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GearTools & Tech
Gear Guy

Which knife or multi-tool will work for all my outdoors activities?

I’d like to buy one knife for all my outdoor activities (camping, hiking, climbing, mountain biking, and kayaking). What would you pick? Bob Lexington, Kentucky


Well, I dunno. What is the knife for? Whittling tiny wooden camping companions? Stabbing a bear that’s chasing you on your mountain bike? Performing minor surgery?

Swiss Army Explorer

Swiss Army Explorer

It’s safe to say that the handiest all-around knife and tool remains the trusty Swiss Army-style knife, such as the Swiss Army Explorer ($44; I regard these things as indispensable. True, the knife blade isn’t fabulous, but it’s OK for most everyday tasks such as making kindling or cutting cord. And it has useful tools such as a screwdriver, can opener, bottle opener, and so on. So it’s very handy for the many odd jobs one encounters, such as working on stoves, repairing packs, opening food pouches, and so on. What’s not to like?

If it’s really a blade-only knife that you’re after, then I like folding models with a fairly short blade. Spyderco’s Delica 4 Lite ($68; is such a knife, with a compound blade (straight edge and serrated) that folds snugly into a textured nylon handle. It’s very, very sharp and light. Gerber’s Armor Serrated Knife ($48; has a slightly shorter combination blade with a very comfortable handle. Nice knife as well.

You’ve got your winter gear, now get outside and use it.’s ski and snowboard guide makes it easy to find nearby slopes just begging for fresh tracks.

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Filed To: KnivesMulti-Tools
Lead Photo: courtesy, REI