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Why The Simplest Knives Are Always The Best Knives For Bushcraft

Image source: Bushcraft

Image source: Bushcraft

There’s just something about a gorgeous knife, right?

If you’re a bushcraft lover, dreamer and even just a beginner, there’s a good chance that if someone caught you on your lunch break, surfing Google images over that tuna sandwich … they’d likely stumble upon your hand-forged, Micarta-adorned, convex-grinded knife addiction.

Maybe it’s just me, but I truly believe that there’s just something about a gorgeous knife.

And believe it or not, this will actually help in expanding your bushcrafting knowledge.  Here’s why …

Form and Function

I’ve often wondered why 18th– and 19th-century trappers would have muskets that were handcrafted with intricate designs, etched into the wood. By the same token, if this is about pure survival, then why even purchase a locally made thing of razor-sharpened beauty?

Perhaps it has to do with the same reason why you’ll wear your favorite pair of pants twice this week, but you’ll chuck those khakis in the laundry within minutes of coming home from work.

If you find beauty in your gear, and especially if you did your own custom work on these items, then there’s probably a very high chance that you’ll want to use it more often. A good friend of mine just recently bought a STELLAR piece of steel: the Ka-Bar Becker Campanion BK-2, and it didn’t take long for him to start making it his own.

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By the time he was finished, you could tell it was the same knife, but the finish, the scales, and the grind were all his. Now, he’s been trying to find ANY excuse to go camping, just so he can strap it to his leg and make his way afield.

Why the Pride Factor Ain’t Always Bad

knife in groundIn a way, I’m not always fond of how the “cool factor” could land you shelling out loads of needless cash on gear that the big guys say you absolutely positively need today, or you’ll end up dead in the woods. Needless to say, I have a few negative thoughts on the nature of purchasing an item for mostly non-practical, superficial, tacti-cool reasons. However, there is another type of “cool factor” that can actually be helpful for learning the arts of survivalcraft/bushcraft in a way: When that piece becomes just one more reason to get out there and perfect your skills, that’s when I call it the “pride factor.”

It’s your baby, and it’s got your unique marks of ownership. If you dropped that knife in a box full of knives of that exact same make and model, you could STILL pick it out in a heartbeat. That’s the kind of knife that a good bushcrafter needs, because it’s like a token of your love for the backcountry.

It’s the Simple Things…

As I mentioned before, if you’ve got a knife with good form, well that’s great. But if you’ve got a knife that comes with good function as well, then that’s a knife you’ll one day give to your grandkids.

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In my opinion, it’s the simplest knives that are the highest functioning for several reasons:

  • They’re easier to use if they don’t have more features than necessary.
  • They’re more predictable without serrations or exotic-style edges.
  • They’re MUCH easier to sharpen.
  • They’ll be stronger if they have a simple full-tang (and no “survival trinket” compartment).
  • They’ll come with sheaths that can be replaced with aftermarket ones.
  • They won’t be the cause of any cussing at the campsite, due to accidental slippage, because you’ll just know this knife and how it handles better than any other.

Hey, if you’ve found yourself a knife that combines form and function, and you’re just darn proud to carry it around with you while wandering around your usual patch of woods, then give it some love. Get some backcountry grit on that puppy.

That’ll just give you the excuse to admire it again when you clean it off and stow it in the ruck with a heavy heart.

Do you believe simple knives are better knives? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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