There are many places where carrying a pocket knife can get you into some serious trouble.
Confiscation, fines, and even jail time are all repercussions of breaking the law. Many of these laws are written in convoluted ways, keeping 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 it may have completely different laws than the previous county that you were just in.
But there are still many legit reasons to consider adding a pocket knife to your everyday carry (EDC).
Top 10 Reasons to Carry A Pocket Knife Everyday
If you were to ask many of those who carry a folder for EDC, their reason for carrying would be self-defense. Indeed, self-defense tops the list as the main reason for carrying a pocket knife.
However, its important to practice using this regularly, since it’s pointless to bring if you don’t know how to utilize it.
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 in it, your knife can also be used against you in a heartbeat!
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Building a fire has a plethora of purposes, both in recreational and emergency situations. I have plenty of fire-starting gear 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 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.
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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 moleskin.
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.
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Also, while I am out in the field, the usual critters buzzing around can be a nuisance. 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 safe and hassle-free 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 quite 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 can’t live without.
A well-built folder can serve as a lever quite well when the need for prying comes along.
For 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.
But it should be noted that no knife (folding knives especially) are intended to be used as pry bars… I’d only recommend this be done as a last resort.
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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-sleeved shirt into a short-sleeved 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 punch another hole in 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 dozens of other purposes once they empty. The cleaner 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 Dressing A Fresh Kill
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 meal before you can eat it. 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 base camp… Before the unwelcome guests show up.
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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 is a good, sharp knife. You are only limited by your imagination. Not only does this help you to make some much-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. Crafting defensive tools is also an amazingly useful way to utilize whittling with your pocket knife. A pocket knife is one tool that can create hundreds (or thousands) of others. 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.
What knife is in your pack? Check out our recommendations below:
How you practice now in training is how you will react in a real emergency. Regardless of your preference in a knife, carry what works well for you. Your EDC needs to become an extension of your body. Whether it’s self-defense or just using it in the field to pry up a rock and find a little bait, the more experience that you have with your knife, the more applications that you will find for it during emergency situations.
What knife do you find best suited for these situations? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Up Next: SimpliSafe Home Security System Review
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2017 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
j agree absolutely…
I’ve carried a pocket knife since I was eight or nine.now, a small Swiss Army knife and an excellent Al Mar lock back.as for self defense,if it’s not in your hand,use empty hand until it’s safe to reach for it,but still a very bad idea unless you’re health depends on it.mine is attached to my car keys so it’s in my hand to and from my car.i use an in the waistband cross draw carry.its fast safe secure and very discreet.used this once when threatened in the street.would be attacker fled immediately
Not only do I agree with your assessment of carrying a good pocket knife wholeheartedly, but I too have carried one my entire life as well. In fact I have a hard time remembering a time when I didn’t carry one. Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Military. In fact my mother would ask to use my knife at times or ask me to do something that required my knife and if I was not carrying it, she would ask where is it, and why do you not have one in your pocket. I got new pocket knives every year, sometimes for both my birthday and Christmas and more than one was a frequent occurrence as well.
But I wanted to mention something about diggin, it was the first thought that came to mind as I read this article. I might at the most use my knife to stab the ground or dig around something stuck in the ground… like one might dig around the bottom of a landmine to remove it, or dig a grub out of a log. But what I would do when digging is make a good digging stick, an invaluable tool to keep with you and the right knife can do that quickly enough in any situation. Then that stick can make extremely short work of digging a quick hole for a latrine or trap or any other reason. When you have more time, you can always make a better digging stick and burn the one you have.
I normally carry 2 knives one very small give away knife and a folding skinning knife that I use every day.
I too carry a pocket knife in every pair of pants I wear. I prefer my swiss army as I really do use the can opener and flat screwdriver, as well as the other attachments, except, I still have never used the cork screw.
According to my calculations, I have carried a pocket knife for 67 years. I grew up on a farm and I needed a knife to cut the twine on the hay bales because I was not big enough to pop the twine like dad did. I carried to school all of those years and never had a problem. The other boys were also farm boys and so were some of the teachers. I don’t think that anyone would have thought about using it as a weapon, it was a tool just as a saw or hammer are for a carpenter. The only place where I know not to carry a knife is a Federal Building.
been carrying one since I was 5 or so, now 78, still carry one all the time except when in bed
I have carried a basic two or three blade Case knife constantly since before I was in high school (and that was many years ago). The only exceptions was when I was called to Jury duty or some such and had to leave it outside the court room or something similar. I still carry a basic Case but now also carry a tactical style folder, a multi-tool, and when appropriate for the day a fixed blade.
Like many my High School “banned” knives but it would only be enforced if you did something stupid with your knife otherwise they were ignored. As an aside, our Chemistry teacher said more than once he opposed the rule against knives at school because “you never know when you might need to cut someone”.
