Friday, March 25, 2011

The 3 Most Useful Knives You Will Ever Own

There’s a tendency among the “knife community” (weird that is to say) to focus on the latest super steel, craziest tactical feature, or coolest-looking blade profile and proclaim that the new hotness- everything else is now useless. We tend to lose sight of the fact that, for most of us, we don’t need the latest or greatest, don’t want a massive collection, and we aren’t willing to spend $100+ for a knife that we may rarely use. With that in mind, this post is about the three knives that I guarantee you will use over and over again, and some great (affordable) examples of them.

1.      A good multitool: This first knife isn’t really a knife at all, per se. Rather, it’s a toolbox in a small metal handle. The knife is a big part of what makes this so useful, but it’s the assortment of other tools that really give this utility. There is a reason survival experts, craftsmen, and regular joes all tend to carry these things- you will find them handy every day. 
Bear Grylls could survive on Mars with this

What to look for:

A decent assortment of tools, but not every tool under the sun.
At one point, I bought a SwissChamp, the Swiss Army Knife that includes almost every tool they offer. More tools=better knife, right? Well, the truth of the matter is I used that knife maybe twice- the thing was so heavy and ridiculous looking that I would just leave it on my dresser in the morning and grab my Leatherman Squirt instead. 

A good blade: The knife on your multitool is going to see the most use. Make sure to choose one with at least a 440C steel blade.

Ergonomics: Any tool with sharp edges or too much heft will just be uncomfortable (see the SwissChamp). Get one that fits your hand.  

Great multitools: Leatherman Wave, Victorinox SwissTool Spirit

One quick note: I have to give a huge thumbs down to the Gerber line of multitools. Plenty of people swear by them, but I have literally had the pliers heads snap off from too much torque. I think Gerber has a decent warranty, but that is still a hassle that no one wants to deal with.

```` Next: The backbone of your kitchen 


  1. Great write up but I'm curious to know if you have any suggestions for sharpening old knives. I have a set of straight blade kitchen knives that are getting dull. I bought a sharpener that you slide the blade through and it seems to work OK but not great. Are there other options?

  2. thanks for the advice. i normally only carry a folding gerber with me and don't worry about the extra set of tools but if i get a multi tool i'll look into these

  3. I got one leatherman myself :)

  4. If Bear Grylls would survive on Mars, just think what MacGyver would do.

  5. That tool is definitely better than your average swiss army knife.

  6. There's two kinds of multitool people - Gerber and Leatherman. Like you, I don't like Gerbers. The pliers in particular are such an annoyance.

  7. No! Bear grylls wouldn't like it! There would be no more reason to drink his own piss!

  8. Bear could survive anywhere, with nothing but his wits and a full bladder.

  9. thanks for the tips!

    i'm looking through the rest of your posts, looks interesting. :D

  10. My dad once cut his finger down to the bone from one of those foldable multitool-knives. Since that I've had a terrible fear of foldable knives :|

  11. I need a good blade, damn it.