7 Knives to Survive:

Comment on "SEVEN ESSENTIAL KNIVES" in Popular Mechanics June 2013 issue, pg26

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Price comparison to as great or greater functionality:
1. Swiss Army Hiker35 Why this + other blades + #2?Replace w/ #20
2. Leatherman Rebar 55  Multitool pliers, wire cutters, etc.Winchester 30-00029216
3. Sodbuster Jr. 26  Single blade folder. But RR has rescue & asst. open defense abilities.RR4905
4. Masamoto VG 180  So-called "chef" knife. But I choose a cleaverUlt blade10
5. Stanley 99 Utility 6  The 99 is a heavy box cutter but turn the blade in mine and scrapeScraper Combo10
6. Gerber Gator Bolo Machete 55  Mine is like the Gerber without the "bolo" and w/ sawbackBK Sawback13
7. Ka-Bar Becker Companion 121  Why the high price? Both are non-foldingBK Boot3
Totals 478 57

Rachel Arndt seems to want to make the case that you need seven knives for survival and other daily tasks. Not only that, but she mostly picks the more expensive choices when less expensive ones would do the job better, or have more utility.

I can see no purpose in the Swiss Army Hiker, provided you have the multitool and the other knives.

The Winchester 30-000292 multitool including extra bits has locking blades at $16 (at Amazon as of 1June2013) just as does the Leatherman Rebar for $55.

She's joking about the Sodbuster Jr. right? Sure it's a basic single drop point blade folder, and has the "Case" name, but the handle is plastic, and I can see nothing to recommend it. The Ridge Runner 490, on the other hand, is a lockback, has a virtually wobble free, smooth, lightning fast assisted opening for lefties as well as r.h.ers, a sturdy bowie pointed blade made of AUS8 (similar to 440B but with vanadium added for toughness), and so can serve for self-defense as well as survival cutting, whittling etc.  It has rescue glass breaking and belt cutting, and is $10 for two on sale. The handle is 6061 aluminum. Maybe you can tell: I really love this knife. The RR614 (Apocalypse Survivor) is mechanically very similar, but r.h. opening stud only and green anodized handle. Oh, but if you really want to come down to a plastic handle, RR also makes the RR612. It's got lockback, partly serrated 4 in. blade (it can REALLY cut rope! as well as those other things) a lanyard hole, and only weighs around 2 1/4 oz. It's on sale for $1.98 at BudK, a very important piece of EDC survival equipment anyone can afford.  The RR490, the RR612, and the RR614 all come with belt clips and one-hand opening and closing.

Well, we're all filthy rich right? So lets spend $180 on a "chef's" knife because it'll last through the next "bacon trend". My cleaver can do so much more than this (see the "Ultimate blade" file) and has potential to last longer, and only cost me $10.

Ok. Finally PM's choice is lower priced at $6 than mine at $10. The combo scraper/boxcutter is very simple to make and should cost less. It is way lighter than the Stanley, uses cheap single edge razor blades and can convert to a scraper.

I have a Gerber 31-000758 Gator Machete with sawback that Amazon sells for only $16.04 (as of 25May2013)

The Ka-Bar Becker Companion: a 5.25 in. blade, full tang knife that (it is said) can cut ropes, cans, and tent stakes... it can chop camp chow and probably even butter. All for ONLY $121?? (dripping.. nay POURING sarcasm!) Full tang knives do not require the engineering that folders with strong and snug joints do, but are often more expensive. But THIS is ridiculous.   The $3 boot knife with sheath is my choice, but if you want a single edge with wrapped handle, BK also offers the XL1144 Full Tang Tactical Knife with sheath and a comparable blade by Tomahawk for $10.

As you can see, even if you subtracted $22 from the total price of all PM picks it would still be equal to EIGHT times the total of all my picks.  I've been a fan of PM for around 60 years, and I really don't want to believe they would pass off an advertizing or "kickback" piece as an article benefitting their readers, so I must assume that this piece of . . . .journalism is just extremely poorly researched.

P.S. I got a response from Mr. Jennings Brown, an associate editor at PM thanking me for getting so involved with their article. and saying he enjoyed the review. I'm glad that PM took such an objective view of it. But I promise: I did not go back and "soft peddle" any criticism in the original review.

1st Edition
BS102 2013