Outdoor Chef

We have experienced false Spring, second Winter, and will be slowly transitioning to Summer here in Nevada. As things begin to warm up, BBQ or smoked meat and veggies sure hit the spot. When camping, taking a hardy knife will make the task of cooking a lot easier. If you don’t want to take your fancy chef’s knives from home, you can invest in a decent cooking all-around camp knife, which I talk about in a previous blog post, or knife kit that will aid you in your food preparation tasks. If you do want to bring your nice knives to the outdoors, just be aware of the rusting that the environment inflicts on the steels with higher carbon content.

From onions and meats to twine and sticks, the robust camp kitchen chef’s knife will perform and prove its worth in more than just the camp kitchen activities. Chef’s knives are the bigger and more robust knives in the kitchen. Rubberized handles make it easier for you to clean and sanitize the knife between tasks. After your adventure, these blades can usually be put in the dishwasher to deep-clean and sanitize at high temperatures. Let’s not underestimate the usefulness of a good camp kitchen paring knife. Paring knives are smaller knives that are great for peeling skins in addition to chopping fruits, vegetables, cheese, and sausages. I would also greatly recommend bringing tin foil and a pair of tongs to pull things off of the grill or fire so that you don’t burn your hands during your outdoor cooking experience.

Of course, we can take our nice cutlery to the wilderness, but we shouldn’t expect some of the indoor oriented knives to perform well in the conditions of the environment. For instance, some blades like the Japanese carbon steel gyuto knives require really stringent drying and maintenance, otherwise the blade will rust. Also, the patina must be maintained for aesthetics. Chef’s knives constructed from stainless steels are the much lower maintenance option that are better for the outdoors. Wusthof, Zwilling J.A. Henckels, and Shun have great options for everyone. I’ve owned a lot of cooking knives and I really enjoy the Wusthof brand.

Camp kitchen cutlery knife sets are reviewed from Gerber Freescape Camp Kitchen Kit ($35 on Amazon), GSI Santoku Knife Set ($35 on Amazon), and Opinel Nomad Cooking Kit ($85 on Amazon) in a post written by Cameron Martindell from Gearjunkie.com. Some even come in hard cases that are designed to double as cutting boards. When you’re on the go, sometimes you’re in your car and in between destinations. It’s much easier to make a sandwich or prepare a good snack with a trusty camp kitchen set that was born for the job! Multi-utensils, like those made by Light My Fire, are great because they offer the knife, spoon, and fork all-in-one ($10 for four on Amazon).  Don’t forget the java with the portable AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker ($30 on Amazon). Happy outdoor cooking!

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How a Knife Could Save Your Life

What are the most essential uses of blades in survival? Here are 5 survival tactics that we can employ to attain several physiological necessities:

Shelter: You can use the knife to cut branches to the right lengths for building a shelter structure. Once branches of similar sizes are gathered for your survival hut, you can also skillfully put notches into the building materials so that they stay together better. Keep the shelter small and simple, covering the internal stick structure with leaves and debris.

Water: To fashion a vessel for water, the knife can be used to slice bark from a large, non-flaky branch in a rectangular shape (essentially skinning it and peeling the bark off gently). You can fold up and pierce holes in the edges of the rectangle and tie those edges together for a more bowl-like shape. A split stick and small strips of bark can act as clothes pins for each corner.

Warmth: Keeping yourself warm is critical for survival in cold weather. To make a fire, a bow, spindle, and fireboard will do the trick. Firstly to make the bow, a flexible branch is selected and split on both sides so that a twisted string of bark can be strung through both ends. A spindle piece can be carved into a point on both ends. This bow and spindle can then drill into a fireboard that you pre-poke a spot for the spindle to rotate in. The coal produced from the friction that the spindle creates is deposited into shreds of fine bark tender.

Food: After collecting some edible plants or trapping some animals, a knife is used to field dress and cut up portions of food. The knife can also be used as a shovel to dig up roots. In order to create a fishing rod, fishing line can be made by stripping off appropriate plant fibers and weaving them. Antler can be ground in into hooks and grubs can be found to attract hungry fish. Fish can then be processed using the knife to slit the belly and take out the internal organs. If you’re not a fan of sushi, you can put a stick up through the mouth (piercing through to the end of the fish) and roast them over the fire.

Self Defense: In efforts to avoid close contact with predators, pointy spears can be fashioned from sturdy branches. Not all predatory animals are well nourished and may see you as an opportunity for a meal. It’s life or death when fending off dangers like mountain lions, bears, and boars. Having a knife is definitely better than nothing.

You never know when you may find yourself in a rough situation. With the right knowledge and adept skills, a knife can make a huge difference. I know we can all appreciate the many facets of knives! If you like this content, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below and subscribe for more!

Hunting/skinning knife made by Big John Blades.