Finally - A Fixed Blade I'll Take Backpacking

6:38 a.m. on March 11, 2017 (EST)
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Long ago I ditched carrying a fixed blade while recreation backpacking.  I like knives.  I collect them.  But carrying a fixed blade while backpacking just isn't worth the weight or bulk.  Instead I've carried a Swiss Army Knife (a Victorinox Farmer).  I've often considered carrying a paring knife, but couldn't find one that really fit the bill until I found a Great Eastern Cutlery (GEC) #1 paring knife.  Thin flat grind 440C stainless steel blade with micarta scales.  The GEC single blade sheath leaves much to be desired, but after trimming and wet forming, it will probably be adequate to the task.  We will see.GEC%2520%25231%2520Paring.JPGGEC%2520%25231%2520Paring%2520in%2520She


9:11 a.m. on March 11, 2017 (EST)
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Why not a Mora?  I have hiked and climbed for many years with cutlery from the Swiss Army or Leatherman.  Occasionally I would pack a Buck 105, but several Moras would be lighter and work just as well....

3:08 p.m. on March 11, 2017 (EST)
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I have three Moras.  Two No.1s, one a laminate blade and a laminated blade scout. They are very good knives.  Just much bigger and from thicker blade stock, and the Scandi grind isn't optimal for my uses.

11:44 a.m. on March 12, 2017 (EDT)
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Since this is going to become a knife pr0n thread...

This is a fixed blade I'll take backpacking: 20170312_113144.jpg
That is the Bill Moran-designed Spyderco FB01. At 3 ounces they call it a featherweight, and I have to agree. The Kydex adds another ounce and-a-half.

For that weight I get a 4-inch VG10 Japanese-made blade with a rat-tail tang imbedded in a dual compound hande of delrin and kraton. It is about an eighth of an inch thick, and can do a lot of camp chore-type stuff.

It and its drop-point sibling the FB02 share a lot with the older Mora knives, and Puukkos in general. Mr. Moran patterned this knife on one that he designed and carried for over 40 years.

The handle is perhaps my favorite part of this knife, as it fills the hand nicely for all-day work while still allowing for multiple grip options. So many lightweight knives, it seems, have a small or thin handle, or no handle scales at all--looking at you, Kestrel--and start to fatigue the hand in short order.

11:44 a.m. on March 13, 2017 (EDT)
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Knives are very personal. I have collected them since I was a kid and my Dad had brought me some from business trips to Africa and Turkey and Michigan.  I usually bring a folding pocket knife given to me by a friend for a 60th birthday. It is a Moore Maker knife from Matador, Texas. The Trapper model has castrated a lot of bull calves over the years, but not by me.

5:22 p.m. on March 14, 2017 (EDT)
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i'm much more apt to bring a folding knife 3 season, but i prefer a fixed blade knife in the winter.  i might also bring a fixed blade knife the rest of the year.  

the folding knives i like weigh in the 3-4 ounce range.  there are definitely lighter-weight options - an Opinel No. 8 folder with the classic beechwood handle weighs less than 2 ounces, i have one in my desk - but i prefer knives with nonslip handles or scales to a smooth/slippery wood handle, and i'm not a fan of the locking ring on the Opinel knifes, i think liner locks or the equivalent are safer.  (i cut my thumb when an opinel locking ring unlocked under pressure.  that was a very long time ago, and I was probably putting more pressure on it than i should have, but i have never had that happen with a liner lock.  still have the scar across my thumb).  

i have two fixed blade knives in the house - a fallkniven F1 and a Bark River Knife & Tool Gameskeeper.  both weigh about 5 1/2 ounces.  both do the job well.  the Fallkniven has a stainless blade, so it's easier to maintain, and a fairly grippy rubber/thermoplastic handle.  the Bark River has micarta (layered resin) scales - highly durable, slippery unless you rough them up a bit witha very fine grit emery cloth - and a carbon steel blade that i feel is easier to sharpen.  

12:25 p.m. on March 15, 2017 (EDT)
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Bill that's a nice knife..I in the same boat..I use a swiss army knife for backpacking..I really dont think I need much,,,What duties do you use this knife for besides cutting cheese and sausage? You may have me take a look at other options

12:46 p.m. on March 15, 2017 (EDT)
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I forgot to say that...but yes, I really like that GEC knife, too. There's a purity in design and execution that so many other blades mess up.

And thank you, Bill, for introducing me to the brand! I had not heard of them before.

