A Gentleman Should Always Carry a Knife

Posted by Leighton Taylor on

“A gentleman...keeps a blade by his side.” Admit it. You’re smiling, if not outwardly, then inwardly. You’ve already taken out your mental pad and paper and are scrolling down to the bottom of your list of “Reasons to Always Carry a Knife.” This one goes on the list. After all, it was a military strategist who made this statement, and you never know when it’ll be TEOTWAWKI and you’ll need your survival knife. Most of all, you want to be a gentleman (or ladies, you want to be as prepared and gentle-lady-ish as possible--and of course that includes a knife).

Why Else Should You Carry a Knife

Why else should you carry a knife? After a brief traipse through the beloved world wide web, I’ve collected a list of 20 reasons your knife-loving peers find to carry a knife.X
Read more →

Cold Steel Super Edge Knife Review

Posted by Leighton Taylor on


Video by: cutlerylover

Knife on deck: Cold Steel Super Edge 42SS

The first thing you’ll notice when the video begins is that it looks like a giant is holding a survival knife. Relax and breath easy. What you’re looking at is the Cold Steel Super Edge 42SS. It’s 4 5/16 inches long and weighs .8oz without the sheath (under 2 oz. with the sheath). The blade is a beautifully serrated 2 inches of Cold Steel AUS8 steel.

This little devil was designed to be fairly incognito. If you look at the design of the Secure-Ex sheath and the Kray-Ex handle of the knife you can just let your imagination go wild with the number of places you could carry this. The most obvious ways to carry this knife is as a neck knife or as a boot knife, but the options are endless.

Some suggestions:

  • on the zipper of your hoody
  • on your purse (if you are a female or a purse carrying man)
  • on your backpack
  • on your fanny pack (you 80s-loving weirdo)
  • on your BOB
  • basically anything with a zipper or string or lace-up option

The Cold Steel Super Edge 42SS is:

  • lightweight
  • compact
  • and very, very sharp

Overall a great performing knife.

More Specifically

So what specifically did cutlerylover have to say about it. First, he really likes to use it as his boot knife. He laces it through the front of his boot or sneaker so that it rests on the tongue of the shoe. In fact, he says that no-one has ever noticed it there unless he’s pointed it out.

As a boot knife, it’s great. As a neck knife, the Cold Steel Super Edge leaves something to be desired mostly because of the handle. Why?

  1. The handle is made of Kray-Ex and is very grippy. Offhand, this seems like a great feature, and it is, unless you’re wearing the Cold Steel Super Edge as a neck knife. The grippiness makes up for the small size of the handle for a confident hold, but that grippiness does not do well with neck skin, chest hair, or t-shirts. The handle seems to do a twisty love dance with anything that it touches.

  2. Second complaint about the handle is that the guard makes the knife a bit bulky for a neck knife. The sheath has to bulge out in order to fit the full guard of the Super Edge, which makes it a little too bulgy for the ideal neck knife.

For a neck knife, cutlerylover prefers either the Brous Blades Silent Soldier or the CRKT Spew.

Cold Steel Super Edge Serrations

The blade of the Super Edge is serrated, alternating a scallop edge with micro-serrations. While a fully-scalloped serrated edge might be preferred, the micro-serrations of the Cold Steel Super Edge are about as good as they come. Often, micro-serrated knife-edges fail because the serrations are too deep. This results in the knife to catching while you cut through things. Deep serrations are also difficult to keep sharp enough to function well for very long. The Super Edge’s micro-serrations are fairly shallow which allows them to stay sharper for longer and helps them not to catch as often on whatever you’re cutting.

Cutlerylover says that in his opinion, the knife, under constant use, would last for 5-6 months before needing to be resharpened. At this point, he throws his away. We all know that it can be challenging for anyone to sharpen serrations, let alone return the serrations to a factory edge.If you don’t feel like tackling the project of re-sharpening a serrated knife, we recommend turning the serrated Super Edge into a straight-edge!

