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Kinves?

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Kinves?

Postby balzaccom » Sun Jan 10, 2010 9:45 am

OK--not a troll, but a post from my website blog:

I don't get the fascination with big knives for backpacking. For more than twenty years all I have carried is a little 3-inch Buck knife that has two blades. One is pointy and sharp, and does a good job cleaning fish. That's the only time it is ever used. The other blade is more rounded on the tip, and it gets used for everything else, which is usually limited to slicing salami and cheese, and occasionally cutting a piece of line for the tent.

So what's the deal with the JIm Bowie 11-inch machete blade? Or the USMC special Ops drop forged all black bayonet? I really do wonder what people use these knives to do. They certainly aren't backpacking where we go. Track down and hunt a mule deer? Create a bivouac out of a cedar tree? Those things would be illegal in a National Park--and unnecessary just about anywhere else.

Or are these knives for self-defense? Are they expecting to meet rebellious native peoples? Defend themselves from fellow campers? Give you a chance in an encounter with a furious bear? Good luck with that one. The bear will outweigh you by 200 pounds, have nine more knives (claws) than you do, and can rip open the door of a Ford 150 pickup. You take that knife...and run like hell when you see a bear.

Splitting wood? We make small fires from time to time...but I learned a long time ago (back when the only cooking we did was on an open fire) that smaller wood burns better, hotter, and more controllably, than big logs. And there is always more smaller wood on the ground than large logs that need splitting. I mean really--if you need a knife to split your firewood, maybe you are making the wrong kind of fire. Or camping in a group with twenty people, in which case your ex-wife's new boyfriend should carry the ax.

I suspect that these deadly looking blades appeal to the survivalist dreamer...the one who watches Man Vs. Wild and believes those idiotic capers are necessary. He'll spend two days trying to catch 200 calories worth of food. And he'll use his knife to cut up the vegetation to make a rope from lianas. It will take him most of the day. He wouldn't need the damn rope if he just hiked down the other side of the hill. Which would take about 45 mintes.

But then he couldn't justify that really cool looking black steel knife that he has carried for seven years, and never used except to spread peanut butter.

It's all just a bit too "Tom Sawyer" for me--I don't need to pretend there are pirates in the forest to have a good time. Some people do.
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/



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Re: Kinves?

Postby maverick » Sun Jan 10, 2010 11:50 am

Hi Balzaccom

I think a handful of people may carry it around for security, at least in there own
mind, but the majority will do it for ego.
The same way Hummers are totally unnecessary, but in our society big is better, and
more impressive at least to our own egos.
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Re: Kinves?

Postby rlown » Sun Jan 10, 2010 2:06 pm

hmm. i've never seen a real backpacker carry a knife like that. The rant might be a bit overblown.
Anyone who does carry one of those either doesn't get 2 miles from their truck, or know's of a great lake with really, really big fish.
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Re: Kinves?

Postby oldranger » Sun Jan 10, 2010 2:23 pm

For the first 40 years of backpacking a Swiss Army Classic did fine (Smallest made with scissors, toothpick and tweezers) Then I found another model, slightly larger with a couple more tools and without the piece of spring steel in the scissors that breaks every couple of years. It is one of the few items I carry that has gotten heavier. When I horse packed I did carry a heavier folding knife with a 31/2 inch blade capable of cutting through a lead rope or lash rope in the case of a wreck or other emergency. Never used it, though, for that. The only problem with the smaller knives is that when you are backpacking and a stock party invites you to share a steak with them it is a little more difficult to cut the steak. On the other hand it hasn't bothered me that much on the few occasions I've had such an opportunity!~ :D

Mike
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Re: Kinves?

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Jan 10, 2010 2:51 pm

I would agree with others that this "big knife" thing is another fad that is similar to folks that drive SUVs or 4WD pickups and never leave the highway (or, when I was growing up, teenagers in Cali who wore down jackets even in warm months---some of the same folks who grew up to start the SUV/4WD craze, I'd guess)--might have had its origins long ago via Crocodile Dundee "now THAT'S a knife". I certainly have seen the big knives on sale at various sporting goods stores, but I really have seen very little of that in the backcountry. I only once carried something other than my handy Swiss Army knife when away from my vehicle. This was while doing field geology in a brushy area where a machete was handy. I must confess is was fun to hack away at that brush after all the years I was beaten up by it.