I also have carried a CASE 3 blade knife all my life just as my father taught me.Carried 1 in NAM also,lost it in the sand ,found it & still have it.Iam 75 yrs. & just got a new 1.
I am an old woman living on a small farm, and I can add numerous reasons : Cutting loose a panicking animal. Opening bags of food for horses, dogs, birds, cats. Cutting off branches that touch the electric fence. Cutting open bales of hay. Cutting flowers. Snipping off wayward branches in a hedge or tree. Digging up poisonous plants. Fastening a screw, etc etc 😉
I’ve carried a pocket knife since I was 8 years old, and the only one I have ever cut with it is myself. Now i’m a criminal if I carry it in a lot of places. It’s sad when our governments believe the only way they can protect us is by disarming us and making us victims. The police can’t protect us, they can only clean up the mess afterwards and maybe catch the offenders. We have to protect ourselves, it’s a fundemental right!
Been carrying all my life also. Farm, hunt and tool have been the main uses then I ran across a SOG brand multitool and have carried both ever since, love my tools and being prepared for most of the stuff that life throws at me. One thing that was not covered was sharpening a d the necessity of keeping a sharp blade. If it is not sharp it will not do some of the things that need done and that is one of the reasons that I have a folder and a blade on my multitool. When I need a scraping tool or anything else that is going to dull my blade I know that I still have a sharp edge on my other one.
My uncle gave me my first pocket knife, I was four. he also showed me how to sharpen it, care for it and use it, told me that it was as important as my pants and NEVER be with out it. That was 70 years ago, since then I have owned and carried one, never been without. The old boy was right, as useful as breathing.
I carry multiple blades with me every single day, a Huntsman Swiss Army Knife and a Schrade Tough Tool. NO tactical folders. However, I do keep a large fixed blade knife in a Get Home Bag with my vehicle.
I carry a tactical folder knife everywhere I go. It has a 5″ blade half of it is serrated, it’s got a mini fero rod, a mini led flashlight, a seatbelt cutter and a window breaking point in the end. It is always with me. Stuff happens and you might need a blade to handle that situation. I don’t understand why people fear a small folding pocket knife, it’s just a tool, it won’t hurt anyone unless you use it to hurt someone. No different than a screwdriver, or a wrench. Some people just don’t know how usefull a folder can be in everyday life and especially in an emergency situation.
Interesting article and replies about carrying a pocket knife. I’m 70 years young and always had a pocket knife since I was around 5 yrs old. Took it to school back then with no problems as long as it stayed in my pocket. My father’s would always remind me of the saying
” Whittle away keeps the cuts away ” meaning always whittle the piece of wood with the knife blade moving away from you .
My favorite carry is a Buck Squire. Drop point. Have cleaned countless fish and many deer with it. Used to carry two blade trapper style, one clip point and a spey point. But, love the drop point.
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I’m kind of dubious about the concept of using a folding knife as a means for self defense. Using ANYTHING as a weapon for self defense requires training. Lots of it. Using a weapon to attack someone is quite simple, but defending yourself is a MUCH greater challenge. In the martial art I practice, it typically takes a decade to reach black belt, at which point you MAY be competent enough to deal with an attack, but you have probably reached a level of awareness you can avoid being attacked.
On the other hand, a knife is an essential tool. I carried a Victorinox “Tinker’ Swiss Army Knife for decades until I discovered the Leatherman pocket tool in the mid ’80s, and now carry a Leatherman Wave II, having flirted with SOG, Buck and Gerber tools along the way. They were OK, but the wire cutters jaws weren’t adequate for cutting telecom wire – they did not fit well enough. (I probably cut a dozen pieces of telecom-style wire for every piece of 18+ gauge wire or coat hanger.) Sometimes I’ve found I need a knife at the same time as a tool, so I’ve been carrying a Spiderco Native too. I have to admit, I bought a special edition with a pink handle ’cause I figured guys would give it back. Promptly. And so far they have, after loaning it dozens of times.
I have carried 2 knives since I was 9 I’m 56 now and still do . I carry one 3” lockback for general cutting ,scraping and rough use . I carry a sodbuster the large one and keep it razor sharp for Non dulling cutting only . Never go anywhere without both . Only remove from carry for government buildings.
Jerry- I have always carried a pocket knife, and will till I pass! My Grandaddy gave me one when I was 6, he gave me a red and white Indian pony, told me to learn how to handle both ! He was a Railroad Worker and strong, real strict on me, nowI am glad! He told me to keep my knife sharp, that a dull one is limited on what it can do. I was gotten out of many bad spots with the help from my Kbar’ pocket knife. I am 77 now and still carry one. Also a 10” hunting knife. I use and need them both! Thanks for all the “ blade guys out there “. Keep kuttin’ Up.
yes, I am a hunter I love to go for hunting every next 10,15 day, pro hunter needs great knives for it hunting trip, I love to travel fixed blade knives these knives loo very strong and durable when you are traveling in the knives. the have a fixed blade, full tang