Thursday, September 11, 2014

On what knife to carry


[written 8-23-14]

I'm enjoying [this was from a Becker Forum] discussion. However somehow we have gotten around to offering me advice about what to watch on Youtube and what knife to carry on hikes. Actually I didn't single out Chris of Prepared Minds [a popular commentator on knives] to watch. I think he is more entertaining than most of the others but I watched every one available on the knives I was interested in and only mentioned Chris in this case because his negative opinion about the BK2 didn't jibe with Amazon's declaring it the best seller in knives. My last job in engineering was to question engineers about changes they proposed to the C17; so I am not a gullible person. But while most of the others weren't as negative about the BK2 neither were they complimentary, at least I didn't run across many that were.  

Also, I'm not in doubt about the knives I intend to carry on hikes. Well, perhaps in a way I am. I live in a rural area with no knife stores so I have to try and figure out whether I want to make a purchase depending upon what I read on the internet, including videos from YouTube. I sometimes buy a knife and am disappointed but I don't think I asked for advice about what to carry on a hike. A few like the BK16. Chris of Prepared Minds said that Ethan Becker advised him to quit focusing on the BK7 and to focus instead on the BK16. Also, Ethan Becker himself said that the bK16 was the knife he always wanted from the time he was 14. He didn't know it then, but he knows it now. So a BK9 plus a BK16 may represent a perfect combination in Becker's (and Chris's) estimation for a camping situation. For my situation the BK16 doesn't sound that interesting.

I have a wide variety of knives I use for hiking, and while I am in a mood to go for a heavier knife at present, later on if I want to go light, I wouldn't go for the BK16. If I can believe Amazon, the knife, or maybe its the knife and sheath, weight 15.2 ounces. I don't know if you have run across them, but Ka-Bar has "miniature" versions of the USMC fighting knife. The knives plus sheath weigh about 9 ounces. The blades are a shade under 5 1/2 inches long. I don't know if anyone has tested these knives, but the tang going through the stacked leather seems to be the same size as that going through the stacked leather of a full-sized USMC fighting knife; so they ought to hold up to some level of abuse before failing. I mentioned the lightweight Kershaw 1010 but am thinking at present that when I want to go light again I will probably opt for the little version of the USMC fighting knife. I often EDC [Every Day Carry] one of these little KaBars around my house and property. Lately however I've been using a RAT-1.
I wrote my first note because I heard Chris of Prepared Minds and there may have been some others speak critically of the BK2 and that contrasted with the fact that it is selling so well at Amazon. Are all those people being misled by someone's false advertising, or are there good and valid reasons why the multitudes are buying the BK2? I was curious about that. I hope I mentioned that none of the criticisms affected my intending to use the BK2 for hiking.

As to the BK2 not being a good knife for batoning, I think what was meant was that with the short blade you would need to find branches of really small diameters in order to have the blade stick through far enough to hit. Chris, I suspect, would find it a batoning failure for that reason. I don't intend to do any batoning; so this matter is moot as far as I'm personally concerned, and in a earlier disclaimer I admitted the possibility that I may not be accurately remembering what Chris said.

I happen to like the BK7. It is about the same length as the KaBar USMC fighting knife. It is the BK7s sheath I don't like and immediately sent away for a custom sheath from Skystorm. If the sheath fits against my leg about the same way my Ka-Bar USMC fighting knife does, I'll be a happy man. I'm also unhappy with the BK2s sheath and sent for (as it happens) 4 leather sheaths. I didn't intend to do that, but some guy was selling a "new" BK2 with 3 custom sheaths. He listed a price but had the "make offer" option available. I made an offer and he accepted it; so that package will arrive next Wednesday. I like the BK2 just fine. I like the BK7 as well. Which one will I end up liking best for hikes? That will depend to a large extent on the sheaths I get and how well the knives ride on my belt.
I won't say I am "constantly buying and trying new knives" like you do, but I periodically do it. I am also interested in photography and take a lot of pictures during my hikes; which I post on my smugmug site.

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