Why we like the Cold Steel Super Edge:

It’s a great, inexpensive, incognito, always-carry-with-you knife. Laced to your shoe or bag or shirt as a regular accessory, you’ll always have a knife with you even if you end up in an unintentional survival situation.

View the Cold Steel Super Edge on Amazon!

Read more →

Baby It's Cold Outside: Making the Most of Your Insulation Opportunities

Posted by Leighton Taylor on

Food, water, and shelter-- the three life-sustaining essentials that survivalists preach over and over (and over) again. Not all survival situations are created equal, however, so these three gods of survival don’t always rank in the same order of importance. For example, in a cold weather survival situation, you could be well-stocked with a satchel full of expertly trapped small game, but having a full-belly with preparations for the next few days of food survival won’t do you an ounce of good if you’ve frozen to death your first night in the wilderness.

In a cold weather survival situation, shelter and warmth are king and queen in the survival hierarchy. Whether you’re semi-prepared with a tent and sleeping bag, or completely unprepared, there are lots of little tips that just might save you from frostbite, hypothermia, or even a slow, cold, miserable death. So what should you do to insulate yourself from the cold? As Ben Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” Keep reading to learn some tips that can help you keep warm and dry even when it’s extremely cold outside. Let the investing begin!

How to Keep Warm:

Insulating yourself

The most important part of keeping warm is making sure that your body is properly insulated. This means that it not just about having enough clothes. What is even more important is that you know how to maximize the warmth that your clothes provide you.

Tip #1: Cover your most vulnerable areas.

Now, before you go and layer on all the clothes you have with you to ward off the chill, you need to remember that there are certain parts of your body that are more vulnerable to losing body heat-- namely your head, neck, wrist, hands, feet, and ankles. In fact, an uncovered head can cause you to lose 40-45% of your body heat. ACK! So it’s extremely important that these areas are adequately covered.

Tip#2: Keep your clothes clean and dry.

Soiled or dirty clothes lose much of their insulation value – they won’t keep you as warm as clean clothes can. “Dirty clothes?” you ask. Yep. This is because dirt and sweat reduce air pockets in your clothes which ends up causing heat to escape more quickly from your body. Dry clothing is important to keeping warm. Wear clothes that are water repellant or at least not made of absorbent cotton so it won't get damp or wet that easily. If your clothes do get wet, make sure to change into dry ones immediately.

Tip#3: Avoid overheating.

Though it may not seem possible, you can actually cause your body to overheat in cold weather. When this happens, you will start to sweat - your body's way of cooling off, and when you cool off, you lose body heat that's essential to keeping warm. Bad news.  To top it all, your clothes become damp which reduces their ability to keep you insulated. So, if you feel like your body is starting to overheat, adjust the amount of clothing you are wearing. Uncover your head or use lighter headgear. You can also uncover your hands or partially open your jacket to help dissipate your extra body heat.

Tip#4: Wear loose, layered clothing.

If you want to keep yourself warm, it is important that you wear clothing that won't restrict your blood flow. Blood circulation helps keep you warm. In addition, layering your clothing traps air between your body and the environment which helps insulate your body. To increase insulation, let your inner homeless man out (don’t be ashamed...we all have one) and put fibrous materials such as grass or dried leaves between your layers of clothing. This is a great way, again, to increase the amount of trapped air.

Tip #5: Start a fire.

Not only will a fire will keep you warm, but it can also be used to cook food or heat water. Consuming food and water can also help keep you warm. Fire is also particularly useful for drying out any damp or wet clothes you have. (Imagine that!)

Photo by ilkerender. Used under Creative Commons license.

Tip #6: Stay active.

Staying active can help keep you warm because it helps increase blood circulation. I’m not advocating an hour of intense working out because this would make you sweat (which we’ve already said makes you LOSE heat). A great "passive" exercise you can do to increase circulation without breaking out in a sweat is to tense and relax your muscles for a few minutes.

