The Smart Prepper

Life is hard, it's harder if you're stupid – John Wayne


October 05, 2015

Camping Knife

Which camping knife?When I was about ten to twelve years old I wanted a pocket knife so bad. Every time we went camping all the older boys had knives. My dad finally taught me how to handle a knife and bought me one. My first was a swiss army with all sorts of gadgets. Some of my favorite memories were going camping and walking around the forest for that perfect hiking stick that I could go carve. For the next several hours I would sit by the fire carving all the bark off of the stick and then trying to carve some cool handle into the soon to be cane. I was never good, but practice makes perfect and it was always great fun. Most of my sticks eventually just turned into carved prods from roasting hot dogs or marshmallows. Over the years I have gone through several different knives that I have used when I went camping. The following is a list of what features I feel are important to have in a camping knife along with my current favorite camping knife.

Camping Knife Attributes

  • Locking blade – For safety all my knives have locking blades. I have had too many close calls closing blades or trying to do some crazy carving that has almost closed the blade on my fingers. No matter how careful I think I am the reality is I would rather be safe than sorry.
  • Water proof – Almost all blades today are stainless steel and generally won’t rust. I have had problems with knives in the past where the hinge or rivet that rotates the blade in and out of the handle has rusted after the knife became wet.
  • Hardness – For camping purposes this generally does not need to be as hard as needs for other activities. The hardness is how strong the metal is. There is a drawback to having stronger metal and that is the toughness is less. I feel that for a camping knife toughness is more important than hardness.
  • Toughness – How well the steel can bend without breaking. I have found that toughness is very important when cutting through knots in wood or starting a fire by flint and steel.
  • Edge retention – How often does the knife need to be sharpened.
  • Accessories – Swiss Army knives have tons of extra features. Everything from tweezers to cork poppers for wine. For the most part I have found either one single blade or one large and one small blade do the trick fine. The biggest problem with the Swiss Army knives is the lack of a locking blade. If you need a bottle opener for beers I recommend Reef Men’s Fanning Sandals because they have a bottle opener on the bottom of the sandal, and if you are going to be drinking most likely you are not hiking into the back country or going out in the cold.
  • Blade type – Some blades have a little bit of a serrated edge to help with cutting. I have never found a use for this. If you are trying to saw any stick that needs a saw then a pocket knife is the wrong tool for the job. Sawing with a knife blade takes too long.
October 04, 2015

Best Hunting Knife

What makes the best hunting knife

Hunting knives are used for various aspects of hunting. A knife is used to make the final kill such as slitting a throat. A hunting knife also needs to be good at skinning the animal. A hunting knife is just a crucial tool that no hunter should be without. There are 100’s of knives that can qualify as the best hunting knife. The following is a list of aspects of a hunting knife that are required no matter what knife you chose. The main problem with this list is there is no knife that meets the maximum of all these criteria. As you increase one attribute a different attribute will decrease. Example is hardness and toughness are inversely proportional to each other.

  • Minimum Length 3-4 Inches
  • Locking Blade
  • Needs a Secure Handle – you must be able to have a firm grip on the handle when using the knife.
  • Hardness – a minimum of HRC on the Rockwell scale
  • Toughness – this is the ability to of the knife to resist damages, and the higher the hardness the less tough the knife will be
  • Water Resistant – it will get wet when hunting. All parts of the hunting knife need to be resistant to water
  • Edge Retention – does the blade stay sharp with multiple uses.

Recommended best hunting knife

There are actually two knives that are recommended. The first is a pocket knife. Some people prefer to just store a knife in a pocket. The second is a sheathed knife for hunters who prefer to case the knife on a belt or hunting vest.