I too carried the super small Swiss Army knife and used the loop off of it for my key holder (so I always had it with me even at sea level). I think I stopped carrying it when they got pickier about carry ons on planes (well before 9-11). I even cleaned a 23 inch rainbow with that knife--you don't really need a long blade to clean a large trout since the abdominal wall of even a large trout is very thin.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Kinves?

Postby Bad Man From Bodie » Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:32 pm

Leatherman Wave........I would scrap the big blade unless you plan on going Daniel Boone style on some poor bear :bear: .
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Re: Kinves?

Postby trav867 » Mon Jan 11, 2010 5:47 pm

I think after most people's first backpacking trip they become concerned with weight, and find that a huge knife or camp axe isn't worth it.

I carry a 2 1/2 inch folding buck knife that weighs 1.5oz. It is used primarily for opening freeze dried dinners.
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Re: Kinves?

Postby rlown » Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:00 pm

Bad Man From Bodie wrote:Leatherman Wave........I would scrap the big blade unless you plan on going Daniel Boone style on some poor bear :bear: .


Wow. Had to look that up. Impressive "knife". I currently carry a two blade, swiss army knife with other various tools (not sure i need the corkscrew for backpacking). On our last trip to Trinity, we had 3 - 2" blade knives and quartered out a bear harvested on my tag. All while backpacking. Required 2 trips to get him all out 10 miles back in near Ward Lk. The most important thing wasn't blade-size, but the sharpener. You'd be surprised how important a serated knife becomes in some situations. It would have been nice to have, but i couldn't find my Gerber 3 blade before the trip.

I might have to look into a pliers-type knife, because that has become handy. One of my cohorts brought his, and we needed the plier capability once or twice.
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Re: Kinves?

Postby fishmonger » Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:41 am

I carry a knife I got for maybe $5 around 1975 from my dad - beat up, but easily sharpened for a trip and it weighs maybe 2 ounces.

My son carries a Benchmade 960 we found on ebay for a fraction of the list price and it's almost 5 ounces. Sharp, holds the edge, but so fancy, you'll never abuse it as a screwdriver or anything else that may damage it :)

The knife is a piece of machining art, espcially the handle, but it doesn't spread the nutella any better than the old knife I have.

We also found a fixed blade knife just below Glen Pass last year that turns out to be a $3.99 knife (looks like more). It was sharper than any of the knives we brought, so we used that to do some wood carving, but otherwise we only picked it up to clean the trail.
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Re: Kinves?

Postby fishmonger » Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:46 am

balzaccom wrote: Or are these knives for self-defense? Are they expecting to meet rebellious native peoples?



dunno - I was gonna ask the guy I met near the VVR ferry pickup why he was wearing camo backpack and bandana, a big Desert Eagle automatic pistol and a huge buck knife, too, but then I figured he needed it to feel safe in his tent at night with all us city people around.

Some people just are into this to feel macho, I guess. The only useful thing up there would be a hunting rifle after modern civilization breaks down and you gotta go be a Jeremiah Johnson to feed yourself. Until then, though, you're just carrying ballast up the trail.
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Re: Kinves?

Postby markskor » Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:59 am

Originally I carried a folding Buck...(maybe 30 years ago) with its leather case...perhaps it was a holdover from my Eagle Scout upbringing...now long time lost or misplaced. Today I only carry the smallest Swiss Army knife - the one with the scissors, tied with a light, 1 foot cord to hemostats....all part of my well-used fishing rig. I never saw the need for anything else.

Recently, while fishing with my nemesis OldRanger, he somehow enticed a 3-pound 'Bow to take a Z-Ray at Saddlebag...how? - (must have been a fluke or some sort of a Jonestown trout suicide pact) and since I pride myself in knowing how to cook these Lunkers in the backcountry...(He only eats Wasabi Peas and peanuts as he reported/verified in an earlier thread), I had to clean them first.

I had no problem gutting and slicing the giant into 3, pan-sized chunks using only the smaller blade.
FYI, the hemostats also double as a sewing accessory, being able to assist in pulling a needle and thread through heavy material. For me, anything larger is indeed...as reported above - just ballast.
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: Kinves?

Postby gary c. » Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:57 am

I ran across this today and thought someone might be interested. Nice little Swiss Army knife with a pen and flashlight, $23.

http://www.rei.com/webservices/rei/Disp ... tom%2BLink
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
-- Lionel Terray
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