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 Post subject: Good 'wilderness survival' knife, not 'tactical knife'?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 3:02 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2008 8:53 am
Posts: 87
I want a good wilderness survival knife. I'm not interested in knife fighting. If I know people are out to get me I'm going to drop everything but my gun/ammo and run like hell so I wouldn't have a big honking knife with me anyhow.

What's a good practical knife for true wilderness survival?

BTW, I'm partial to Buck knives so if you could give me your opinions on their best knife for this I'd appreciate it. I've been reading reviews on the General (120) and Special (119) models and people seem to love them both. But a few people who own them seem to know that they're pretty big for camping/hunting use. One reviewer said he owns the General (7.5" blade), Special (6" blade), and Skinner (103) and prefers using his Skinner (4" blade) for most things.

Some people with the Special say it's a bigger than necessary knife for gutting out a deer. I'm in the upper Midwest so a big whitetail is the biggest game animal I would use the knife on.

But I also realize that there's a lot more to a wilderness survival knife than being able to gut a deer.

Anyway, I wanted to see what some of you think.

Thanks.




Last edited by pgmrdan on Sat Sep 20, 2008 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: re: Good 'wilderness survival' knife, not 'tactical knife'?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 3:10 pm 
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My outdoor pack has a K-bar in it.

Depending on what else your carrying (machete or axe), I would recommend a good sharp skinning knive.
If your not carrying anything else. a good thick sturdy blade that you can chop with is probably best.

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 Post subject: re: Good 'wilderness survival' knife, not 'tactical knife'?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 5:19 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 18, 2006 12:34 am
Posts: 27
Location: So. Cal
I agree with you, a big honking heavy knife or tactical/survival knife may not be the way to go. A knife is everyones personal preference, what feels good in my hand may not feel good in yours.
Just a few things to ponder when selecting a knife. Will it be the only knife you have? Will it work with a flint? some stainless steel knives wont. Is it easy to sharpen and hold a nice edge for a while? Is it going to be a fixed or folder?
The Marine K-Bar was mentioned, a little big for my needs, they produce a smaller version. I have not used either in the field but if the small one is anything like the original it's well built and will handle the job.

Remember that what makes it a survival knife is your skill, not what it says on the box.

Here are a few links:

http://www.survivaltopics.com/survival/how-to-choose-a-survival-knife/[url]

http://www.equipped.org/devices4.htm[/url]


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 Post subject: re: Good 'wilderness survival' knife, not 'tactical knife'?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 7:26 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2008 5:18 pm
Posts: 73
For game,I prefer a blade of from 3 to 4 inches.5 is okay but big.A slight drop point is also my preference.

Since you like Buck knives,their pathfinder model is a good all around design.

I don't mean to offend anyone but I find the big "survival" knives to be little more than trendy.If you're traveling light,a small saw is much more to the point.If it's cold and you need a lot of firewood,I'd recommend that you have at least a 3/4 axe along.

I've known quite a few very experienced backwoodsmen and not a single one ever carried a huge knife.In fact,most would regard it as the mark of a tenderfoot.

I've used a machete (everyone has) and if you need a machete then why not carry one and use that.


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 Post subject: Re: re: Good 'wilderness survival' knife, not 'tactical knif
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 8:03 pm 
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ray m wrote:
most would regard it as the mark of a tenderfoot.

Thats funny. When I was 5 or 6 years old my Dad pointed out that huge knives were Tenderfoot knives. Havent heard that one in a while :D


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 Post subject: re: Good 'wilderness survival' knife, not 'tactical knife'?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 9:31 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2008 8:53 am
Posts: 87
I also prefer about a 3" to maybe 4" blade for cleaning game.

I use a folding knife for cleaning small game but it's a chore to clean blood and viscera out of it afterwards. I bought a Buck Woodsman (model 102, 4" blade) at a gun & knife show today. It looks like the perfect size for cleaning small game.

At least one review I've read complained that the Buck Pathfinder (model 105, 5" blade) was just a bit too long for him when cleaning squirrels and rabbits.

