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What should I expect from an EDC knife?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by ZIVANOVIC, Sep 5, 2019.



    Aug 27, 2019
    Hi. /sry for my english again/

    In my country the knife blade must be under 80mm. Above that length carrying a knife is illegal. Now, I'm wondering... should I buy an EDC knife under 3 inches? It is better than nothing, of course. But what should I do if I wanna prepare for emergency situations - like lost for a week in the forest. What can I do with such a short knife? I can cut papers, thinner branches, clothes etc... But that's all that I can expect from a short knife?

    Of course, I'll never cut out a tree with a neck blade, but I would be happy if a short blade could chop logs, or I can use it to build shelter.

    My questions are:
    1. I expect too much from a knife in that category?
    2. If a short knife capable to deal with survival situations (skinning, chopping wood, build shelter, cut wide ropes etc...) what knife would be your recommendation?
    My question maybe stupid, sorry for that. But if I can't buy a legally carriable knife which is able to do the tasks above, I would rather buy a multitool.
  2. ScooterG

    ScooterG You mean Ireland? Yeah, it’s mine. Gold Member

    Mar 15, 2016
    dirc, Quiet, Pomsbz and 2 others like this.
  3. TheEdge01


    Apr 3, 2015
    I agree with ScooterG, a multi tool would be an ideal choice. Also a Swiss Army knife might be worth looking into.
  4. BellaBlades

    BellaBlades Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 12, 2013
    Sounds like you need a quality fixed blade with 3 inch cutting edge , multi tool, hatchet and wood saw. But a 3 inch blade certainly has its limitations.
  5. Steve6387


    Jul 1, 2013
    Agree with the multi tool suggestion. Also, my SAK spartan is 2.5 inches and the most used and useful edc I have ever owned. Many long distance backpackers go for extended periods in the woods with similar knives. Battoning and chopping is fun but not a necessity to get by.
    jacksterp likes this.
  6. AntDog

    AntDog Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 3, 2001
    1. Yes. You’re not going to find a knife with a 3” blade that will fell trees, skin game, AND cut wide ropes. It just doesn’t exist.

    2. I’d recommend buying a knife to carry every day that is capable of doing most of what you want, and getting another knife or tool to cover the rest.

    I personally carry a folder or fixed blade for every day use, but I have other stuff in my car for unexpected situations.

    You have to look at things realistically. If something bad happens and you need to take off quickly, if you’re at home you have your entire inventory at your disposal - choose what you want and go. If you’re at work or elsewhere, you’ve got what you have in your vehicle. Prepare accordingly.
    Quiet, Pomsbz, MolokaiRider and 2 others like this.
  7. Henry Beige

    Henry Beige Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    It is not reasonable to expect an EDC knife to serve you in a survival situation. If it can open a letter, slice an apple, cut into a blister pack, and slit the tape on a package, it wil pass 99% of the tests that present themselves. Add the tools on an SAK and McGyver your way out of any jam.

    If you are going into the woods, take the knife you want, and don’t worry about the law.
  8. uraninite

    uraninite Basic Member Basic Member

    Aug 21, 2019
    You should expect your edc to cut. Thats really its main goal, and you should choose choose a knife that excels at that. I live in a state with no real restrictions, and I still carry a traditional non locking folder thats right around 3 inches. Why? None of the tasks I do require a lock or strong knife. I open packages, cut meat, cheese, and fruit for my lunches, and cut bits of twine. So thin, light, and sharp is what I go for. I carried a case peanut for a year for example. I currently carry and opinal 7, which I think I right at 3 inches. An edc knife is not a conquerors sword, its intended to cover 95% of the tasks that YOU will encounter. When I am in the mountains I have other knives and tools to supplement my edc. Look for a slicer with a thin blade, a little belly, and a good sharp tip if you want a single bladed folder. That will excel at what you are looking for and what you should expect. If you are concerned about wood processing, take a look at some of the SAKs with saws. They have small, thin, sharp blades that are great slicers, along with a pretty decent saw that can handle logs up to about wrist diameter or a little thicker without much issues. Take a look at the SAK fieldmaster, which is an awesome EDC knife.
    Ace Rimmer likes this.
  9. Sonnydaze

    Sonnydaze Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 6, 2009
    Your 8cm blade is 3.14" and I have a lot of fixed blades that are within the 3" range of tip-to-grip.
    The only knife in the pic that exceeds your allowed range is the top one.. with a tip-to-grip measurement of 3.5". Two of those knives are from BUSSE, a company who expects their knives to be used and used HARD. That is,
    you won't hurt some of the three inch knives if you baton through thick branches all day long. That company's short-bladed knives, reasonably thick spines, designed for purposes you speak of...would be my first recommendation.
    And yes, some of these knives, made for heavy duty, would do just fine for you in the woods, to make camp, prepare a shelter, cut shavings for a fire, cut up your meal, and so forth.
    Many long distance hikers carry a knife similar to this, attached to their pack, but may also have a wire-saw or hatchet to make some projects less cumbersome...
    I don't agree that you are so very limited...not at all.
    Of course, opinions vary...

