A Piggyback Knife Option

In an earlier article (http://wp.me/p3TYmc-2L), I discussed the optimal types of knives for survival kits.  There is generally a ‘difference of opinion’ between the ‘big’ or field knife fans, and the ‘medium’ or bush knife fans about which is a better choice.  My preference is one of each where practical.  The problem is, where to carry them both?

Of course, you could have one on your belt and one on or even in your pack.  Or possibly both on your belt.  But I prefer to have them both ‘in one sheath’.  It would be possible to make a dual sheath or have one made, but if both knives come with Kydex sheaths (or others which have lashing points along the edges), you can often just tie them together with paracord or the equivalent, and save the cost of the extra sheath.

Here is a Cold Steel Trailmaster and Master Hunter lashed together:

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The above combination is for a medium sized, standalone, survival kit, so always are lashed together.  Here is a Kershaw Outcast and a Cold Steel SRK.

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These knives are for modular kits.  The SRK is for a belt pouch kit, and the Kershaw is for a backpack kit, which contains the belt pouch kit as part of its contents.  Thus the knives are lashed together only when the backpack kit is used, so the cord to do that lashing is wrapped around the SRK sheath.  It might seem more consistent to wrap the cord around the Kershaw sheath.  However, the SRK sheath happens to be more conducive to the cord wrapping due to the slots along the edges.

Here are some hints on how to piggyback the sheaths.  First of all, figure out how the two sheaths match up, with the knives in both sheaths, or at least the smaller knife in its sheath.  The most critical attachment points are often the top of the smaller sheath, and the bottom of both sheaths.  These points should match up or result in opposing tension.  That is, the top attachments should pull upwards while the bottom attachments should pull downwards or vice versa.  If at all possible, you want the top of the grip of the smaller knife to be below the grip of the bigger knife.  Also, knives and their sheaths are not flat, so it is best to match their topographies so that when you hold the knives in the proposed positions, the small sheath does not ‘rock’ lengthwise or side to side.  There likely WILL be a gap between the sheaths, but try have them contact at the bottom and somewhere near the top, and have those contacts be as much of the side to side distance at that point as practical.  If they just will not match up, you may have to modify one sheath or the other (adding holes) or make a spacer to fit between them.

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Next figure out how much paracord you want to use.  There are two paths, either ‘as much as practical’ or ‘as little as practical’.  If this is your only source of paracord, you may want to go for the maximum, while if you have other paracord in your kit or will be mounting and demounting the sheaths regularly, the minimum may be better.   In either case, you can just start with a lot and cut off the excess when you are done.  Or, if you are more economically minded, you can start with a guess of ‘too much’ and do up one edge.  After making sure you have enough left for one leg tie, adjusting the entire wrap to lengthen or shorten the leg tie as needed, mark the top center of the lashing.  Now undo the lashing, measure from the mark to the end, and double it.  It is usually wise to start with several inches extra since discarding a few inches would be cheaper than scrapping the entire length and starting over, and the odds that your trial lashing was truly centered are somewhat low.

With the ‘center’ mark at the top and centered from side to side, start lashing.  It is best to alternate ends, so that the lashing is symmetrical.  If you are putting on a lot of cord, you will want to go from side to side as often as you can, while the most efficient wrap is down each side with minimal crossover.  If you need to, in order to get better access to the lashing holes, do the lashing loosely so you can slide the top sheath side to side.

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When you come out the bottom, tighten and if necessary adjust the lashing, then tie a knot to keep the lashing tight.  I use a ‘granny knot’ since it tends to slip less than a square knot, and preferably tie it on the back side.  I then tie a half hitch below this which protects the tension knot and provides a secure center point for the leg ties.  Make sure the leg ties are long enough, and figure out how much you need to trim off.  Cut the ties to the same length, and burn the ends to keep them from unraveling.

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2 Comments

Filed under Emergency preparedness

2 responses to “A Piggyback Knife Option

  1. I’ve got one blade and it came with a sharpener (chakmak) and a skinning knife (karda).

  2. The Kukri is a good blade design, and many of the originals have very strong blades. Their main weakness is a non-ergonomic grip, which can be reshaped to be better.

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