Tag Archives: hunting knife

Quality Outdoor Equipment Tested In The Toughest Terrain

Outdoors enthusiasts, campers, prospectors and adventurers need the best equipment to explore the natural environment, but the cost of this equipment can sometimes be staggering. Even family-targeted camping equipment comes at a cost and when the expense of buying your outdoor equipment goes up the temptation to sacrifice quality can be hard to resist. But what if there was a great way to buy the highest quality outdoor adventure and camping equipment and save money at the same time? At military surplus retailers and online stores you can get the quality you need at prices you can afford.

I’ve been camping and exploring for years. It started with family fishing trips when I was young and now as a father I often take my own children outdoors on the holidays for a little adventure. Like me, my children love getting outside for fishing, hiking and prospecting. It’s a family tradition enjoyed by millions of people across the world, but it can be a costly pastime. The cost of tents, clothing, equipment and hunting and fishing gear is staggering, but since I’ve discovered military surplus I’ve been able to save a lot every year when adding to and updating our equipment.

One of the best purchases I’ve made from military surplus has been sleeping bags, tents and clothing (check out considerations for the best camping tent). The range of clothing and backpacks in particular is exceptional and my kids love to dress up in camouflage and go spotlighting at night. I admit I love the look of camouflage clothing too, but I also appreciate the quality and the durability of the materials, and the fact that I’m not going to have to replace it after every trip. I also love tucking into a warm and dry sleeping bag at night to rest after chasing after the kids all day.

But it’s not just family trips that I’ve been able to enjoy more since discovering surplus. I love hunting, and while it’s not everyone’s favorite activity, for enthusiasts like me it’s important that I can carry the right knives and guns for each outing (check out what to look for in a hunting knife, too). Military surplus is a great source of knives, sheaths and netting. The quality is made for combat so it is sturdy and reliable. The range of rifles are also impressive.

Hunting equipment is a specialized necessity for sporting enthusiasts and while many military guns are not appropriate for sporting activities it’s possible to modify some combat rifles for these purposes. I recently purchased an AR-15 builder instruction manual and have been able to adapt my rifle to suit the exact purposes I’m looking for. You can also buy handguns and collectors weapons from World War I & II.

Whether you are strictly a family camping hobbyist or adventurous outdoor explorer, military surplus stores offer a great range of supplies for any expedition. Tested in harsh environments by our brave soldiers, surplus stock is a fantastic idea for building your store of outdoor gear. Compasses, portable bathrooms, sleeping bags, clothing and more. Military surplus stores stock everything you need at prices you can afford.

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What Makes A Good Hunting Knife?

The best hunting knife is the one that you have on you at the time you need to use it. If you are an outdoorsman or a hunter then you should know that there are many kinds of hunting knives that have been made for a variety of chores. In fact there is no one knife that is the best knife for “everything.” The main focus is to determine what you need your knife to do for you in order to decide what is the best knife to fit your needs.

So what is your hunting knife going to be used for? Will it be mostly for skinning? Is your hunting knife going to be used for wood craft and survival. Do you want your knife to be stainless or carbon steel? These are all major considerations.

Once you have laid out what it is that you want then you can choose a knife that will meet the standards that you have set for it.

Here are some things to consider when looking for a hunting knife:

Folder or fixed blade? The fixed blade version is the most popular with hunters and outdoorsman. Fixed blades are stronger than folders and are easier to clean, sharpen and maintain.

The shape of the blade is important. The best hunting knife for you is in direct relation to the blade shape. The standard blade shapes are drop point, clip point, and skinner. There are also modifications of these blade shapes in between. Skinners are for skinning. Drop point and clip points are for skinning and general woodcraft chores.

What type of steel do you want? There is no such thing as “the best steel.” All steels have their own inherent advantages/disadvantages. Stainless stays sharper longer than carbon, but is harder to re-sharpen in the field. Carbon is easier to sharpen but won’t stay sharp as long as stainless.

Other things to consider will be hand ergonomics, material construction and sheath types. If you use a checklist like this then you will be able to choose the best hunting knife for your needs.

If you already own one or two knives that you now realize aren’t perfect there is no need for anxiety you can just buy more!

See also a related post, what you should look for in a hunting knife.

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Hunt with Only the Best Fixed Handle Hunting Knives

Hunting is one of life’s greatest challenges for the avid hunter who looks at his knife as a necessity that he cannot live without. For the more serious ones who use their knives exclusively for hunting, the fixed blade knife is the perfect choice. Some brands use both full and partial tangs in their blades.  Good quality brands use high-carbon stainless steel. Some knives have coated carbon steel blades which are easy to sharpen and stay sharp for a longer time than stainless steel. The handles used for these hunting knives are usually wood, stag or soft grip rubberized or composite handles.

These types of knives are permanently in an open position. They are considered as the strongest, most secure and most reliable among the hunting knives as they do not have any moving parts. The only downside is that the knives are always open and therefore would need to be carried in their sheath.  Even with the same blade, the fixed blade hunting knives are definitely bulkier than folding hunting knives.

Some of the best brands in the market today are the 50-year old Gerber Hunting Knives, century old Buck Hunting Knives and Ka-Bar Knives which have been field and battle tested by the military since World War I.

