Knife Safety while Backpacking


One of the essential backpacking tools is a trusty knife. I good knife can help you cut wood, prepare food, and be used to defend yourself in the backcountry. However, there are some basic rules that you should follow when using a knife. What these rules ensure is that you do not cut yourself or others. A serious cut on a backpacking trip can be extremely dangerous as your first aid kit will only go so far.

Make sure to follow these rules to practice proper knife safety:

Sharpen Your Knife

This may seem like a contradiction to knife safety, but having a well sharpened knife is essential. A dull knife is harder to cut with and harder to control. This can lead to mishaps which is a big no-no when working with a knife. You will strain harder to cut your object and this can lead to an overstrike when you cut farther than you expected.

Cut Away from Yourself

Never cut towards yourself. Always cut in the direction away from your body. This is pretty common sense, but it is important to be conscious of this at all times. Even when doing a small cut job, you always cut outwards not inwards. On a similar note, make sure that you do not cut within close quarters of other. Cut away from yourself and do not cut towards others.

Sheath Your Knife

While you are not using your knife, make sure to always put it in its sheath. When your outdoors you may forget to put the knife in its sheath but this leads to an extreme hazard. Maybe you forget where you put your knife and accidently step on the blade, or knock if off of a tree stump and it cuts you. Always sheath your knife.

Beware of Triangle of Death

The Triangle of Death is the area between your knees and crotch, that are home to many large veins. You want to steer clear of this area while cutting. Make sure you are not cutting close to your legs or crotch. If you cut yourself in this area you could bleed out very quickly, which is why it is called the Triangle of Death.

Move What You are Cutting, Not the Knife

When you are cutting a object, such as whittling wood, you should always move the object and not the knife. Keep the knife in the same position to maintain control over it and as you work around the wood, move the wood, and retain control of the knife. This will make sure you do not lose hold of the knife or cut close to your body.