The Pathfinder is a very nice looking knife and it looks like a practical size so I almost bought one of them today too. But I found a Case that is probably 35 to 40 years old and has never been used except maybe as a letter opener. There's not a single scratch on it. I had 3 guys at the gun show who were selling knives look at it. They were at separate tables. Two used magnifying glasses and all said it looked knew and still had the factory sharpening. I couldn't pass it up. Even the sheath looked new. It has a 5" blade.

Thanks for the links! I read for a while and followed some other links. It looks like Survivorman uses a Buck Special (model 119, 6" blade). The recommendations on a couple of sites said a good wilderness survival knife should have a blade between 4" and 6". It said many people carry knives that are too big (Tenderfoot?). Nowhere did I see anything recommending a knife longer than 6". That knocks out the Buck General (model 120, 7.5" blade).

I like the looks of the Buck Special and I like the shape of the blade but at 6" it has always seemed a bit too large to me but it's got a stouter blade than the Case I picked up today.

I may go with the Special. I had bought one about a week ago and it just looked too big so I took it back. I have a Buck Skinner (model 103, 4" blade) that I've had for a long time and its blade is very stout so I could just use that.

I'll wait for some more comments and think about it some more.

Good comments so far. Thanks all!


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 Post subject: re: Good 'wilderness survival' knife, not 'tactical knife'?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 3:35 am 
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Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 2:04 am
Posts: 130
Location: New Zealand
Check out Chris Reeve Knives. His knives are something quite special. The one-piece A-2 construction puts them head and shoulders above any other hollow-handled knives around. Well worth a look at his web-site. I have a half-dozen of them in various blade lengths. I carried one in Cambodia for a year, and it never let me down.


Last edited by Dave the Ammo Tech on Tue Sep 23, 2008 4:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: re: Good 'wilderness survival' knife, not 'tactical knife'?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 11:37 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2008 8:53 am
Posts: 87
Interesting link.

http://www.survivaltopics.com/survival/ ... ans-knife/


Dave,

Sorry to ask but why would I want a hollow handled knife?

I've seen multiple websites that say don't buy a hollow handled knife because they're weaker than knives that have tangs that run the full length of the knife. I don't want the risk of breaking one of the most essential pieces of survival equipment I'd have.

If it's the storage they can't have enough storage capacity to make it worth taking the risk. I would think I could carry an Altoids box in my shirt pocket with more stuff in it than a knife handle can hold.

Why do you have hollow handled knive? (I'm not being rude here. I'm curious.)


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 Post subject: Re: re: Good 'wilderness survival' knife, not 'tactical knif
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 7:48 pm 
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ray m wrote:
For game,I prefer a blade of from 3 to 4 inches.5 is okay but big.A slight drop point is also my preference......

I've known quite a few very experienced backwoodsmen and not a single one ever carried a huge knife.In fact,most would regard it as the mark of a tenderfoot.

I've used a machete (everyone has) and if you need a machete then why not carry one and use that.


Use the proper tool for the proper job. If I had to "survive" in the wilderness I would much rather have my big knife than my 4-incher. I think what you are really asking for is a "bushcraft" knife or a hunting knife. That is very different than a survival knife, survival being Hatchet/My Side of the Mountain type of stuff. There are reasons why most everything comes in different sizes from kitchen knives to hammers. There is a difference between a guy with a tool and a mall ninja.

People who do not like, and look down on those who use bigger knives need a little imagination. It also is heavily dependent on the area your in, what you are doing, how long you will be there, and whether or not you are on trails or not.

Machetes are usually tempered very soft which makes them unsuitable as an axe/hatchet stand-in. I have a modern kukri-machete-hatchet hybrid which I am very happy with and it gets used more than any of my small knives, especially when it comes to clearing trail and prepping wood for a fire. On the other hand I have never found a hatchet I liked....

