Map, Compass & GPS

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

Monday, May 21, 2012

Knives In The Backcountry (Part 1)

I was fascinated listening to John C’s backcountry survival presentation at the 2012 Washington Search and Rescue (SAR) conference.  John is a 19 year veteran of wilderness SAR.  He is also a county Emergency Management Coordinator in Washington.

With his backcountry experience and knowledge he was the absolute right person to discuss wilderness survival.

Key to his discussion of SAR tools, fire starting and building an emergency shelter was his selection of knives.  He carried a full tang, fixed blade knife in his SAR pack.

After his presentation I sat down with John to discuss why his primary choice was a fixed blade rather than a folding knife.  He told me that the hinge point of a folder was its weakest point and not something he would compromise on.

This was a stout knife made by the Busse Combat Knife Company.  His knife’s blade body was thick, just under a quarter inch; the tang itself was impressive.  The knife had an approximately eight inch blade. Sturdiness and versatility came to mind when looking at this tool.  It’s not a fine bladed scalpel but rather a strong knife that will do the job shaping boughs or batoning firewood.  It is a utilitarian, multipurpose part of his kit.

John’s is a quality knife and not a trendy looking bowie knife with engraving and inscription.  The only designs etched onto the blade were the wear patterns from years of hard and demanding work.  His selection of manufactures included the Busse Combat Knife Company, Swamp Rat and Scrap Yard; all names new to me.

He did caution that using a large knife takes experience and extra caution.

John’s choice may not be for everyone but is based on years in the wilderness and experience.

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