> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Prepping on $40 a Week: EDC Knife



Prepping on $40 a Week: EDC Knife

Hope you've got your budgets worked out, because we're diving right into our $40 a week series. We're starting out by building a solid, budget-minded EDC. This week, we're looking at our first selection, a pocket knife.

There are actually a surprising number of excellent choices for under $40; the Spyderco Tenacious, which is a really great knife for around $35, is a very solid pick at this price point. However, remember that we're writing for someone really starting out from scratch and looking to maximize the utility of the limited budget at hand.

With those constraints in mind, I'm deviating from what you'd normally think of in a pocket knife recommending a multitool - the Leatherman Sidekick.

The Sidekick and Wingman look almost identical, but the tools are a bit different.
The Sidekick and the very similar Wingman are Leatherman's entry-level offerings for full sized multitools, and for under $30, they're an unbeatable value. In my opinion, the Sidekick, with its plain edge blade, saw, and serrated is more attractive for general survival use than the Wingman, with scissors, serrated blade and package opener.
Here's the Wingman's tools on display - note the differences. The Wingman
is a few dollars cheaper than the Sidekick, though.

The Sidekick's plain edge blade locks via the sturdy liner lock, which is one of my favorites, and well executed on the Sidekick--strong yet easily disengaged. The blade of my Sidekick came arm-hair shaving sharp, too. Yes, the 420HC blade steel is not a premium steel, but you'll have a hard time finding anything significantly better, with this quality, at this price point. It's a really good knife, and offers $30 worth of value all on its own.

Close-up on the Sidekick's
But, of course, you've got some excellent tools ontop of the knife. The Sidekick comes with spring- loaded pliers, and the spring make a big difference. The saw blade is very good for a small saw blade--you probably won't be cutting down too many trees with this one, but thinner stuff and notching should pose no problem. There are three different screw driver ends, a file, a small serrated-edge knife blade, a can/bottle opener, a lanyard ring and a reversible pocket clip.

Really, I consider a multitool a must have for any decent-sized survival kit, and I'm not alone there, either. Yes, you'll get better ergonomics and a lighter weight package from a plain-jane folding knife, but I feel like the trade offs are more than worth it for the utility the multitool provides.

Given the budget constraints we're working with, I feel confident recommending the Sidekick for every day use and as an essential  part of the bug out gear we'll be putting together later in the series. As a bonus, the Sidekick also comes with a cool carabiner with bit driver and bottle opener and a pocket sheath.

Week #1 Purchase: Leatherman Sidekick
Cost: $29.50 via Amazon. We're going to "bank" the extra $10.50 towards future purchases.

If you've already got an EDC Knife...
If you're into survival/preparedness, you've probably got more than a couple good folding knives and a multitool or two. I know some of you have dozens of good knives. So you may well be "good to go" for EDC/folding knives. If you've got your EDC squared away, but are short on a knife or multitool for a kit, the Sidekick is again a great choice for filling those holes without breaking the bank. I'm hesitant to drop the coin for something like a Leathman Charge to gather dust in a bug out bag, but the $30 Sidekick is another story...

So, if your folder/multitool needs are covered, here are your tasks for the week:
  • Perform basic maintenance on your EDC knife. Sharpen, clean and oil. If you don't know how to do that, learn how. If you don't have the tools, put some of this week's $40 towards 'em.
  • Spend 10 minutes practicing drawing your knife. Be careful and avoid slicing yourself. How fast can you draw and deploy the knife? If you carried the knife differently or altered your draw technique, would it be faster?
  • Practice using your knife--carve/whittle something, prep some food--get some outside the box practice with your blade. 
That's it from my end - what are you thoughts?