In addition to the big knife I carry a pocket chain saw which is infinitely faster than trying to chop threw a log which is too big to snap off, and I don't want to hear about the boy scout wood gathering. In Florida the small stuff that is dead fall is rotten and/or wet and the trees don't have lots of lower branches like pines in the Rockies. This is not the Sierra or the Rockies. Different places need different techniques.

So, I have the big one, the saw, and lastly a pocket knife or a 4-inch fixed blade, usually both.

So what makes a good "bushcrafter", hunter, skinner. Well, first off, avoid thick blades. 1/8 inch is fine. Next up is the steel. Are you someplace wet or dry? Do you need to sharpen this in the field or just at home. I would personally go with a simple carbon steel, O-1, 1095, L-6 and a few others. As long as the heat treatment is done right you will have all the knife you need. If it has to be stainless then you have a myriad of options depending on how much you want to spend. 440C or equivalent would be my choice, it takes a good edge fairly easy and holds if fairly long. There are some others out there but I find them they take a long time to sharpen and probably could not be sharped in the field, although they stay very sharp; VG10, SV30 to name a couple.

Buck uses 420HC, which is roughly equivalent to 440A. 440C is quite a step up, which makes for a better stronger knife that will hold a better edge. I was never satisfied with the one buck knife I had simply because it would never stay sharp.

Dollar for dollar Mora Knives of Sweden can't be beat.

You might look at a Fallkniven F1.

Bark River is known to make some top notch stuff too.

Look around, there are many custom, and semi-custom shops out there with very reasonable prices too.


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 Post subject: re: Good 'wilderness survival' knife, not 'tactical knife'?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 9:04 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2008 5:18 pm
Posts: 73
Colorado,

I need a little imagination????...I've been all over north america in back country.I've been where the nearest human was a couple of hundred miles away.Have you?????.....Just what is it that you survive in Florida???By the way,I grew up there.

Be honest with yourself.When did you first get the desire to get a huge knife?Was it when you saw Rambo or Crocidile Dundee???Perhaps you have too much imagination.

You are obviously young and a knife enthusiast/hobbyist.That's fine.But don't lecture me about survival.I've been where you'd be too busy crapping in your diapers to do any good.What you actually need more than a knife is some maturity.


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 Post subject: Re: re: Good 'wilderness survival' knife, not 'tactical knif
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 9:45 pm 
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ray m wrote:
Colorado,

I need a little imagination????...I've been all over north america in back country.I've been where the nearest human was a couple of hundred miles away.Have you?????.....Just what is it that you survive in Florida???By the way,I grew up there.

Be honest with yourself.When did you first get the desire to get a huge knife?Was it when you saw Rambo or Crocidile Dundee???Perhaps you have too much imagination.

You are obviously young and a knife enthusiast/hobbyist.That's fine.But don't lecture me about survival.I've been where you'd be too busy crapping in your diapers to do any good.What you actually need more than a knife is some maturity.



Your first question: Yes, yes, and yes. Your not the only one who goes outside, and neither do you have a monopoly on outdoor tools. Everybody's new/old hero, Nessmuk, carried a hatchet, many people find uses for a hatchet, I have mine, but I prefer to use my big knife.

Second question: Nobody "survives" anymore and I find people who ask questions like, what is a real "survival" knife to be stuck up. It is a tool, whether it has a coated blade, or is shinny stainless with wood grips. It is impossible to split wood with a 4-6" knife if the log is 4-6" across. My big knife is ~15" overall, 9.5" blade, and weighs 1lb. Find me a small axe or hatchet that weighs less and does more and I might consider switching. If you grew up here than you should know that finding good wood is harder than it is up in the Rockies or similar type forest, especially if it has rained.

Question three: I think those knives are ridiculous. Scroll down through the posts and you might find where I posted about my favorite knife. I had a specific purpose to fill and the knife fills it quite well. You on the other hand seem intent on spreading this BS, that everything in the world can be accomplished with a 4-6" drop point. Get over yourself. Different tools for different purposes. There is no pure wilderness survival strategy, only those who make it easy on themselves and those that make it hard. Some people use tents, others use tarps, neither one is wrong. If you insist on using a skinner in place of a small axe, or vice versa, you are going to have to deal with that decision, but don't go preaching it like you have the one and only wilderness truth.

