Fervent outdoor enthusiasts nurse a secret love affair with winter camping. It's their real-life equivalent to a gaslamp fantasy - only set in harsh conditions of extreme cold. "You can't stab it, you can only slice it. That's how I look at winter" explains Jim, a passionate outdoor enthusiast, hiker, hunter, and author. Unlike most of us, Jim's vision of a romantic winter is not in front of the living room fireplace. But it's set in the Alaskan wilderness under an open sky. "There's a romance to it that is hard to explain. It's like being in love with the woman you cannot touch".
Winter Camping: A Whole New Ball Game
This is not a camping trip for the faint-hearted. You'll need more than a pocket knife and camping essentials. You need detailed planning and preparation. Plus, you'll need a big heart to go with it. And an even bigger knife - not just an OTF automatic knife. To survive a harsh winter outdoors, you'll need more than one great fixed blade knife. You want to arm yourself with an arsenal of different knives to take on this extreme survival game.
Choosing the best camping knives to take on extreme winter camping is not easy. It takes years of experience to know which knives will best meet the needs and challenges. So, we spoke to Jim Hand, a Canadian survival enthusiast with years of wild camping experience behind him, and asked him for the best winter camping knives. If anyone knows he does. And here's his top recommended knives that include everything from OTF automatic knives to fixed blade knives, and folders.
Tekto Knives. Sub-Zero Automatic Knife
You're going to need an OTF automatic knife when trying to survive in the biting cold out in the wild. This will be your main driver. "You need a knife that's razor-sharp and robust. Most of Tekto Knives are built rugged and are forged to cut. I personally prefer the Mirage OTF automatic knife. It's a solid army-grade knife with a razor-sharp blade and rugged build. You can deploy the blade in a flash with a smooth action, and it can take on most outdoor jobs for a few harsh winters, and still retain its edge. For most campers, this is the best buy and will outlast most other automatic knives. This is a knife that seems to have been designed specifically for sub-zero survival." Explains Jim.
Fixed Blade Knife
When camping in bone-chilling temperatures and trying to put together a fire or meal, you'll need a fixed blade knife. This is your main cutter for the heavy-lifting jobs - from opening tin to skinning a game. You don't want just any knife because it’s tagged with a 'survival' label. You need a solid-as-submarine fixed blade knife.
I love Gerber StrongArm and have mentioned it in quite a few blogs of mine by now. This is a no-nonsense frill-free fixed blade knife that you can rely on at any place under any condition. The knife features 5 inches of ceramic-coated 420HC steel, full-tang construction, and a solid ergonomic handle for a non-slip grip. This is an unbeatable survival knife at the price point ($70). For winter camping, this is your must-have companion.
In part 2 of this article, we'll showcase some badass knives that you're going to need to survive blustery conditions. Stay tuned.