View Full Version : What general outdoor knife?

July 20, 2009, 12:46 PM
Preface 1: I am looking at knives that could be used for a multitude of purposes, from "general" survival to defense. It doesn't necessarily have to be small enough for super intricate work (wittling a fishing spear or whatever), as I would have a multitool for things like that. I'd kinda like something that I could attach to my belt or pack strap that I could carry around hiking and such.

Preface 2: I don't really know the first thing about "combat." I have pretty much no experience with any sort of weapons, and I won't pretend to. My "fighting" training is limited to basic boxing and kickboxing.

My EDC is a Gerber 3.5" fixed-blade knife ("Profile," Drop Point). That is pretty much the only knife I have right now really worth anything, the rest are just cheap folders and multitools acquired along the way.

Ive been doing quite a bit of research on both survival knifes and combat knives, and it looks like, for both general survival as well as defensive uses, a blade of around 6-7" is ideal. As most of you surely know, going to big seems to be often more of a burden than a help.

Here are some of the knives I've been looking at:

While it obviously does not fall into what I just said above (for 12" length), it also has the obvious advantage of reach and greater chopping and slashing ability than the other knives I've been looking at. I just wanted to see what you guys thought of it.

This one seems to be well-suited for combat and specifically piercing, though I've read that for novices, the second edge can be more of a danger to the wielder than to the other party. And as a survival knife, the second edge might be pretty much useless for simple cutting tasks, it would lessen the efficiency of tapping the back of the blade to make deep cuts, and it would still likely endanger the user's hands.

I don't think Id ever try to throw a knife in self defense, but it seems like a nice blade in general, especially for the money. It is pretty thick at 5mm (a bit over 3/16), and has a pretty nice grip. The only thing I'd worry about is its lack of a hilt, which could result in the accidental sliding of my fingers down the blade (eep!).

The Bushman knives seem like a nice general-purpose blade, and there probably really isn't anything wrong with them functionally. I don't know if Id ever try to make a spear out of it unless I had little better to do, but I guess its nice to know the option is there? Their test video is very impressive, though.

This just seems like a generally good blade for my purposes.

From other research I found that overall the best hand weapon for a novice would be a simple bludgeon (pipe, bat, etc). After that, I cut a section of 1"-diameter, 1/8" wall steel tubing about 20" long. I wrapped about 5" of it with nylon rope to serve as a handle, and welded a plug into the other end to add a little weight and prevent it from being crushed in on hard impacts. It is about 2lbs total, maybe a couple ounces less. I don't have a sheath for it yet, but I'll likely make one that attaches to my belt and thight. If, for whatver reason, my firearms were not available for use, would I be better off pulling out my pipe (teehee), or would you guys recommend a good ~7" blade with which I've had some practice?

Or should I use the pipe, but still get a blade suitable for SD should I ever need it?

Sorry of my post is confusing, but I hope my points were clear enough!

July 20, 2009, 10:04 PM
Have you ever thought about a custom, handmade knife? Instead of a factory... there are so many more options. The big difference between Survival/Camp knife and Tactical is, that tactical is really only for small chores and fighting, hand to hand.
I'm building several bowies right now... in different configurations, types of steels, and in different sizes. Also, build one knife called The Gather'r.
A camp knife or bowie knife you can do many chores with, and also use as a weapon, if neccessary. A custom in not the thick, bulky, pain to carry around... kind of knife, anymore.
Take a look at my website and you'll see patterns for specific jobs...

July 21, 2009, 12:19 AM
My general all purpose camp/outdoor/survival knife is a Cold Steel SRK, it is simple, no yuppy gadgets and has served me well for years.

My folder is a basic Buck 110, here again, no frills but really well made and has also served me well.

I do not use a knife to fight with as I have other means and resources, so I cannot answer that issue.


July 21, 2009, 09:02 AM
A single bevel carbon Swedish Mora.

A gansfors burks axe.

A Cold China NOTHING!

July 23, 2009, 07:08 AM
I don't know about those. Reminds me of a tactical ginsu. Take a look at Ka-bar or Marbles. Ka-bar makes some nice military blades and Marbles has some big bowie knives, the Ideal is one of their oldest designs, and the Trailmaker is nice too. With Marbles just make sure that it is pre 2005 when they were still made in Gladstone, Michigan. Unfortunately, they are now overseas and the quality......

July 23, 2009, 04:13 PM
leatherman, never leave home without it, homemade 5 inch drop point with stacked leather handle

July 23, 2009, 04:23 PM
I like this cold steel as an all around knife.

The last cold steel on you list is not bad either, especially for the price.
The others all have a purpose but for general use I don't feel they fit the bill.
Good luck.

I like Kershaw knives also, good quality and prices. The "Blade Traders" are pretty cool.

July 23, 2009, 04:27 PM
Puukko. Kellam makes some really good ones.


July 23, 2009, 04:48 PM
Buck 184 or Gerber mark 2

July 24, 2009, 12:17 AM
Check out the "Rough Use" knife from Cheaper Than Dirt: Sturdy, utilitarian and the best 10 BUCKS you'll ever spend...

