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Digital Subscriptions > American Survival Guide > March 2016 > ALWAYS READY, ALWAYS THERE

ALWAYS READY, ALWAYS THERE

FOLDING KNIVES FOR BUSHCRAFT AND SURVIVAL

One should never leave home without a knife. Whether I’m headed into the woods or out into the city, I always have at least one folding knife on me as a matter of habit.

An old Nordic proverb states, “A knifeless man is a lifeless man,” and some knives excel at life-saving tasks, given their form, strength, ease of opening and manner of carry. Folding knives with critical life-saving attributes, therefore, should be part of any everyday-carry (EDC) load-out.

It might be impractical to carry a fixed blade on a daily basis where you live. Depending on your jurisdiction, fixed-blade carry may be illegal, and at your workplace, against company policy. Even an exposed pocket clip will raise suspicion of observant law enforcement in some cities.

Folding knives can be clipped out of sight or tucked deep inside a pocket when fixed blades are not an option. It’s a good practice to have at least one nonthreatening blade, such as a Swiss Army Knife; and one should be larger, less politically correct and meant for serious use protecting your life from natural or manmade threats.

When selecting which knife should be carried, one must think about how quickly the blade can be accessed; if it can be reached and opened with both hands (even gloved hands); if it will be meant for light, medium or potentially heavy use; and if it will be easily retained in the hand and comfortable with extended use. One may elect to put it in a belt pouch, tuck it inside the waistband or carry it deep inside a hand-warmer pocket.

A folder may be carried more securely and is less likely to be lost than a traditional fixed blade carried in a belt sheath. Also, folding knives can be tucked inside the dimensions of many survival kit containers. When needed, they can be opened and used much easier than the hard-back razors or scalpel blades that are normally packed.

The advantages of carrying a folding knife become apparent in use and carry. One example is ferro-rod firestarting. When using a folding knife to scrape a ferro rod, there is no reason to keep the blade open.

Unlike a fixed blade, the edge need not be exposed when creating sparks. Keeping the blade closed on a folder allows scraping the rod without risk of accidental cutting or damage to the edge.

With thousands of available folders in countless configurations of blade shapes, handle materials, locking mechanisms and other options, it can be difficult to narrow down the choices to a handful of blades ideally suited for daily needs.

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