Tip #7: Think about your internal body temperature.

Your body works really hard to keep its internal temperature at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Sure, snow might seem like a good source for water, but the very fact that it’s cold means that your body has to put out more energy to melt it and bring it to normal body temperature. So, when you are considering food/drink, go the extra mile and heat it up over the fire. If you find yourself lying in your nicely insulated sleeping bag and realize that you really “have to go,” don’t wait. “Holding it” just wastes energy by giving your body extra fluid to keep warm.  

Insulating your shelter

Tip #1: Make your shelter just large enough to accommodate you.

Keeping the space inside your shelter small will ensure that you only have a small amount of air to keep warm thereby conserving your body heat. In addition, a smaller space will take less time to heat so you’ll be warm in no time.

Tip #2: Use fibrous materials to insulate your shelter.

Whether you are lucky enough to have a tent or if you’re building a makeshift shelter using your trusty survival knife, you’ll need to add layers to it in order to keep it warm and cozy. Using materials like dead leaves, moss, pine needles, and grass to layer the inside and the outside of your shelter will create additional air pockets that will help keep the heat inside. You’ll also want to use these same materials on the floor of your shelter to prevent the cold ground from zapping your body heat. Do this even if you have a heavy duty sleeping bag to make sure that your sleeping bag will remain dry.

Photo by peupleloup. Used under Creative Commons license. 

Tip #3: Insulate your bed.

Place a hot water bottle inside your sleeping bag. You can also opt to stuff your sleeping bag with your loose gear or fibrous materials to lessen the amount of air and space that you poor body is working so hard to keep warm.

Tip #4: Block the entrance of your shelter to keep the heat in and the wind out.

Tip #5: Avoid building shelter on low ground such as narrow valleys or ravines.

Cold air is heavier than warm air, so these areas will be colder (especially at night) than the high ground surrounding them.

What? No Shelter?

Now, if by any chance you aren’t able to build your own shelter or you don’t have a tent, there are some natural wilderness shelters that will go a long way in helping you to stay warm. Natural formations like caves, trees, and rocky crevices can provide you a much needed cover from the wind. Fallen trees and logs can also act as useful windbreakers. If you can, try digging out a small pit beside the log or tree using your survival knife or a sharp rock to give you more cover. Once you find your temporary shelter, you can start insulating it by creating a fire and layering the ground with fibrous materials. If you happen to be in the desert, make sure to use sun heated rocks to keep yourself warm at night. Those sun-heated rocks, incidentally, work as great heat reflectors and wind blockers to keep behind you as you sleep near your fire.

In a cold weather survival situation, keeping yourself warm is the most important thing you'll need to do to be able to make it through the night. Cold weather can make you feel uncomfortable (yes, even more so that you already do given that you are in a survival situation) and can even result in frostbite, hypothermia, or both. Even worse, feeling cold and extremely uncomfortable can make you lose your will to live. So be prepared. Remember these tips. Store them in your mental reserves to be pulled out and used if you ever find yourself in an unfortunately cold survival situation.

Read more →

Hello Hydration: Unexpected Water Sources for Survival Situations

Posted by Leighton Taylor on

Whether you’re safe in the heart of civilization or lost in the wild, water is one of those essentials that you just can’t do without. And, if fate is determined to be cruel to you and places you into an unprepared survival situation, you’re going to have to work quickly to find water. Now, we all know that rivers and streams are excellent sources of water, but what if you can’t find one?

*Enter the life-giving saviors: knowledge and preparedness*

Rivers and streams, while the most obvious sources for water, are not the only sources for water. Knowing where to look to find water can be the difference between life and miserable death by dehydration. Remember what Ray Mears said: “Knowledge is the key to survival, the real beauty of that is that it doesn't weigh anything.” So take out your weightless mental notepad and get ready to store up some of these unexpected sources of water.