July 24, 2009, 12:49 AM
Fallkniven F1

Bark River Gameskeeper

A Cold China NOTHING!

If you could find a used or new old stock Cold Steel Master Hunter in Carbon V it would be a great knife.

July 24, 2009, 03:15 AM
Greyman knives (http://www.graymanknives.com/)

I have a friend who bought the West Nile Warrior. Nothing bad to say about it other than it's a 1/4' thick chunk of steel and a little ont he heavy side for backpacking long distance.

I have the Bushman and it is roughly 1/3 the weight of that West Nile but it's decent for carry long distance.

For a folder survival knife I would take my Cold Steel Black Rock Hunter. It's light but tough and fits in the pouch on the courdura sheath for the bushman as well as a whetstone. Everything I need.

As a bonus you can rubber band a baggie with matches into the grip of the Bushman which then can also be used to make a spear.

I still like this though:



July 24, 2009, 04:55 AM
If the quality is good, I would think that your Gerber should be adequate for most things.

If the size isn't too much, I wonder if an ordinary machete or maybe a hatchet might be better for your purposes. Tramontina's machetes are very well regarded, and quite affordable.

You might also consider picking up a Swiss army knife. Perhaps one with at least a pen blade, wood saw, tweezers, and an awl. Although it's not good for defensive purposes, it can be awfully handy.

July 24, 2009, 05:15 AM
I generally go backpacking with 2 knives. My camp knife is a Ka-Bar Kukri, and my all purpose carving/opening MRE/stabbing my buddy because he farted in the tent knife, is an Applegate Fairbairn Combat Fixed. Skins stuff alright too.

July 24, 2009, 09:15 AM
When I am hiking, I have a Leatherman Wave on my belt, a Schrade "Old Timer"
in my pocket and a Granfors mini hatchet in my pack.
When hunting, I carry a Shrade "Sharpfinger" instead of the Leatherman. Upland hunting, I carry a bird knife instead of the "Old Timer".
Here's a simple "usta be a saw blade" utility knife that I made last weekend. Once I make a sheath, it'll end upon my belt this Fall. Still needs some finish work (which I may or may not do).


July 24, 2009, 10:21 AM

I've had that for a while. I got it on amazon for about $100. I've used it as a hammer and rag cutter (I cut old jeans into rags and use the rags to polish my guns). Heck, I've even used it to trim the plastic insert on my revolver's front sight.

It shows no signs of wear so far (except the grip, which I used as a hammer). The edge is still sharp after a few hundred cuts, so I would say it holds its edge fairly well.

Not that it matters for your use, but these knives can be soaked in salt water for a week without rusting.

If that one is too big for you, you can always consider the smaller Seal pups.

I'd like to have all of the SOG knives, but at $70+ a piece, I can't justify the purchase of all of them.

P.S. Amazon seems to have the best prices most of the time. But http://www.manventureoutpost.com/outdoor/ have good prices too; just check both before you make the purchase.

July 24, 2009, 10:49 AM
I have the S&W HRT love it!! & I daily carry a CRKT Bagger spring assisted .

I really like Ka-bar's Bowie ........ & Cold steels Trail master

July 24, 2009, 10:59 AM
I also gotta say ka-bar as well, great knives, I would carry one everyday if it was legal to care a fixed blade everywere

July 24, 2009, 11:00 AM
In my book, a fight'n knife and a general purpose knife are knives of a different color. They are not the same knife.

A combat knife has to be tough and I suggest, large. Jim Bowie had it right, you see. You wanna gut a man do it with a K-Bar. The handle of a big Buck knife is too slick. The K-Bar has a nice ribbed, leather grip so it's easier to hold when things gets bloody. One does not want to drop one's knife in a knife fight.

I have a friend who was on Iwo. He told me that he cut thoats on that sainted Isle and he used a K-Bar; enough of a recommendation for me.

As for a general purpose knife, search no further than one of the Buck (or similar) folders. You can skin with it and hack with it and dice rope with it. The most important thing about a general purpose knife is that you actually carry it. So get a folder that's easy to haul. A cool, pro-made drop point is nifty, of course; but you'll probably leave it home in your desk drawer. I know that I do. I take it out every now and then and re-run a steel along the edge just to freshen it up - again.

I carry a little C-2 Leatherman as a GP pocket knife. I am never without it. It takes a pretty good edge too. I use those little needle nosed pliers constantly. If I ever find that I have to cut a man's throat I guess I'll have to do it in several slices.

July 25, 2009, 03:30 PM
My bad, I didn't read the part where you mentioned defense.

Your EDC is fine for defense purposes, just practice quick deployment.

A smaller knife is actually appropriate for defense purposes; most states will only allow you to carry a knife with a blade that's 4" or shorter. Check your local laws.

Despite what you see in movies and tv shows, disarming a knife or fighting someone who is also armed with a knife is not as easy as it looks. I would avoid confrontation altogether.

