DPx Knife Review

DPx Knife MEGA Review

DPx Knife Review

This is not your ordinary review, it is a MEGA Review!  I recently had the opportunity to test out not one, but three, survival knives from DPx Gear and use them in a real-world scenario. The three knives I’m going to discuss in this mega-review are as follows:

DPx Knife Review
Left to right: HEST Original, HEFT Assault 4, and HEST II Woodsman

I’m familiar with the DPx line of knives from reputation, as this company is known for its focus on hard-use knives designed by experienced, military personnel and adventurers, however, this was the first time I had the opportunity to try them out under real survival situations.

According to their website, DPx knives are tested and used in locations including Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, and Burma. From the get-go, I was excited to see if these knives could perform up to expectations.

DPx Knife Review

DPx Knife Review

DPX Knife Review First Impressions

From first glance, I knew these were superior quality knives. Simply by looking, I could tell there was serious craftsmanship that went into their assembly; these were not some cheap trinkets that would fall apart after a year of use.

DPx Knife Review
Left to Right: Leather sheath, HEST II Woodsman knife, HEFT 4 Assault knife, Nylon sheath with Kydex insert, HEST Original knife, Kydex sheath.

Picking them up, each felt solid in my hands and had a full tang. Examining the blades, they were very sharp out of the box and much thicker than other knives of this size, indicating superior quality and an ability to handle abuse.

Additional details setting these knives apart from less expensive alternatives included well thought-out jimping, storage space in the handle, a hex driver, a wire breaker, and a bottle opener – for a little reward after a hard day’s work!

DPx Knife Review
Cracking one open with the HEST Original. Cheers!

Blade Steel

I was really excited to check out the HEST II Woodsman and the HEFT 4 Assault as both are made from Niolox steel (the HEST Original is made from 1095 high carbon steel, but more on that later), a relatively new blade material that I had never had the chance to use before.

DPx Knife Review
Testing out the 1095 high carbon steel blade of the HEST Original while preparing to build a fire.

Originally developed for the food processing industry (think large scale, factory-based food processing), Niolox came about as processors were looking for something that would deliver superior edge retention, resist corrosion, and last for thousands of cuts and slices before needing replacement. Using this material to fabricate knives is a no-brainer, what I was truly curious about is how this new material would fare against the old, reliable 1095.

DPx Knife Review: Testing Process

I decided the best way to test these knives out was to take them into the elements and see how they stacked up against real-world tasks. Myself and two other experienced outdoorsmen went on a weekend camping trip (this is where we went if you are even in Australia), each one taking one of the knives.

DPx Knife Review
All three blades sank into a large cuttlefish bone we found on the beach.

We didn’t have a set plan of exactly what skills we would test the knives with, but decided that we would simply keep the knives on us and use them as the need arose. Over the course of the weekend, the knives were tested out on the following tasks:

  • Cutting rope
  • Batoning branches
  • Shaving wood to start fire
  • Gathering mollusks to practice scavenging skills
  • Pounding tent stakes
  • Preparing food
  • Cutting open boxes and packages
  • Light digging
  • Sheaths tested for usability, ease of deployment, and comfort

DPx Knife Review: HEFT 4 Assault

Best Use: This knife is ideal for bugging-out or bushcraft. It was by far the largest, heaviest, and most heavy duty of the knives. A real ‘workhorse,’ this knife is good for medium to heavy duty tasks around camp.

DPx heft 4 assault review
Click the graphic to view the DPx HEFT 4 Assault on Amazon.

What I Liked: 

First off, I like that this knife is made of Niolox steel and it provides good form and balance (balance is right where your index finger sits, which results in excellent control). Another perk is that the jimping is also wire stripper and makes for an excellent grip. The G-10 scales are removable, so there’s space to wrap paracord around your knife or store items inside. There’s also a bottle opener that works competently (more on that below).

DPx Knife Review

As for the blade, it was very thick which made for great batoning and prying.  I was really impressed when by accident, I jammed the knife into a rock and the tip did not snap, due mainly to the thickness of the blade, strength of the Niolox steel, and probably a bit of pure luck!

DPx Knife Review
Harvesting limpets with the HEFT 4 Assault.
DPx Knife Review
Limpets are related to clams and are a great source of protein!

The blade also proved to be quite resistant to corrosion as it was exposed to seawater and then sheathed for 48 hours, with no visible rust. The Niolox passed this corrosion resistance test with flying colors. Additionally, the nylon sheath is nice and streamlined with a pocket that can hold a sharpening stone, fire starter, compass, or anything other small tool, and it also has a molded kydex insert.

DPx Knife Review

In terms of use, batoning through tree limbs was a breeze, due mainly to the thickness of the blade. Versus other, thinner, knives, the .19” thickness gives the blade a hatchet-like cross-section, an indispensable quality for bushcraft.

DPx Knife Review
Note the thickness of the spine, which provides a solid striking surface for batoning.

Cosmetically, there were no nicks in the edge after an entire weekend of use but there were some scratches on the blade coating. This is not something that particularly bothers me, my gear is meant to be USED so if it’s not a little scratched, it’s not useful.  However, if you’re a collector or enjoy displaying your knives, this may not be the one for you.

DPx heft 4

Last but not least, the craftsmanship is top-notch. This knife is made for DPx in Italy by master bladesmiths at LionSteel.

Minor Cons:

As I mentioned before, the bottle opener worked but could be better. It was not as useful as a ‘church key’-type opener, which admittedly would be impractical on a knife, but it’s nice to have in a pinch. Another issue (that applies only to lefties), is that the kydex molding of the sheath makes this a right-hand draw knife. If you were truly motivated, you could pull out the molded liner, but it’s pretty snug.

Final Thoughts on the HEFT 4 Assault:

I absolutely loved this knife. It’s the perfect size for all but the most heavy-duty of tasks.  You are not going to want to use it to take down a tree, but for the other 95% of the functions you’ll need for bushcraft, survival and camp, this knife is up to the task. If you like the idea of this knife but want it larger, you’re in luck – it has a big brother, the HEFT 6.

A big plus for this knife is the jimping. It really bit into my thumb and gave me serious confidence that my grip would not slip. Also, the Niolox steel more than lived up to expectations and truly impressed me. The edge held its sharpness after a long weekend of use, the steel did not corrode despite being submerged in seawater and wet beach sand, and the tip did not break after an accidental plunge into a rock (oops!).

DPx Knife Review
Well-designed jimping provides a more controlled grip.

If you’re looking for a quality knife and have the budget for it, or want to upgrade your existing knife, this is a good choice. If for some reason you try it out and it doesn’t meet your expectations, I would still recommend purchasing a knife made from Niolox steel.

