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Knives & Gear: Lessons and Suggestions from Havasupai

Before you click out of this page because you think you accidentally went to a travel blog, let me put your mind at rest; you’re in the right place. This isn’t your typical Knife Blog post, but stick with me for a minute— I promise I’ll get to knives.
My husband and I went on a 10-mile hike to Havasupai Falls earlier this summer. This was my first legit time backpacking, and I learned how essential and convenient having the right gear is no matter where you are. Here are some things I learned as well as some great knife and gear recommendations from Blade HQ team members.
But first, take a look at where I went. The photos don’t really do it justice, but the place is amazing. Also, my camera sucks. And I’m not a photographer. Just saying.
(I do recognize that this is the Knife Blog. If you’re just interested in looking at knives right now, feel free to skip to the end for some great knife suggestions.)

Gear in Use

While packing our gear before we left, it was incredibly tempting to leave some things out of my pack, like paracord, that I had never needed before. I knew I was bringing my knife, but I honestly didn’t know how much I’d use that, either—we wouldn’t be cutting up firewood because fires aren’t allowed at Havasu, and I felt like we had prepared pretty well.
Call me Doubting Kaylene, but I just wanted to leave a lot of that stuff at home to cut down on the already-huge pack I’d be carrying. Thankfully, my husband reasoned with me. Take a look at how we used my knife and paracord:

  • Cut paracord to attach our tent to one pack
  • Cut more paracord to put mosquito netting around our tent (the rope that came with the netting ended up being too short)
  • Cut open packages of food
  • Cut moleskin (I started getting a blister about 4 miles in. That will happen when you’re carrying 30 percent of your body weight.)
  • Used paracord to hold back a tree branch that was above our tent—there was caterpillar webbing on it and we woke up with caterpillar poop on our stuff. Let me tell you, this was not pleasant. We untied it before leaving.
  • Cut more paracord for tying up our trash bag
  • Cut thread so my husband could make a lasso and catch a lizard—they were everywhere. Good thing we were prepared, right?


Lesson Learned

What I learned is this: gear becomes invaluable when you are in a moment of need. It’s easy to view some gear as just extra weight, but if we hadn’t brought paracord, for example, we would have had to carry our tent in our arms for 10 miles. So, just because you’ve never used a piece of gear before, it doesn’t mean that you never will. Be smart about what you bring when you’re venturing outdoors.

Gear Suggestions

From this trip I also learned that frankly, some of my gear sucks. The gear you use can make all the difference, so I asked around, and here is some tried and approved gear from some people here at Blade HQ. Take these items camping, backpacking, hiking, or wherever it is you’re going.

Just as sturdy as the Izula, but with scales for additional comfort.

Kershaw Skyline
kershaw-1760orx-skyline-orange-folder-openOffers great slicing action for food prep.

ESEE is amazing in general, but we think the ESEE-5 is a pretty great pick. This is a great, durable survival knife.

Ka-Bar Short Becker BK17
Another great option to take with you.

Shrade Extreme Survival SCHF9
]If you’re looking for a larger knife, but one that’s not quite as expensive as those listed above, this blade is a great option.

Mountain House

Mountain House food is good in general, but people seemed to like these entrees especially.

Kershaw Magnesium Fire Starter
This is a great piece of survival gear that is functional, lightweight, and carry-friendly.

Proforce Shemagh
Shemaghs are great for keeping the sun off of you, keeping you warm, drying your hands… the list goes on.

Smokeeater908 Mini Heat Stove
Smokeeater stoves are a great option for backpacking, bug-out bags, camping, or anytime you need a lightweight stove. These stoves use inexpensive denatured alcohol to run.

Silva Polaris Compass
Silva is a great brand. They really know how to make a compass.

Best Glide ASE Single-Use Fishing Kit
This kit contains the most basic fishing necessities. Take this along with a knife, and you’re all set to catch some dinner.

As I learned, paracord can be used for countless things. Don’t get caught without it.

Maratac Titanium Peanut Lighter
These are stellar lighters; they are incredibly small, so they’re perfect for everyday carry, but they also won’t let you down.

Maxpedition Playing Cards Tactical Field Deck (All Weather)
Occasionally there’s down time when you’re camping. Cards are a great way to pass the time, and these ones are tactical, so you can take them anywhere.

What’s your knife choice when it comes to outdoor use?

5 thoughts on “Knives & Gear: Lessons and Suggestions from Havasupai

  1. My first knife of choice is my falschirmjager gravity knife by the Otto Forstner co. Also, I would not go into the bush without at least one survival candle; extremely useful.

  2. Great suggestion! I think most people (myself included) forget about candles. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Gerber new Ultimate Pro Knife is pretty sweet. I like the idea of a fire steel that fits into the sheath and a built in field sharpener.
    Also I never go into the woods without my Multitool (Leatherman Wave). And if its going to be an extended trek don’t forget a hatchet.

  4. I think after a light-weight knife and para-cord, I’d choose to bring my small flashlight. The FOURSEVENS Preon 2 is my EDC and it’s negligible in weight, very powerful, and has only gone through one set of batteries in six months of nearly daily use.

  5. I like that you guys are listing the specific gear you use- it’s always interesting to see what people’s go-to items/brands are.

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