Welcome to Jercol's Back to the Basics. This is where I will post useful information, tips, and gear reviews about what I learn about Outdoor Survival, Activities, and Disaster Preparation. My only goal is to be informative, realistic, and at least a little entertaining.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Here are a few of my favorite things...

Here are a few of my FAVO-RITE things...  You have to say it in that sing-song voice, just like the line from the song.  If you don't have a sense of humor, what else is worth the effort?

I'm a bit of a knife guy, I've said that before.  Pretty much anything with a blade I'm fascinated by.  In a way, the knife is the most fundamental and most basic tool ever created.  A good knife can be used to make other tools, shelter, and most importantly, open DVD cases.

That's only half a joke.

The truth is, as cool as a 12" Rambo knife is, the unsung hero of the knife world is the small, folding, pocket knife.  How many times does the Rambo knife get used?  Not very often.  But that little folder that you keep in your back pocket gets used on a daily basis.  These knives can do almost anything that Rambo can but they're at hand and a whole lot more portable.  So, there's something to say about the pocket knives out there.

In no particular order, here are my three favorite pocket knives (other than the CRKT, which was previously posted):

 The Buck Paperstone Vantage, $35.  Who's got a negative thing to say about Buck knives?  They're a classic.  This one is a little over a three inch blade and it comes very sharp.  This one, I took off the belt clip because I didn't really like the way it affected the grip, otherwise it's a great knife.

What I like about this Buck is the blade thickness.  I swear, this blade is twice as thick as most pocket knives.  The blade has a great shape, a great edge, and because of it's thickness it's ready for some heavy duty work.  This is a very handy blade.  I keep it on my coffee table and it gets used frequently.

Second up is the knife I keep in my pocket at work.  This is the Leatherman Crater, $35.  I think the version shown here is discontinued, it has the blackened blade that's half serrated.  There is a current version I found online, but it doesn't have the paint job or the serration.

The reason I love this knife is it has a full size phillips and a full size flat head screwdriver.  Most multi tools have a phillips head, but it's too thin or too small to actually use.  Not a problem with the full sized heads on the Crater, very usable.  It also has a clip/bottle opener (though I don't use that as often at work).  Even with the added tools, the handle is only about a 1/4 inch thicker than a normal pocket knife.  For it's size and weight this is quite the handy little tool.  I love Leatherman multi-tools but they can be bulky and heavy, so I don't usually carry one unless I know I need the extra tools.  For the average person, this Leatherman Crater is a lighter, smaller, more handy option.

Next up is the Kershaw Scallion, $30.  I just picked this one up recently.  I like Kershaw blades but they tend toward the expensive and I didn't have much experience with them.  Many of them also have the "Speed Safe Assisted Opening" system, which is basically a spring system that makes the blade extremely easy to open.

I had a somewhat bad experience with an 'assisted opening' system one time.  A couple years ago, I bought a CRKT My Tighe Spring, an extremely cool looking knife.  I'm pretty sure this knife is Klingon standard issue.

Anyway, because the My Tighe was spring assisted the blade opened extremely easily.  One day it came open in my backpack.  I stuck my hand in my pack and felt something funny.  I kept reaching around in there, wondering what that was.  Well, the knife was so sharp that I cut myself three times before realizing that I was being cut.  After that I kept a rubber band tightly wrapped around the closed knife to keep it closed.  What's the point of having a spring assist if you're too nervous to use it?

That made me very tentative when it came to buying assisted knives.

This Kershaw, though, was a pleasant surprise.

The spring assist works great, the blade is excellent quality and extremely sharp.  And you know what else it has?  A safety lock.

You see that sliding screw on the bottom of the handle?  It's very easy to use and doesn't slow down one-handed operation.  Simply push the screw down with a pinkie, push the knob on the back of the blade, and out it pops.  Slide the screw up and the blade cannot be opened.  Safe, and easy to use.  All in all, it's a very nice little blade.

So, that's three cool blades, all under $40.  All handy, all have their purposes, and they are definitely more practical than their larger, more expensive, Rambo versions.  Enjoy.

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