A good knife ranks at the very top of most survival lists, especially when we're talking wilderness survival. The uses are pretty much endless--cutting, skinning, gutting, slicing, carving, whittling, batoning, chopping, stabbing. The Mora knife in its various forms is one of the most common choices among survival experts for good reason. It's affordable--almost all under $30--comes with an excellent, scary sharp blade, comfortable handle AND it's lightweight. Perhaps not surprisingly, it's also our pick for a fixed blade knife for our $40 a week series.
I've got a variety of fixed blades in my collection and have handled many more, but for just getting work done, a Mora is generally my pick. The price helps a bit, but at the root of it, they're really really functional.
The model pictured above is the Mora Bushcraft Triflex, and from the patina, you can tell it's been used a fair bit (lots of food prep, some whittling and batoning). Moras come in a variety of shapes and sizes--I really like the Bushcraft models, which have a comfortable overmolded handles and a marginally better sheath. Cody Lundin uses a Mora Classic #2, which runs just over $15--still great steel, handles and sheath not quite as good, in my opinion.
A few words about Mora knives, because I'm sure there will be some naysayers reading this. Mora's are made with a bit thinner blade stock than your typical survival knives (just under 1/10 of an inch), which is a plus when it comes to most tasks--all else equal, a thinner knife slices and cuts more easily than a thicker one. Moras are also generally only a partial tang--the steel only extends part of the way into the handle or tapers to a "rat tail," versus most survival knives, which are full tang (google image search). The high carbon steel takes an edge really well, but it will also develop a patina with use and can develop rust if neglected.
That said, Moras are not fragile knives and they can certainly stand up to the real world. They're not a substitute for an axe or a crow bar--but no knife is. Yes, it's not as "bombproof" as a beefy 1/4-inch thick blade, but it's a heck of a lot lighter and will do many tasks better. I'm sure you can break a Mora more easily than say a Becker BK2, but realistically, a good Mora isn't going to fail on you.
And instead of trying to come up with a one-tool solution, we're going with several tools for our budget bug out bag. We've got a good multitool, are adding a fixed blade to the mix, and will be adding a big chopper of some variety down the line. You will get a lot more functionality out of three purpose driven tools than one big do-it-all knife.
Cost: About $30. The Triflex is available from a 3rd party seller on Amazon for about $29.50 shipped, but I can't vouch for them. The similar Bushcraft Forest is available fulfilled by Amazon for $34.41.
Bank: If you go with the Triflex, you'll bank $10.50.
If you've already got a survival knife...
Really, it's hard to go wrong with a Mora--unless you already have a half dozen of 'em, you probably have a place where it might be convenient to stash a solid performing knife. Good for caching, handouts and barter, too.
A couple todo's:
- Clean and sharpen your knife
- Use your knife during food prep--it's a good way to get some "hands on" time with your blade of choice. And if it struggles to slice up food, it's going to have a tough time performing more demanding tasks.
- Whittle something. Trap, spoon, pointy stick...something!