Happy Camper

There’s nothing like a trip to the great outdoors to put you in good spirits! With nature all around you, fresh air, greenery, and wildlife is abundant. No matter what the season, the environment is harsh if you do not have the right tools. Amongst the most important tools to bring with you on a camping trip is a camp knife. In fact, some people bring a variety of knives such as a camp knife, hatchet, fish fillet knife, multi-tool, and a mid-size survival knife.

A decent camp knife is usually an all-in-one versatile knife with extreme durability. Camp knives generally have a blade at least 5 inches in length and can have a full-tang or hidden-tang handle. Campsites are dirty and you can imagine how grimy and dull a knife will get after repeated usage. I strongly recommend packing a pocket sharpening tool (I like Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener) for proper blade sharpening on the go!

Camp knives can be used for batoning (splitting wood), cut tender, prepare food, notch poles, and other common camp-oriented tasks. Ergonomics are very important in the wilderness, so it’s vital to make sure that the knife you are purchasing is comfortable for your hand. Features like jimping (little groove cutouts for the thumb on the back of the blade) can provide increased control. Serrations are another factor to take into consideration; knives can be partially or completely serrated. Although they can be used like a saw to gradually slice through thick objects, the cuts are less clean than plain edge knives. Knives with partial or full serration are also more difficult to sharpen than plain edge blades. Blade HQ experts provide a review of some popular camping knives.

Camp knives demonstrate more strength during big tasks versus their smaller pocket knife counterparts. They are usually fixed blades, but can also be folders with more robust construction. Liner lock knives are not recommended for activities such as batoning as they usually buckle up and can injure the user. Also, just because it’s a burly camp knife doesn’t mean it can’t be pretty. I prefer a plain edge with mirror polish or stonewash finish. Knives can be easily stored in a leather or kydex sheath that attaches either on your belt loop or the side pouch of your backpack.

Thank you for reading this camping knife blog post and please let me know what kinds of knives you take camping in the comments below! If you like this content, please don’t forget to subscribe.


Camp knives from John’s collection.
Photo Credit: Kammi Dingman

EDC Knife Hunting Experience

Recently, I went shopping for a new EDC (every day carry) knife, so I thought I’d share what criteria I used and the thought process that I had during my selection experience. Before purchasing a knife, I perused the internet to do online research on various brands and models that met the standard features I was looking for. I used BladeHQ as a major source, which offered a lot of unboxing videos along with commentary on the features of the blades. They sell blades through their website so they provide a lot of detailed specs and information concerning each product!

First of all, I wanted a light, but sizable EDC folding knife with an assisted opening mechanism for fast deployment. The liner lock feature is also something I have always been super comfortable with since childhood. A stonewash finish was also a requirement, as they are easier to maintain and look better aesthetically over a long period of time. I prefer to have an EDC with me at all times for so many reasons (utility, hunting, survival, etc.) After all, you never know when and how a knife could save your life.

After I picked out some appealing candidates and went out to Scheels sporting goods store to physically try them out. I personally like to window shop, feel, and try before I buy. After examination of a few Kershaw, Benchmade, CRKT, and Gerber knives, I found a Zero Tolerance to be particularly exceptional. I had heard of the brand before and knew that it had a good reputation. I also utilized EDC Ninja Zero Tolerance Knife Reviews to my advantage. Now, I was going to make an informed decision.

Zero Tolerance 0770CF offered a SpeedSafe assisted opening flipper, liner lock, carbon fiber handle, CPM S35VN stonewash finish, and reversible deep-carry pocket clip. With an overall weight of 3 oz., it’s size of 7.5 in. in length looks very deceiving. It’s also made in the USA! I purchased it, took it home, made a paracord retention lanyard for it, and we have been inseparable ever since.

