Where do you carry your canoe trip knives and what are they?

Glenn MacGrady

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This topic is too variable for a poll because lots of people have lots of knives and carry different ones on different places on different trips.

I usually carry four or five knives in recent years.

First, I've always carried a knife on my PFD, but I have hardly ever ever used my various PFD knives for anything in 40+ years. I just stays permanently on the PFD. Currently, I use an orange Spyderco folding rescue knife (serrated) -- the kind paramedics use to cut car crash victims out of seat belts.

Spyderco rescue knife.jpg

Second, I always have a folding pocket knife, but I'm afraid of losing it in an upset if I actually keep it in my pocket while paddling. Thus, I usually have it inside my waterproof day/ditch bag in my canoe. When in camp, I put it in my pocket and probably use it the most for minor tasks. I have several, but my current favorite pocket knife for canoe trips and EDC at home is my thin and light (1.8 oz.) Benchmade Bugout made of S30V steel.

Benchmade Bugout.jpg

My third knife is one of my fixed blades, my current favorite being my Bark River Canadian LT.

BR Canadian 1.jpg

This is an all-purpose knife. However, I don't always wear belts as much anymore on my expanding waistline, so I will usually fasten the sheathed knife to the outside of my day pack while paddling. In camp, I'll just have it around for tasks that require more heft than my pocket knife, and I'll take it and the pocket knife when hiking from camp.

Fourth, I have an inexpensive Mora Light My Fire knife with a fire steel built into the handle packed with my cooking kit. I hardly ever use it for anything in camp, preferring my other knives to the Mora Scandi grind. I do use it at home as a not-very-good kitchen knife.

Mora Light My Fire.jpg


Finally, if you want to call it a knife, I now usually take one of my Condor Duku Parang machetes with me, usually the shorter one with a 10.5" blade, for chopping, limbing and tap splitting chores.

Condor Duku Parangs.jpg

For several functional and safety reasons, I much prefer a machete over a hatchet or axe for the light wood processing chores on a canoe trip. Paired with Silky BigBoy 2000 saw, a wood chopping machete, parang or golok can do everything necessary. My parang is sheathed and strapped or pocketed on my Duluth Pack.
 
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Everything gets attached to the dry bag. Kershaw camp 14, Bear Forest Knives Sierra Trekker, Exodus Knife and Tool Adventurecraft. Well, the adventurecraft I wear as a neck knife, under the drysuit. Next season I should have a custom machete from Bear Forest to replace the Camp 14. Just trying to buy US cottage industry on some things.
 
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I carry a Finnish Puukko on my left (non-dominate) side. The blade of “silver steel” was hand made for me by one of the great Tommi Puukkoseppa Blacksmiths, Alpo Kemppainen, at the Kainuu Shop in Kuhmo, Finland. The blade is 78mm (3 1/8 inches) handle is 100mm (4 inches) of heat compressed birch bark with birch root burl knob for easy extraction from the traditional Finnish woven birch bark & leather sheath, with tamarack wood liner. In my mind a almost perfect knife. In the kitchen equipment bag a have the generic birch bark handled Finnish, Norwegian Helle or Spyderco fillet knife and a thin bladed Victorinox kitchen knife.
I also carry a green Alox Farmer Swiss Army by Victorinox in a front pants pocket. Attached to it is a green aluminum match safe with a build in Suunto compass.
I almost always have a good axe & saw with me, if not then I have the beautiful big Sammi Stuorraniibi or as the Finns call it a Leuku. Walking, skiing or out on the land in winter I will always have the big knife with me to aid fire starting preparations. The old Finns had a saying, “A knifeless man is a lifeless man.” I would also include woman in that saying.
 
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Typically I carry a 4” sheath knife on my belt, a Opinel filet knife in my PDF, and a Leatherman in my pocket.

Bob
 
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I used to carry a big, bowie style sheath knife, then I switched to a more traditional sheath knife, then for the last 30 years, it's only been a couple of swiss army knives- one in my pocket, one in my repair kit, and a small one in my 1st aid kit, and that's all for tripping. I might add the sheath knife to my kit on wilderness snowshoeing trips simply because it's better for cutting small branches for an emergency fire and slicing half frozen sausage.
I actually use the scissors and pliers more than I use the blade...
 
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Small pocket knife in my pocket. Cheap piece of trashy junk Mora 4" sheath knife that's terrible at cutting onions and rusts overnight either in my day bag or oftentimes also in my pocket (my pants have a separate deep pocket that allows this to be comfortable).

I actually like the Mora but the above were Mem's thoughts on it. Makes me smile every time I use it.

Alan
 
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I have collected knives since I was 10 year old.
After much experimenting, I carry a Mora Swedish fish knife with a plastic handle and plastic sheath on my life jacket. It is always there and can take getting wet. The blade is half serrated for cutting lines.
 
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I carry a folding Schrade lock back on my belt in a leather case, my kids bought it for me on Father’s Day a long time ago.

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And, this knife is always in my back pocket, next to my wallet, another Schrade I picked up at the True Value hardware store, good little inexpensive knife.

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I don't trip mid-summer due to people pressure, so in spring/fall I always have my anorak on, and my Leatherman resides there in the zippered pouch along with pair of leather work gloves.

Kabar lock blade on my dry box, along with a small pair of scissors, which I probably use more then my knives.
 
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I started out carrying two knives while camping, a fixed blade attached to my backpack and a folder either in my pocket or in a pouch on my belt. I realized that I only used one knife so I decided to take only one. In 2000 I purchased a Gerber Air Ranger folder. This was the first knife I owned that had an attached pocket clip. I found it so convenient that I began to carry it everyday. I carry it clipped in my pocket and it is the only knife I carry.

The Gerber is durable and has served me well but the blade dulls quickly and after 21 years I am considering replacing it with a Benchmade mini Bugout.



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Glenn MacGrady

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The Gerber is durable and has served me well but the blade dulls quickly and after 21 years I am considering replacing it with a Benchmade mini Bugout.

If you go with a Benchmade knife through an account on their website, you get lifetime sharpening at no cost (but you pay shipping both ways). They will also provide different shape pocket clips at no cost. Finally, they offer a military, law enforcement, goverment employee, guide discount on their site, which amounts to at least 20% off, and which they do nothing to verify in my past experience. Sometimes on top of that discount, you can also find coupons on the internet. I bought four Benchmade knives with those discounts.
 
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I wear a neck knife with about a three inch blade. It goes on the outside of my layers. I also carry a Swiss army tinker in a pants pocket. I’m my repair kit there is a leatheman tool and another Swiss Army knife with lots of gadgets. I also have a cheap kitchen knife with a wide serrated blade in the food pack.
 
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An old Victorinox SAK "Champion" given to me by my parents when I was about 10 resides in a little dry bag along with other essentials. Great scissors and tweezers on that SAK. The blades are fine for cutting meats, cheeses, and veggies.

An NRS Co-Pilot resides permanently on my PFD. I've never had to use it for its intended purpose.

Neither of these little knives is going to process wood, intimidate marauding bad guys or fend off hungry bears.
 
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In the boat I carry a Mora knockoff. It's bright red, SS, very sharp and cost about $3.00. It stays on the Molle webbing I attached to the gunwales. A Swiss Army knife rides in my pocket. When camping I have a Condor Kephart that gets put on the belt when ashore.
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