6:57 a.m. on March 18, 2017 (EDT)
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The Kephart design (Horace Kephart of "Camping and Woodcraft" fame) is also a great alternative.  Simple classic 4" spearpoint  with a better grind (full flat) than Moras (scandi).  1/8" at spine.  This one is from Condor, out of El Salvador, and can be found for $30-$35.  Blade is 1075 carbon steel.

Condor-Kephart.jpg

7:21 a.m. on March 18, 2017 (EDT)
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Andrew, I've had an Opinel #8 for more than 40 years.  Great slicer but the wood swells with moisture making the friction folder a FRICTION folder.  Doesn't take the weather well.
Opinel-8.jpg

6:50 p.m. on May 20, 2017 (EDT)
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This isnt a criticism but what exactly is the knife for? I've backpacked for decades in our Canadian wilderness and never cary a knife.  I used to have a Swiss army knife in Girl Guides but for the last decades just bring the tweezers with me.

Is it for cleaning fish?  do you bring a line and a hook and clean the fish with a knife?

2:49 p.m. on June 8, 2017 (EDT)
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Honestly, the best survival knife I've ever owned is my Victorinox Rambler. It's like the Classic, but with the bottle opener from the Rally added.

Victorinox-Swiss-Army-Rambler-Pocket-Kni


But the backcountry requires bombproof equipment, so I always bring a fixed-blade knife. Like the OP, I love knives, I collect them, and own too many of them, but in recent years, I've discovered that I actually have a preference for less expensive knives made out of 420HC, because I don't have to fear damaging them, and they are easier to sharpen than my 154CM vintage Gerbers. My currently most-used knife is a vintage Gerber Pro-Guide II Drop Point Hunter. It's an old Brad Parrish design, Made in USA, 420HC high carbon stainless, full tang, plastic scales, 4" drop point blade, otherwise look like this, which is the Skinner version in the same line (I have the Drop Point Hunter, the Skinner, and the Caper):

gerber-pro-guide-ii-sheath-knife-woriginI've batoned through an entire Vermont winter's worth of stove kindling with that knife, and she's still going strong. One of these days, I'll get around to drilling out those rivets, and replacing the scales with some dogwood or rhododendron wood I've been saving for many years for just such a purpose.

I'm also fond of carrying my Gransfors Mini Belt Hatchet, where that makes sense.

My current obsessions are the Hultafors workmen's knives and the new Morakniv Eldris and Garberg.

8:24 a.m. on June 18, 2017 (EDT)
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For a SAK I carry a Victorinox Farmer on my belt every day, day in, day out.


Victorinox-Farmer.jpg
Vixtorinox-Farmer---Stock-Photo.jpg





 

8:00 a.m. on June 19, 2017 (EDT)
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I have a little Morakniv Eldris that goes along with me.


Capture.jpg

6:22 p.m. on June 19, 2017 (EDT)
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Maria Lopez said:

This isnt a criticism but what exactly is the knife for? I've backpacked for decades in our Canadian wilderness and never cary a knife.  I used to have a Swiss army knife in Girl Guides but for the last decades just bring the tweezers with me.

Is it for cleaning fish?  do you bring a line and a hook and clean the fish with a knife?

 I guess a lot of folks only do freeze dried meals or something from a plastic package? 

a quote from Benicio del Toro's character comes to mind here. 

"You're asking me how a watch works. For now we'll just keep an eye on the time."

one good reason is, it is one of the 10E's and for very good reasons.

Opinel outcuts any knife and the slicing ability is phenomenal. I like them in either bubinga wood or olive. Those are the hardest, toughest woods. Melt a bit of carpenter's wax in the joint and they go through damp weather fine. They are super light and pound for pound will out perform knives costing hundreds of dollars while they are very inexpensive. 

They can hog out wood like nobodies business if you might need to make a fire in inclement conditions or just for pleasure;

http://photos.imageevent.com/boynhisdog/aatemp/_MG_8361750C.jpg

We cook a lot of fresh foods, slice up sweet potatoes, shallots, zucchini, carrots, olives, tomatoes and much more. In the desert where you carry all of your water you don't need to dry your foods just to add back the water later. So fresh soups in winter and fresh, substantial salads in summer, gourmet omelets, etc, just too numerous to list it all. We also bake a lot with the light weight steam baking method. The blade is long enough to slice that Black Forest Cake and any other chore you you a sharp tool for. 

http://photos.imageevent.com/boynhisdog/aatemp/_MG_1777_DxO750BB.jpg

4:53 a.m. on June 20, 2017 (EDT)
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I am not a knife person (now watch this pivot) but I often have two knives along, sometimes three.

Vitorinox pocket knife with a cork screw (one of my ten 'nsensels).  Always bring this knife.  Always on my person.  Other tools on my knife also useful on regular basis.

