Knives: Survival, Camping, General Purpose, Hiking, etc

Part One:

Knives for survival, camping, hiking, every day carry, general purpose, hunting, and tactical uses.

I have a dozen or so knives. I have never had a “perfect knife” for anything in general.

With the noted exception of a Ka-Bar military survival knife I carried to Egypt and Central America with me, and then later it went to Iraq with my son I can’t really think of a “perfect” knife.

My knives include a “Badger Blades Cutlass” – a real fighting blade which would probably cut through most of those gun show “swords”. (Home defense back up weapon to my handgun and shot gun. If I get down to the Cutlass I’m fighting zombies… and ran out of ammo)

A bowie knife (no brand on it) that is about 9 or 10 inches long and probably would be good in a “sword fight” (LOL). Keep this with my cutlass.

A single blade folding Kershaw “Black Gulch” (I keep in a holster, every day carry).

A Swiss Army knife “Officer Suisse” – multi-tool type of knife, two blades, bottle opener, can opener, screw-drivers, cork screw (gotta have that!) and a saw.

A Gerber multitool with pliers and all that stuff.

I’ve LOST one buck knife (I think one of the boys took it and lost it or something, it’s been missing for many years now and I miss it) – I think it was called “Prince”. It was a single bladed knife which I broke years ago, breaking a tie-wrap off a box. The knife bent at the locking point and broke the blade loose. Buck replaced it in less than a week after sending it off. Life time fix or repair thingy.

I have three “sailor’s knives” I made. Two are high carbon steel that I hardened the blades (edges) and left the backs softer metal (for hammering the back with a mallet to cut through heavy rope and line). They are good knives, very, very sharp. One is made from cheap metal with a lower amount of carbon, so it’s not hardened. The other two are nice knives though and keep an edge, once you can get one ON it….

My “hunting knife” was an old cheap steel knife, think it cost me 20 bucks like 30 years ago. Had a bone handle (a real bone handle) and was a fixed, thin bladed 5″ blade. I could skin animals (did a few squirrels with it) and it would stay pretty sharp. It was a casualty of a flood. Was stored in a pack in the floor of the basement many years ago when the hot water tank decided to explode and the basement flooded, ruining a lot of gear.

One really nice, cheap, very, very sharp fillet knife from Wal-Mart. No name brand, in a nylon sheath, and it’s currently packed in my “Boat Box” with other tools which will eventually make it to the sailboat.

So – I have no “survival” or “hunting” knife these days.

I carry two pocket knives with me, all the time. The Kersaw and the Swiss Army knife. They are with me throughout the day.

Now….. to the main meat of this discussion.

What do YOU guys like, carry or use daily?

If you hunt, what kind of knife do you prefer. If you fish, what knife? If you hike, do you carry one? What about a BOB knife?

Let us know what you have, use and carry.

Part Two:

As I mentioned above, I’ve never found a “perfect knife” that works for every situation. Knives are tools, and like screw drivers you need the right kind for the job you’re doing.

But – as a general purpose “survival/camping/hiking” knife I personally am looking for these things in such a knife.

I want a medium to small knife. Something over 4″ and less than 7″ – for me, optimum is around 6″ long.

The blade should be “thinnish”. Not to thick, BUT thick enough that I can hammer the back of the blade with a piece of wood to split kindling.

The blade should HOLD an edge – and not require being sharpened each time I use it – but perhaps a few times a week in high usage. So, should probably been a hardened carbon steel blade.

It should be a full tang – blade to handle – with a good handle and guard on it to prevent the hand from hitting the blade.

The handle should have a decent grip, perhaps bone, or even knurled plastic would be ok.

The whole thing should be light weight.

This isn’t a “fighting knife” (I’ll keep my bowie for that, but hope never to have to do that crap).

Utility-wise, the knife will be used for making a shelter – chopping smaller limbs off branches, digging up roots to make cordage, and pointing stakes to hold the shelter. Cutting rope, twine and other cordage. Sharpening a “spear” point on a stick. Making a hiking stick. Removing bark from wood. Making kindling. (I’d get a larger knife to hack my way through a deep forest – probably a machette – but a general purpose, hiking/camping/survival utility knife is what I’m talking about here).

I’d use this knife for skinning small animals. In a squirrel for instance, you would end up chopping off the feet, head and skin, then gut the critter before cooking it. A smaller knife is better on birds, but you can still use one like this on doves and ducks to gut them (not easily).

