••Choosing a Knife
Out of all your kit, your knife is arguably the most important item. Choosing the right knife for you and your excursion into the wilds is crucial. Here are some points to bear in mind.
- Fixed or folding blade? A fixed blade will usually be stronger but it is more awkward to stow and keep safe. If you are out for a while there is no problem wearing a knife on a belt sheath where it will always be ready to hand.
- Full tang is preferable. The Tang is the hidden part of the blade that continues into the handle. Make sure that the Tang goes the full length of the handle for maximum strength.
- Heavy enough for the job? If your knife is going to be used for heavy jobs like shelter building, hunting etc, make sure that the blade is big and heavy enough to make light of the work.
- Stainless or carbon steel? A carbon steel blade will stain and rust easily in damp conditions and needs constant care. It will also blunt more quickly. However not only will it sharpen up very easily, but because of its softer composition, it will take a much finer edge.
- Sharpening. Take a small honing stone or steel with you unless you know that you will be able to improvise and sharpen your knife using natural materials in the habitat you are visiting.
- Back up? For a trip involving multiple heavy jobs such as shelter building consider taking an axe or wood saw with you as well as your knife.
- Low slip grip. A good knife will not only feel comfortable to your hand it will also have a handle which will not get slippery with sweat and water.