A grocery store sourced 7" French knife (when cooking fresh veggies of meats).

Six inch filet knife.  Comes when fishing is part of the plan.

And so I don't dull the blades; I bring one of those thin plastic cutting boards.

And a sharpener.

But trust me, I am not a knife person.

Ed

 

 

7:50 a.m. on June 20, 2017 (EDT)
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lol, same here...not a knife guy (at least not like those around here) but when you need it you need it. I use it in food prep but sometimes I need to cut cordage, or a bandage, or repair tape for my shoe or tent or whatever. Sucks to not have some kind of blade when the occasion arises.

9:02 a.m. on June 20, 2017 (EDT)
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Ed - I guess the definition of Knife Guy cuts both ways.  (Best attempt at sharp wit this early!)

I am not what I would call one either, and sometimes go several trips without using a knife but...I always carry two: 

A 2-inch blade Gerber Ultralight LST (0.6 oz) I have had for years - general use for food prep (I don't do trail gourmet so need it for cutting a few veggies or summer sausage etc), quick slicing of tape for blister prevention, and other random uses. Also helps to eat some meals as I only carry a Lexan spoon.

A small Victorinox (0.7 oz) that hangs out in my first aid kit - not even sure what model number just a keychain size version that I got for being in a friend's wedding 20 years ago (looks kind of like a Swiss Lite but pre-LED technology so no light).  One small blade, scissors and a nail file with a screwdriver end has so far encompassed all my tool needs. 

I might carry a larger fixed blade if I worked more with fires in the winter but tend to camp at sites without a fire ring and therefore don't use that option much.  Definitely wouldn't leave it out on a winter snow trip with fires planned!

8:46 a.m. on June 21, 2017 (EDT)
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ghostdog said:

one good reason is, it is one of the 10E's and for very good reasons.

 Actually it's not. It used to be, but the list was revised over a decade ago and "knife" was dropped while the broader "repair kit and tools" was added. Maybe a knife is a proper tool to carry, maybe not. Maria's question is valid, in fact it's critical -- the old maxim "the right tool for the job" holds true, you need to know what you need the tool for before you can choose the tool. Form follows function.

After years of carrying a knife, primarily because I was taught I "need" one, I dropped the dead weight. I don't fish, hunt, chop food or wood. I've found a pair of ultralight, sharp scissors will handle most remaining cutting tasks better than a knife, and I also carry a single-edge razor blade in case I really need to slice something, which for me probably would be a first-aid need.

The revision to the 10 essentials was precisely to stop recommending a specific tool without considering the need and to accommodate the idea of matching the tool to the job.

If you have a need for which a knife is the best tool then by all means you should carry one. But I don't think you should carry one just because it's on some list (an outdated list at that).

1:42 p.m. on June 21, 2017 (EDT)
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JRinGeorgia said:

ghostdog said:

one good reason is, it is one of the 10E's and for very good reasons.

 Actually it's not. It used to be, but the list was revised over a decade ago and "knife" was dropped while the broader "repair kit and tools" was added. Maybe a knife is a proper tool to carry, maybe not. Maria's question is valid, in fact it's critical -- the old maxim "the right tool for the job" holds true, you need to know what you need the tool for before you can choose the tool. Form follows function.

After years of carrying a knife, primarily because I was taught I "need" one, I dropped the dead weight. I don't fish, hunt, chop food or wood. I've found a pair of ultralight, sharp scissors will handle most remaining cutting tasks better than a knife, and I also carry a single-edge razor blade in case I really need to slice something, which for me probably would be a first-aid need.

The revision to the 10 essentials was precisely to stop recommending a specific tool without considering the need and to accommodate the idea of matching the tool to the job.

If you have a need for which a knife is the best tool then by all means you should carry one. But I don't think you should carry one just because it's on some list (an outdated list at that).

 

JR, I disagree. Even the Mountaineer's Ten Essential Systems (not the Classic list here) disagrees with you. See below. And in my experiences these folks know some things. I don't advocate big Rambo or bushcraft knives myself and neither do I think razor blades are a good idea (I don't drink the ultralight koolaid). Once I did a series of trips where it never rained on us for over 150 days and nights. I still take my rain gear every single time and I have no other uses for it but I have quite a few used for a small, sharp folding knife every trip. 

The Opinels I use are from 1.3oz to 1.8oz and they have been in use since 1890, real tools for the real world, farmers, peasants, travelers. They flat out work.

As for Maria's question, I answered it in detail. Like I alluded to, there are so many reasons, uses and techniques that it is hard to sit someone down and explain them all but illustrated a simplistic answer in enough detail so it could be understood. 

