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I do not consider myself a master in the knowledge of knives. I had extensive study in the CORPS with knife fighting and safety. And teach in my sons scout troop on tech and safety with blades. I wrote this thread to help with those that might not have the knowledge of knives. Enjoy.
I've heard alot of points of view on alot of subjects to help out the up and comers. Many that are getting into hiking, maybe stepping up from the day trips to the multi-day hikes. They all seem to worry about their other gear. The packs, the bags, stoves, and boots. I don't see many people worry about one of the most important tools you can have on you. Your knife. I'm sure there will be many points of view that everyone will have when it comes to this subject. And I'm sure there will be those that will not agree with me.
These days a lot of people are leaning toward a good multi tool. Thats cool, I myself carry one. But there is NO multi tool on the market today that will compare toe to toe with a good quality full tang knife. And with the market being bombarded with so many choices, a beginner might not know where to begin. So, I thought I would start a thread to begin a subject we should all know head to toe.
Remember, a larger knife cannot do the small things you may need. And a smaller blade cannot do the larger jobs you may find yourself confronted with. A good full tang blade between 4 to 6 inches will do any job.
First off, when I say a full tang knife; that means the blade and the handle itself is one solid piece. So, that pretty much throws the rambo style (stuff a bunch of matches in the handle) out the window. And a compass as a pummel will get you no where in its use. A pummel is ther to substitute a hammer. Period.
With saying that, your knife should have a pummel. Its the part at the base of the knife below the hilt (or handle). It should protrude slightly. Many come in a vary of style pummels. I prefer a flat pummel that can be used as a hammer if needed. Some come with what they call a glass breaker. That might work if your ever trapped in a car about to be submerged in a lake. But, how many times will you use it in the field?
(Though there are more styles of blades, I will only cover the most available and used)
Third, you have many options on blade style.*Clip point (which tends to be very popular) has of the sharper blades at the tip. But, also the weakest. Most are Hollow Ground blades, which also makes them easy to sharpen. But the edge doesn't hold as well and tends to chip during hard use. *The straight back, much like the look of you basic kitchen knife. The back of the blade is straight all the way to the point. The cutting edge curves upward. It sharpens well, holds a good edge... but presents a weak tip due to the spine thinning as it reaches the end of the blade. *The tanto style blade, much like the end of the Katana. Has become very popular for its strength and durability with the military. Its draw backs are complication in sharpening. And not the best in doing tasks like skinning or other small applications. (just for the record, a double edged blade will serve no purpose for an outdoorsman or backpacker) * Drop point blade, much like the clip point but with the spine at a convex angle. Making it a much stronger blade, but with the ability for edge retention. Drop points tend to be flat ground, making the edge much stronger than a hollow ground knife.
The next to consider is serration or not? To me serration is only good for cutting rope. Other than than you give up an inch to inch and half of cutting edge.
My go to knife has always been a drop point flat ground knife. The edge retention is always there, ease of sharpening, strength and durability, and the drop point can take on the smallest of tasks.
Then you are confronted with stainless steel, or carbon steel. Stainless takes longer to get a good cutting edge, and the retention is low with heavy use. Carbon is easy to sharpen and holds its edge very well, though takes up keep by keeping it oiled.
With saying that, everything else is up to preference. These are a few blades on the market that have a great reputation in the knife community.
I myself being a BeckerHead will always put the BK2 first in line.
Any of the small Esse brands are great knives
The Onterio Rat 5 is a great blade
A cheap yet always reliable blade is Mora Knives
Though the Tom Brown Tracker was viewed as the go to knife for many outdoorsmen, I retired mine after purchasing the BK2.