I’d use it on fish. In general in the woods if I catch a fish (and I’m a poor fisherman to be sure) – I generally gut them and throw them on a grill, or pan fry them with the skin on then eat the meat out of them. I rarely cut the heads off. In a survival situation, I’d be eating all of the fish. (I don’t like the idea of eating eyes and brains, but…you know sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do )

One thing I noted about the Ka-Bar I used to carry. It was a lousy knife for anything but chopping on wood, making a shelter, cutting ropes and making kindling. I couldn’t use it for anything small. I couldn’t clean an animal with it because it was just too big and not shaped right. And I couldn’t keep mine sharp for some reason. But it worked for pretty much everything else. I DID skin a snake with it once, but found myself sharpening it constantly to get the skin free because the snake wouldn’t give it up easily haha.

But in that regard, I am looking at something like this one:…ag=bshknife-20

Still not my “perfect” knife.

Now of all the knives I’ve seen over the years, including the stupid “Rambo Knife” the ones I saw Ron Hood (Hood’s Woods) use in his videos were the “best”.  Some were still too “big” for my tastes.

Ron passed away awhile back but his wife Karen still keeps the sites up.  Go check it out at:

Here’s a list of links for some of the knives he used:

This is about as close as I can get to “favorite” – but the point is a Tanto point, I don’t like those too much. Don’t much like the price either lol

Simonich Kanji

The “Kanji” By Simonich Custom Knives

The Late Rob Simonich was a master custom knife maker. Rob crafted his blades with the care and precision of an artist. My experiences with the man and his work led us into collaboration on this remarkable custom blade. Rob made the first Talonite prototype of the blade, called the “Kanji”,. I took it to the Amazon jungles and used it like no other knife I’ve had. I even loaned it to the Indians for some of their work. It looks as good today as it did the day he made it for me (though there are a few scratches on the handle now). You can see this blade performing and cleaning monkeys and other animals in our Jungle Video.
While I field tested the blade I came up with a couple of minor modifications that we incorporated into this final design. Though this blade is no longer available for sale through us the information could be of use to the outdoors men and collectors who have some of Robs Knives.

Every knife comes in a custom molded Concealex sheath and includes a certificate of authenticity signed by Rob Simonich

The Talonite Blades are marked with the “Talonite” sign and each knife has Rob’s distinctive mark. The A2 blades are marked exactly the same less the “Talonite” marking.

The opposite side is marked with the “Hoods Woods” logo and the serial number of the knife. There will only be 50 of each type of knife made. (50 Talonite and 50 A2)

You have the choice of handle slab colors. You can choose Maroon, OD Black combo, OD and basic Black.
Choices of blade material and original cost:

  • A2 steel.. $250.00
  • Talonite.. $350.00

Each knife was assigned a blade number at that time. Each knife was hand made by Rob.

A2 has long been one of my favorite metals. It is tough ductile, sharpens easily, has great edge holding ability and really can’t be beat.

Talonite is a Cobalt alloy. It has literally no steel in it. It has qualities unlike any other metal on the market. It cannot rust or discolor. It is also VERY expensive metal.

Finally here… I used to watch Bear Grylls and Survivorman (Les Stroud). Of the two, Grylls is a showboating dumb ass some times. He certainly knows what he’s talking about but RARELY shows the right things to do in some situations. He deliberately puts himself in danger, doing dumb assed things like running down boulder strewn mountain sides, diving into ice cold lakes to swim across, fording streams at the most bloody dangerous spots he can find, and rappelling down rock faces covered in ice. I’m not saying you CAN’T or even SHOULDN’T do those things in a survival situation but it is “Survival”. Putting yourself deliberately in danger while trying to live and breaking an ankle in bad terrain, cold, snow and in grizzly country is probably the stupidest thing I can think to do.

You won’t survive long if you do that. I’ve walked on a broken ankle and I can tell you from first hand experience it is NOT something you want to do.

Les Stroud (read his book “Survive”, if you get the chance) is a more common-sense guy with a common-sense approach, but always pissed my wife off because he’d “mention in passing the requirement for water” but rarely showed exactly HOW he got water or where, or the methods used to get it. He did show those things, but he didn’t make a big deal of it since the filming of the show took precedence and he’d had 5-9 days to do a 1 hour show, hiking in to put up cameras, hiking back out to hike back in for the camera. He was alone the whole time. Grylls had an entire team if things went badly for him. Stroud didn’t.

Ron Hood was a survivalist teacher and did things in groups and alone, but usually had his wife filming at least.

I’d be too damn busying finding something to eat to bother will filming my demise….

Anyway – those two guys, Stroud and Grylls both have a line of survival knives.

And except for the “name” on the knife, they aren’t bad either.

Gryll’s knives have serrated edges. I hate them. Have to carry extra crap to sharpen them. The Gryll’s knife comes closest to me – if it didn’t have that edge on it, to something I’d carry into a jungle, alone and with little else but the knife to get me through.

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