7. Repair Kit and Tools
Knives are so useful in first aid, food preparation, repairs, and climbing that every party member needs to carry one. Leashes to prevent loss are common. Other tools (pliers, screwdriver, awl, scissors) can be part of a knife or a pocket tool, or carried separately—perhaps even as part of a group kit. Other useful repair items are shoelaces, safety pins, needle and thread, wire, duct tape, nylon fabric repair tape, cable ties, plastic buckles, cordage, webbing, and parts for equipment such as tent, stove, crampons, snowshoes, and skis. - See more at: http://www.mountaineersbooks.org/assets/clientpages/zz_tenessentials.aspx#sthash.ioL1HrHM.dpuf

5:31 a.m. on June 25, 2017 (EDT)
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Food prep, cutting cord, cutting moleskin/gauze, first aid, handy to have if your plan goes to hell and you find yourself in a situation you didn't anticipate.

3:12 p.m. on June 27, 2017 (EDT)
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A good knife will always be at the top of the essentials list, because with a knife, you can make pretty much anything else you might need for survival. I do not deviate from the time-honoured wisdom of a fixed-blade, full tang knife with a blade of about 4-6", long enough to baton, but not so long that it's unwieldy for detail work. I do happen to think that the best pattern for an outdoors knife is essentially a thicker version of a German pattern Kochmesser, with a straight-back spine, rather than a drop point or trailing point profile. I much prefer this type of design to most hunting or outdoors knives on the market.

I also find it helpful to carry a second, smaller fixed blade knife, much like a thicker paring knife, for fine work. Those two, coupled with my Victorinox Rambler for the odd small tasks that the scissors and a tiny blade can handle best, make for a very useful combination.

Here's some drawings I did awhile back of what I mean, showing variants with straight-back, 2mm drop, and 2mm trail, plus a blunted, airline safe version. These show 140mm and 80 mm blades. The larger knife shows the trailing point version.


2017-06-27.png

6:34 a.m. on July 2, 2017 (EDT)
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Gemma, have you heard of Horace Kephart?  I'd like to think all in the Eastern USA, especially the mid-Atlantic, who love the outdoors has.

His knife design is iconic and made by many even these days.  This Kephart is from Condor out of El Salvador and follows Kephart's design very closely.  4" spear point with 4.5" handle.  1/8" spine thickness.  1075 carbon steel.

 


Condor-Kephart.jpg

Personally, I reserve knives with so much belly as your renderings above for skinning, but then the knife's blade really needs to be a drop point too.

 

 

 

 

1:02 p.m. on July 5, 2017 (EDT)
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I love knives too but I can't think of the last time that I came up against anything that a cheap Walmart pocket knife couldn't do.  And usually a small scissor will do it better (trimming bandages).  Your hiking needs may differ.

If you are car-camping and want to take a blade to the local flora in an already overused area, be my guest but please leave the trees in the alpine alone; it took them 100 years to grow ten feet, they deserve a break and you don't really need a lean-to.

On Mt Baker this weekend I don't think I cut a single thing. Not all of us can be Joe Simpson.


IMG_20170702_092216994.jpg I borrowed a knife for that loose string on my pack during this trip.  Close call ;)

Buuuut, I carry plenty of other useless things (a ukulele) that I could easily do without so...Carry whatever you want.

3:25 p.m. on July 6, 2017 (EDT)
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You definitely do not need more than a little key-chain knife when backpacking...barring a lot of food prep or making bright campfires a small knife is my tool of choice when backpacking (I mostly use the scissors to keep nails short).

I understand that you can do a lot with a knife...and knife-skills can be fun and helpful...but in a serious situation I am not going to stay out in the bush and make a bunch of stuff...I'm going to use every minute to walk out and go home before things get worse.

Mountaineering (like paddling) is not at all like walking trails and requires different "essentials"...the two really aren't comparable since I don't bring climbing ropes with me backpacking. Also...while mountaineers are highly skilled at what they do...I've hiked with enough of them to know that they are not always that knowledgeable when it comes to walking trails...sometimes hilariously the opposite (horizontally challenged).

I'm not telling anyone not to carry a larger knife...but carrying a larger knife...or a knife at all...is anything but essential or necessary while backpacking (but keep your nails short!).

9:41 p.m. on July 6, 2017 (EDT)
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I carry a Swiss army knife every day and often find uses for it.