As for maturity, I'm not the one throwing insults across the internet. I am an engineer by education, and I know a little about metal and material selection. I take my time when I buy things because I want them to do something specific regardless of looks. It would be a shame if pgmrdan buys something that doesn't do what he wants it to do, because it looks to me like he's going in different directions asking for a real "wilderness survival knife" but is limiting himself to the Buck brand. He didn't specify a price, but there are options out there for under a $100.00, you just have to use your imagination....


Last edited by Colorado on Sun Sep 21, 2008 10:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: re: Good 'wilderness survival' knife, not 'tactical knife'?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 9:52 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 7:04 pm
Posts: 1960
Location: Oklahoma
Lets not turn this into a pissing contest.
some places, a big knife will do all. Some places an Old timer three blade folder and an axe will work best.
A folding saw is a great tool. So is an axe. so is a good machete (not the $3.00 one from Walmart).

I cant really recommend a "good" survival knife, Only some features. such as a sturdy blade that is large enough to process game. the handle should be comfortable and able to set a secure grip on.
For a fixed blade, I really like the K-bar.
For a folder, I like my buck titanium.
I usually carry both.
Other handy things to carry, a folding hand saw, a pair of small limbing shears, a machete, and a camp axe.
I find the axe and machete to be interchangeable depending on the environment.

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 Post subject: re: Good 'wilderness survival' knife, not 'tactical knife'?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 8:02 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2008 8:53 am
Posts: 87
I didn't mean to start a quarrel.

Let me add a couple of things -

I ALWAYS carry a folding knife. That will complement a fixed blade knife.

I'm not looking for a machete or hatchet yet. As far as firewood, I'm not chopping down or cutting up anything. In all the years of tent camping and backpacking I've done I've never had the need. When I build a fire I drag in dead wood from the surrounding area. If I drag a log to the fire I drop one end in the fire and call it good.

In a survival situation I can see using a hatchet during cold or rainy weather to make a lean-to shelter but where I am there are so many natural nooks and crannies that I'd probably find a natural shelter and build a fire in front of it. A hatchet could be nice for making kindling but I've never needed one before. It seems to me a hatchet is a luxury item when it comes to a survival situation.

For now I"m just looking for a knife.


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 Post subject: re: Good 'wilderness survival' knife, not 'tactical knife'?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 8:39 am 
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Mora S1

http://www.swedishknives.com/760craft.htm#Classic%20Mora%20Knife

Mora Classic hunter

http://www.swedishknives.com/hunting.htm

The sheaths aren't all that, but the knives are the best value for your dollar.


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 Post subject: Re: re: Good 'wilderness survival' knife, not 'tactical knif
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 7:44 pm 
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pgmrdan wrote:
I didn't mean to start a quarrel.

Let me add a couple of things -

I ALWAYS carry a folding knife. That will complement a fixed blade knife.

I'm not looking for a machete or hatchet yet. As far as firewood, I'm not chopping down or cutting up anything. In all the years of tent camping and backpacking I've done I've never had the need. When I build a fire I drag in dead wood from the surrounding area. If I drag a log to the fire I drop one end in the fire and call it good.

In a survival situation I can see using a hatchet during cold or rainy weather to make a lean-to shelter but where I am there are so many natural nooks and crannies that I'd probably find a natural shelter and build a fire in front of it. A hatchet could be nice for making kindling but I've never needed one before. It seems to me a hatchet is a luxury item when it comes to a survival situation.

For now I"m just looking for a knife.
I was referring to the other two.
just looking at the Buck knife website, the vangaurd looks like a solid handy blade. The rubberized grip will provide a good grip with wet, cold hands.
The blade I carried before I got the K-bar was a cold steel tanto, but I like the flat pummel better.

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 Post subject: re: Good 'wilderness survival' knife, not 'tactical knife'?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 7:56 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2004 9:05 pm
Posts: 223
Quote:
It is impossible to split wood with a 4-6" knife if the log is 4-6" across. My big knife is ~15" overall, 9.5" blade, and weighs 1lb.

