Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Guest Article: Bug-Out Blades - What kinds, how many, and where?

Our guest author is Todd Gdula, a professional bladesmith and member of the American Bladesmith Society.  He does custom work and his website is

While my last two pieces dealt more with how to choose a bug out knife if you could only choose one, and to make you think about choosing the right tool for the job at hand, this is more about the reality of having several (or many) knives spread out across several kits.

There are quite a few different approaches to preparedness, but one of the fundamentals that has really stuck with me is have multiple kits,  and I apply that to knives as well. At a minimum, you should have one knife that fits in your pocket and goes with you whenever you leave your residence; one that fits in the glove box or under the seat of your everyday use vehicle (or in your trunk or pickup bed if you can afford the space), and an even bigger one at your home. If you’re fortunate enough to own a cabin or shelter, then that can be fully stocked as well.

Every knife and edged tool you own should be kept very sharp at all times. No excuses.

Part of your pocket kit should be at least one easy to carry and easy to open and close folder. It can be as big as you want so long as it’s comfortable in your pocket (a belt pouch is OK, but I don’t like open carry, even with a knife) and it doesn't imprint clearly.

In your glove box you should have at least a large folder, a smallish fixed blade, and a large fixed blade (if you have the space), and the sharpening tools of your choice. For the smaller fixed blade I like a puukko or something similar; a large handle that indexes and grips easily, and a smaller blade for handiness. I think you’ll find that this knife will be the one you reach for most often for smaller cutting chores.

If you go with a larger vehicle kit I recommend another large folder, a machete and a hatchet and/or tomahawk. For the larger knife I like a classic “camp” knife in whatever style you like best. If you go with a larger kit in your car you can add a dedicated fighting knife; Bowie, dagger, or whatever you prefer. Any good quality machete will do, and the same with the hatchet. If you have a tomahawk and a hatchet, the hawk can be spiked, but if you only have a hawk I recommend a poll hawk. This is for two reasons; it gives you a hammer, and if you chop wood with a spiked hawk you risk injury from the spike. You can laugh, but it happens.

Of course, if you have a remote shelter, you should have a large variety of edged tools.

Did I mention that every knife and edged tool you own should be kept very sharp at all times, no excuses?

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