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Frosts Mora Knives
Lightweight, durable knives for wilderness survival and camping
Review by Thomas J. Elpel

      A good survival knife should hold an edge, and be versatile, durable, and low cost--just in case you accidentally lose it. It is for these reasons that Frosts Mora Knives, made in Sweden, are favored by so many primitive skills and wilderness survival experts and practitioners. The knives are so light weight that you hardly notice you have one on your body, yet sturdy and durable for serious woodworking.

      The Orange Stainless Steel Clipper Knife is made with a hardenable stainless steel to produce a blade with extreme strength and long life, as well as having high resistance to moisture without rusting. Like the two ends of the handle, the sheath is colored a bright safety orange, which helps to insure that this knife and sheath would be difficult to lose, even in the dark. The sheath is a "clipper" style, allowing you to quickly clip it to your belt or pocket, without having to undo your belt.

      The Camo Stainless Steel Clipper Knife is identical to the Orange Stainless Steel Clipper Knife, except for the color. The military green handle and sheath are nice for blending into the woods. You won't feel like you are carrying a glowing light through the forest like you might with the Orange Clipper. However, if you misplace the Camo Clipper while you are out and about, then it might permanently become part of the natural world.

Frost's Mora Knife: Stainless Steel Clipper / Orange $20.00 Quantity:
Frost's Mora Knife: Stainless Steel Clipper / Camo $20.00 Quantity:

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Victorinox Field Master Swiss Army Knife
Compact, but incredibly versatile.
Review by Thomas J. Elpel

      Survival skills enthusiasts often like big, macho knives. Big knives are useful for certain tasks, especially serious wood-working, even for chopping down small trees. But for most survival purposes, my favorite knife has always been a good Victorinox Swiss Army Knife with two knife blades, a saw, scissors, and tweezers. (The other functions are useful too, but these are the important tools.)

      At home I use my Swiss Army Knife constantly. I use a blade for a letter opener, and the scissors for everything from trimming my fingernails to cutting paper or buckskin. The tweezers are always handy for slivers, and yes, I use the both styles of screw drivers, and occasionally even the wire stripper.

      When traveling, my Swiss Army Knife is the equivalent of having a whole tool kit at hand, useful for minor car repairs, or for opening a can of tuna and cutting through a block of cheese.

      In the wilderness I use the saw blade more than anything else, since it so easy to make straight clean cuts through small branches (rather than using a blade to cut through the branch and whittling it down to a blunt tip). The saw blade is also useful for quickly notching a bowdrill fire board for friction fire-starting.

      The one thing you have to be careful about with a Swiss Army Knife is to avoid prying with the blade. That is a common mistake with any knife, and I've broken the blade on more than one pocketknife that way. After breaking the blade on my Swiss Knife many years ago, I switched over to a variety of substitute knives. All of them had nice features, but they were typically big and clunky, or not very versatile. I even carried a stone knife for a year. Trying out different knives helped to hone my survival skills, because I had to figure out how to do things without the aid of the scissors, saw and tweezers. But it was so inconvenient. I constantly missed the versatility and compact size of a good Swiss Army Knife, so I am glad to once again have my favorite knife in my pocket.

      I sometimes bring a second, larger blade, such as a Mora Knifeon camping trips, but my first choice is still my Swiss Knife. It is always in my pocket whether I am attending a wedding or standing on top of a 10,000 foot peak.

      We carry a wide selection of Swiss Army Knives at our store in Silver Star, Montana, but my favorite is the Field Master model shown here, since it has the blades, saw, and scissors combination. Sure, pliers would be nice too, but that makes the knife excessively clunky, so this is my preferred model. When Victorinox comes out with a Swiss Army Phaser, then I'll buy that too.

      Avoid the cheap knock-off brands that are found everywhere these days. Only a genuine Swiss-made Swiss Army Knife is worth bothering with.

Victorinox FieldMaster Swiss Army Knife $39.00 Quantity:

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Handy-Sharp / E-Z Sharp
Keychain Knife Sharpener
Great for keychain survival kits.
Review by Thomas J. Elpel

      My knife is an extension of my hand and I use it constantly in the kitchen, in house construction, and on wilderness treks. I need to keep a sharp blade, but have neither the time nor the inclination to stop and use a whetstone until my knife becomes impossibly dull. Fortunately, the E-Z Sharp keychain knife sharpener is the ideal knife sharpening system for people like me who need a blade, but don't have time to mess with whetstones. E-Z sharp is small, lightweight and easily fits on a keychain to insure that you always have it when you need it. With E-Z Sharp on your keychain, you can sharpen your knife in seconds, right when you need it most. E-Z Sharp is versatile and effectively sharpens a large variety of cutting edges, including: knives, scissors, broadheads, fish hooks, garden tools, and axes.

      1. Hold knife sharpener firmly at a 20 to 30 degree angle. Stroke any cornered edge of your E-Z Sharp with your blade (Not the flat top surface.) A few strokes are usually adequate.
      2. For a dulled or burred knife, increase stroke pressure.
      3. As the cutting edge becomes sharper, the stroke pressure should be lightened to create a finer honed edge.
      4. Sharpening techniques may be varied to meet individual styles and needs.

      Always be careful to avoid contact with the sharp edges of cutting tools.

Survival Keychain
      Because of its compact size, E-Z Sharp is ideal for the survival keychain. Furthermore, as my friend Niall Fink taught me, the carbide edge is equal or better at striking sparks with the Swedish Fire Steel than the metal striker that comes with the Fire Steel. Keep the mischmetal rod, but substitute E-Z Sharp for the metal plate for increased functionality with less bulk. The Handy-Sharp pictured here (upper left) is slightly larger, but otherwise functions the same as the E-Z Sharp. It also has a two-carbide, angled notch on the side to sharpen blades by dragging them through the notch.

      Limited availability: The E-Z Sharp and Handy Sharp are currently out of production, but our supplier is kindly redirecting stock from other vendors to us. We ship either the E-Z Sharp or the Handy Sharp, depending on what we have in stock at the moment.

E-Z Sharp / Handy-Sharp Knife Sharpener    $8.00    Quantity:

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