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Kephart and Nessmuk: Advice from the experts on picking the best pocket knife

600 400 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

“You never recommend folding knives for survival use – what’s the problem?”

by Leon Pantenburg

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I hear that a lot. And for the record, I carry a folder on my keychain and another  in a belt pouch every day. I never go out hiking  or hunting without my Swiss Army Classic.

But here’s the deal: IMHO There is no single best survival or bushcraft knife. And also IMHO, it’s a good idea to carry several different knives for different purposes, and one of them should be a folder.

I didn’t come up with this idea.

George Washington Sears, 1821-1890, is better known by his pen name of “Nessmuk”. He wrote one of the first wilderness survival books,  “Woodcraft,” in 1884 and was a regular contributor to “Forest and Stream Magazine.”

Nessmuk understood the importance of cutlery. His tools consisted of a custom light axe, a fixed blade knife he designed and a quality two-blade folding pocketknife.

Another bushcraft pioneer, Horace Kephart, authored the classic  two volume set “Camping and Woodcraft.” He is more known for the sheath knife he designed, but Kephart also carried a pocket knife: “For ordinary whittling a good jackknife is needed,” Kephart wrote.”It should have one heavy blade 2 or 3 inches long, tempered hard enough for seasoned hickory, but thick enough not to nick or snap off.”

So what would be the best pocket knife to include in your preparedness gear? It will depend on a lot of variables.

Check out this article about Nessmuk’s and Kephart’s pocket knives and decide for yourself.

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