We’ll all be safer in the great outdoors if we carry a knife (and know how to use it safely) because a knife lets us cut, carve and slice our way through many tasks, including those you’d need to perform during an emergency. And there are many things to consider when choosing a knife to take into the backcountry. Fixed blade knives are more durable than their folding counterparts. Full tang blades are stronger than those with a lesser tang. Scandi grind blades are better at wood carving than beefier knives. And the choices go on and on.
But whichever knife you choose, it’s important to understand what that knife really represents. Is it merely an inanimate tool, or something more? In my mind, the knife represents options. With a metal blade, we can cut materials so that we no longer have to chew, claw and scratch our way through things like our animal counterparts. And with a knife, we can defend ourselves – even though we lack the sharp teeth and talons so common in the animal kingdom. So what is a knife really about? It’s about options. The knife gives us options that we would not have without it. We have the option to carve trap parts, split sticks for fire, butcher game, and perform a myriad of other tasks – most of which would be difficult or impossible without a sharp cutting tool.
And even though we could easily make the case that the mind is the greatest survival tool, it’s not a tool in the way that a knife is a tool. With their trusty knives, our forebears carved out a life in the wilderness – and we can too, if need be.
And if that’s not enough, you can:
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