DPx Knife Review: HEST Original

Best Use: This is a great choice for backpackers or people who want to carry as little weight as possible. It’s fully functional for light to medium tasks around camp and would suit someone looking for a high functioning knife at a reasonable price without sacrificing on quality or someone who wants a quality knife but isn’t prepared to splurge on Niolox steel.

DPx hest original Knife Review
Click the graphic to view the DPx HEST Original on Amazon.

What I Liked:

Of the three knives, this was by far the lightest and the micarta handle provided the best grip. It was very sharp out of the box and the 1095 carbon steel is easy to sharpen and holds a razor’s edge; it’s also less expensive than many other types of steel. The flat pommel made it great for striking and pounding while the partial serration was good for cutting rope and prepping food.

DPx Knife Review

The knife has a slim profile, even with the sheath, and the kydex sheath came with multiple carry options, including paracord and belt clip, and can be carried either vertically or horizontally. It’s made in the USA, can be carried on the right or left side, and in a pinch, the pry bar would work well to break glass.

DPx Knife Review
The versatile kydex sheath can be secured horizontally (shown) or vertically.

Minor Cons:

While the 1095 steel is light and inexpensive, it is not as corrosive resistant as other steels and had to be washed after exposure to seawater (I learned this from past experiences with this material rusting). It’s also worth noting that the blade is powder coated to help protect everything but the edges of the blade from corrosion.

DPx Knife Review
The partial serration on the HEST Original blade was useful, especially for cutting open fruit and preparing foods.

Final Thoughts on the HEST Original:

DPx Knife Review

This is a very good, basic knife with a well thought-out, quality sheath. I enjoyed the flexibility provided by the partial serration and the micarta handle provides a solid grip even in wet conditions. There’s good balance in your hand – this knife feels good to hold. It’s a great option for someone looking for a quality, entry-level knife that will last for years to come.

DPx Knife Review: HEST II Woodsman

Best Use: A good knife for light to medium tasks around camp. It looks good enough to give as a gift, such as to groomsmen or on special occasions. 

DPx hest Knife Review
Click the graphic to view the DPx HEST II Woodsman on Amazon.

What I Liked:

Aesthetically, this was by far the best looking knife of the three with a really nice leather sheath that looks good and feels nice. It’s also made from Niolox, which is a fantastic steel as mentioned in the HEFT 4 Assault section above.

DPx Knife Review

The size and shape of the blade make it a well-balanced knife and it’s the perfect size for use around camp or all-day carry without it being noticeable. For the size of this knife, it has a very thick blade at .19”.  For comparison, the popular ESSE 3, has a blade thickness of .125”. The flat pommel made it easy to pound tent stakes into rocky ground. And as a knife that is made in Italy by master bladesmiths, the craftsmanship is top tier.

DPx gear
The flat pommel allows for pounding tasks, like driving tent stakes into the ground.

Minor Cons:

Due to its sheath design (vertical mounting, right side draw), this knife can only be carried one way – this is by no means a deal-breaker, but if you intend to hang it off the molle points on your pack or vest, you will need another sheath.

DPx Knife Review
The vertical leather sheath is high quality, though it does not accommodate left-handed access.

Also, the fact that it is right-hand carry only is a negative for lefties.  Lastly, the wood handle provided good grip retention (and looks awesome) but is not as “grippy” as micarta or G10.

Final Thoughts on the HEST II Woodsman:

This is a really nice looking blade that I would be happy to give (or receive!) as a gift. As with the HEFT 4 Assault, the Niolox steel exceeded my expectations. For a multipurpose knife, the HEST II Woodsman has great balance and blade shape. As compared to the other two knives in this review, the HEST II Woodsman is a good compromise on size and cost.

DPx Knife Review
Note the integrated hex wrench and wire strippers on the HEST II Woodsman.

DPx Knife Review: Conclusion

DPx Knife Review

All three of the knives reviewed – the HEFT 4 Assault, HEST Original, and HEST II Woodsman – are all really good knives and it’s obvious that there was substantial attention to detail given to their designs. All were clearly made with the intention to be used, hence the focus on design as well as testing. Each was well-made and included clever add-ons such as bottle openers, pry bars, and hex wrenches. Any one of these knives will serve its owner well for a very long time.

For an experienced outdoorsman, these are easy to recommend, and are differentiated enough that each appeals to its own target users. DPx offers variations on all three of these models, so if you’re looking for a particular blade shape, finish, or handle combination to suit a particular need, you’re sure to find it.

If you do select one of these knives, I do recommend choosing one with a Niolox steel blade, if at all possible.  Niolox steel had a good edge, great corrosion resistance, and exceeded my expectations in testing.

Your Thoughts

Do you have any questions about the features or performance of these DPx knives? Are you interested in seeing more MEGA reviews like this one? Let us know in the Comments section below, thanks!

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best hunting knife

How To Find The Best Hunting Knife For Your Kit

best hunting knife

You’ve been on the road for more than a month. Your initial supplies have run out and you have no choice but to rely on your skill as a hunter. Whether you trap, use a bow, slingshot, gun or just your wits, once your target is down you will need to skin and dress it (cut the meat and prepare it for cooking), and the most important piece of equipment you will be needing is a good hunting knife.

A hunting knife is crucial if you want to:

  • Keep safe. A skinning environment is slippery and wet. A dull blade and slippery handle are sure to cause injury during the skinning process, and in a survival situation an injury could seriously lower your chances
  • Remove the animal skin in one piece for further use
  • Dress the meat in the most efficient manner. You busted your ass to down that animal. You need every scrap you can get.

The difference between a hunting knife and a survival knife

You have that giant survival knife strapped to your waist. Do you really need a dedicated hunting knife?

The answer is a resounding yes. Due to the difference in use, hunting knives differ greatly from survival knives:

  • Tasks: A survival knife will be used for many rough and difficult tasks – chopping wood, breaking glass windows and self defense to name a few. Hunting knives on the other hand are used for the more delicate task of cutting up an animal. Think axe vs. scalpel.
  • Blade Size: Survival tasks demand a large, sturdy blade. When hunting in a survival scenarios you will most likely be acquiring smaller sized animals, which means a smaller blade needed. To illustrate this point – imagine trying to dress a squirrel with a Rambo style blade. Suitable only for those who love fur on their steak.
  • Blade Shape: Survival knives need to have a sharp, pointed blade in order to pierce your enemy in self defense. Hunting knives need to have a rounded blade shape that easily glides between the skin and the flesh.

