Thursday, May 24, 2012

See what a survival expert picks for a search and rescue knife in the backcountry

If you love cutlery and are interested in wilderness survival, the best survival knife debate is a fascinating topic. And like most enthusiasts, discussing the topic of "What is the best survival knife?" is as much fun as shopping for a new blade. Land navigation expert Blake Miller recently
Custom CT Fishcher Mora blue handle knife
attended a Search and Rescue conference and talked to some experts about what knives to carry in the wilderness. 
This is the first in a series.

by Blake Miller
This survival knife is the choice of a Search and Rescue expert.
This Busse Combat Knife is the choice of one survival expert.

I was fascinated listening to John C’s backcountry survival presentation at the 2012 Washington Search and Rescue (SAR) conference. John is a 19-year veteran of wilderness SAR. He is also a county Emergency Management Coordinator in Washington.
With his backcountry experience and knowledge, he is the absolute right person to discuss wilderness survival.
Key to his discussion of SAR tools, fire starting and building an emergency shelter was his selection of knives. He carried a full tang, fixed blade knife in his SAR pack.
After his presentation I sat down with John to discuss why his primary choice was a fixed blade rather than a folding knife. He told me that the hinge point of a folder was its weakest point and not something he would compromise on.
His choice for a survival knife is a stout knife made by the Busse Combat Knife Company. His knife’s blade body is thick, just under a quarter inch; the tang itself is impressive. The knife had an approximately eight- inch blade. Sturdiness and versatility came to mind when looking at this tool. It’s not a fine bladed scalpel but rather a strong knife that will do the job shaping boughs or batoning firewood. It is a utilitarian, multipurpose part of his kit.
Washington  Search and Rescue conference 2012
John’s is a quality knife and not a trendy looking bowie knife with engraving and inscription. The only designs etched onto the blade were the wear patterns from years of hard and demanding work.
His selection of manufactures included the Busse Combat Knife Company, Swamp Rat and Scrap Yard; all names new to me.
He did caution that using a large knife takes experience and extra caution.
John’s choice may not be for everyone but is based on years in the wilderness and experience.
Blake Miller has made a career out of staying found and knowing where he is at all times. His formal navigation training began when he joined the U.S. Navy in 1973. He served as an officer aboard several Navy ships over his
Blake Miller
twenty-year career; many of those tours included the duty of Navigator. Blake began working with satellite navigation systems at sea in 1976, culminating with the then-new satellite positioning systems aboard the Battleship WISCONSIN in early 1990.
In 1998, Blake started Outdoor Quest, a business dedicated to backcountry navigation and wilderness survival. Blake has taught classes to wild land firefighters, state agency staffs, Search and Rescue team members, hunters, hikers, skiers, fishermen and equestrians. He regularly teaches classes through the Community Education programs at Central Oregon (Bend) and Chemeketa (Salem, OR) Community Colleges.
As a volunteer, Blake teaches navigation and survival classes to students in the local school districts, and conservation groups. He is a member of a Search and Rescue team.
If you have any questions about land navigation or wilderness survival, you can contact Blake through, or you can go to his website.
Contact Information:
Phone: 541-280-0573
To hear the Blake Miller interview about choosing a magnetic compass and GPS on Radio, click here.

For more navigation information, click here

All time best-selling preparedness book by James Talmage Stevens -- Doctor Prepper

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