Map, Compass & GPS

Map, Compass & GPS
Wild flowers along Fall Creek on the way to the Green Lakes - Oregon

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Right Knife For Your Pack

Best Choices for Backpacking Knives

by Leon Pantenburg

Elk Lake, Oregon is one of the major re-supply places for through hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail. Every year, a handful of long-distance hikers will walk border-to-border on the trail. They generally start in Mexico in April, and start trickling in to the Elk Lake Resort about August, en route to Canada.

I was eating lunch, and noticed a young lady trekker loading her pack for the next section. She had opened her re-supply box, sliced a chunk of cheese, opened several large packages and cut a shoelace, all with her tiny, Classic Swiss Army knife.

“It’s all you need,” she commented. “I have to go lightweight and I don’t carry an ounce that isn’t needed.”

I carry a Swiss Army Classic on my keyring everywhere. (To read my review of the Swiss Army Classic, click here.   And for lightweight hikers, who go long distances with minimal equipment, a Classic may be a reasonable choice. On a well-traveled trail like the Pacific Crest or Appalachian, you’ll seldom be isolated from other hikers for very long.

But that doesn’t mean you don’t need a knife for backpacking. Get separated from the group, off the beaten path in the backcountry, or in some sort of wilderness survival situation and you may desperately need the appropriate knife.

If I could only pick one tool to take along in the wilderness, it would be a knife. The uses are limited only by your imagination. But which one is best for your backpacking needs? How do you balance weight versus practicality?

To read the rest of Leon's post go here.

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