The 4 elements that make a great hunting knife

So now that we understand the necessity for a good hunting knife, these are the four aspects you need to check out when choosing a hunting knife

  1. Blade type
  2. Blade size
  3. Blade material
  4. Grip material and design

1. Hunting Knife Blade Type

When it comes to survival, you will prefer a clip point, spear point or needle point blade for easy piercing. Hunters on the other hand look for a blade that allows them to remove the skin off an animal without damaging the hide or the flesh. The best blade all-rounder for this kind of work is the drop point blade. Drop point blades have a belly at the end of the blade that rounds up towards the point. This belly makes skinning an easy task and you have little chance of piercing the skin.

best hunting knife blade type

A second decision you need to make regarding blade type is choosing a fixed blade vs. a folding blade. Folding blades, like your common pocket knives, fold into the handle, saving precious space in your bug out bag. The downside is that these knives are relatively more prone to break at the hinge, leaving you without a knife. Full tang fixed blade hunting knives are virtually indestructible, usually supplied with a protective sheath. The knife takes up more space but will last longer.

2. Blade Size

Before you choose a blade size you must first try and plan ahead – what will your target game look like? Will you be out in bear and moose country or will you be hiding in the city where the odd bird and rodent will make up your family dinner?

For medium to large game a blade that is 4 inches and longer will do the trick. For smaller game choose a blade of 2.5 to 4 inches in length.

3. Blade Material

There are many types of hunting blade materials but most fall into two categories: Carbon Steel and Stainless Steel.

best hunting knife blade material

Stainless Steel pros and cons

A misconception about stainless steel is that it never rusts. This is wrong. Stainless steel will rust eventually, but the chemical makeup of these blades ensures that they will rust slowly. The downside of this feature is that stainless steel as a blade material is soft, causing these knives to lose their edge sooner. It is not uncommon for experienced hunters to sharpen their stainless steel knives more than once during one animal dressing.

Stainless steel comes in a wide variety of composites, from the 440A stainless steel which rusts very slowly but is relatively soft, to the expensive VG10 which is considered a super-steel, rusting relatively slowly and holding a scary edge. Look out for the Sandvik 12C27, a Swedish stainless steel that is a great all rounder offering good corrosion resistance, easy sharpening and great edge retention.

Carbon Steel pros and cons

Carbon steel knife blades are harder than stainless steel, which means that they will keep their edge for a much longer period of time. If you are going to be out of civilization for a long time, this would be the best knife material to chose.

The main drawback to carbon steel knives is their poor resistance to corrosion. Unless they are well treated after each use, these knives will rust in a wet environment. Cleaning the knife after each use maintains the blade material and you get a sharp, durable blade that will be great outside.

Of the many types of carbon steel blades, look out for the 1095 steel. It holds a scary sharp edge and is easy to sharpen.  For a more in depth explanation of the various materials, check out this article.

4. Grip Material and Design

Back in the day knife grips were made with bone, cord or wood. Many old school hunters (myself included!) prefer the classic look of an old school handle, but these are not the strongest materials in the market. In survival environments you need a grip that is break proof, slip proof and comfortable. Today we have a variety of brilliantly engineered materials that make great grips. The most popular handle materials include G-10 (impervious to most elements like water, oils and acids), Carbon Fiber (ultra lightweight and extremely strong) and Zytel (strong and light, it offers great surface grip).

best hunting knife handle material

Recommended Models

The hunting knife market is constantly expanding with new models emerging on a weekly basis.

To whittle down the myriad of knives, materials and models, here are our bottom-line recommended knives for a survival scenario:

  1. Small to medium game, folding knife: There are two knives that are perfect for small game survival hunting. The Benchmade Mini Barrage is an axis-locking, assisted opening folding knife that is handy as a self defense weapon while its wide blade works well as a good skinner.
    A second option in this category would be the classic Buck 110. A folding carbon steel knife, this is a knife that is manufactured in the USA and it comes with a lifetime guarantee which tells a lot about the quality. It is sharp and unbreakable, but quite heavy in your hand. The Buck 110 is an all time classic, leading the bestseller lists for generations.
  2. Small to medium game, fixed blade: If you’re short on budget, the Morakniv Companion is a surprisingly efficient and sturdy knife that will hold its edge well. If you can stretch your budget a little, the Scandinavian Fallkniven H1 is the king of hunting knives, a purchase you and your children will never regret.
  3. Large game hunting knives: When it comes to large blades, the king of hunters is the Ka-Bar BK2 Companion, with its 5.25 inch blade. The thick blade means that the knife can double as a survival knife in a pinch, and the greatly designed handle ensures a good skinning experience. This is a great knife for large game hunting.
Hunting KnifeBlade MaterialCostFeaturesSize
Small to medium folder:
Benchmade Mini Barrage

154CM Stainless Steel$$$Axis lock for confidence while skinning, spring assisted opening for quick deploymentBlade: 2.91"
Overall: 6.91"
Small to medium folder:
Buck 110

420HC steel$Classic design used by generations of hunters, made in USABlade: 3.75"
Overall:8.625"
Small to medium fixed blade:
Morakniv Companion

Carbon Steel$Fantastic quality for value, textured, rubberized handle for a sure gripBlade: 4.1"
Overall: 8.6"
Small to medium fixed blade:
Fallkniven H1

VG-10$$$Among the highest quality knives out there. VG-10 steel is corrosion resistant and holds a superb edgeBlade: 4"
Overall: 8.375"
Large game, fixed blade:
Ka-Bar BK2 Companion

1095 Cro-Van Steel$$Can double as a survival or bushcraft knife while still being able to handle butchering and skinning tasks.Blade: 5.5"
10.5"

About the Author:

Greg Gurland is an avid hunter and knife freak. His website HunterBlades.com is dedicated to finding the best hunting knives for each hunter’s specific needs. For more information, feel free to drop him a line at greg@hunterblades.com

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best fixed blade knife

How To Pick The Best Fixed Blade Knife For Your BOB

best fixed blade knifeThere are a great many types of gear that make up a well-rounded bug out bag (BOB) but few are as versatile and reliable as a good knife. Finding the best fixed blade knife is frequently at the top of the list when building your survival kit for good reason. A quality fixed blade knife can be used for many survival applications, it doesn’t take up much space in a pack, and is simple to take care of.

There are a lot of options out there and to get you started we have done testing and research to save you time and money when finding your own fixed blade knife.

In this article, not only are we are going to share our top picks of the best fixed blade knives, we’ll also explain the the anatomy of a knife and the different factors that may impact your decision.

Our Picks For The Best Fixed Blade Knives

Best Overall Fixed Blade Knife: KA-BAR Becker 22

Best Fixed Blade Knife

The KA-BAR Becker 22 is a solid, heavy duty field utility knife that can be used in any environment.  Its medium size (10.5”) is a great compromise between the heft of a larger knife and the control afforded by a smaller, lighter blade.

The KA-BAR Becker 22 is proudly made in USA, highlighting the commitment to quality that Ka-Bar is known for.  It has a full tang and integrated glass-breaking tip in the pommel.  The Becker 22 uses a drop point and flat ground blade to maximize versatility and edge retention.  This is a knife that will stay sharp as you use and abuse it in real-life survival scenarios.