The statement 

You definitely do not need more than a little key-chain knife when backpacking

is a bizarre troll for a forum entitled "Backcountry." The potential non-critical uses a knife has in daily life in the backcountry is apparent to anyone who spends weeks or months off-trail. Then there are critical, life-saving moments of knife work; such as cutting paracord for a tourniquet or making a travois for an injured buddy. I cannot imagine what the troll would recommend for quickly cutting cord for a splint or willow hoops for an improvised emergency snowshoe. A key-chain knife would break in seconds when cutting most of the materials mentioned above. What about walking in a river, fishing in the dark, the water almost up to your chest (see my avatar), when suddenly your foot falls through a complex weave of beaver branches? Your wading boot is trapped, you can't pull your boot out, and the Neoprene sock won't let you pull your foot from the tied boot. You bend over to try and find the double knot in your boot laces. Cold water comes flooding in to your waders. Hypothermia is now a real concern; you have perhaps two or three hours before standing with your head above water will be difficult. The act of bending over drove your boot deeper into the beaver pile. You could feel the laces but not the knot....

So, you pull out your knife, cut the boot laces, pull your foot out of the boot, pull the boot out of the trap, and turn around to head for the camp, wet but not dying in a few hours of hypothermia. (Of course, the first thing I did was to lie down and elevate my feet to get most of the water out of my waders and seemingly, into my ears. Oooh that water was cold!) :)

So, imo, a real blade can be a lifesaver. Accept no troll "key-chain" substitutes. :)

11:33 p.m. on July 6, 2017 (EDT)
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I'm not a troll overmywaders, I've been a member of TS for more than 4 years, a very public one at that.

I said backpacking at least twice, and walking trails once to clarify exactly what I meant...which is not the situations you describe at all (snowshoes???)...if off-trail I might (probably not) bring more than a little Victorinox...but I'm not at all certain it is necessary when others have walked 4,700 miles in the Alaska wilderness with nothing more http://andrewskurka.com/adventures/alaska-yukon-expedition/overview/  ...like a lot of tools...who is using the tool really matters.

12:08 a.m. on July 7, 2017 (EDT)
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Joseph Renow, it matters little how long you have been a member of this or any forum when you engage in such statements as you have. For example, you said

...but in a serious situation I am not going to stay out in the bush and make a bunch of stuff...I'm going to use every minute to walk out and go home before things get worse.

So, you are in the bush. Should you break your leg, you are not going to splint it, because you don't want to make a bunch of stuff and you have no knife capable of cutting branches and cord for a splint. Should your buddy fall, strike his head, and suffer a concussion, rendering him unconscious; you will not make a travois to rescue him, you will leave him and "use every minute to walk out and go home before things get worse." 

People who go into the bush or backcountry, carry all those things necessary to self-rescue and to survive in emergencies. Obviously, you consider preparedness an effete practice. Yes, people have survived the wilds without a knife; but more have survived the wilderness because they had a knife. Ask Aron Ralston how he would have cut off his own arm without a blade.

I don't mind people making statements of ignorance or ignorant statements. However, when you counsel others to their own detriment, I think we should all speak up for safety in the wilds.

4:35 a.m. on July 7, 2017 (EDT)
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Waders I'm sorry you interpreted my statement about what I would do given my skill-set as a slight against someone or something enough to call me a troll. To be sure there was a comical aspect to it...but I believe you were a little hasty in your judgement of me. To the point about membership and trolling, in the absolute sense you are correct...but in practice there is almost always an anonymous aspect to trolling (trolls hide under bridges) and Joseph Renow is my real name. I am not a troll if I use my real name..I am just a regular jerk then.

To answer your question about a broken leg and whittling a splint...no I am not going to do that...if I can move enough to look for some wood to carve on (which I doubt I will be able to do) I will find something suitable that I can simply break off...if necessary I will break off two or three smaller limbs to stabilize the leg (I probably wouldn't cut my cordage either). I am definitely not going to do any woodworking with a broken leg...cry and probably not make it out alive for sure...but definitely not going to make anything out of wood with my knife. I am not saying you shouldn't make anything out of wood with your knife...I might think what you make is amazing and want you to make me one...but I am definitely not going to do that.

To answer your question about a travois...no I am not going to do that either...partly because I didn't know it was called that...but mostly because it is more likely my friend is getting hurt a lot more with me dragging him up and over rocks and trees than if I get him some water and set him up under a tarp while I make a run for the quickest exit to get him some real help. I am not saying you shouldn't make a travois...I'm not saying making a travois is effete (I knew what that one meant)...you could possibly make amazing travoises...but I know I am dumping my friend at least twice using one of those things...and I feel like there is a reasonably good chance I might impale him with it...which would be tragic because he doesn't know it is called a travois either.

