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These top 3 multi-blade pocket knives will give you the advantages that you need, whether at home or outdoors. Pocket knives are tools, not weapons. Tactical folding knives are designed for emergency rescue and tactical field activities such as emplacing trip-wired booby traps. They are also large enough to be used as a backup knife in a hand-to-hand combat situation. Additionally, tactical folding knife blades are designed for quick deployment with the use of a thumb stud or spring assistance. Therefore, tactical folders fall more into the weapon category than as field tools.

By contrast, the traditional pocket knife is more of a tool than a weapon. Pocket knives were the first multitools before the plier-oriented Leatherman and Gerber concepts came to the market. Traditional pocket knives usually have one or two blades. Frontiersman and outdoorsmen use these knives for utility purposes such as setting traps, processing game, cutting bandage strips or carving simple tools. Moreover, the pocket knife tends to have an average length of the palm of a person’s hand when the blades are retracted into the handle.

1. Victorinox Swiss Army Hiker

 

The first of the top three pocket knives that you should consider is the Swiss Army Hiker pocket knife by Victorinox®. It is my top pocket knife for either every day carrying or on the hiking trail. This knife falls into the medium knife category for Victorinox®. The Hiker combines a perfect blend of size and practicality. Some Swiss Army knives overpower you with options. However, the Hiker gives you precisely what you need without weighing down your pocket or pack. An alternative option for this pocket knife among the available Swiss Army knives is the Pioneer, Spartan, Tinker, or Farmer.

The Hiker features include Can Opener, Key Ring, Large Blade, Phillips Screwdriver, Reamer, Small Blade, Toothpick, Tweezers, Wood Saw, Bottle Opener, Large Screwdriver, Small Screwdriver, Wire Stripper. It is a two-two blade knife. The two knife blades are X50CrMoV15 steel. This steel is comparable to 440A Stainless. One source gives the following explanation of the steel in the Swiss Army knife:
The characteristics of X50CrMoV15 steel are the following:

  • Very high hardness – Up to 56 Rockwell C
  • Retention of blade sharpness
  • Moderate corrosion resistance better than standard 12% martensitic grades
  • Poor weldability

According to the description, X50CrMoV15 uses the moderately high carbon content of 0.50% to develop a high hardness martensitic microstructure. The higher chromium plus small molybdenum addition gives a greater corrosion resistance than standard martensitic grades. Vanadium allows higher tempering temperatures to be used and gives greater toughness.

Therefore, the Swiss Army Hiker pocket knife is a durable and reliable knife to take to the outdoors or around town.

2. U.S. Army Pocket Knife (NSN: 5110-00-162-2205)

 

The U.S. Army pocket knife is an all-weather stainless steel pocket knife. Several different manufacturers have produced the knife since its beginnings. Case, Marbles, Camillus, and the Colonial Knife Company have been the makers of the knife. This pocket knife is a general-purpose knife that was a standard item in military survival kits and maintenance toolsets for many years. They are becoming more difficult to find through regular retail or online stores. You can purchase them on eBay® as military surplus. Marbles® is making a replica of lower quality than the original for less than $20. Currently, the knife can be ordered through the Colonial Knife Company® in Rhode Island. They are still making the knife to military specification per MIL-K-818D.

However, an alternative option for this knife is the Boy Scouts® Camp Pocket Knife. The Boy Scout knife has the same knife blades and tools as the U.S. Army pocket knife. However, it has bone scales instead of stainless steel ones. Case Knives® used to make a similar knife to the BSA® knife. The latest search of their website reveals their version of this pocket knife is not available.

The blade material for the U.S. Army Pocket knife is 440 Stainless Steel. 440 Stainless Steel is often in use with medical cutting instruments. Knife blades of this material have a resistance to corrosion and retain their edge. Since the purpose of the knife is for general use, the blade material is suitable for that application.

 

3. Buck Knives® 301 Stockman® Knife

 

The Buck Knives® 301 Stockman® Knife is a classic pocket knife configuration. This pocket knife is the preferred knife of my dad. He has worn out several of these over the years. The knife has three blades which are of 420HC stainless steel. The handle comes with two options: rosewood or black Valox™. Furthermore, 301 Stockman is made in the USA.