The Becker 22 has a Grivory (glass reinforced nylon) grip that is nearly indestructible and a quality MOLLE compatible nylon sheath that features a cargo pocket for storing a sharpener or magnesium fire starter.

The KA-BAR Becker 22 is a fantastic, high quality knife that is designed with versatility and hard use in mind.  It will faithfully serve its owner for many years to come.

Best Fixed Blade Bushcraft Knife: Tom Brown Tracker

Best Fixed Blade Bushcraft Knife

The Tom Brown Tracker is the most versatile bushcraft knife that I have come across.  It is extremely well made and features a multifunction blade that has a two stage front edge and a serrated spine.  This makes it highly versatile for bushcraft tasks including cutting rope, chopping branches, skinning, butchering, hunting, and shelter building.

The Tom Brown Tracker is a large knife (11.9”) that is heavy enough (1.75lbs) to split wood, butcher game, and perform light chopping duties.  The micarta handle includes a lanyard hole to ensure tool retention when swinging the blade.  Its wide belly makes the Tracker excellent for accurate slicing and pushing cuts.  The knife’s serrated spine allows for rapid slicing of rope, plastic, and many other manmade materials.

The Tom Brown Tracker comes with a kydex sheath that is secure enough to be worn horizontally or vertically, allowing for rapid deployment as you see fit.  This is an awesome knife that will get you through your wilderness survival scenario with flying colors.

Best Urban Survival Fixed Blade Knife: Ka-Bar Becker BK3 Tac Tool

Best Urban Fixed Blade Knife

The Ka-Bar Becker BK3 Tac Tool is the ultimate in urban survival.  It is large enough (12.5”) to be an effective pry tool for forcing doors and levering debris out of your path.  The Becker BK3 has enough heft (1.3lbs) to chop through most materials and the glass breaker in the pommel doubles as an effective hammer for pounding nails or anything else.

The Ka-Bar Becker BK3 Tac Tool has a feature rich blade that greatly multiplies its versatility in the field.  It integrates a partial serration, rope cutter, and pry tip, none of which feel like they were thoughtlessly tacked on.  Each of these options mesh well with the overall design and make this a tool that can assist with nearly any urban survival task.

This knife screams quality, it is made in USA and features a full tang and indestructible Grivory grips that offer fantastic control over the 7” blade.  This is a heavy duty knife that can pry, hack, split, cut, and hammer equally well.  The Ka-Bar Becker BK3 Tac Tool is a perfect choice for urban survival or search and rescue applications.  Its wide versatility would even make it a great addition to any tool kit.

Fixed Blade Knife Practical Uses

best fixed blade knife

A fixed blade knife is one of the most versatile tools you can add to your survival kit.  Its uses are not limited to bushcraft or wilderness survival either, there are a great many urban tasks that can be simplified by having a great knife at your disposal.  Some of these tasks include:

  • Prying doors and windows
  • Breaking glass
  • Cleaning game
  • Hunting
  • Lash onto a stick to make a spear
  • Shelter building
  • Self defense
  • Cutting rope
  • Chopping wood
  • Batoning through branches
  • Opening containers and cans
  • Preparing food
  • Eating
  • Hammering

Fixed Blade Knife vs Folding Knife

You may be asking “why a fixed blade knife instead of a folding knife?” It is a valid question. After all, folding knives are generally more compact and lightweight than a fixed blade knife, which is usually preferable for a survival kit you will need to carry with you.   There are however some big advantages that a fixed blade brings to the table in a survival situation.

small fixed blade knife

Fixed blade knives are generally far stronger

This is essential if you are going to be putting your survival knife through hard use such as the majority of the applications listed above.  The hinge that a folding knife pivots around is a major point of weakness in its design.  This is OK if you are using it for fine, detailed cuts or general every day use.  However, if you are intending to use your knife to force a door open or split wood you will want the strength of a fixed blade.

Size Advantage

Even a small fixed blade knife will generally be longer and heavier than a folding knife.  This is an advantage again for hard use work.  Longer length will allow for greater leverage when prying and additional range in self defense or hunting.

The small additional weight will not significantly impact your ability to carry your BOB but will come in handy if you need to chop or hammer anything.

Ease of maintenance

This is another weakness of a folding knife that is eliminated by choosing the best fixed blade knife that you can find.  The hinge and locking mechanism in a folder can be prone to clogging by dirt and sand or corrosion.  These problems can make a folding knife difficult if not impossible to use.  A fixed blade has no hinge or lock to fail on you.  Simple is better in this case.

Folding knives do have a place in many survival and EDC kits.  I would recommend picking a folding knife for your secondary or backup blade in a bug out bag (see our folding knife guide here).  For your primary workhorse you will want the best fixed blade knife that you can find.

Fixed Blade Knife Handle Options

When finding the best fixed blade knife your handle options can be split into two categories – tang and grip.  I will break these down for you to help decide what is best for your particular environment.

Knife Tang – What is it and why is this important

The tang is the part of the knife that extends from the base of the blade guard to the butt of the knife, it is commonly covered with the knife’s handle or wrapped with paracord.  There are 3 varieties of tang in all knives, which are the Full Tang, Partial Tang, and Hollow Handle.

best fixed blade knife

Full Tang

A full tang knife will have a solid piece of metal that extends from the hand guard all the way to the butt of the knife.  Generally full tang knives are a single piece of steel comprising of both the blade and tang.  A full tang will make your knife far stronger than any other option.  This is the best choice for a heavy duty knife that will be used for tasks such as hammering, prying, chopping, batoning, and butchering animals.

Partial Tang

A partial tang is when the blade steel extends only part way down into the handle.  This is generally sign of a cheap knife as manufacturers often use this approach to cut costs.  This can be OK if you are looking for a blade to display in your home.  However if you intend on using and depending on your fixed blade knife in a survival situation leave partial tang knives on the shelf.

Hollow handle

There is much debate among the survival community about the utility of hollow handled survival knives and whether it is worth the trade off.  A hollow handle will always be weaker than a full tang option but some people think this is worth having as it allows them to carry some of the gear mentioned above.  To make this judgment you would need to first assess what you will be using your fixed blade knife for.  You can get away with light duties with a hollow handle knife but if you are going to be hammering or prying anything you will want a full tang for sure.  As survival is a highly dynamic and unpredictable environment by nature I recommend playing it safe and going with a full tang when finding the best fixed blade knife for your kit.

A hollow handle allows you to store items in the cavity such as:

  • Map
  • Fishing kit
  • Fire Starter kit
  • First aid items
  • Paracord

Fixed Blade Knife Grip Options

There are a great many materials that can be used for knife grips.  Some of them are as old as recorded history and others are cutting edge technology.  Here are some examples of commonly used knife grip materials:

best fixed blade knife

You can go traditional or flashy but the most practical and cost effective in my experience are made from Micarta, Glass Reinforced Nylon, G-10, or Zytel.  The overwhelming majority of modern day fixed blade knives will come in one of these options and for practicality they can’t be beat.