No people do not carry ALL the things they need to self-rescue...they can't...because the world is weird and we know so little about it (I watch scientists change their minds about the universe nearly every day and they have facts). We all calculate risk and how to manage it. I would argue most of the decision-making is contextual...others suggest some risk-management is "essential" or universal...tomato tomato (it doesn't work as well in text). On the other hand...someone believing he or she does carry all the things they need to self-rescue...that seems like hubris...a punch hurts the most when you don't see it coming.

I definitely do not think preparedness is effete...I can and do talk about it for hours at a time...sometimes for money...but mostly because they say please. I have layers of preparedness (organized temporally) for all of the different activities I do outdoors...which I continually reevaluate as my practices and skills change. For walking on trails I do not bring anything larger than a Victorinox...because knife-work simply isn't part of my plan. I am not saying you shouldn't bring a larger knife...just that I don't...and I don't believe anyone backpacking on trails must carry one.

As far as Aron Ralston cutting his arm off to save his life...awesome for him (in the sad way)...but I am definitely not going to bring a bigger knife so I can cut off my arm. I hate needles and blood...so there is no way I am cutting off my arm...call me crazy. The Aron Ralston story is one of the examples where I die...and I am 100% okay with everyone at my funeral whispering about how I might still be alive if I had brought a knife large enough to hack my own arm off. I promise you...while a tiny knife might be my final failure in life...it certainly wouldn't be my worst.

11:00 a.m. on July 7, 2017 (EDT)
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Joseph,

I apologize for dubbing you a troll. It was unnecessary for me to impute a negative intent to your words rather than just to deal with the statements themselves. Sorry.

12:07 p.m. on July 7, 2017 (EDT)
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No worries Wader...this internet communicating thing is funny...and human communication is vastly more complex than mere words (why we invented emoticons). I write with a lot of personality...because I write A LOT (like hours everyday)...and if I didn't insert myself into my text I think my existence would feel diminished. I send a lot of words out...they rarely come back...it can get lonely...maybe I should ask my students to respond to my comments?

Having a lot of personality online can sometimes ruffle feathers...but that's only because you don't know me...I can be a bit much in-person too...and don't always parse my words because I got more stuff to say...but I am super nice and usually just a glance at my face assures others that I do not mean to make anyone feel bad...just the opposite...I sometimes exaggerate the smallest accomplishments beyond reason. "OMG you tied your shoes like super fast...that's crazy amazing!"...it can be embarrassing.

Big ups to you for the apology...it was not necessary...and it says a whole bunch about your character. Mistakes are living...or maybe I'm just doing it wrong. I would add...I do carry a more substantial knife with me when paddling...tangled webbing and rope are abound...so I carry a 4 inch blade to see myself free of that nonsense as fast as possible. I also carry a good multi-tool when fishing...so if I am ever overmywaders I probably have a good size blade on me.

3:40 p.m. on July 7, 2017 (EDT)
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overmywaders said:

I don't mind people making statements of ignorance or ignorant statements. However, when you counsel others to their own detriment, I think we should all speak up for safety in the wilds.

 

I'm going to lite up the Like Button on this simple concise statement...

5:34 p.m. on July 7, 2017 (EDT)
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Joseph, another toll here because I agree with you 1,000% on this...

4:34 a.m. on July 8, 2017 (EDT)
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Joseph third post gave me a chuckle...I had to carry a large knife in a former profession and that was suitable..I like knives but my swiss army knife does me just fine with opening things and I am not making labor intense meals...So have to agree with your points...But thank you for the chuckle...

11:56 a.m. on July 11, 2017 (EDT)
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Bushcraft is a fun hobby.

Still, search and rescue folks will tell you that their patients didn't usually get into trouble because their knives was too small. 

But I don't really need my whiskey flask or ukulele in the backcountry either so carry what you want.

2:20 a.m. on July 12, 2017 (EDT)
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I am the resident Troll, here!  How dare all you posers and speculators thereof, and your attempts to depose me!

Now for some serious trolling...

Knives are overrated.  Yep, I said it.  Sorry if it violates doctrine.  Don't get me wrong, I do carry one or more knives (see my earlier post), but only for convenience.  Survival and emergency scenarios were never a driving consideration.  In fact I consider duct tape, bail wire and a fire source far more useful in a fix than a knife.

Cord can be cut with a sharp rock or burned in half with a lighter.

Tourniquets should be made from something wide, like strips of fabric rendered from a shirt, not rope or cord.  And you can easily tear a shirt using just your hands.

I would make a splint for a broken limb with something in my pack (eg tent poles duct taped together, a rolled sleeping mat, etc) before looking around for something to whittle.

Emergency willow hoops for snow shoes? A set of bushy tree boughs with little modification will suffice, besides requiring minimal skill to improvise.