But if you're really interested in knife fighting, you can look up some instructional videos on Vuze. Use your judgment and avoid BS videos.

July 25, 2009, 03:36 PM
sog fusion. sog also makes a dubble edged knife that has a whole in the handle with large threads to convert to a spear.benchmade also has some
nice stuff, the fixed griptilian.

August 2, 2009, 08:44 PM
the bushman is decent for most outdoor/camp/bushcraft uses, although a little big. Moras and puukkos are great for survival/firestarting/wood gathering. The one caveat to a smaller knife like a puukko or a mora is that you will not be able to chop effectively with it. The gerber big rock is a decent all around knife as is the KA-BAR.

Also, there is no such thing as "knife combat". This link should be helpful..

If you're looking for defense, carry a gun. There is almost no threat that warrants the use of a knife as a defensive tool. And there ceratinly arent going to be any knife duels in your future. There are much better alternatives, like rifles.

Have fun and be safe.

August 3, 2009, 12:39 PM
For a fighting knife, it's hard to beat a KaBar or Camillus Marine Corps fighting knife. They are tough as nails and work really well when you need a big knife. Many other knives out there, but avoid the quirky and go for solid. A smaller "utility" knife will work just as well for a self-defense knife and not attract as much attention.

Whatever you choose, get good steel. I personally like a good 4"-5" carbon steel blade (takes an edge easily, holds an edge well), but a good tool steel blade is a great knife (harder to sharpen, but hold an edge until Judgement Day). Here is an example of a good utility/field knife:

August 3, 2009, 01:29 PM
I have a Ka-Bar that was my camping companion for years until I was given a Cold Steel "Tanto" style (http://www.coldsteel.com/tantoseries.html) knife. I found the "tanto" style blades suit my camping style better.

I have a friend who has a Cold Steel Gurkha Kukri (http://www.coldsteel.com/sanmaigurkha.html)and swears by it as his all purpose outdoor knife. Though I find it too big and unwieldy for most camping use it sure would be good for heavy blade work.

August 4, 2009, 01:10 PM

I have carried this Case Bowie in the woods and on the trails for over 25 years. It has been an exceptional tool. It is large for chopping and has a beautiful "belly" on the blade for skinning. ONce sharpened it will keep an edge quite well. As for combat I can't comment other than it is a faithful representation of the original Bowie which was,, by all counts, an excellent combat knife.

The knife is large, but comes with an very good leather case which can be worn on the belt or attached to my pack. The only difference between mine and the one in the pic is that mine has a wooden grip. Has been a great all purpose knife for me for a long time.

August 12, 2009, 05:59 PM
Check out the Katz knives. I have one and it is one of the best knives I have ever owned (I have a knife fetish). Nice thick blade and keeps an edge.


August 12, 2009, 06:13 PM
You seem to like Cold Steel, check out the Recon scout and the Trail Master.

August 13, 2009, 12:44 AM
Get an original Ka-bar, but with the 1/4 seration. You really can't go wrong. I joined the USMC in 2003. I was issued one. They were first used in 1942. 60 years of being issued by the Marine Corps speaks for itself IMHO.

August 13, 2009, 03:01 AM
The two that I like are the Buck Vanguard (http://www.amazon.com/Buck-192BK-Vanguard-Fixed-Blade/dp/B000EHUYQ4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=sporting-goods&qid=1250149482&sr=8-2) and Nighthawk. The vanguard is not huge but it's a great utility, hunting, and all around camp knife. It's reasonably priced and will do the job. A tad more radical the Buck 650 Nighhawk (http://www.amazon.com/Buck-Nighthawk-Fixed-Blade-Knife/dp/B000EHWWQY/ref=sr_1_49?ie=UTF8&s=sporting-goods&qid=1250149892&sr=1-49) feels good in the hand. Both are good quality without being budget busting knife snob fodder.

If you want huge you might look at this Kershaw (http://www.amazon.com/Kershaw-Bush-Knife-Outcast-Md/dp/B000Q99TZM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=sporting-goods&qid=1250150038&sr=1-1) but it's kinda big.

August 15, 2009, 08:56 PM
i was looking for the perfect carry knife , i found my favorite is a mission ti 8 with a cord wrap and plane edge its a neck knife i dont even know its on and it's quick to get to.i also carry a AFCK or a mini assist ruckus in nylon belt holster and my para 45 acp.

i feel "comfortable" with this set up.

if im wearing pants without a belt i skip the second knife and the 45 and just have the mission ti 8 on my neck and a p3at on a clip at my waist

i really think your primary carry weather its a knife or gun is very personal i went through a bunch of knives and guns befor i found what was right for me, i hope this helps save you some money.

mark in fl

August 15, 2009, 09:04 PM
Here's my recommendation:


It's perfect for camping, hiking, hunting, etc. but can also be carried for defensive purposes. I actually have the 3" and it's best for concealed carry but the 4" would be a bit better for all around. Check it out and don't be confused by the "Ontario" rats, they're very similar but the true Rat Cutlery RC-4 has a better handle length and it's just a bit better.

God Bless