By Brian Meyer
Being a former Boy Scout, I was taught that you should always have your pocket knife on you at all times. This was usually a folding Swiss Army Knife with four or five tools built into it. This was perfect for just about everything a camping trip could throw at us, and beyond that, it was cool to have.
Today I’m many years out from being a Boy Scout but I still keep a knife on me all the time. Instead of the BSA Swiss Army knife, I now carry a Gerber with finger guard and pocket clip. Along with my wallet, I always have my knife on me, clipped securely in my back pocket unless I’m in a bar, then it’s my front.
Carrying a knife is important and not for the reason most people think. Sure, with training you can defend yourself pretty successfully with a knife, but as most of us haven’t received hand-to-hand combat training with edged weapons, a knife should be an absolute last resort for self-defense. Instead, having a knife on you at all times is more about usability and basic survival than defense. If you’re looking for defense, get a gun. If you’re looking to be useful and prepared, get a knife. Here are the top reasons for carrying a knife that you can use on the next person that asks why you always have that knife with you.
This one sounds like a no-brainer, but in everyday life as well as emergencies, a knife is really the only utensil you need, as long as you aren’t eating soup. From apples to oranges to even doubling as a steak knife, a quality knife in your pocket means you’re not going hungry any time soon.
Minor Car Repair
You’re driving along and suddenly your car starts steaming and overheating. You open the hood to find a radiator hose has cracked, spraying coolant throughout the engine compartment. You could walk to a parts store, buy a hose, and walk back and install it, or if the crack is close enough to the end, you can cut the end of the hose off and reattach it.
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What if you’re in a minor fender bender and you have a strip of plastic hanging from your car? Instead of ripping at it and causing more damage, a knife is useful to get it taken care of quickly and correctly.
Speaking of knives and cars, having a knife on you all the time is a great way to keep yourself safe AFTER an accident. Seatbelts have a way of getting stuck on after a hard hit, trapping the passenger in the vehicle. Since seatbelts are made to be strong, there’s no way to rip or tear one to get out.
With a knife on you all the time, you’re always ready in case you or someone else is in an accident and trapped in their vehicle. This can be a real lifesaver and could easily be the single best reason to keep a knife on you all the time.
Emergency Window Punch
While we’re on the topic of automotive safety and your knife, the butt end of a folding knife makes for a great window punch in case your vehicle gets into water and has electric windows, like being caught in a flash flood.
A window punch is also great for rescuing someone who is unresponsive in his or her vehicle with rolled up windows and a locked door. Being able to break the window easily and safely can get you or someone else the help they need.
Making a Fire
With enough practice and skill, all you need to start a fire is dry wood, some string, and a knife. While you should hopefully have matches or a lighter to start a fire as well, a simple pocket knife can help you make kindling, find dry wood inside wet wood, and even spark a fire with the help of a flint.
Open a Can (in an emergency)
With all the canned food being saved in bug in and bug out locations, what happens if you lose the can opener? While there are some methods to open a can without a can opener, the most readily at hand method is with a knife.
Just poke the blade into the flat top of the can, and work the blade around the top. With a little practice, you’ll get the hang of it. Make sure to wrap the blade in a towel to keep from cutting yourself in the process, too.
The last reason is the most simple of them all, and that’s to just cut stuff. Having a knife readily at hand makes opening boxes, cutting lengths of rope, and slicing everyday items a breeze.
While most people need to hunt for a knife, it’s great knowing yours is in your pocket, ready to be used. There are lots of reasons to use a knife for protection, hunting, fishing, and other survival purposes, but they are useful for so much more, too.