The other big factor in finding the best fixed blade knife grip is how it actually feels in your hand.  Is the grip (regardless of material) designed with finger grooves to give you good purchase?  Can it be used easily both bare handed and with gloves on?  Is the knife comfortable in your hand when used for longer periods?  Does moisture affect your hold?  Look for a good guard and a healthy choil on the fixed blade knives that you are considering.  Maintaining a good grip in wet conditions is also essential.  Getting these elements right are vital to finding the best fixed blade knife for your kit.  Getting them wrong will have serious consequences, turning your ultimate tool into a liability.  Take the time to research carefully and read up on your choices.

Size & Weight For The Best Fixed Blade Knife

First off, there is no “perfect” length or weight for a bug out bag knife.  The ideal size for you will depend on what you intend to use it for and assessing this is all part of the process of finding the best fixed blade knife for your survival kit.  Let’s take a look at how knife size impacts your choices:

Knife Length

A longer fixed blade knife (one greater than 10” in overall length) will be heavier and take up more space in your pack.  However, longer knives are better at hacking, chopping, splitting, prying, and self-defense.  A shorter knife by comparison is better at finer detail work such as skinning, carving, scraping, and will be lighter and take up less room.  As you can see it comes down to what you intend to use your knife for.  Weigh these costs and benefits when identifying what knife is best for you.

Knife Weight

It is important to find the right balance when assessing knife weight.  No one wants to carry around more gear than they need and this includes choosing a heavy knife when you could use a lighter one.  As with longer vs shorter blades finding the best weight comes down to what you will be using your knife for.  A lighter blade will cause less fatigue both while carrying it in your bug out bag and when actually using it.  It is also generally better for detail work.  A heavier blade will impart greater force when hammering, copping, or breaking glass.  Make a careful assessment when choosing your fixed blade knife.  Look for one that weighs less than 12oz for lighter work and more than that if you will have a lot of brute force tasks ahead of you.

Fixed Blade Knife Blade Options

There are countless blade options in modern fixed blade tactical, bushcraft, and hunting knives.  This wide selection is a great additional way to customize your knife to perfectly suit your particular needs.  Here are some blade options and their typical uses:

best fixed blade knife

Drop Point

A drop point blade is a great all around option for a multipurpose knife.  Drop point knives typically have a gradual curve along their spine and a wide belly, which makes them easy to control and highly versatile.

Serrated

Full or partial serration on a knife will allow for faster cutting of rope, cloth, plastic, and other man made materials.  Serrated blades also typically stay usably sharp for longer.

Gut hook

A gut hook is a special type of blade where the back of the blade (also called the “spine”) has a sharpened indentation or hook.  This is designed to be used when opening the abdomen of an animal when field dressing.  Once inserted into an incision in the belly and pulled through the skin this acts like a zipper on the carcass.  A gut hook is a popular option for a fixed blade hunting knife for this reason.

Tanto

A tanto blade has a flat (rather than a curved) edge that comes to a triangular point.  This design gives tanto blades superior strength when piercing tough materials.  This increased penetration potential makes tanto points popular among people looking for a good tactical fixed blade knife.

Chisel Tip

A chisel tip is a flat tip that has been sharpened to allow for digging cuts.  This wide tip option is also very strong in situations where the knife is being used as a prying tool, making it a popular choice for search and rescue or urban fixed blade knives.

Clip Point

A clip point has a curved or straight section running from mid-spine to the tip of the blade.  This cutout allows for maximum control in the point when cutting as well as good piercing potential.  The clip point in another popular option for people looking for a bushcraft knife or fixed blade hunting knife.

What Are The Best Fixed Blade Knife Sheath Options?

I have spoken at length now about every detail of finding the best fixed blade knife for your bug out bag except what you will be carrying it in…the sheath!  Many people focus their search on finding the perfect knife and then just assume that the sheath will take care of itself.  While most quality knives come with a reliable sheath it is worth considering some options to look for when finding a great sheath for your ultimate fixed blade knife.

Attachment

How do you intend carrying your knife?  Are you going to keep it in your BOB?  Attach it to the outside?  Are you going to clip it to your belt or strap it to your body?  Any of these can be good options but it is important to find a sheath that can accommodate whatever style you intend to use.  Most good knives come with a sheath that has more than one carry option.  Look for a sheath that has multiple options or MOLLE integration to keep your choices open.

Sheath Material

The most common materials used in sheath making are:

  • Kydex – This is a type of plastic that is molded to fit the shape of the knife.  It is lightweight and nearly indestructible.  Kydex sheaths generally come with straps to attach them as you see fit.
  • Nylon – This is a woven material that is lightweight, inexpensive, and very durable.  Nylon sheaths often come with MOLLE integration and either Velcro or snap-secured straps for attachment to a belt or bag.
  • Leather – This is a classic style of sheath material.  Leather is typically very tough but not as lightweight as nylon.  A leather sheath should come with straps and buckles for attachment.

Secondary Pouch

Although not a necessity many higher quality sheaths have a secondary pouch integrated into them.  This is most frequently used to store a sharpening stone, fire starting kit, or folding knife.

Legality

Make sure to check your local Ownership and Carry Laws before making your purchase. Either contact your local police department and/or refer to this wikipedia page which summarizes knife legislation around the world.

Finding The Best Fixed Blade Knife For YOU

As you can see there are a lot of factors to consider when finding the best fixed blade knife for your bug out bag or survival kit.  Remember to focus on the basics that we have discussed and to take into account the particular tasks you are most likely to use the knife for.  Will you be in an urban environment where you will be prying open doors, containers, and windows?  Will you be in the wilderness where a fixed blade hunting knife will serve you best?  Do you anticipate using it as a self defense tool?  If you do, maybe you should consider a fixed blade tactical knife with a tanto tip.  Best of luck finding the best knife for your needs, feel free to take another look at our recommendations above to get you started, thanks for reading!

Your Thoughts?

Do you have a fixed blade knife that you love?  Is there anything else you would look for when finding your best fixed blade knife?  Please let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks again!

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Best Tomahawk Survival Tomahawk

How To Choose The Best Survival Tomahawk For Your Bug Out Bag

Best Tomahawk Survival Tomahawk

If you are building a bug out bag or even a general camping and bushcraft kit, it is worth considering adding a survival tomahawk to your gear.

The tomahawk has a storied history as a reliable tool and the modern day survival tomahawk has evolved rapidly to meet today’s needs.

In this guide, we will discuss this history as well as teach you how to pick the best tomahawk for your needs.