When buying hunting knives, there are criteria that you should look out for.  Dependable fixed blade hunting knives should be strong and reliable. Its handle should provide a good grip to make it easy to work with, whatever the weather or hunting conditions may be. A metal handle would be too hot to hold in the desert while it would stick to your fingers in extreme cold.  Find knives that have changeable blades so you can carry different types of blades for different uses.

Whatever your choice may be, the best thing to do is buy the brand that you are most comfortable with or do some research over the internet for those that come highly recommended.

Related Posts:
What should you look for in a hunting knife?
Pocket knife introduction
Pocket knife safety

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What should you look for in a hunting knife?

Selecting the right hunting knife from the beginning will save you money, and likely some frustration. Spend a bit of time to learn about your options and select the features that are likely to best suit your needs before you buy one.

You should first ask yourself a number of questions. Like, what type of hunting will you do? Are you after moose or squirrels? Do you hunt game birds, or are you after white-tail deer and bear? Are you interested in cutting up game for meat or do you want to bag specimens for mounting?

Clearly, different sized and shaped knives will suite different needs better, and there is nothing worse than trying to gut or skin an animal with a knife that is out of proportion for the job. Using your Bowie knife to gut a squirrel is overkill to say the least, and skinning a bear with a short-bladed folding pocket knife is an exercise in frustration.

How often are you going to use the knife? Will you carry the knife when you are not hunting? Thinking about some of these issues up front will really help you in the end.

If you are going to be doing a lot of hunting, or want a strong knife, you most likely want to get a fixed-blade knife. This is the sort you keep in a sheath. The blade is fixed with the handle and it does not fold for storage. These knives are strong as the blade and handle are usually one continuous piece of steel with some material around the handle end for comfort. Being one piece, these knives can take more torque and abuse than a folding knife. With a folding knife, the blade is hinged to fold, and the pivot point is an inherent weak spot for the knife.

Many styles of blade shapes are available.

Many different blade shapes are available in hunting and pocket knives.

There are many styles of blade shape too. The ends can be gently or dramatically curved, with the point of the knife more or less defined. A knife with a rounded tip is often better for skinning as it is less likely to stab through the hide or meat. Dedicated skinning knives have short, blunt blades with a sweeping cutting edge. They are not very long, so you can control the tip of the knife well.

Some hunting knives have a gut hook. This is a notch on the backside of the blade designed to puncture skin and make a shallow cut. When you are working to eviscerating an animal you want to avoid cutting into the gut contents and having that spill out over your meat. The gut hook helps prevent you from accidentally doing this by cutting just through the skin and muscle layer of the abdominal cavity, allowing you to remove the guts cleanly. This feature might be worth it to you if you are gutting larger animals like deer.

Pocket knife with a bird hook

Pocket knife with a bird hook.

If you hunt upland birds, like pheasants, you might want to consider a bird hook. The hook is used to insert into the body cavity, swirl it around, and pull out all the viscera in one smooth action.

Remember, you do not have to spend a lot of money on a knife for it to suite your needs well. Even utility knives from the hardware store can be very serviceable in the field, cutting and preparing game. I would also recommend that you not get a knife that is too large. Avoid the “Crocodile Dundee” temptation of getting a huge knife—you don’t really want to carry that heavy thing around and it is too big for most tasks anyway.

Handle material is often a personal choice. You can get wood, leather, bone, antler, and various plastics on your knife. Some people really like the natural look, but for utility and strength, plastic is a good choice. It is strong and easy to clean. You can soak it to get blood and other “junk” off of it, and not worry about it being damaged in the water. Plus, it may be less likely to pick up “gamy” smells from use.

There are many considerations and I hope this helps you to think about them before you sink a lot of money into this useful tool.

Skinning a Black Bear

Skinning a road-kill Black Bear to recover its pelt and skeletal elements.

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It has what?

Here we will explore some of the more specialized pocket knife accessories you can get on your knife. This gets into the world of gadgets and gimmickry, and in the extreme cases, just plain silly.

At the low end of the spectrum we have pocket knives with multiple blades. In an earlier post I gave my general opinion about them, but some people will find them useful. They are especially useful if the second blades have a different function than the main blade. For example, fishing people will appreciate knives with the second blade being a fish scaler.

Another tool that looks handy for the upland bird hunter is the bird hook. I have read several descriptions for how to use it, but in general you cut open the abdominal cavity of the bird and fish the hook around inside to pull out the entrails more or less in one swoop. Having gutted many birds, I may look into this tool myself.

Other tools that seem at least somewhat useful include a bartender’s pocket knife with blades for cutting foil from wine bottles and a cork screw. Although, I think there are likely better cork screws on the market.

Then there are the proverbial “Swiss Army knives.” I don’t know what the Swiss Army does, but for a neutral country they seem to need a lot of stuff. On one model you can get: 18 Implements with 31 Functions; black rubber grip; 2.50 inch locking blade; double-cut wood saw; adjustable pliers w/wire crimper and cutter; fish scaler; hook disgorger; line guide; magnifier; screwdriver; metal file; metal saw; compass; straight edge; ruler; springless scissors; universal wrench; and an additional 9 unspecified implements with 14 unspecified functions.

Personally, I have never really been too impressed with the Swiss Army knife concept overall. It just seems to me it tries to do way too much and ends up not doing any of it very well. However, many people must like them. I guess I might be more impressed when they come out with one that can locate fossils.

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