When I was a kid, my dad gave me one of his old pocket knives to carry. I thought I was the coolest kid on the block carrying around that old Case knife! I used to carry that thing everywhere I went.
I never really understood what all it could be used for, I just knew my dad did it, and I wanted to do it, too. I’d “whittle” (basically just stripping the bark off a few tiny sticks), cut worms in half with it when I was fishing, and clean the dirt out from under my nails (just like my dad). Other than that, I had no idea why I needed a pocket knife.
Years later, I learned why you need to carry a pocket knife. There are numerous reasons, actually, but you have to be careful where you pull it out of your pocket. Since the 9/11 incident, it’s sometimes hard to explain to people just why there is a “weapon” in your pocket.
Why You Need a Pocket Knife
So why exactly do you need to carry a pocket knife? Here are a few reasons off the top of my head:
- Open boxes
- Open letters
- Cut zip ties
- Cut cordage
- Food prep on a lunch break (cut up an apple, cheese, make a sandwich, field dress a squirrel, etc.)
- Trim a hangnail
- Cut out a splinter
- Trim the tags off of clothing
- Add a new hole to a belt
- Garden/yard work
- Open a bag of [charcoal, pet food, sand…]
- Cut duct tape
- Trim loose threads in clothing
- Have a handy toothpick
- Use it as a make-shift screwdriver
Notice the one thing I didn’t list is weapon. Everyone knows that a knife can be a weapon, but if you’re looking for weapons, literally anything can be a weapon. The hardest part about carrying a knife everyday is that you must make the distinction between weapon and tool. A pocket knife is rarely ever a weapon and almost always a tool. Think of your pocket knife less like a gun and more like a hammer. Yes, a hammer can be used as a weapon, but first and foremost it is a tool.
In all my years of carrying a pocket knife, I have used it 100% of the time as a tool and 0% of the time as a weapon. That’s right, I have never, ever used my knife as a weapon.
Side note: You are not likely to ever convince non-pocket knife carriers that your knife is a tool.
Get Comfortable Carrying a Pocket Knife
The biggest hold out for people not wanting to carry a pocket knife is their own comfort level. There is only one way to get over this: you get really, really, comfortable with your knife.
This may sound trivial, but it will be the one step that takes you from carrying a pocket knife sometimes, to carrying and using your pocket knife everyday. Think of it like this: it was totally awkward to type on your smart phone when you first got it, right? But after a lot of practice and usage, you’re double-thumb texting with the best of them! The same principle applies here – the more you use your knife, the more comfortable you’ll be with it. The more comfortable you are with your knife, the more you will find it being a natural extension of your hand — like your smart phone probably is.
What Is the Best Pocket Knife to Carry?
Now being the good prepper you are, you will Google: “what’s the best pocket knife to carry everyday”. That’s really like asking “what’s the best car to drive” or “where is the best place to eat when you’re hungry”.
Consider the following things when you are looking for the perfect blade for your pocket:
- Blade length – Ideally you should try to keep this under 3-inches. Most US states and cities have regulations surrounding knives, so be sure to look that up for your particular area.
- Overall length – Most websites won’t tell you the closed length, so you will need to subtract the blade length from the overall length to get an idea of how big the knife will be in your pocket.
- Blade type – Look for a straight edge, nothing with serrations to start. Get a standard “drop point” blade design (the blade shape that looks like your stereotypical knife blade).
- Price – You can find a good knife for under $50. Your first (or second or third) pocket knife doesn’t have to break the bank to be good.
- Brand – Stick with name brands, such as: Spyderco, SOG, Columbia River Knife and Tool (CRKT), Gerber, Buck, Case, Benchmade… If it sounds familiar it is probably OK to start, but again, a quick Google search for “pocket knife reviews” will put you at ease.
If this is your first knife, don’t get too hung up on the steel types used. There’s a huge variation in quality, but for a daily pocket knife you can get away with cheaper steel if you are willing to sharpen your blade more often and aren’t worried about using the knife for survival.
Which reminds me, be sure to buy a good sharpener so you can keep your blade(s) sharp at all times.
Buy a knife that you are proud to show off, is comfortable in your pocket, and one that reflects your personality. If you buy a cheesy knife, you will never want to take it out when others are around and this defeats the purpose.
If you buy a knife that you truly love you will want to find things to use it on — and that’s when a pocket knife moves from “one more thing in your pocket”, to an essential tool.