In an earlier post, we looked at the Ten Essentials. Here, we will start looking at individual items on the list. Ideally, there would be ten posts in this series, but because there are variations on the list, we will have more as we consider all the items from different versions of the Ten Essentials.

Of the three versions that we considered, we will start with the Boy Scout checklist. The first item on this list is the pocketknife. Dictionary.com describes the pocketknife as “a knife with one or more blades that fold into the handle, suitable for carrying in the pocket.” The word originates between 1720 and 1730 by compounding “pocket” and “knife.” We’ve had a variety of pocketknives in the FamilyTrivium household and find this definition to be spot on and we’ll defer to the historians with respect to the etymology of the word.

On the classic Mountaineers list, knife (item 9) would be covered by carrying a pocketknife. On the updated Mountaineers list, repair kit and tools (item 7) should include a knife, with a pocketknife satisfying the requirement. On the Boys Scout list, a multitool is listed as an alternative to the pocketknife. We will examine this option in our next post in this series.

As mentioned above, we’ve had several pocketknives come through the FamilyTrivium household over the years – while not a collector, Mr. FamilyTrivium has what some might call the beginnings of a pocketknife collection. His current favorite is the Opinel No6 Carbon. With the carbon blade, it requires maintenance to avoid rust, but it comes wicked sharp, takes an edge really easily, locks closed, and is forget-about-it lightweight in the pocket.

Before this, he preferred the Spyderco Persistence, which also comes relatively sharp, takes an edge relatively easily, keeps said edge well, and is very tough. The problems are that it is heavy, bulky, and “tactical” looking. The downsides to the No6 are that is isn’t very rugged, having a wood handle that might swell if allowed to get wet – with the carbon blade you may very well also have rust if you allow it to soak. It does also require two hands to open.

For most days, the easy choice is the lightweight Opinel No6. For the trail, if weight isn’t a huge consideration, it’s the Spyderco Persistence. Please feel free to share in the comments if you have a favorite pocketknife (or pocketknives).


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