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Attitudes on knives: "Boy Scouts" vs "Victim Acceptance"


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Last night, I was perusing another site devoted to serious backpacking and hiking. Found a sub-forum on knives. Being a "knife guy", I headed in. Wow... two different camps: folks who regard a knife as a must-have piece of equipment in the outdoors, and folks who are obsessively serious about shaving ounces and consider a knife to be unnecessary weight. The discussions were, for me, eye opening... especially from those who feel perfectly comfortable heading into the wilderness without a tool that might ensure their survival.

In my mind, this boils down to a "Boy Scout" mentality (i.e., be prepared) vs one of "victim acceptance" (odds are I will never need a knife, so leave it at home). The latter crowd generally snicker at the EDC folks, like me. Have to wonder: in this current age of ultra-light backpacking and the obsession with paring ounces from your load, how do you justify not having a tool that might enhance your chances of coming home? Or is not having a knife simply a statement of personal pacifist philosophy, wrapped around an outdoor avocation?

I'll stick with my own philosophy: carry enough knife, anywhere you go. Except on airplanes... then check a bag for the knife ?

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The guys cutting their toothbrush handles off and packing a razor blade to cut open dehydrated dinners, and leaving a real knife behind are just plain silly. 

I did the lightweight thing in my younger days.  “Ounces are pounds” was the mantra back then also, but not to the extreme I see today.  

I would have never entered the woods without a knife and a backup. One in a belt sheath and another around my neck.  

A paper map and a quality compass were also a must have.  Nowadays people hit the woods with their Iphone and a solar charger and expect the internet to navigate for them.

A Bic lighter and a firesteel were also a necessity.  Redundancy is the key to preventing disaster.

Those are ounces that are worth it. The “I don’t need anything but a water filter, freeze dried food, and a stove” crowd are not prepared for even the slightest mishap.

A sprained ankle, bad thunderstorm, surprise cold snap, wrong turn down the trail etc... and they are woefully unprepared. 

I used to spend a lot of time on Mulitiool.org and BladeForums.com but they have a serious lack of variety for the last few years. If you don’t like flipper frame lock knives that are too thick to cut well and overpriced then you just don’t fit in.  

My preferred general purpose woods knife is a Mora no 1.  

Edited by Collim1
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They will still bitch. 


I was heavily involved in Boy Scouts for many years including training adult leaders. I am shocked how many adults thought the boys should never carry a pocket knife. Some outdoor oriented adults have bought the idea that a knife is a unnecessary weapon and has no place in the peaceful outdoors. 

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I used to religiously carry a full size Buck folder.   Discovered the joys of a "multi-tool", now you will never find me without a Leatherman tool.  Camping, hiking, hunting, grocery store, always.  I am always amazed in the fire department how many don't carry knives... inevitably, when they need a knife (or pliers) for something, they turn to me. 

Part of the Boy Scouts (just "Scouts" now... :( ) was when the boy would get his BSA Swiss Army knife.  It used to be a big deal... is it still?



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14 hours ago, minderasr said:

How about a compromise?  At 2.7 oz I don't think the snowflakes would complain.



Picked one of these up recently, for my collection.  :biggrin:

Excellent suggestion. I was going to chime in and say that there are plenty of decent lightweight Knives out there. I like the Rapala knives made in Finland. They have birch handles and are very lightweight and they are a high quality steel.


I like lightweight knives. I don't need a knife to be heavy as long as it's good and sharp. I carry a lightweight Opinel knife everyday and wouldn't leave home without it. I also have a Vietnam era Air force survival knife in my glove compartment that's always with me.

Edited by Borg warner
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On 10/27/2018 at 10:28 AM, Tvov said:

Oh, and two years ago I gave my 20 year old daughter (pretty much a SJW product of today's college environment) a lightweight Leatherman....  last year she commented to me how often she uses it!

I have carried a version of the Victorinox Tinker since I was a child in scouts. I have a Victorinox Pioneer Alox in my pocket right now. Not a day goes by I don’t use it for something. Especially the drivers and awl. 

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Well, with freedom of choice comes the freedom to make the wrong decisions.

Throughout the years of working while carrying a badge, one or another type of SAK often served me quite well. It was usually a Tinker, although I've owned a bunch of different SAK's (and more than a couple of Tinkers). I kept one in my pocket, and often had extra ones available against unexpected loss of the first one. I'd keep them in my veh, my work Go-Bag, range bag, etc. I still keep "extra" folders in my veh's, including SAK's, as well as fixed blades and a large and/or small multi-tool.

When you need a tool, the "need" might occur during what might become a pivotal event.

Even a "walk in the park" (let alone a hike) can introduce unexpected inconveniences and various problems that might be best addressed and resolved with the appropriate and timely application of a sharp blade (or other expedient tool found in SAK's and multi-tools).

Humans are tool-users, and it's because we can be successful tool-users that we've progressed so far. However, not everyone may survive their first encounter where they're found wanting for an appropriate tool, though.

Me? I seldom leave the house for any reason without having at least 2 folding knives on my person, and it's not uncommon for me to have 3 of them, and those don't count the back-ups in my veh's.

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