In the first part of this series we covered the bag or "container" for your kit. Once you have selected that you need components to fill that bag with. This is the fun part of building a kit and the most rewarding because you can do as little or as much research as you desire. This is where you really get to define what type of kit you will have and what its ultimate purpose will be (besides just keeping you alive).
In this installment of the series we will be covering one of the most useful, if not THE most useful tool in your kit...the knife.
I may get some heat for this but in a survival kit I recommend something like a multi-tool in the kit as opposed to a belt knife. Here is my reasoning: I am a HUGE fan of carrying a quality fixed blade, belt knife anytime you go into the woods...so...you should already have one on you at all times anyway; at least when entering the bush is a possibility. I think in terms of a survival kit we get the most bang for our buck with a QUALITY tool like a Leatherman. Remember I am try to keep the weight of this kit down and have all the contents fit nicely in our container.
I have an original Leatherman Supertool that I got as a gift for being in a friends wedding about 10 years ago and that thing looks as good as the day it was given to me. Leatherman makes a quality piece of equipment and I recommend them highly. Gerber also makes a quality multi-tool, so shop around and get what works best for you.
The components I look for in a multi-tool are: at least 2 blades, a saw (this is a MUST!), pliers, file and a bottle/can opener. If you have these covered you are in pretty good shape. I must reiterate if you do not have a saw on your multi-tool you are severely handicapping yourself. The small saw on a multi-tool can cut down fairly sizable saplings if used correctly and could be invaluable when trying to construct a shelter.
If you are a fan of Swiss Army Knives I would recommend their new line with locking blades. They are larger and seem to be a bit more durable then previous models. They even have models that open with one hand, important if you are ever injured and lose the ability to use one of your hands (this is also a downfall of the multi-tool, but this as with many other things is playing the odds). I have a Swiss Army Rucksack which I love and keep in my pickup in the center console at all times. It is a great little knife and very reasonably priced.
If you are in the market for a fixed blade that won't have people running and screaming when they see it attached to your belt I would go with something like the Benchmade Griptilian fixed blade. It is a quality fixed blade that is not humongous or unwieldy for everyday carry. I carry this knife and have my Leatherman in my survival kit and believe I have all my bases covered in the event I am called on to use my kit.
The knife is arguably the most useful tool anyone could have in the woods. Many would ague that possibly a machete or even an ax is as useful. I don't know about you but they are a little more cumbersome and therefore apt to being in the car or at home when needed most. Everyone should have a quality knife and certainly have one in their survival kit. If you have a kit sans a knife you are in my opinion in big trouble. The TWO must haves in any kit are a knife and a firesteel; you would be amazed how well you could do for yourself with just those two things.
Stay tuned for the next post on personal survival kits where we will discuss the next big boy in your kit...fire.
...that is all.
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