Unexpected Water Sources

Lost in the Desert

One of the things we all know about the desert is its lack of easily noticed and available water from lush rivers and flowing streams. There are, however, plenty of hidden sources if you only know where to look. One of the "unusual" spots for a water source is the ground. You'll find groundwater in the following locations:

  • the foot of rock outcrops, cliffs, or mountain ranges
  • damp/wet surface sand or soil
  • the foot of concave banks of dry river beds
  • the outside bend of a dry stream bed
  • where green vegetation or water-loving trees such as willows, cottonwoods, sycamores, hackberries, cattails, and ashes are located
  • the depression behind a dry desert lake's first sand dune

    To get the water, simply dig holes using your survival knife or shovel (if you have one with you). Make sure that the holes are deep enough for water to seep in.

    You can also find water in rocks, especially porous ones. Depressions, holes, and fissures in rocks might also contain water, usually as a result of recent rainfall. Siphon the water using some flexible tubing (an item that should definitely be in your Bug Out Bag along with your survival knife), or in a less ideal situation, make some tubing out of hollow plant stems.

    Lastly, you can get water through condensation. Turn over half-buried rocks a little before dawn and wait for dew to form. Desert grass will also have some condensation as morning sets in. Use a cloth to absorb the dew and wring it off into a container.

    To get a better idea of how to search for water when in the desert, especially in these unusual spots, check out the video below:

    Lost in the Forest, Wilderness, or Tropics

    While these environments may have more water sources than a desert, you won't always find yourself near the obvious water souces like rivers and streams. Fortunately, there are also several unusual places where you can find water in these environments.

    1.) Trees and plants are a great source of drinking water.

    • Some trees have water-filled holes from which you can get water. Watch for bees or ants going into a hole in a tree because they may be pointing you to a hidden water source.
    • You can also find water in tree crotches.
    • Certain trees and plants actually hold/contain water.
      • Green bamboo thickets
      • Banana or plantain trees
      • Some tropical vines
      • Ferns
      • Palm trees (such as coconut and rattan)
      • Traveler's trees (in Madagascar)
      • Umbrella trees (in Africa)
      • Baobab trees (in Australia and Africa)

    With your survival knife, you can cut into the tree, vine, stem, branch, or root to get your water. For some, such as vines and bamboos, you can let the water within the plant drip into your container or straight into your mouth. For some trees such as banana trees, you'll need to cut down the tree, scoop out a bit of the stump's center and then wait for the water from the roots to rise up and fill your makeshift bowl.

    • Plants that have moist pulpy centers can be squeezed or smashed so you can collect the moisture within. For roots, you will need to cut the pieces into smaller ones before smashing them so you can collect water.
    • Lastly, you can use the vegetation as a source of heavy dew (Would we call that Veggie Dew?)

      2.) Another hidden cache of water in the wilderness and a forest is the ground.

      Just like in the desert, you’ll need to look for certain clues that will tell you where to dig. Muddy or damp soil is usually an indication that there is water in the ground. Birds, bees, mosquitoes, and other kinds of wildlife will usually show you where there is a water source, even if it’s just a small puddle in a dry river bed. To collect groundwater, dig a one-foot-deep hole and wait for water to fill it.

      While none of these water sources will come close to satisfying your thirst like a icy pitcher of water, every little bit of water increases your chances of survival. So, the next time you find yourself in need of possible water sources, keep in mind that the obvious ones are not your only choices. The hidden caches of water just might be right under your fingertips.

      Read more →

      How to find food and water in a cold weather survival situation

      Posted by Leighton Taylor on

      Food and water are both necessary for survival whether you’re in the middle of Manhattan or stranded in the wilderness. The only difference is that it’s easier to “forage” for these basic necessities in a civilized setting than it is in a survival situation, especially in severe weather.

      Since you never know when you may find yourself in a cold weather survival situation, it pays to have a little bit of knowledge just in case.

