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The Ultimate Survival Knife

Recently, one of the members on the Dirttime Forum said this about the Case Jumbo Stockman knife,

“If you can’t survive with this knife then you need to go back to your armchair”.

He, of course, was taking a dig at everyone who feels they need more than a small pocket knife to survive—Those folks that buy, buy, buy gear and think it is the answer to all of their survival problems. It was directed at those who are constantly describing the anatomy of a survival knife— It needs to be 1/4″ stock, full tang, minimum 6″ in length, carbon steel… blah blah blah. Apparently, no one gave that memo to our primitive ancestors yet they seemed to get along just fine.

That member’s remark reminded me of this article I wrote several years ago for Wilderness Way


I’ve used knives in myriad styles, prices, shapes and sizes. I’ve had the custom knife made to my specs. I’ve paid three hundred dollars for the Gucci knife of the month. I’ve had endless debates with knife nuts who seem so stuck in their views that no other opinion matters.

“So and so uses x knife so therefore it must be the best”.

“Hey, did you check out that new Klingon steel, modified dropped blister point, with a recurved zero degree offset bevel grind, custom-molded byzantine grip, differential abstract heat-treated in multi-dimensional zone fired furnace, perfect length, mutant fixed/folding blade made by a secret society high up in the Himalayan mountains whose fortress can only be accessed during the summer thaw?”…

Case Large Amber Bone CV Stockman Pocket Knife

Yeah, I used to be one of these guys. I used to have a knife for every day of the week. I could hardly wait until I received a check so I could scour the internet in search of the next must-have knife. Of course, there were times when I would turn my nose at certain knives because I was biased towards a competitor or even a friend of a friend whose uncle’s cousin’s nephew really liked a certain whiz-bang knife from maker Z.

Alas, I’ve grown tired of the rhetoric spewed by others as to what I should carry and why. No longer will I tolerate my peers pooh-poohing me for my choice in tools. It does not matter what others think of my choice in knives.

A knife is a very personal tool. Some prefer a big knife, commonly referred to as a chopper, as an essential part of their wilderness gear. Others prefer a smaller fixed blade to better accomplish camp chores. Yet others prefer a folder because it allows one to concentrate at the task at hand and not take their eyes off of a project while they put their knife away. There are many reasons why folks prefer this or that, and all of them are just as legitimate as the next. A person who prefers to carry a smaller knife will inspire to use his tool in a manner that will accomplish, if not the same, close to the same job as that of a person using a bigger knife. A person with a bigger knife will likewise find a way to accomplish the very task more suited for a smaller knife.  Isn’t there some saying about necessity being the mother of invention?

As for me, I’ve found my perfect bush tool. My decision is based on years of experience and practice. I’ve learned to let go of those annoying voices from people who say my tool is not appropriate for the wilderness. I assure you, my knife is very suited for whatever wilderness survival situation may arise.

I have found my perfect knife. The only thing I ask is — don’t ask to borrow it. Instead, please find your own rock.