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Cold Steel Voyager Large: Afordable Utility-Fighting Folder, good steel and good value
Zero Tolerance Tacitcal Response: Tough Utility Fighting Folder
Spyderco Endura 4: Classic folder, easy to carry yet very capable
Kershaw Brawler: A Compact fighting Folder
The knife has always been the quintessential survival tool, as useful today as the day the first man used a sharp shard of stone to cut. Today you could make a strong case for a wallet and cellphone being even more useful in many ways but the fact remains that a knife is our most time-tested tool when it comes to manual labor.
There’s been a revival in the world of knives lately, a new found fascination with them. There are literally hundreds of thousands of models to choose from. While knife fanatics never had it this good, its also true that trying to find an everyday carry pocket knife can be overwhelming. Which one is best, or even a better question, which one is best for you?
If you want to know what knife suits your best, you can considerably narrow down you choices by answering three questions.
1)What knife can you carry?
Before you look into anything else, know the limitations you’re working with. What can you legally carry? Look into your local knife laws. They change from country to country, even from one city to another in many cases. Is there a blade length limit? Are some types or styles of knives banned? Can you carry a locking knife, a one hand opening knife? Are they legal, but only under certain circumstances that may or may not apply to you? In my experience very few people know their own knife laws. In several occasions, I’ve come across people that assumed certain knives or guns were illegal when they were not. Look into your working environment and check for any knife policy that they may have.
Limitations may be practical as well. If you’re wearing a suit as part of your regular attire, chances are that having a Cold Steel Espada or Leatherman Surge clipped to your pants may not be realistic.
Once you have a good understanding of the ground rules you have to work with, you can move to the next question.
Sometimes a Victorniox is all you need: top to bottom. Hiker, German Army Knife, Forester and Spartan.
2)What’s the use intended for such a knife?
Here we must be honest with ourselves. There’s no wrong answer. What are you planning on using your knife for? What kind of things would you like to be able to do with your knife? If you just want a sharp edge to cut open mail, envelopes and a bit of string here and there then pretty much any tiny knife will do. Do you want something tougher, maybe cutting thicker rope, cutting into wood and plastic, a general-use utility knife? Maybe you want something a bit bigger, with a stronger blade. Are you thinking about using this knife for defensive use? Wilderness survival? Do you want a jack of all trades type of knife? Maybe you’re needing a tough, 4 or 5 inch blade folder, or maybe you would be better served by a multitool instead. Are you planning on using this knife to cut fruit or prepare sandwiches at lunchtimes or when going on picnics? Then a 3 inch blade is about right, and you want a knife that is easy to keep clean. You want a polished, stainless steel blade for this kind of task, so as to avoid contamination. If you want a knife to deal with all ordinary task as well as the most diverse contingencies and emergencies, then maybe you’re looking for a good multitool instead, something like the Leatherman Wave or Leatherman Charge.
ZT Zero Tolerance 0561. Hinderer Design. ELMAX Steel. Titanium Frame. A high-end, hard use folder.3)What do you want to carry?
Sometimes a Multitool is what you're really looking for. Left to Right, Leathermans for all budgets. Leatherman Charge Tti, Black Wave and Sidekick.
Now that we know what you can have and what you intend to use it for, its time to bring it down to what you’re happy with. Do you favor certain looks, certain esthetics? What kind of knife do you “like”, just because? How big or small a knife are you happy with, besides whatever practical use you have in mind? What about price? How much money are you looking to spend?
Answer these three questions as best as you can and you’ll have your perfect pocket knife.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.