      In this article, we’ll discuss some tips on how to find food and, more importantly, water when trapped in severely cold weather with no amenities or rescue in sight.


      Despite what may seem intuitive, staying hydrated is just as important in a cold environment as it is in a warm or hot one. Though cold weather normally doesn’t make you sweat, you still lose water continuously.

      There are several reasons for this. Your body loses precious fluid due to the cold, the stress you're under, and any physical exertion you do. In addition, you may also be contributing to fluid loss by drinking coffee to keep you warm which can cause you to urinate more frequently. In any case, it is extremely important to replace any of the lost fluid in order for you to be able to function effectively--something that is absolutely essential in a survival situation.

      Ok, so you know water is important. Now comes the tough part--you’ll need to know where to get an adequate supply. And in an extremely cold environment, the only source of water you are most likely to find is snow and ice. So, how do you get water from snow and ice? Below are several tips to help you out.

      Tips on Melting Ice and Snow for Water:

      • Use your body heat to melt snow by putting it in a container (i.e. water bag, can, flask) and then placing that container in between layers of your clothing.

      • Use fire to melt the snow. You can place a container filled with ice/snow near the fire or, if you don't have a container available, make a snow marshmallow (packed snow placed on top of a stick) and place it near the fire then use any available material you have to catch the drops of water.

      • Don’t try eating snow or melting ice in your mouth as it lowers your body’s core temperature, taking away your warmth and leaving you cold.

      • Ice is a better source of water than snow since it yields more water and takes less time to melt.

      • Melt snow or ice in small amounts, adding more and more as soon as the previous amount has melted.  

      • Make sure that your container is not filled completely. This prevents the water from freezing. You should also keep your water right next to you to keep it from freezing again.

      For a more detailed look at how to melt snow for water, check out the video below:

      Take note, if the area you are in happens to have sources of drinkable water such as flowing bodies of water (i.e. rivers, streams), then don’t bother wasting fuel or energy on melting ice or snow.  Just make sure to strain the water to get rid of any sediment and boil it for at least 10 minutes to purify it.


      According to what the survival experts call “The Rule of Threes”, you can survive three weeks without food. This means that you don’t really have to worry much about starving to death in most survival situations though feeling hunger can make you feel worse off than you really are. In a cold weather survival situation, however, food is quite important to survival because the calories and fat you consume helps keep your body warm. So, how do you feed yourself when trapped in a cold environment? Check out our tips below.

      Tips for Procuring Food:

      • Insects and worms can be found in almost any location; their nesting grounds are usually underground, within rotten wood, or beneath rocks. Be sure to boil them though before consuming and avoid eating any bugs that are brightly colored, pungent, or hairy.

      • Hunting or trapping animals is also a good way to gather some grub though it isn’t going to be easy. You should keep in mind that although a large animal would feed you for a long time, it's much harder to trap/hunt than a small one.

      • When hunting or trapping, look for clues that prove animals frequently pass by the area. Some examples to look out for include trails, tracks, droppings, water areas, and chewed vegetation.

      • Fish, clams, and snails are also a good source of food if you're lost in an area that has bodies of water. Avoid eating any mussels though during the summer months because they contain toxins that are only present during that time.

      • If you want to eat some vegetation, you should be careful to avoid the following: white and red berries, mushrooms (unless you can identify them), water hemlock, and any plants that look like melons, cucumbers, or beans because they are frequently found to be poisonous.

      • Reptiles are a good source of protein and none of them are inedible though the poisonous ones do present some danger when you’re trying to catch it.

      • Some wild plants that you can eat include acorns, chickweed, burdock (also known as wild rhubarb), cattails (the lower stalks and rhizomes), and watercress. Just keep in mind that when in doubt, it's best not to eat the plant.

      If you want more information on how to hunt, fish, and trap your food, check out our post about using a survival knife to feed yourself in the wilderness here.

      Read more →