The company says of the blades on the knife, “The clip blade is good for detailed work, the spey blade is good for skinning or sweeping knife strokes, and sheepsfoot blade is perfect for giving a clean cut, especially on a flat cutting surface.”

As a general-purpose pocket knife for your everyday needs or in the field, the Buck Knives 301 Stockman is an excellent option to consider if you are in the market for a quality pocket knife.

Concluding Comments

Pocket knives are part of the outdoor sporting world. They have been around for a long time. Additionally, these knives are a standard tool for many people who need a general use knife blade. There is some discussion about how to categorize pocket knives as tools or weapons. However, your local laws will dictate the definition and categorizing of pocket knives as weapons or tools. If you are looking for reliable and quality pocket knives, the three knives in this article are options to consider adding to your kit or loadout.

Are there effective one tool options? The answer is that it depends on the intended use of your cutting instrument. Are bushcraft knives better than multitools? Are multitools better than bushcraft knives? It is essential to ensure that you have the appropriate tools for functioning effectively and efficiently in the outdoors. Most survival experts advise taking some type of cutting instrument with you into the field, such as a fixed blade knife. Comprehensive packing lists for backpackers and hunters consist of both a fixed blade knife and a multitool. However, what if you are limited to just one cutting option?

The Bushcraft Knife Overview

The bushcraft knife or an equivalent fixed blade knife is the tool of choice for most outdoorsman. The description of these knives are the one tool option to ensure survival and sustainment in the field. There are specific characteristics that define a quality bushcraft knife. Those features are as follows:

  • Length of the Blade: 5-8 inches
  • Type of Steel: D2 or 1095 HC
  • Blade Spine: 90°, sharp-edged
  • Coating of the Blade: None

These features can be negotiable such as the case with the Morakniv® knives.

The purpose of these knives is to allow a person to conduct various field tasks. The bushcraft knife blade is short enough to do small jobs like process firewood or carve traps. However, the blade is long enough to adequately process game or to function as a self-defense weapon, such as a spear.

The Multitool Overview

The multitool has grown in sophistication over the years. Most people’s first exposure to a multitool was either a Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman® PST. The origin of the multitool concept is with the pocket knife. The addition of multiple blades, can openers, or bottle openers as features on pocket knives reflect the multitool concept. The Boy Scout Pocket Knife was an early example of these kinds of pocket knives. However, contemporary multitools feature pliers, folding handles, with various tools that tuck into the handles. A folding blade and saw blade are often part of the modern multitool. Leatherman® and Gerber® are the largest manufacturers of contemporary multitools.

The purpose of the modern multitool is to function as a compact toolbox for the handyman, mechanic, electrician, or other skilled laborers. Anglers and hunters saw that the contemporary multitool was an asset for their needs and began to use them. Thus, the multitool entered the outdoor world. The favorite features on a multitool for anglers and hunters are the pliers and knife blade. Yet, is the multitool a good one tool option for field survival?

Bushcraft Knife verses A Multitool In The Field

 

Processing Fish

A recent experience of mine revealed the strengths and weaknesses of the single tool option concept. My son and I went fishing as part of a church activity in the Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico. We caught five small to average length trout. We had to cook them since we did not bring a cooler to keep them in for transportation back to the house. The cooler that I intended to take was unusable, and I did not have time to get another one before the trip. I did not have to gut the fish because the folks running the location did it for us as a complimentary courtesy for fishing in their private pond. As an experiment, I used my multitool to prepare the fish for cooking.

I had my Leatherman® Sidekick® on me, so I proceeded to prepare the fish for cooking. My original intent was to fillet them to avoid my son having to eat any bones accidentally. That turned out to be a useless effort and was advised by a more experienced gentleman just to wrap them in aluminum foil and place them on the grill. This was a concept that was familiar with, so I finished preparing the other fish. After they were finished cooking, I ran into another issue, how do you effectively take the meat off and leave the bones? I decided to peel the meat off after cutting the heads and tails off of fish. The saw blade on the multitool was used to cut the heads and tails off. It quickly became evident why anglers have a filet knife in their tackle boxes. A multitool is not the most efficient tool to process fish of average size except for gutting them.

