Our ESEE Knives
Having cutting tools as part of your emergency preparations is important for many reasons, and each of those reasons may require a different sized blade. When we are practicing our Bushcrafting and camping skills we carry 3 sizes (plus a multitool.) That's slightly overkill, but hey, we like gear :-D
On that note: its easy to take it a little too far...knives can be awesome collectables, so really think about what your needs would truly be, and at what level you feel comfortable with cutting tools. They can add a lot of weight to your packs, and you cant eat them! If you don't like the larger knives a Leatherman New Wave Multitool may be enough for you.
There are a zillion different options out there, but the knives we settled on are those made by ESEE. The come with a lifetime guarantee and are made from 1095 steel. This requires minor upkeep to prevent rusting on the blade edges, but that's worth it for their excellent durability. ESEE knives also keep their edges sharp for quite a long time so don't need to be sharpened constantly. The knives come with molded plastic sheaths, which are quite nice in and of themselves so we've only added to them. A belt clip is also included should you want to go that route.Lets take each blade by itself and talk about their functions and sheathing options.
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The ESEE-6P is your main batoning and tool making knife. Their are several types of blades in the 6" size from ESEE, we prefer the P model which doesn't have serrations along the top. Also it appears by looking at the ESEE website, this is the knife you use to cut the head off an alligator...um, maybe not for everyone...but the point is that it is a large blade, capable of handling the bigger tasks. Not your everyday carry but good for longer term needs.
We keep the ESEE-6P in its original sheath. We've attached that sheath to a Drop Sheath with Molle. That can be attached to your belt, keeping the blade handle below the waistline, or attach it to a pack with MOLLE attachments. Wrapped around the plastic sheath is paracord. We learned how to do that by watching this excellent MCQ Bushcraft's tutorial.
The ESEE-4P is your everyday knife. Its small enough for delicate work like whittling wood but sturdy enough for small batoning tasks. It fits easily on your side and we attach this directly onto out belt using the provided clip.
Again we wrapped the sheath in paracord. Attached to that is a small pouch like this one from Maxpedition. Inside of that we often carry a Magnesium Fire Starter Flint Striker Rod and if we aren't wearing it around our neck a UST JetScream Whistle as well.
The ESEE Izula is an amazing little neck knife. Its tiny but wicked sharp and we use it for cutting food and doing some small woodworking tasks.
We use the included plastic sheath, which we added a rope to and hang around our neck. We also added paracord to the handle to make is a little more comfortable to grip. There are tons of tutorials on Google for how to do that.
Typical Price: $10
This is a portable and easy way to care for your knives. The ceramic part is for day-to-day sharpening while the carbide is for really dull knives. Your ESEE should never be used on the carbide, its just too aggressive a cut. The diamond taper is for serrated edges. Watch a video or two about how to use these properly - its quite simple. There is a great review and walkthrough of it on Youtube here.
Lansky Dual Grit Sharpener
Typical Price: $8
Not necessarily for a fine blade like the ESEE's - these are more for larger blades like machetes, hatchets, axes, and shovels. Very simple to use. Has a coarse side and a medium side.
Frog Lube or Other Oils
Typical Price: $11
The 1095 steel used to make the ESEE knives requires a little upkeep. Wipe it dry before sheathing it. For long term storage you should put some oil on the blade. Olive oil if you plan to use the blade for food prep. Mineral oil works OK too but we aren't fans of eating it. Froglube is biobased and non-toxic and should keep your knives nice and clean and protected if used regularly!