Knives Illustrated - - Edge Of Survival - STORY AND PHOTOS BY EJ SNY­DER

OK, he is fic­ti­tious. Still, he makes me won­der, and he makes me think. You know Macgyver, right? He is the ti­tle char­ac­ter from the TV show of the same name. He is a sci­en­tist who works as a trou­bleshooter.

I often won­der what a guy like this would carry as a sur­vival tool. Sure, it’s just TV, but he can fix or make just about any­thing out of sim­ple chew­ing gum. He is the guy, who within sec­onds, fas­tens to­gether a bomb-de­fus­ing de­vice us­ing an old rusty but­ter knife, a rub­ber band and a bobby pin from his pocket … and saves the day with only a mere sec­ond to spare.

Again, just what kind of a sur­vival tool would he carry?

Op­tions 1 & 2

I think he would carry one of two sorts of tools. I know many sur­vival­ists, in­clud­ing my­self, who have used th­ese in the past, so it made per­fect sense.

The first op­tion that came to mind is the good old-fash­ioned Swiss Army knife. Why? A reg­u­lar old pocket knife can be lim­ited. The sec­ond op­tion would be a multi-tool, whether it be a Leather­man, a Ger­ber tool or some other ver­sion out there.

Both sur­vival tool op­tions bring a lot to the ta­ble, a lot to con­sider, and are both be­ing used out there by many peo­ple to aid in their sur­vival tasks. So, let’s ex­am­ine what th­ese sur­vival tools bring to the sit­u­a­tion.

Swiss Army Knife

The Swiss Army knife is a clas­sic choice for a lot of folks, from Boy Scouts to sol­diers. The orig­i­nal Swiss Army knife dates back to 1884, so it has been around.

This knife is ba­si­cally a hard­ware store that can fit in one’s pock­ets. The stan­dard Swiss Army model comes with a knife blade, nail file, bot­tle opener, can opener, corkscrew and an awl. The largest, the Wenger Gi­ant, is the world’s largest Swiss Army knife, pack­ing 141 func­tions into 87 im­ple­ments. And it weighs just 1 pound, 6 ounces.

Sol­diers in World War II were big fans of the func­tion­al­ity of the Swiss Army knife for all it could do for them on the bat­tle­field, from fix­ing their bro­ken down Jeep to open­ing up their ra­tions to even trim­ming their nails. The Swiss Army knife, with its abil­ity to fix things, makes life all around bet­ter.

Here’s how I see it. If there’s a bet­ter tool for the job, the Swiss Army knife will have it as one of its tools. It clearly has served as a proven sur­vival tool over a cou­ple cen­turies now.

The Multi-tool

Dur­ing my Army ca­reer, I saw many sol­diers with the multi-tool. I re­mem­ber be­ing in a mo­tor pool, look­ing over our ve­hi­cles, and need­ing to do just some ba­sic main­te­nance. What comes out? The multi-tool pli­ers to tighten up a loose bolt. In other in­stances, maybe it was the wire cut­ters to cut away some tan­gled barbed wire caught up around an axle while out in the field. I re­mem­ber us­ing the saw blade to cut down limbs to cam­ou­flage a ve­hi­cle.

Multi-tools hit the scene around 1983. Tim Leather­man made the first as a “pocket sur­vival tool,” but it was too big for the pocket, so it be­came a belt carry. Some multi-tools are also de­signed for spe­cific jobs, such as elec­tri­cal work.

Based on my re­search, most multi-tools come with at least a dozen tools min­i­mum, and I saw sev­eral with twice that many. I know it’s a go-to for a lot of folks th­ese days as it fits eas­ily on the belt and has just the nec­es­sary num­ber of items needed for the job. It was de­signed that way. It was de­signed to make things less com­pli­cated. It is def­i­nitely very new to the scene and still prov­ing it­self. And if you ask me? It is do­ing rather well.

And the An­swer

I think it’s safe to say that each of th­ese tools has its place and use in the sur­vival world and in ev­ery­day carry (EDC). For sure, many peo­ple are us­ing them in that ca­pac­ity. I can see the multi-tool be­ing less con­fus­ing or com­pli­cated to use than a mega Swiss Army knife, but then again that mega hard­ware store may have that one very unique tool for the job.

I see both tools hav­ing a lot of func­tion­al­ity in and out of the field and in an emer­gency or sur­vival sit­u­a­tion. I see them both as handy ev­ery­day car­ries (EDC).

So, what would Macgyver carry? I am hon­estly not sure which of th­ese two he would choose to carry, but it is a good ques­tion I am sure many peo­ple ask them­selves when try­ing to se­lect a sur­vival tool to carry when on the edge of sur­vival. KI

Like the Swiss Army knife, the multi-tool has enough tools to ful­fill many var­ied tasks.

With its mul­ti­ple tools, the Swiss Army Knife can per­form many tasks, in­clud­ing mi­nor ve­hi­cle main­te­nance.

The multi-tool is com­fort­able in any en­vi­ron­ment from spec­i­fied jobs to field tasks.

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