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All the Knife you Need in a Small Package

April 30, 2017   |   Gear

Do you need a knife while backpacking? Yes. How much knife? That depends. I’ve come to the conclusion that a small blade is all I really need for a backcountry trip. I’m not ready to go without some type of knife as a few hikers have.

If I need to cut a piece of cordage, open a package, trim a bandage, or shave some tinder, then a small Victorinox or Leatherman fits the bill. I’ve made the mental and emotional hurdle in my head that told me a larger knife offers vastly greater benefits and better personal protection from scary creatures.

The cutting options I’ve considered are the following (L to R):

The Victorinox Classic — o.7 oz (20g) — Tools: (6) blade, nail file, scissors, screwdriver, tweezers, toothpick. It’s a compact and light package. It has the three essentials for me: a blade, tweezers, and scissors. The toothpick I’ve already lost. You can pick these knives up cheaply on Ebay from sellers auctioning stuff confiscated by airport security.

Razor Blade with paper cover — o.035 oz (1g) — Tools: (1) blade. I carry this in my Murphy bag as a back up. Some folks only carry a razor blade. I’m not ready for that yet. A piece of heavy paper or cardboard makes a protective envelope/sheath.

Leatherman Squirt S4 — 1.9 oz (54g) — Tools: (7) blade, nail file, scissors, large screwdriver, small screwdriver/phillips screwdriver, tweezers, and awl. Again with the nail file. C’mon. But, it does have a small awl and a few screwdrivers to top it off. And… it has an amazing pair of scissors. But it’s twice the weight of the Classic or Style.

Leatherman Style — o.8 oz (23g) — Tools: (5) blade, nail file, scissors, screwdriver, tweezers. This skeletized package is pretty awesome. I like the blade on this. I am almost as baffled by the inclusion of nail files in knives as I am by corkscrews on knives. Duh? I’d rather have an awl than a nail file any day.

I’ve settled on carrying the Squirt as an everyday carry. In the backcountry, I’ll take the Leatherman Style and a razor blade.

What’s your choice of cutting tool for backpacking and why?


Deacon Kevin Richardson

Kevin is a Catholic Deacon who serves in a parish setting and works with adults and teens, incarcerated individuals, and people who are homeless. He grew up in New England and spent decades exploring, hiking, and camping in the forests of New Hampshire.

Deacon Kevin leads Holy Adventure Outdoor Ministry, located in Central Illinois, and provides unique outdoor programs and retreat opportunities (from several hours to multiple days) to encounter God while immersed in the beauty and simplicity of God’s creation. Programs are Bible based and offer an introduction to a wide variety of wilderness living and survival skills.