Boot stuck in stream bottom?  How about not wadding in proximity to a beaver lodge.  Nothing safe about that!  Justifying a blade under this pretense is similar to justifying bringing a parachute in case you slip on the ice proximal to a water fall and get carried over the edge.  You should stay away from obvious hazards.  In any case you are going to need a lot more than a blade to save you, as getting a foot stuck seems to be just the first of a series of cascading problems that can mess you up. 

A travois for rescuing a fallen camper?  The general rule of thumb is move someone so incapacitated as little as possible.  Attempting to move injured people frequently results in additional injuries to both victim and his rescuers.  Leave such evacuations to SAR, it's what they do.  Even if you know how to effect a wilderness rescue, chances are others in your group don't.  This is not a suitable situation to introduce neophytes to BC rescue techniques, while using the victim like a crash test dummy.  And if you do happen to be with those in the know, and the situation mandates extrication, they'll figure a way to get the job done with whatever is at hand.

If the choice to carry a knife was predicated on safety, I would say leave it at home! I have never been part of a rescue where a knife was necessary, but have witnessed at least a half dozen knife accidents resulting in unpleasant injuries and the need to cut the trip short.  Same logic goes with guns.  Both knives and guns are more dangerous most of the time than whatever danger warrants the carry. (I can already hear the mob calling me out on this one!)

Chances are if you are smart enough to hack you way out of a fix with a blade, then you are smart enough to come up with an equally effective alternative.  Carry knives because you like them, no need to hide behind a justification.

Anyway, I apologize if I have offended anyone.  I was mostly having some fun here, and also suggesting our wits are the tool of first resort when things go south. 

Damn! I just gave myself a paper cut...

Ed    

  

6:58 p.m. on July 12, 2017 (EDT)
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Ed,

I fear that you have taken your troll a bridge too far. I hear him pouting over the conditions... too much light under there apparently.

Permit me to shed a little more light on your troll (poor fellow). Firstly, I should inform you that I am very old. As the bard recorded "The first ice age was a farce; the second... rather cold." So, I recall when troglodytes WERE troglodytes. Having only just discovered bipedal motion, the most astute of the troglodytes found that certain flint stones were sharp. These clever masters of the opposable thumb determined that "tools" were useful. In a few million years, ol' sapiens sapiens quickly expanded their tool set. It was not long, geologically speaking, before the Neolithites brandished their neoliths at every opportunity; for hunting, skinning, carving, hammering, and even war. Ah, what a time (sigh). Soon, a man was not properly prepared unless he carried his sharp stone with him on his travels. (Thus the first hiker was born.) I doubt that our ancestors would have been more than Smilodon scat without the use of edge tools.

Your troll, dull fellow that he is, does not have the wit, by half, to understand the utility of a tool, the knife, that our remote progenitors discovered and refined epochs before Trailmix and freeze-dried food. He doesn't realize that the essential equipment of life in the backcountry has not changed unless the backcountry has itself changed. If the dangers, Smilodon aside, of remote areas are unchanged, then the minimal tools to counter those dangers will still be effective. A sharp, lightweight blade is one of those tools, as are clothing, heat sources, etc. We should not confuse knife and Kniff.

The troll said "Cord can be cut with a sharp rock or burned in half with a lighter." Of course, that means you need to carry a sharp rock or a lighter that burns indefinitely. (Looking for a sharp rock in sandstone country is futile. :) ) A knife would be lighter than a sharp rock and fire starters more dependable than lighters.

Your trolls other scenarios are equally suited to his brutish mind, but not to the real world. We needn't embarrass your lad squatting in his feces beneath the bridge by detailing his errors line by line. The following video speaks to his desire to find difficult substitutes for his simple need:




Best regards,

Reed

4:55 a.m. on July 13, 2017 (EDT)
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Reed:

I love your five minute argument! 

I, too, remember the Good 'ole days.  I am often accused of living under a stone, but it has its advantages - if were not for such cover, I would be just another K-Pg mass extinction statistic. Thus a massive flat granite flake is among one of my ten 'nsentials, and a principal reason why my pack is so heavy.  So I hope you can understand why one of those fandangled modern knife contraptions is not among my kit, as I need to trim weight elsewhere as priority dictates.  In any case if I need a sharp, I can just knock a flake from my shelter roof.

It has been eons since I has exchanged with an individual so seasoned as yourself, and would like to take this opportunity to inquire.  Back when those crazy developers made subdivisions of Pangea Ultima I lost my notes how to make dirt in the ensuing chaos.  I was wondering, per chance do you have the original recipe? I'll be glad to trade for the hack notes to all bridge troll questions.