Processing Game

A more recent observation also reinforced the practical nature of a bushcraft knife as a one tool option over a multitool. The latest episode of the television show, Alone, shows a contestant with hunting experience attempting to process a full-sized moose with only a multitool. He successfully killed the moose with his bow and arrow. He later comments while processing the moose that he regretted not having his fixed blade knife on him. Most hunters take a game processing kit with them into the field. These kits have various blades for cutting, chopping, and skinning, as well as sawing bones. A multitool seems to have some of these features. However, the contestant quickly realized that the job of processing that kind of game with a multitool was a daunting effort. It took the contestant six hours to process the moose with his multitool and transport the meat to his bivouac location.

Furthermore, as I was watching this unfold, it brought to remembrance some things that I have read or heard by outdoorsman about the bushcraft knife and its uses. Here is an excellent example of why frontiersman, trappers, and mountain men had the type of knives that they carried in the field. They found themselves having to process deer, elk, moose, or bear after hunting them. A two or three-inch knife blade or saw blade was not going to get the job accomplished. The contemporary outdoorsman is no different. Thus, as a one tool option, it would seem that the bushcraft knife is preferable to the multitool.

Some Final Thoughts

The bushcraft knife or the multitool as the one tool option? Which is best? The answer still comes down to what is your intended use for a cutting instrument. Most outdoor experts will advise carrying at least two or three kinds of cutting tools: a fixed blade knife, a folding knife, and a multitool. The folding knife and multitool are used for smaller tasks like fashioning fishing hooks, carving traps, or making primitive weapons. The fixed blade is used for the more significant functions beyond the campsite. However, if you are limited to just one of those three, a quality bushcraft knife seems to be the choice.

The proper tool for the task is the best option of all. Yet, some people find themselves separated from their gear and only have what they are carrying on their belts. Keeping your fixed blade knife attached to your belt is a sure technique for having a knife when you need it. Thru-hikers, ultralight, and multiday backpackers tend to not carry things on the belts of their trousers or shorts. This is done for the comfort and to avoid getting sores rubbed on their body by the friction of the pack waist belt rubbing against their body and things attached to their belts. It would seem that a drop-leg approach to carrying a bushcraft knife might be an option in this scenario. Nevertheless, a quality bushcraft knife is the best one tool option for wilderness survival considerations. Therefore, shop around and find the bushcraft knife that works best for your needs.

There are seven essential wearable EDC survival gear items to consider making part of what you carry all times. The main factors that determine what a person carries is location, experience, and necessity. The everyday gear that you take is as simple as what is on the body like watches or items in pockets. By contrast, EDC survival items can be the more sophisticated gear that you place in the bag, pack, or briefcase that you carry to school or work. However, there are a few essential items that one should consider having on your person regardless of location, experience, and necessity. What are these seven essential EDC items that one should wear or carry at all times?

Microlight or Flashlight

The first survival item to consider carrying on you at all times is some type of flashlight or microlight. Flashlights come in many sizes and configurations. The best EDC flashlight is one that you can place in your pocket. One of the best flashlights to consider is the Nitecore MT1C Flashlight. You can buy this item at the Sigma 3 Survival Store. This flashlight comes with a pocket clip and is roughly 3.5 inches long. It will fit in most trouser pockets or leg cargo pockets. This flashlight can also fit in the shirt pockets of most outdoor or tactical shirts. However, there is another type of flashlight to consider.

Another type of flashlight to think about is the microlight or micro-flashlight. These kinds of lights are sometimes called keychain lights. One recommended microlight is the LRI® Photon Micro-Light with a Covert Nose. This light is one that I personally own and is in the EDC survival kit in the cargo pocket of my pants. The second type of microlight is the ThruNite® Ti3 EDC Cree flashlight. This light has a pocket clip and is about 2.75 inches in length. Microlights are very versatile and convenient to carry on a daily basis. What is the next survival item to carry daily?