What Can I Use My Survival Tomahawk For?

Given the vast utility of a survival tomahawk, it is a tool that any serious prepper should be looking at. A survival tomahawk is one of the best multipurpose items you can have with you and can effectively carry out a great many tasks including:

  • Chopping wood
  • Kinetic building entry
  • Glass breaking
  • Vehicle rescue
  • Prying
  • Hunting/Butchering
  • Self-defense
  • Piercing/cutting sheet metal
  • Opening of metal, wood, and plastic containers

Few survival tools can offer as many practical uses in such a compact, simple package. One can see why a survival tomahawk is a favorite tool for hunters, police, firefighters, park rangers, farmers, and servicemen.

Best Survival Tomahawk: CRKT Kangee

Best Tomahawk

The CRKT Kangee gets our pick for best survival tomahawk because has a combination of the best characteristics.

It is a compact tool that does not sacrifice cutting power due to its forward weighting and multiple grip options. The fact that it weighs 1.5 lbs means that it will not cause undue fatigue if carried in a bug out bag and can still be swung with ease after a day’s travelling.

The G-10 handle scales come off for cleaning and will last several lifetimes.

The cutting edge design of the CRKT Kangee screams practicality. The sharpened spine is perfect for pushing cuts and the sharp beard makes it ideal for hooking anything just out of reach or for use as a climbing aid.

The tapered spike on the rear side of the Kangee is perfect for piercing tough materials and makes it an even more formidable self defense tool.

Overall the CRKT Kangee is a durable, well-made modern tomahawk that would be a welcome addition to any survival kit or bug out bag.

Best Tactical Tomahawk: Smith and Wesson Extraction and Evasion Tomahawk

best survival tomahawk

The tactical tomahawk space has become crowded as of late and finding the best tactical tomahawk from this crop can be a challenge. You could surely seek a more expensive, flashier option than the Smith & Wesson Extraction and Evasion Tomahawk but you really should not let that distract you.

This tactical tomahawk can be thought of like a tough old grandfather: It will simply get the job done every time. It won’t complain, or give up on you half way. It will do what you ask of it, full stop.

The Extraction and Evasion Tomahawk is extremely well built and makes for an intimidating self-defense option. Its hefty weight of 2.7 lbs and longer than average length (15.9″) will provide the leverage and force required to destroy a lock or silence an enemy’s weapon in a heartbeat.

The thick, full tang construction of the S&W Tomahawk makes this a great tool that can be applied to any hands-on tactical situation.

The fact that it retails around the $50 price point makes it a no-brainer for anyone looking for a reliable tactical tomahawk.

There are many other tactical tomahawks out there that deliver far less for 5 times the price.

Save your money and go with the Smith and Wesson Extraction and Evasion Tomahawk, it is our pick for the best tactical tomahawk.

Best Urban Tomahawk: Gerber Downrange Tomahawk

best tomahawk

The Gerber Downrange Tomahawk is the multitool of breaching tools. It ingeniously combines the cutting power of an ax with the sheer force of a hammer and the leverage of a pry bar.

It is an all-in-one urban survival tool for anyone looking for a compact option for defeating building doors and windows or a fast reaction vehicle extraction tool.

Gerber is renowned for making high quality gear with the practical user in mind. This is clearly a tool that is built to last and the all-in-one design makes it the most versatile breaching tomahawk on the market.

The Gerber Downrange would be a great addition to an urban bug out bag and would be an immense aid in scavenging or rescue efforts.

Solid build quality coupled with extreme versatility earns the Gerber Downrange our pick for best urban tomahawk.

How To Choose The Best Tomahawk

The first thing to consider when looking for the best tomahawk is what you intend to use it for primarily. A survival tomahawk that will be used mainly for chopping and breaching should have different features than one that will be a primary self-defense tool.

Let’s look at the parts of a survival tomahawk and examine what styles are best for which tasks.

Survival Tomahawk

Handle Length

Tomahawks range in length from 8-20 inches.

Determining how long your tomahawk should be will depend on your intended usage.

A longer handle will provide greater leverage when prying and increased force when swinging but will be less compact and heavier.

A smaller handle will enable more effective usage in close quarters and add less volume and weight to a pack.

Here are some applications that are ideally suited for each type of handle:

Long Handle Tomahawk

  • Splitting wood
  • Chopping trees
  • Opening doors
  • Breaking locks
  • Butchering large game
  • Forceful opening of vehicles for rescue
  • Piercing tough materials – kevlar, sheet metal, wood, heavy plastic
  • Prying

Short Handle Tomahawk

  • Long hikes (lightweight and compact)
  • Close quarters self-defense
  • Throwing
  • Precision chopping
  • Evacuating vehicles
  • Butchering small game

Best Tomahawk Length

Back Side

The rear of the tomahawk, also called the poll or butt is traditionally flat or rounded. However, many modern tomahawks offer the option of a spike on the back. Once again choosing what type of poll your tomahawk has will depend on what problems you intend to solve with it.

A bushcraft tomahawk will typically have a flat butt for hammering. If you are looking for the best tactical tomahawk for your kit you are probably going to be seeking a spiked back for effective piercing.

It is worth noting that both a flat but or a spike will effectively break glass. Here are some advantages of each option:

Flat back

  • Hammering
  • Pounding
  • Forcefully opening doors
  • Defeating locks
  • Easier to carry and deploy

Spike

  • Piercing
  • Prying
  • Self-defense
  • Intimidation

Cutting Edge

There are many options for the business end of your survival tomahawk. As with every element choosing the best tomahawk for your kit will depend on your intended usage.

Cutting Edge Length

A longer cutting edge will require a larger and heavier ax head. This added weight and edge length will, however, allow for greater force in your swings. This will make splitting wood and chopping doors easier. Many of the best tactical tomahawks have circular cutouts in their cheeks to save weight without sacrificing the cutting edge size. This may be a good option if you want the largest cutting edge without the added fatigue of a big, heavy tomahawk.

A narrower cutting edge will typically be able to pierce deeper with each strike as it will encounter less resistance. This will make a narrower cutting edge better for emergency vehicle extraction and for piercing heavy duty materials.

Spine and Beard Options

If you are looking for the best tactical tomahawk for your kit it is worth mentioning that modern tomahawks come with additional sharp edges beyond the traditional cutting edge.

This is thought to provide a tactical advantage as it opens up additional options for attack and defense when using a tactical tomahawk. Many modern tomahawk makers have started including these options and it is worth considering when finding the best hawk to meet your needs.

Best Tomahawk

The Best Tomahawk: Take Your Pick

As you can see, there are many factors to consider when choosing the best tomahawk for your kit. As with any survival tool you should consider what you are most likely to use your tomahawk for.