BTW: my fellow troll doth not squat in feces; the steaming pile of stink you refer to is actually the remains of Sir Robin's head. (His helmet was to no avail.)

So much time - not enough fun...

Ed

11:39 p.m. on July 13, 2017 (EDT)
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Ed,

I searched through some old stelae in the basement for the recipe for fresh dirt. I was sure that in some interglacial period I had hammered out a lithograph on the subject. Sure enough, I found a stela with explicit instructions for the making of fresh dirt. Unfortunately, the notes were inscribed in a pictographic script that was de rigueur in 120,000 B.C., but that eludes me now. Perhaps if I present the actual pictographs, you can provide the translation.

trump_just_hair.gif
ManReadingNews.jpg
Shovelling.jpg
Apparently, that blonde hair will generate fresh dirt quickly, but what is under that hair puzzles me.




1:30 a.m. on July 14, 2017 (EDT)
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Sigh...overmywaders mind is slipping with age.Those are the correct pictographs for the era described, however politician over arrogant scribe equals fresh horse manure not dirt. Oh well, the quest for the recipe for fresh dirt continues.

8:20 a.m. on July 14, 2017 (EDT)
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That stela is not how dirt is made, as I recall that recipe included pictographs of a shamrock over an image much like that of earth, above a Armand Hammer logo next to a brain. 

You are right, Jason, about the spade load.  I remember the mason being instructed to chisel above said stela inscription (it was a small club back then that were literate).  Alas Reed may need stronger readers.

Reed's Stela was one of several stela commissioned.  Other stela were carved, relating to the topic.  One had a pictograph portraying a flock of white geese strutting the shoreline, above a man with a toothbrush mustache, which was over a pictograph of a mushroom.

My favorite:  the first carving is something resembling a roman city on fire, below that a pictograph of a skewered hotdog, and at the bottom a violin.  I likeie hotdogs.

Odd things these stelas, for some reason make me uncontrollably smack my forehead with the palm of my hand.  Must be some ancient, subliminal mind control.  The good thing is ancient humans survived the saga these stela proclaim, so there is reason to believe we'll survive if it ever recurs.

 

This website needs a VR campfire and bevs.

11:56 a.m. on July 17, 2017 (EDT)
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I'm with Ed; carry your bushcraft 300, hand forged, full tang, whatever and dream blissfully at night  about the day when you will need to fend a pack of rabid snafflehounds, build a small stockade to last the winter or baton some large firewood that you couldn't just as easily burn in half. Just do so knowing that its a comfort item and no SAR report ever read, "if only he'd had a bigger knife."

Just like the hip flasks, the inflatable pads and the musical instruments I carry, they aren't really essential and a small  scissor or folding knife would be just fine. 

For a funny take on carrying too much gear and a REALLY rough critique of the BSA try this article.

3:17 p.m. on July 17, 2017 (EDT)
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Jeff this isn't a slight on you...but an unkind reading of that article would suggest that the author is at minimum sexist + homophobic + and an elitist. I feel like I need to take a bath. I know a whole bunch of overweight fathers who raise awesome boys and girls who can do more than cook or engage in simulated combat with one another, and that do more for their neighbors and community than hanging off some rocks and looking down on the others who aren't nearly as self-indulgent or rad. I think that him and I disagree on what being a good man or person is.

11:47 p.m. on July 17, 2017 (EDT)
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Joseph, I couldn't agree more with your assessment of that article. 

Growing into a true man or woman is not a matter of strutting or bloviating. A true man is inordinately complex...


If 

BY Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

***************************

Personally, I would like to be, someday, the man my son is.

3:27 a.m. on July 18, 2017 (EDT)
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About the Boy Scout blog rant:

Me thinks Wayne has masculinity issues due to a non-descended testicle.

Wayne is one piece of work!  He sounds sincere in his POV, but it is so extreme that it may be satire. 

I was raised by one of those hard ass fathers.  Or should I say I survived the ordeal.  He was not the over-the-top macho a-hole Wayne seems to be; nevertheless any vulnerability he perceived was always addressed with a steel toe boot to the rear style of tough love.

Wayne's thesis, that one has to ride their son rough shod in order to crank out a "real man", is proven wrong within his own screed.  Such upbringing obviously has crippled this man's character with all sorts of antisocial quirks and biases, evident in his comments.  The good news is he can survive almost anything on his own wits - the bad news is it is probably a necessity as no one can stand his boorish, condescending ways.

Ed

7:49 p.m. on July 20, 2017 (EDT)
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told you it was rough

September 25, 2017
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