When you’re out and about exploring the wilderness, one of the most important things to bring with you is a knife. You never know when you’ll need one but having one will prove to be very useful. Obviously, you’ll need plenty of other items but unless there’s a good reason not to a knife should always be on your list.
When I’m off on an adventure, or just going for a stroll in the woods I’m going to take a knife with me, often it will be one I need to review, but when it’s not I’ve got a pile in the Outdoor Revival office to choose from, so I figure out where I’m going and what I expect to be doing and take something I think is appropriate.
I recognize though that the knife I have with me is the best knife to have and there’s plenty of reasons to have a decent knife when you’re off the beaten track. Here are a few examples of what the knife can be used for.
Having a good knife can make it much easier clearing space to make your camp. Trimming back saplings and brush. It’s also great for making camp furniture when you need to create joints, cut cordage, lengths of wood, split wood, carve points for pushing into the ground and all sorts of things that are going to help you be more comfortable.
When it’s time to cook, whether you’re eating an animal or a vegetable a good knife is an essential bit of kit. A knife can also help make you other utensils; you can carve tongs, spoons, forks and chopsticks. It’s also useful for preparing food, making traps and many other kitchen jobs.
It’s unlikely that you’ll have an axe with you for a short wander into the wilderness, if you’re there for any length of time it’s worth considering taking one, if you don’t have an axe though, do not fear, all is not lost and you’ll still be able to collect, cut and split firewood with your trusty knife. It’s also a means to light your fire or carve a friction fire lighting set if need be.
When it comes to needing food having a knife with you can help a lot, especially when you’re hunting animals. Obviously, a knife alone should not be your first choice but if it’s all you’ve got then make the most of it. With a knife, you can make snares and traps as well as a spear, if you have the time and the knowledge you can make a serviceable bow and arrows or a netting needle for making nets to catch fish.
A knife is also very good to have if you need to dispatch and butcher any animals you catch.
There are a few reasons that you might need to do while in the wilds, you might be looking for water, digging up roots for food, stones for building or tools, to bury things, build a shelter and more.
It’s unlikely you’ll have a shovel with you, so you need to rely on your knife. If you’ve got some tough chopper type knife or a cheap one then feel free to get stuck in digging with it, personally I’d make a digging stick and use that, you can use the knife to make the tools you need and if done right they’re much more efficient than using the knife itself and you get to keep an edge on it which is generally what you want from a knife.
If you need to make a splint or a stretcher, a knife can be very useful. It’s also useful for smaller tasks such as removing thorns and splinters, or bee stings as well as cutting up material for slings and bandages if they’re needed.
If the blade is polished, it can be sued as a signaling mirror if you need to be rescued.
It is unlikely, but some people have had to use their knives for self-defence against animals and humans, ultimately you never know what’s going to happen. If you’re in a position where you can create a defensive area then, a knife can come in useful. There’s usually a better option than whipping out your knife, but if that’s the only choice you have, it’s good to have a sturdy blade.
Carving and making things
Knives are amazingly practical tools that can mean the difference between life and death, but it’s not the only thing they can be used for. When you want to keep yourself occupied you can carve with them, make presents for people or useful items for your camp, from hangers to spoons and boot racks to tables, there’s always things to be made and it makes life so much more comfortable having those little things.
It’s important that I mention that you should also carry a first aid kit with you if you carry a knife, it’s very likely that you’re going to cut yourself at some time, so you need to be able to patch yourselves up.
If you carry a knife you should know how to use it safely, it’s worth investing time in learning how to use a knife safely; it will save you time, pain and probably some spilled blood!
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