A survival tomahawk is an excellent all around choice for their high versatility and compact designs. If you have more specialized tasks in mind like breaching doors, extracting people from vehicles, or serious self-defense you may want to consider a more specialized tool such as a breaching or tactical tomahawk.

Hopefully, our guide here has helped you understand the many qualities that make a good tomahawk such a valuable addition to a bug out bag or survival kit.

To recap, here are our top picks for best tomahawks by category:

Your Thoughts?

Do you have a survival tomahawk that you love? What qualities do you think the best tactical tomahawk should have? Please let us know in the Comments Section below!

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Best EDC Bag

How To Choose The Best EDC Bag

Best EDC Bag

Choosing the best EDC bag to contain your every day carry items is an important part optimizing your day-to-day preparedness.

There are many brands, styles, features, and sizes of bags out there, and in this article, we will help you identify what to look for as well as what to avoid when selecting the right bag for your EDC kit.

Step 1: Choose Your EDC Items

Before choosing an EDC bag, we need to go over exactly what gear we plan to carry.

Whether you are new to the idea of Every Day Carry or someone who has been carrying a kit around for years, take this as an opportunity to reassess your EDC needs.

We cover this process in depth in our How To Make An EDC List article but we will recap here for your convenience.

Let’s perform our EDC list review by asking ourselves following questions.

1. What items do you NEED to carry with you to accomplish your basic daily routine?

These are the basic items that you can’t leave your house without. These items usually include a wallet, keys, and cell phone. You may require more than this based on where you live or what you do professionally.

Keep this list as minimal as possible, it will be the core of your EDC kit, and we will add on from here.

2. What are the threats, risks, and common problems that you are likely to face on a day-to-day basis?

We covered how to perform a risk assessment in the article we mentioned above (here), but the basics of this are to take a look at your environment and identify what potentially negative events are most likely to occur.

Part of knowing this is to understand what has happened historically in your area as well as paying attention to evolving risks around you.

Once you have a list of medium to high probability risks, add to this the commonly occurring problems in your daily life.

  • Do you need to frequently open boxes or packages? Would carrying a knife help you with that?
  • Is it common for you to be in dark areas or to be out late at night?

Maybe it would be a good idea to start carrying an EDC flashlight (Check out our article here on the best EDC flashlights).

What we are looking to address here are items that address common problems and high probability risks.

Think critically about these two elements and be shrewd about what you plan on packing.

3. What could you carry that would be universally useful in many situations?

This follows the philosophy of carrying multipurpose survival items.

What items could you carry that have many uses?

Items like duct tape, paracord, and a multitool fit perfectly into this category. Is there anything that you can add to your every day carry bag that fits this profile?

4. What items do you want to carry to assist with a low probability/high impact situation you may have to face?

These items are ones that are nice to have but not things that you hope to have to use except in less common circumstances.

They may include emergency tools such as a seatbelt cutter/window breaker for escaping vehicles, a spare handcuff key, or a pry tool for forcing doors open.

Do you have to walk through a rough neighborhood on your way home from work every? Maybe carrying pepper spray would be prudent?

Consider low-probability events with a high, negative impact that you could greatly improve your survivability by having a simple tool.

Best Bug Out Bag

Carefully consider the questions above when crafting your EDC list.

Keep in mind that you are not striving to solve every problem or cover every possibility with your EDC kit, for that you will want a full Bug Out Bag.

Keep your EDC kit as simple and effective as possible.

If your intention is to carry these items with you EVERY DAY, you do not want a bloated list of gear that you carry around and never use.

Step 2: How Big Should Your EDC Bag Be?

After determining your ideal every day carry list, figuring out the best EDC bag size to contain it is relatively straightforward.

I suggest finding the smallest bag that can fit all your items, once discounting any items that you may decide to carry in your pockets.

Start by measuring the largest item. Its size will be the minimum dimensions of your EDC bag. Also, consider if you will be adding any items to your EDC kit on an occasional basis such as rain gear, water bottles, food, documents, or anything else you will be carrying as the need arises.

You will want extra space or the option of modular additions through a MOLLE system or other method to fit these occasional items. EDC bags come in many styles and sizes, from a small organizer pouch that can fit into a cargo pocket up to 30-liter backpacks. Anything larger than this is moving into Get Home or Bug Out Bag territory.

If you require a bag larger than 30L, you either have some BIG EDC items to carry or may want to re-examine your EDC list.

Step 3: Choosing the Best EDC Bag Type for You

There are many types of bags used for Every Day Carry purposes.

Here is a list of the most common EDC bag types:

EDC Organizer Pouch

An EDC Organizer Pouch is the smallest style of EDC bag. This is for people who have too many items to simply carry in their pants pockets but not enough to require a pack.

It’s hard to go wrong with the OneTigris Compact MOLLE EDC pouch.

EDC organizer pouches typically:

  • Are 1 liter or less in volume
  • Have many interior pockets, hooks, and webbing for organizing EDC gear
  • Have MOLLE attachment points for integration into larger kits
  • Fit in a cargo pocket or are worn on a belt

Common EDC items that are stored in an EDC organizer pouch include:

We recommend: The OneTigris Compact MOLLE EDC Pouch

EDC Lumbar Pack

EDC Lumbar Packs are larger than organizer pouches but smaller than a sling bag or backpack. This is useful if you plan on carrying larger items or a greater quantity of smaller items.

Because this style of bag does not strap around the shoulders and arms it may be the best EDC bag option for someone who needs a full range of motion.

Best EDC Bag
The Maxpedition Proteus Versipack is compact and has a well thought out layout. Click the image above for more info.

EDC Lumbar Packs typically:

  • Are 5-10 liters in volume
  • Are worn around the waist but also have a carry handle if you need to carry them by hand
  • Have MOLLE webbing both to attach them to larger bags or to attach smaller pouches to the lumbar pack
  • Have multiple compartments which will each contain various webbings, pouches, and hooks for organizing your EDC gear

Items typically carried in an EDC Lumbar Pack include anything that is mentioned above in EDC Organizer Pouch list plus:

We recommend: The Maxpedition Proteus Versipack

EDC Sling Bag

An EDC Sling Bag is typically used to carry heavier items than a lumbar pack due to its over-the-shoulder design. They are made to be comfortably carried further with a heavier load and can be the best EDC bag choice for someone who has many items to haul on a day to day basis.

Best EDC Bag
This Tactical Hip Bag is excellent for medium sized EDC Kits. Click on the image for more info.

