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I have been carrying a folding knife for as long as I can remember. I recall being a young child visiting my family in Portugal, where having a good blade that folded was commonplace. One of the first things that my grandfather would do when he saw me was to present me with a new folder. It was always something that I looked forward to with each trip. I cannot say that my mom was thrilled about the idea but… She went along with the excitement and let me hold onto the knives; Well… At least while I was in Portugal. Once I got back to America, my prized gifts would somehow disappear. 🙁
Once I became a boy scout, there was a course that I had to take in order to utilize edged tools, including knives, while out in the field. Once I met the requirements for the safety course named, Totin’ Chip, I was able to carry my folder with me while at camp. Back then, there was nothing “tactical” about carrying a folder. It was just a tool that made most things in the field, a hell of a lot easier.
As I finished my boy scout career, a folder was something that I always had with me. Obviously, there were certain places where I couldn’t carry my folder. But if there was a possibility, my folder was always in my pocket. After becoming a United States Marine, my fondness for carrying my folder, on a daily basis, continued. I must admit that my choice in folders certainly got a bit cooler, but the applications for choosing a folder for everyday carry (EDC) remained relatively the same.
I eluded earlier to the fact that there are many places where carrying a folder can get you into some serious trouble. Confiscation, fines and even jail time are all repercussions that can be suffered from breaking the law. Many of these laws are written in convoluted ways to keep us confused and vulnerable. Not only do we have to worry about laws changing from State to State… But even the county that you choose to carry in may have completely different laws than the previous county that you were just in.
One of my go to resources for knowing what action to take when carrying my folder is the Knife Laws of the U.S.: Loopholes, Pitfalls & Secrets by Evan Nappen. It has given me great insight as well as valuable information on the ins and outs of various laws and regulations in the U.S. Keep in mind that I am addressing United States laws. If you choose to carry your folder Internationally… A whole other world of scrutiny will open up. Be smart and know the laws of every place that you decide to carry your blade.
Since I have been carrying a folder for the majority of my life, I have found countless applications for utilizing my folding blade. I am continually finding new uses for my folders. Some are basic and others surface only when the need arises. But one thing that I am certain of, is that carrying a folder has made my life much easier for various tasks.
What I would like to do now is to share a few of the reasons why I carry a folding knife on a daily basis.
So Let’s Get Right Into It!
If you were to ask many of those that carry a folder for EDC, their reason for carrying… Many would state self defense. I too feel that self defense tops the list as a main reason for carrying a folder. However, I train with my folder on a daily basis and have so for years.
Practice drawing and wielding your folder on a continual basis if you plan on using it for self defense. A good folder can give you a great advantage against your assailant. But if you are not well versed with it…Your knife can also be used against you in a heartbeat!
I spend a lot of time in the field doing what I do. Building a fire has a plethora of reasons when it comes recreational as well as emergency situations. I have plenty of fire starting methods that I keep in my go bag. However, when it comes to preparing my tinder and even kindling… My folder certainly facilitates the task.
Whether I am shaving off thin layers off a branch or scoring some thinner kindling for a teepee fire, my folder handles the job very well. Even when it comes to my ferro rods, the spine of my folder does an excellent job in sending sparks to my tinder.
We never really know when a loved one, a stranger, or even ourselves will be in need of first-aid. It can be as simple as removing a splinter or even trimming up some mole skin. Knowing that I have my folder in my pocket to assist in the job adds a bit of confidence to my preparedness. If the emergency is more severe and I need to make field-expedient cravats or splints, my folder will also help to simplify those tasks.
When it comes to car accidents, you may end up being the first one on the scene. Seat belts tend to become an issue in many car wrecks. They do their intended job well but then continue to be restrictive, which can make a hazardous situation even worse. Having a folder that you can easily deploy to cut the seat belt, can be the difference between life and death for the victim(s) of the crash.
