of course though a plain edge can also be used for baton splitting… Also, for actually using a knife to do this, I would ultimately recommend using a fixed blade knife, and one with a full length tang. Again, the Mora knives are great knives for these things. They can easily be found for less than $20, and usually around $10, and just work.

      Hope this helps some.

      ~Stick~

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  7. Joe says:

    I definately carry both. I keep the multi-tool blade clean and use it for food prep while the other blade gets used for everything else. Always good to have a pair of pliers with you.

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  8. For the trail I recommend carrying a good fixed blade knife in addition to a multitool(a swiss army pocketknife comes to mind as it is extremely compact and has most of the tools some of the bigger multitools have). From a survival standpoint, the pure reliability and robustness of the fixed blade knife is exactly what you want. It doesn’t need to be too big either, 3 or 4 inches is large enough to cover almost any task, even light batoning.

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  9. Stick what knife and/or tool are you carrying these days? I love my SOG Seal Pup, but I’m curious to know what you’ve settled on and why. Thanks!

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    • Stick says:

      Jason,

      At the moment I am happy with my Ka-Ba Mini Dozier. As far as why, in my past experiences, I have not needed large knives since really all I ever did was cut some rope, or food packages or such. A few times I would shave some wood splinters from limbs or whatever, but I feel like I can do that to a certain degree with the Mini Dozier if needed. And of course the Mini Dozier is light-weight! I have somewhat adopted the motto “Lighter is better.” (Of course keeping safety in mind too.)

      ~Stick~

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