EDC Sling Bags typically:

  • Are 10-20 liters in volume
  • Have MOLLE integration
  • Allow left or right side carry
  • Are easier to secure tightly to the body than a lumbar pack
  • Have many pockets and compartments that allow for easy organization of every day carry gear

In addition to the items listed to be carried in an organizer pouch and lumbar pack, items that can be carried in an EDC Sling Bag include:

  • Extra ammunition
  • Small Laptop
  • Mid-sized Medkit
  • Prepackaged Meals
  • Paracord
  • Fire Starting Kit
  • Pry Tool

We recommend: The Red Rock Outdoor Gear Hipster Sling Bag

EDC Backpack

An EDC backpack is perfect for someone who likes to pack lots of “just in case” gear. It is the obvious choice for anyone who has large sized every day carry items or a long EDC list based on their EDC needs.

The RUSH12 is a popular backpack that has plenty of compartments, a hydration pocket, and MOLLE integration.

EDC backpacks typically:

  • Are 20-30 liters in volume
  • Have MOLLE integration
  • Include hydration bladder systems
  • Have fewer pockets but more modular customization possibilities for external pouches

In addition to the items listed for the 3 bags already covered, every day carry items carried in EDC Backpacks include:

  • Folding Saw or Hatchet
  • Hydration Bladder
  • Change of Clothes
  • Full Sized Laptop
  • Full Medkit
  • Mini survival kit

We recommend: The RUSH12 Backpack by 5.11

Step 4: Features You Need and Features to Avoid in an EDC Bag

We suggest carrying the smallest bag that suits your every day carry needs.

Fortunately, many of the best EDC bags come with customization options to add or remove space as you need it via modular MOLLE pouches so your EDC bag can evolve with your requirements.

Regardless of what bag style you choose here is a list of features to seek out and avoid when finding the best EDC bag for your needs.

Essential Features

High-quality craftsmanship

If you are planning on carrying the best EDC bag EVERY DAY you do not want something cheap that is going to fall apart on you. Invest in a quality bag from a brand that has a good reputation and it will pay dividends.

MOLLE integration

MOLLE integration is a valuable feature to have in any tactical or preparedness bag as its widespread use allows for limitless customization options. Having it as a part of your EDC kit, regardless of the bag size and style that you choose will allow flexible adaptation as your EDC needs evolve.

Hydration system

This applies to sling bags and backpacks. Having a hydration system built into the bag will save space and reduce the need to carry a separate water bottle. Hydration is essential if you have to cover large distances with your EDC bag.

Adjustable fit

Every body is different. Buying a bag that is meant to fit all people is a recipe for frustration and discomfort. Your EDC bag needs to fit your body shape securely and not restrict your movement.

This means having multiple adjustment straps and clips at the following points at a minimum:

  • Shoulders
  • Hips
  • Sternum

Being able to adjust the fit of the bag at these 3 points will ensure that you have a securely fitting bag that you can wear all day, every day if need be.

Ability to run with the bag

This goes hand in hand with having a well-fitted bag. You never know when you need to run with your bag, you may need to catch a bus or evade detection from unfriendly people.

Either way, having a bag that both stays in place and does not jumble your EDC items around is an important feature to look for when choosing the right EDC bag for your situation.

Organization pouches within the bag

A good indication that you have a high-quality EDC bag instead of a more general consumer style bag is that it has well laid out, accessible, and practical organization features built into the bag.

This helps you find your EDC items when you need them and allows you to organize them in the manner that is most logical to your EDC needs.

Most quality EDC bags come with a variety of webbing, pouches, velcro, zippers, sleeves, and compartments that allow for efficient storage of your items.

Tough, corrosion resistant zippers

The zipper is a weak point in any bag. Being that you will use them thousands of times over the life of the bag it is important that your EDC bag has quality zippers that will not get stuck or break on you.

Additionally, it is better to have zippers and pulls that are made from a strong plastic, aluminum, or other rust-free material.

If you are carrying this bag every day it will at many times be exposed to the elements. Over time this will cause corrosion and failure in cheap zippers. Zippers are where cheap manufacturers will look to cut corners.

The best EDC bag makers on the market know that a quality zipper can mean the difference between a reliable bag and a piece of junk.

Features to avoid

As important as the above mentioned Essential Features are to include it is also necessary to be aware of features to avoid when finding the best EDC bag for you.

One large compartment

If you are going to carry your carefully selected EDC gear in a bag that has one large compartment you might as well just tote around a burlap sack. It will be cheaper and accomplish the same thing – jumbling your gear so you can’t find what you need in an emergency and making for an uncomfortable carry.

Choose a bag with multiple compartments and organizational options within the bag to optimize the accessibility of your EDC items and better manage the load.

Elastic straps

This is a way that cheap bag makers cut costs. Instead of making strong, padded, adjustable straps they will use elastic ones that make the bag a one-size-fits-none. Additionally, the elasticity of these will wear out over time making the bag hang lower than desired.

If a bag uses elastic straps to attach it to your body avoid it at all costs. Look for robust shoulder and hip straps with adjustable buckles for comfortable, long lasting fit.

Huge bags

Once again, even the best EDC bag is not intended to cover every possible circumstance. This is what your bug out bag is for. Carefully assess your every day carry needs and try these tips to minimize what gear you will be carrying:

  • Review your EDC list of items and see what you actually use on a day to day basis and what you can cut out.
  • Utilize multipurpose items to save space and weight
  • Try to find lightweight options for the items that you do carry that are constructed in materials such as titanium, micarta, carbon fiber, and plastics
  • If an item comes in multiple sizes choose the smaller version – small medkit versus full sized or folding knife versus fixed blade

Finding The Best EDC Bag For You

As you can see, the journey of finding the best EDC bag to meet your every day carry needs is a highly personal choice.

You will have to balance the threats you are likely to face with what you are able and willing to carry with you every step of the way. Once you have come to a decision of what your EDC kit will be it is best to find a high-quality bag that is comfortable and small enough to not encumber you if you need to move quickly.

Having a smaller, lighter kit with useful, practical items is more desirable than having a huge bag full of items you are unlikely to ever use.

Plan you kit thoughtfully and choose the best EDC bag you can to meet YOUR needs.

Remember, chance favors the well prepared.

If you want to read more on putting together your EDC kit, check out our related articles on:

Want Even MORE Info On Building Your EDC Kit?

If you are looking for even more information on how to build your ultimate EDC kit you can check out my book, The Every Day Carry Guide. It is a comprehensive manual that will teach you:

  • How to be prepared at all times – no matter where you are
  • How to build your first EDC kit from scratch
  • How to refine an existing kit to make it more effective
  • How to pick the best gear to realistically make you more prepared
  • How to assess threats and risks in your everyday life

EDC-Book-w-Button

Where to Go From Here: Pack Your Bug Out Bag

Once you’ve developed your EDC kit, if you haven’t done so yet, you should consider preparing a bug out bag.

We are the most comprehensive source for bugging out and take pride in our helpful Bug Out Bag List to help you pack!

Your Thoughts?

What do you think the best EDC bag is? Are there any features that you think are essential for EDC bags?

Please let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!

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