The carbon fiber handle made this knife robust, and yet light enough for me to pack as an EDC. The drop point blade is made from durable and edge-retaining CPM S35VN powdered steel. CPM indicates that the steel is made via Crucible Industries. Metallurgy details aside, the S35VN blade is essentially a premium wear and corrosion resistant stainless steel. Zero Tolerance Knives (established in 2006) is a brand made by Kai USA, which also makes cutlery globally via brands Kershaw, Shun, and Kai Housewares. In addition to EDC knives, they also make cooking knives, tactical pens, and other house ware oriented items.

Thank you for reading this blog post and I invite you to subscribe and comment! I’d like to learn more about what EDCs you like.


Zero Tolerance 0770CF. Photo Credit: Kammi Dingman

Knife Building- Stock Removal Procedure

I enjoy watching my husband make knives using the stock removal method. Stock removal means that you are essentially carving out a knife and removing the excess metal from a slab. First, he begins by drawing blade designs on paper, and after some amendments, cuts out the shapes using plexiglass (acrylic glass). Always save your plexiglass blade figure for your portfolio. Then he traces the image in marker and profiles out the knife from the steel stock.

Once the knife has the desired shape, it’s time to drill holes for pins and grind into the steel to actually thin the knife out. John creates a hollow grind on his blades using a Burr King grinder. Rough grits should be used first to shred away a majority of the metal. Once the blade is properly ground, it’s time to heat treat it. This is the procedure where the steel gets hardened. Various steels have different heat treating protocols. Hardness can be tested using the Rockwell scale.

After heat treating, knives are ground using fine sandpaper grits and polished up using a polishing wheel and compound. We can also engrave dates, names, and logos onto the blade. If John is making a full-tang and using scales for the handle, he proactively anticipates the location of the pins and how much material he will need in order to shape the handle. After a lot of sanding and testing the grip, he sharpens the blade. Sharpening is the last step and should be carefully performed. My previous blog post, Looking Sharp, discusses the popular sharpening methods used in this stage.

There is a helpful knifemaking article published on Blade Website by Wayne Goddard called Knifemaking 101- Read This Before You Make a Knife. The article addresses how to set up shop and advises on what materials to use. Whether or not you’re a prospective bladesmith, this literature is a fantastic read. Thank you for reading and please share and comment if you enjoy the artistry of knives!


Epoxy step for a custom hidden-tang knife. Photo Credit: Kammi Dingman

Don’t Throw Shade When You Can Throw a Blade!

Despite common beliefs, throwing knives are actually not very sharp. Throwing knife dullness decreases the risk of self-injury and helps with sustainability of the blade edges. Throwing knives do not usually have bulky handle grips as they get in the way of aerodynamics and technique. The knife thrower may have to hold or touch the blade during the performance of some throwing techniques. They are also somewhat heavy and robust for their size compared to other knife types, which has to do with balance and durability. Usually composed of stainless steel or some other carbon-based steel, a weight of 300g for a throwing knife is recommended. Stainless steel, although pricier, is better quality than the more carbon-based steels. There are even boot knife models that are built for throwing and concealability available for purchase. Wood, cardboard, or other foam materials are used to absorb the impact of the knives during practice. The talent of throwing knives is definitely an underrated art. Form is important when hurling a knife, much like in archery. Balance and back muscle recruitment is the key in executing a precise throw.

Japanese kunai knives were originally made for farming purposes and were used as hand shovels. The kunai were made out of unhardened (not heat treated) and unsharpened metal. The hole on the top was originally for finger stabilization while turning up crops. Animes and mangas like Naruto romanticize the usage of kunai knives in throwing and stabbing. Let’s not forget the flashy shurikens! Shurikens also called “throwing stars” and “hidden hand blades,” were used by Japanese samurai and ninjas to distract their opponents. These shurikens were fashioned from the old tools available in the village. Throwing stars were sometimes dipped in bacterial substances to fatally wound opponents.

Here are the Top 10 Best Throwing Knives of 2019- Reviews by author Scott Webb. He also points out what key qualities to consider while shopping for throwing knives, such as aerodynamics, ease of use, and the price tag. Let’s examine the main pros and cons of throwing knives and shurikens. The pro is that you can use either a throwing knife or shuriken to stun a target and close a distance gap. The con is that once you throw your blade, you instantly lose your weapon! There’s also the fact that you can’t always anticipate the penetration that the throwing knife will achieve upon striking the target.