    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
    DocJD and MolokaiRider like this.
  10. NWPilgrim

    NWPilgrim Basic Member Basic Member

    Aug 1, 2019
    A 3” knife can certainly cut ropes, skin game, chop camp food, make a fuzz stick, clean up a limb for a smooth walking stick, etc. A folding saw will be more effective for collecting limbs for firewood or a shelter. A small hatchet is better for splitting wood.

    I would carry a multi-tool with knife blade and saw blade, or a Victorinox Camper or Farmer. And a 3” Fixed blade for more sturdy cutting or for skinning.
  11. Kaibab270

    Kaibab270 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 20, 2019
    I don't expect a knife to do anything except cut or stab. But expectations aren't always reality I suppose. If I had to choose only 1 knife with a 3" blade to do it all I'd have to go with the Para 3 or the small Sebenza 21 Insingo. I'd probably be more inclined to take the Spyderco since I have alot more experience with it. Preferably a stainless/somewhat tough flavor ala S35VN or M390.

    If it's a fixed blade I'd probably get the M390 Lionsteel M1. A 1095 blade might be more reasonable for hard use but I dont own one so my opinion here is biased ;)
  12. DocJD


    Jan 29, 2016
    :) 80mm=~3.15" , so just tad over 3" .

    It's too bad to have to live under that kind of restrictive system , but some places in the USA as bad or worse . :mad::thumbsdown:

    But 3" is far from useless . I would certainly make sure to have a generous ,full sized (or even oversized) handle , unless that is also limited . :cool::thumbsup:

    I would recommend a fixed blade , if allowed . ;)

    Maybe something like this :

    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
    MolokaiRider likes this.
  13. afishhunter


    Oct 21, 2014
    SAK "Huntsman"
    Saw works well.
    Scissors come in handy more oft than you'd think.
    Has toothpick and tweezers.
    Can Opener is one of the best.
    Flatblade screwdriver for screws or light prying.
    A Chain or Cable saw (or even a bow saw) would be a good idea for quick work of larger branches.
    A single bit hatchet in your backpack can come in handy for lots of stuff.

    "chain saw": get a replacement chain for an 18 to 24 inch bar chainsaw. Attach a handle to each end. It will store away in almost no space.
    Ace Rimmer likes this.
  14. Pomsbz


    Jul 31, 2015
    Victorinox Farmer.

    If they define blade length by the cutting edge then a Victorinox 111mm model has a significantly longer blade than the regular 91/93mm models and the saw significantly is longer. The Outrider is a particularly nice model and the Hunter is also rather interesting. The older 111mm models have a sliding lock which can be removed turning the knife into a regular slipjoint if locks are a problem for legal carry where you live.

    The idea of needing a big blade to do wood stuff might require a rethink. Blades don't chop, they cut. If you are cutting then a smaller blade requires more cuts than a big blade but it isn't 'unable to cut' because it is small, it just takes longer. I would recommend watching this video and the two follow up videos in the series.

  15. cbrstar

    cbrstar Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 7, 2015
    The other day a Canadian guy defended himself successfully from a Bear with a 2.5" Buck. So to me IMHO it's more about the skills and determination of the person holding the knife then the size.
    CanadaKnifeGuy likes this.
  16. Skidoosh

    Skidoosh Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 21, 2016
    I like the Swiss Army Knife Trekker. Does it matter if it is fixed blade or folder?
  17. GatorFlash1

    GatorFlash1 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 28, 2012
    Can you carry an axe and hatchet? Those would be my choices for a long stay in the woods. Forget the knife.

  18. Ace Rimmer

    Ace Rimmer

    Jul 4, 2017
    Yes, definitely watch the Vinnie's Day Off videos. He does an amazing amount with a single slipjoint!
    jackknife and Pomsbz like this.
  19. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    Actually, you need a whole lot of knives.:D Welcome to the forum!
    CanadaKnifeGuy likes this.
  20. jackknife


    Oct 2, 2004
    Any good knife with a 2 1/2 to 3 inch blade will do most of what you need to do in the woods or in town. If you think you may need to split wood and process wood for campfires or shelter in an emergency, try a good quality folding saw. A saw will let you cut and split wood way faster than any knife and safer and with less caloric expenditure to boot.

    Watch some Ray Mears videos on how to split wood with a saw. Between Vinnie and ray Mears, all you need is a good pocket knife and folding saw.
    Ace Rimmer likes this.

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