Why do you think you need to split wood in a suvival situation?


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 Post subject: Re: re: Good 'wilderness survival' knife, not 'tactical knif
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 8:42 pm 
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plumberroy wrote:
Quote:
It is impossible to split wood with a 4-6" knife if the log is 4-6" across. My big knife is ~15" overall, 9.5" blade, and weighs 1lb.

Why do you think you need to split wood in a suvival situation?


1. Split wood burns better = smaller more fuel efficient fires. People talk about feeding logs into a fire without having to cut them up. Have you tried it? I have found that the size of the logs that this works with are about the same size as those which can easily be broken up into more manageable pieces with a few quick chops and a kick (about as thick as your arm). The bigger stuff needs too big a fire for my liking to keep up enough heat to continue burning. You also see this all the time when in a car camping sites. Just look in a few fire pits. I bet it won't take you long to find numerous chunks of partially burned charred wood about 4-6" inches diameter. If it doesn't work for somebody with a can full of lighter fluid how well will it work out in the back country?

2. Depending on where you are the big stuff may be the only readily available source of dry, un-rotted wood. I carry the pocket saw for numerous reasons but it can take a 6" log just as well as something smaller. You can not always just break off what you need especially if it comes down to having to burn green wood. BTW, if you need to burn green wood you can dry it by using it as a heat reflector and rotate pieces into the fire as they dry out. Green wood will dry faster if it is split and de-barked as well. This works best if you can start a fire with what dry fuel you can find.

Internet Disclaimer: I have done everything I discussed. This is my personal experience and may not necessarily match what you have read from the numerous people out there vying for king-of-the-internet-survival-hill. So chill out!

PS: It comes down to this. When a need arises you use what is available, from least effort on up. If all you have is a small knife the easy stuff is still easy. The harder stuff, however, becomes much harder without the proper tools. Just my take.


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 Post subject: re: Good 'wilderness survival' knife, not 'tactical knife'?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 9:08 pm 
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My personal carry knife in the bush is a Grohmann #1. One of the best designed, most useful knives I've ever owned.

http://www.grohmannknives.com/pages/r1s.html

If you want something a little more heavy duty the Grohmann #4 Survival is a great choice.


http://www.grohmannknives.com/pages/r4s.html

Can't say enough good things about Grohmann knives.

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 Post subject: re: Good 'wilderness survival' knife, not 'tactical knife'?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 9:35 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2008 8:53 am
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There's a whole lot of excellent information coming up on this thread. Thanks guys! Keep it coming please.

The Buck Special has that sharp upturned point that probably isn't weak but looks weak. One of the Survivorman posts said he reground the tip on his. It said he also uses a Cold Steel SRK. I like the shape of the SRK knife a little better. It has a stronger looking tip.

Then I followed the recommendation about checking out the KA-BAR knives. I looked at some after work and looked at the online website. That's a very practical looking knife too with another strong looking shape. I'd probably get the short version (5.25" blade) instead of the full version (7" blade).

I probably couldn't go wrong with a Buck or KA-BAR. The prices are in my range too. But I'm keeping my options open.

Thanks again and as I said above, keep the suggestions coming.


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 Post subject: re: Good 'wilderness survival' knife, not 'tactical knife'?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 3:52 am 
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Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 2:04 am
Posts: 130
Location: New Zealand
Quote:
Sorry to ask but why would I want a hollow handled knife?


I don't know whether you do or not - just a suggestion.

I agree that MOST hollow-handled knives are weak where the blade joins the handle, and I wouldn't give them house-room. Chris Reeve knives are a whole 'nother story. His are one-piece, the handle and the blade are made from a single piece of A2 tool steel. No weakness there.

I tend to fill mine with matches. It beats carrying a separate waterproof match container. And there's no such thing as too many matches in a survival situation!

Check out this one, it's one of my favourites.

http://www.chrisreeve.com/mkvi.htm




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