Thank you for reading and please share this blog post if you enjoy this content!


Throwing knives! Photo Credit: Blaine Bradshaw (our awesome friend).

The Gambler’s Dagger

During the time of the “California Gold Rush,” knifemakers made concealable boot knives which were used by gamblers and thieves.  Whether you are a cowboy/cowgirl, tactical oriented person, or civilian, the boot knife is a great option for you to carry. Boot knives derive their nomenclature from their storage on, or within boots. They can be large or small, fixed or flip, and single or double edged. Nowadays, they can be carried in holsters on the hip or in a pocket. This blade is ready to perform slashing and stabbing techniques. Double edged knives, fixed blade knives, and knives of a certain length are illegal in some regions. Boot knives are great because they are very concealable under most circumstances. It’s important to properly handle and train with your boot dagger and EDC knife. Jake Mace demonstrates how to correctly handle knives and daggers on his YouTube channel video “Real Combat Knife Fighting for the Street.”

Many military and law enforcement officers have a backup boot knife. The sheath typically connects to the shoe strings of the boot or is built into the boot for safe and easy deployment of the knife. This backup blade may be the last line of defense in some situations. Boot knives are notorious for being good self defense knives as they are sharp and can be wielded in normal or reverse grip very comfortably. Check out my previous blog post “Don’t Bring a Gun to a Knife Fight,” for some more content on self-defense with a knives in close quarters. The article serves to give you a new perspective on knives as a superior self-defense tool in short distances.

Hunters and fishermen have used boot knives for basic utility in the woods. Boot knives may have a concave spoon drilled out on one side called a “blood groove,” which helps with stabbing. This feature ensures the easy exit of the dagger following punctures. Having the blood groove present thwarts the vacuum created by the stab. Another unique characteristic of boot knives is that they can be used to pry open oyster shells. Next time you’re in need of an oyster shucker, be sure to grab your handy boot knife. There’s also a variation of the boot knife called the “push dagger,” which was mainly used by riverboat gamblers in the old Southwest. This type of blade type is grasped in between the forefinger and middle finger. It’s interesting to see how cultures have conceptualized and forged different variations of blades. Thank you for reading and please subscribe and share if you enjoy knives and martial arts as much as I do!

Traditional boot knife. Photo Credit: Kammi Dingman

Don’t Bring a Gun to a Knife Fight

People like to use knives as equalizers during fights. The blade has always been a go-to weapon for offense as well as self-defense. A knife is most advantageous in close range. For centuries, blade-associated techniques have been honed and passed down through the martial arts. There’s a variety of fighting knife types- from swords to butterfly knives, and everything in between. Nevada state law has no restrictions on what types of blades are owned. Dirks, daggers, and switchblades may not be possessed on school properties and machetes cannot be conceal carried https://www.akti.org/state-knife-laws/nevada/.

Traditionally, dinner guests kept their knife at the table turned inward to indicate courteous manners. A knife turned outward expressed challenge and threatening behavior toward the person sitting next to them. Blades should never be brandished. Making threatening gestures with a knife is not acceptable. It is a tool that, outside of usual utility, should only be used in self defense. The best thing to do when someone else has a knife brandished is to run. Get out of that situation! If it’s not feasible for you to run away, protect your face, vital organs, and venous features of your extremities at all costs. Every knife should be treated with care, just as every gun is treated as if it’s loaded.

Having an every day carry (EDC) is important. It could save your life someday. There is a wide selection of EDC knives available. Some important features to keep in mind are size, weight, tolerance, grind, edge serrations, handle material, and how the knife itself opens. I recommend reading the reviews on the top EDCs featured in https://www.gearhungry.com/best-edc-knives/ article by Jordan Carter. Please share your ideal EDC in the comments and subscribe if you like knives and the great outdoors!

Knife with The Art of War by Sun Tzu

Photo Credit: Kammi Dingman