While I am out in the field, the usual critters are buzzing around making life more complicated. Many of these insects bite, sting and can wreak havoc on your experience. Being able to utilize my folder, in order to remove the stinger, can go a long way in keeping me healthy while in the field.
Eating & Food Preparation:
This point may be a bit of a no-brainer for you but I have forgotten to pack my eating utensils -a few times- over the years. Knowing that i have a knife, at the very least, can make a big difference in how I digest my meal. Even the way that my meal is prepared can vary greatly depending on whether or not I have access to my folder.
Whether I am cleaning a fish, or even slicing through a tasty fillet once it’s cooked, my folder can make the experience much more productive. Being able to dice, prune, chop and slice [utilizing just one tool] makes my folder a companion that I cannot live without.
A well built folder can serve quite well as a lever when the need for prying comes along. As an example, I can pry open a window if I need to access a building in an emergency situation. When I am in the field, there is always a need for a tool to pry with. It may be as simple as removing a rock from underneath my tent in order to get better rest and relaxation. But it can also serve me well while levering through mud and dirt; looking for fishing bait.
I touched upon using my folder to cut up cravats for first-aid applications. But I can also use it to alter my clothing. I may want to convert a beat up long-sleeve shirt, into a short-sleeve shirt. I may want to turn a pair of pants, with holes in them, into shorts. In an emergency situation, there are so many factors that are nearly impossible to plan for. Having an option to make myself more comfortable or even more practical, can enhance my chances of survival.
Something as simple as being able to add another hole to your leather belt or even to your shoes can affect your productivity. Luckily your folder can go a long way in helping you to be as sustainable as possible, while operating in an emergency scenario.
I would much rather have my entrenching tool (shovel) when digging holes out in the field. Unfortunately, I may not always have access to an e-tool while on the trail. Since I carry my folder, every chance that I get, the possibility of me having it in my pocket during an emergency is excellent. In a pinch, I can use my folder to dig a hole. It certainly will not be an easy task… But it is doable.
Whether building a small latrine or setting up a trap for hunting purposes, my folder will be able to handle the task of digging that hole.
Some of the gear contained in my go bags are still sealed in their original packaging. These items are perishable and their shelf life is greatly reduced, the second that the packaging is opened. Therefore, I keep them sealed as long as I possibly can. When the need to open them does arise, I have my folder to assist me and it makes short-work of the task.
Many of my dehydrated and freeze-dried meals are also contained in sealed bags. These bags are reusable and can serve other purposes once they are done with their primary use. The cleaner that I can make the cut while opening the package, the more options that I will have for the future of those containers. In an emergency situation, these bags can save my life.
Field Dress An Animal:
If you choose to hunt for your food, especially in a crisis, catching and killing your prey is only half the battle. You will also need to field dress your prey. Having a good folder will help you to do the job correctly. Time is definitely an issue, especially if you are hunting in areas that have larger prey than what you just bagged. As soon as they smell the blood, they are going to come investigate. A good folder will expedite the process and get you back to the safety of your basecamp… Before the unwelcomed guests show up.
There are all sorts of bushcraft gear that you can make from whittling some wood. Forks, spoons and even cups can be whittled from a piece of wood. All that you need to have is a good, sharp, knife. You are only limited by your needs and imagination. Not only does this help you to add some needed utensils to make a difficult situation more bearable, but it also helps to pass the time while maintaining morale and purpose.
You can also use your whittling to fashion walking sticks to make your trekking a bit easier. Making self defense tools is also a viable purpose to utilize whittling. Once again, it’s all up to you and your needs. But having access to your folder, is a must, for any of these ideas to actually manifest.
How you practice now, in training, is how you will react in an emergency situation.
Regardless of your preference in a knife, my advice would be to carry what is legal and works well for you. Just keep in mind that whatever your EDC choice is, Practice With It! Once you think you got the hang of it… Practice Some More!
Your EDC choice needs to becomes an extension of your body. Whether it’s self defense or just using it in the field to pry up a rock… The more experience that you have with your knife, the more applications that you will find for it during an emergency situation.