Posts Tagged ‘gear’

My Knife Collection and Which Ones I Actually Use

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

As you can see I own quite a few knives.  Most of which just sit in a drawer or on a shelf looking pretty.  I have very few knives that I would trust in a “survival” situation.  In fact I only use 3 out of all these regularly.

These 3 or 4 seen in this picture are the only knives I use on a regular basis.  The top blade is a Frost Cutlery blade I got awhile back in a dealer kit I purchased.  Since I got this knife in a kit I’m not sure exactly what they call it.  The blade is 4.5″ total length 12″.  The hilt on it sucked and I shattered it the first time I tried actually using it for anything more than carving sticks, so I have replaced it with a custom hilt I fashioned out of a solid piece of bamboo I had lying around.  I carved it a bit longer than the original hilt to give me more chopping force.  Using the original bolts and some gorilla glue to secure it,  I then wrapped it with 550 paracord and soaked it in a bowl of water to shrink the cord and get a nice tight wrap out of it.  Honestly I think the blade will snap before the bamboo will.

The second blade which I carry with me everywhere is a Smith and Wesson® ExtremeOps folder I got for christmas a few years ago.  Since then I’v litteraly beat the crap out of it,  Using it to split firewood, throwing it at trees during boring moments at camp, and prying anything that won’t move when I want it to.  I think its the most use I have ever gotten out of a pocket knife without it breaking on me.  The blade length is 3.25″.

The third knife isnt really a knife at all but a Leatherman® Squirt P4.  This is my multitool of choice when I go into the backcountry.  This leatherman has pliars like most leatherman tools but the other option for this particular tool had scissors.  I used a micra for awhile that was great, but I was tired of lugging my big tool up into the woods when I planed on doing a little fishing.  So I got the squirt with pliers because of my fishing habit, those hooks can be a pain in the butt to get out of a fish without pliers.  Its also got a file on it which is great for sharpening dull hooks.  This tool also has the most comfortable grip out of all the multitools I have ever used despite its tiny size.  I got turned onto this multitool by earlylight over at Sectionhiker, go check out his article on knife size if your into ultralight gear or anything camping for that matter he’s got a great site.

The fourth one I use sometimes is an old swiss army knife.  Im sure you all know the benefits of the swiss so I wont go into it, The only reason I dont usually carry it is because the squirt takes care of anything the swiss could do, so I usually leave it at home.

I left out a few knives in the top photo because of their size or because they are just deco blades.  Couldnt really fit a machete in there with all the rest of em without making the other blades look tiny.

Weight isnt much of an issue for me when I decide what knife to carry,  I dont want to be hampered by a tiny “ultralight” knife that will break when I need it most.  I like to be able to rely on my blade and its nice to have a larger knife around for camp chores.

The Many Uses of ParaCord

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009
detail of inner cordage

detail of inner cordage

Ahh Paracord. I always carry at least 50ft of this whenever I go hiking, you never know when it might come in handy.

10 uses for ParaCord

1. bundle it up and replace that cheap “camping twine” you always carry when you go backpacking. it might weigh a bit more but it also holds up over 500 pounds on a single cord.

2. wrap your hiking stick with it to make it more durable and so you’ll always have some cord when you need it.

3. wrap your knife handle or machete handle with it to soften the grip and avoid blisters.

4. make a bracelet out of it so you’ll always have strong cord with you. a Turks head knot works great for this if you weave in extra knots.

5. use it to hang up your tarp or shelter when camping or in an emergency.

6. use it to hang your bear bag or backpack.

7. use it to do an impromptu rappel into a cave (be extremely careful when doing this – don’t bounce on the end of the cord or anything) or down a steep ledge. Alternately you could use it to help yourself or companions up a steep slope.

8. use the inner cord to make snares and catch yourself dinner.

9. use the inner cord as a fishing line to catch dinner.

10. use a length of cord to hold your camping pad onto your backpack.

The uses of paracord are endless. Don’t be fooled by cheap parachute cord knockoffs. Real parachute cordage has a tensile strength of 550 pounds. As a Kerrnmantle rope type, its interior core (the kern) is protected with a woven exterior sheath or mantle that optimizes strength, durability, and flexibility.

The number of strands in 550 paracord is usually stated as 7, there are actually 14. The strands are twisted in groups of two to form the 7 strands commonly known. A braided nylon outer sheath contains and protects the cordage inside.

550 paracord is rated to hold 550 pounds. Individually, the components of this parachute cord consist of

* The paracord sheath is rated at about 300-pounds
* 14 inner strings, each of which have a rating of about 17.5 pounds
* 7 strands made up on two strings each for a rating of 35 pounds.

So as you can see there are a multitude of uses for paracord and the ones I listed are a very few of the many many things I have personally used it for.  I bought mine from the only drawback I see to ordering from them is you can only buy 1,000 foot spools of it.  They don’t have any smaller lengths, unfortunately.  You can find alot of other places to buy it from, but it might not be the “real” thing.  Alot of sporting goods stores that sell paracord don’t sell the mill spec cord rated at 550 pounds.  When your buying it make sure it has 7 twisted pairs inside the outer sheath as that’s the only sure way to make sure your buying the good stuff.

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