I just wanted to throw out a knife recommendation...
Check out Morakniv of Sweden. Smoky Mtn Knife Works carries their line at extremely reasonable prices. You will not find a better, more durable knife for three times the price. I used a Mora blade when fishing commercially and I use one every day as an electrician. I USE my blades, meaning I really beat on them when I work, and I have never had one break or bend. They look and feel cheap and plastic-y but don't be fooled; their handles have a non-slip plastic grip that will not slip even coated with wire lube or fish slime, two of the slickest things I know. The carbon steel gets a stained patina that looks dirty but isn't. The sheath is typically hard plastic, with a lock that holds the knife in even upside down, but easily releases when you pull. And they're light. I don't know the weight exactly, but my Mora is the lightest tool on my belt pouch. I know I sound like an ad, but I'm really just a very satisfied user and I wanted to share.
I had a Mora knife years ago, and it was nice. I have a Buck 119 that I use, as well as a genuine small pocket Swiss Army knife, without all the bells & whistles. It only has 1 blade, a can/bottle opener, and some sort of leather awl thing, which I don't know what it's for but it works great as a spark striker!
The little knife goes with me every time, but the Buck only on trips where something that has more oomph is needed, like for splitting firewood.
Loc: Portland, OR
I have carried a Swiss Army pocket knife every day of my life for more than four decades now. I prefer the Recruit model, with two blades, a can and a bottle opener, toothpick and tweezers. I've toyed with owning other pocket knives, but they never make it into my pocket.
Swiss Army Classic here...always. Sometimes carry that and a Leatherman Squirt P1 if I think I might need pliers. I'll carry a Spiderco or Kershaw folder in my back pocket for heavy work, when needed. The SA Classic has been with me for a couple decades. Knife, scissors, file/screwdriver, tweezers, toothpick, in a 1 oz. package. Backpacked with it many miles.
For fixed blade "mora" style, I'll use kitchen boning and pairing knives. I have a Chicago Cutlery boning knife that's light, holds an edge, and has stood up to serious abuse. Made the sheath from pvc and a heat gun.
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
I carry a wood handled 4" Repala Fillet Knife. It's light and strong and I've found it to be a great choice for backpacking. I attach it to my waist belt on my backpack so it's easily accessible and never even feel it a bit while hiking.
I used to carry one with a 9" blade when I lived in California and did a lot of salt water fishing. It was a great knife for hiking and camping too, but I found it really intimidated people I'd meet on the trail or in a parking lot at the trailhead. I've had that knife for 31 years and I use it in the kitchen daily now. I've had the 4" knife for about ten, and both have held up better than just about anything else I've bought during those years.
The 4" is only about $15 now so if you've never had one it's a classic knife that worth having. for backpacking I made my own sheath out of nylon webbing.
Edited by packlite (12/03/1501:00 PM) Edit Reason: edit to make images appear
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
I got a Mora (Companion?) a year or two ago. It's blade is just shy of 4" and weighs about 4oz with it's sheath. But, I never use it, so it'll probably stay home for the rest of my trips. I might use it if I was more into fire-craft, but I'm not. I had a Leatherman Squirt PS4, one of the keychain sized multitools with pliers. I really liked it but I lost it along with my FAK. I have a Leatherman Wingman for everyday carry, but I exchange it for a 1oz SAK when hiking. If I were to buy something else, it'd probably be a Leatherman Micra. I might miss having pliers at some point, but I feel like the better shears are more useful to me. Then again, the teeny tiny scissors on the SAK are the only thing that works to dig out my chronic in-grown toe-nail .
Those Rapalas are great knives. Sharp as sharp can be, as a filet knife needs to be. I have one myself. For backpacking, I use a small, carbon fiber handled, lockback Kershaw I gave my father 25 years ago. When he passed, I took back its use. He taught me from a very young age the uses for a sharp, well made knife.
I like the Repalas too. For a fixed blade knife, I've used those and other "kitchen" knives that have outlasted and out performed dedicated heavy "camping" knives. My trusty Chicago Cutlery boning knife is the same idea only slightly shorter and stiffer. I make my sheaths from PVC and a heat gun. I'm sure you could sew ballistic nylon around them to make them softer, but they are pretty much indestructible as they are. They take about 30min. to make.
Nice thing about this method of sheath making is that it's a form fit for the knife, and friction hold it in solidly. I do this also for my kitchen knives for picnics and car camping. Takes seconds since the belt loop isn't needed.
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
That PVC case is cool as can be!
I had to share that on my FB page. I'm sure a lot of my friends will appreciate that. Knife sheaths seem to be one of those things that get lost too easy.
Mine works really good. I stitched a knot in the sheath where the finger indent on the handle is so it catches and holds the knife great, and I lined it with milk carton plastic so it doesn't snag on the webbing when you put it in the sheath. But it's still susceptible to damage if I fell and that would suck pretty bad because I use it a lot. And I slip and fall a lot so I think I'm gonna have to make one of those.
Bill, I've stitched together lots of sheathes from leather, webbing, etc., and by far those PVC sheaths are the quickest and most durable to make. By the way, at most dollar stores, you can by Kydex sheet cutting boards. You usually get three sheets that are great for making indestructible things. Like milk carton plastic, but much tougher.