Is a Pack Knife Needed?

   12.26.17

Is a Pack Knife Needed?

While putting together a pack for an early spring hiking (and hopefully camping) trip, I decided to strap my new Gerber StrongArm to the backpack. While working out the best location for the knife, I kept asking myself, “Why do I need a pack knife?”

Some people might say, “You can always use a knife.” That is very true. However, does the added weight justify having anything larger than a pocket knife? My EDC is one of three knives. So why carry two knives on a hiking or camping trip? Chances are the knife will only be used to open a package of food. Or maybe cut some cord to secure the pack?

As this article is written, I have been hiking and camping for around 35 years. In all of those years, rarely have I used anything larger than a pocket knife. The only time a large knife is used is when I am camping in the same place for a couple of days. Even then, a fixed blade knife or machete is only used to gather firewood.

What about skinning wild game, such as deer, rabbits and squirrels? A Case pocket knife does just fine.

The Gerber StrongArm knife (just the knife without the sheath) weighs 7.15 ounces. Since the knife would probably not be used, would that 7 ounces be better served with something else that could be used? Or just leave the 7 ounces off and lighten the load?

When I was younger and in better shape, pack weight was not that big of a deal. As I have gotten older, I started paying more attention to the gear that was not needed. If something is not needed, leave it at home, lighten the load, and have a more enjoyable trip.

Then again, we are talking about a knife and men seem to have an obsession with knives. There is just something about having a pack knife close at hand. Forget having to reach into your pocket for one. Just have it on the outside of the pack for easy access.

Question to the readers: For a hiking or camping trip, is a fixed blade knife worth the extra weight?  How often do you use a fixed blade knife as compared to a pocket knife?

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