It was Paul Hogan who uttered similar words in his famous movie Crocodile Dundee. Choosing the correct knife for outdoor activities such as camping or hiking requires careful consideration, so follow these tips if you haven’t got Hoges on hand to provide advice.
A good quality knife is an essential tool to keep in your pack, as you can use it for a wide variety of functions, including food preparation, cutting cord, making repairs, or perhaps even saving your life in an emergency. For this reason, knives come in a wide variety of styles, designs and materials. As no single knife will suit every task perfectly, a serious outdoor adventurer may decide to carry more than one.
Fixed blades are a good choice for many applications as they’re strong, well-balanced and easy to work with. Their simple design means they’re easier to keep clean, which cuts down on maintenance. However, they’re also quite weighty, take up more space and require a sheath to carry safely.
Pocket or folding knives are ideal for small, simple tasks. They can hang from your hip or backpack for easy access when you’re hiking or backpacking, and as the sharp edge is stored inside the handle, they’re unlikely to cause any unexpected damage. However, small pocket knives often lack the ergonomics and stability of fixed-blade knives, so they’re not suitable for complex or finicky tasks.
A locking blade combines the stability of a fixed-blade knife and the convenience of a folding knife. The blade folds down for compact and protected carrying, but can be securely locked into place when required. This stops the blade accidentally folding down while in use.
Some folding blades are designed to open quickly with one hand. A smooth folding mechanism and a stud, notch or cutout on the blade make it easy to push the knife open with your thumb. Some are designed specifically for left or right handed use, but try to buy an ambidextrous knife that can be opened easily with either hand.
With these expensive knives, an internal mechanism will kick in as you start to open the blade, flicking it into a fully open position. Assisted-opening knives feature a safety lock to disengage the mechanism when the knife is closed, preventing the blade from springing open accidentally. Knives with an assisted opening mechanism are illegal in most states, so make sure you check your state’s regulations before buying one online.
When you’ve settled on the knife design that’s right for you, it’s time to decide on blade materials. The two main types are stainless or carbon steel. If both have been properly hardened by the manufacturer, an amateur will only notice minimal difference between the two. It’s ultimately up to personal preference. But to help in your decision making, it’s worth noting that carbon steel requires a greater level of care as it’s more prone to rust.