Lighter

The next survival item to carry daily is a lighter. There are many types of lighters on the market. The most recognizable is the Bic® lighter. This is a disposable butane fluid lighter. These lighters come in two basic sizes: the classic and mini. The mini Bic lighter is a favorite to carry among those who do not smoke tobacco products.
Another iconic butane fluid lighter is the Zippo® lighter. The lighter fluid in the Zippo lighter can be replenished through a cotton felt pad in the bottom of the lighter case. The main reason for carrying one of these kinds of lighters as an EDC item is their reliability. The Bic and Zippo lighters will function under most circumstances encountered on a daily basis. What about tools?

Multitool

The first tool to consider carrying every day is a multitool. Multitools come in various sizes and configurations. The two most reliable multitools are those manufactured by Leatherman® and Gerber®. I personally have owned both Leatherman and Gerber multitools, and each is quality tools. However, I would recommend the Leatherman® Skeletool™ multitool for EDC purposes. It is the right size for carrying on a daily basis without the bulkiness of the Leatherman® Wave™ or Gerber® MP 600™. Yet, the Skeletool offers the same versatility as its larger counterparts.

Pocket Knife

The second tool to think about carrying every day is a pocket knife. There are many opinions about pocket knives and other folding blade knives. A pocket knife does not have to be an elaborate tactical folder for EDC purposes. The intent for pocket knives is that they are tools and not weapons. There are folding blade knives that function more as weapons than tools. The classic stiletto switchblade knife is an example of a folding knife being a weapon and not a tool.

Furthermore, pocket knives come in many sizes and configurations. The most straightforward pocket knife has a single blade, such as the Gerber® Paraframe™. Most pocket knives have, however, at least two blades, one small and one large. Pocket knives can have various blade shapes. The most common blade shape is the drop point and clip point. There are pocket knives that use 1095 high carbon steel in their blades. The Bear & Son C205 Heritage, Walnut Midsize Lock back Folder, is an example of a pocket knife using 1095 high carbon steel in its blades. These kinds of pocket knives are excellent for bushcrafting and other outdoor applications.

However, some of the best makers of pocket knives are Victorinox® and Case®. The recommended pocket knives to carry on a daily basis are the Victorinox Swiss Army Farmer or the Case 6.5 BoneStag® Medium Stockman. These knives have blade lengths that are legally compliant most anywhere. They need minimal maintenance and will do most cutting jobs, such as cutting cordage, making a trap, stripping wire, cutting bandages, box cutting, or letter opening. The Swiss Army Farmer has more features than the Case knife, such as a saw and awl.

Wrist Watch (Solar-Powered Triple Sensor)

The final survival gear item to consider wearing on a daily basis is a solar battery powered triple sensor watch. A good watch is a valuable piece of gear to wear every day. A triple sensor watch has the features of an altimeter, barometer, and a digital compass, hence ABC. The barometer on these kinds of timepieces gives the current temperature when this feature is engaged. The solar battery that characterizes these outdoor watches keeps the watch working all year in all types of weather. The compass on this type of wrist watch is helpful because you do not have to worry about ambient magnetism affecting its reading. For example, the metal from your belt buckle or wedding band will not influence the direction given by the watch as it would your lensatic, baseplate, or wristband compass.

Furthermore, the best solar-powered triple sensor watches on the market are the Casio® Pro Trek™ Pathfinder™ PRW2500T-7 and PAG240T-7. These watches come with a titanium watch band. This watch band is excellent for rugged outdoor activities. Additionally, the more sophisticated smartwatches are great but have their limitations because of the need to update their software periodically. These two Casio watches can be worn every day in every situation. The solar-powered triple sensor wrist watch is an essential survival gear to wear on a daily basis.

Tourniquet

The final item to consider carrying at all times is a tourniquet. These used to be cumbersome to carry so most were stored inside of bags or packs. However, in recent years, manufacturers have started making belt pouches to hold a tourniquet. Blue Force Gear® and Rescue Essentials® sell tourniquet pouches that can be worn on a trouser belt or mounted on MOLLE gear. There are several versions of tourniquets on the market. The two most common are the combat application tourniquet (CAT) and the rapid application tourniquet (RAT). There is a third option available called the ratcheting medical tourniquet. This seems to be growing favorite tourniquet among emergency preppers and SOF personnel. Therefore, carrying a tourniquet should be considered as part of your wearable EDC survival gear.

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