Knife Tips for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area

Knife Tips for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area

When planning your trip to the boundary waters making sure you pack your backpack with essential tools for camping, fishing and of course basic survival. Depending on how long your trip is, the needs and seriousness of your adventure will help dictate what kind of knifes you need to pack for. Below are a few suggestions from Williams and Hall when prepping for your BWCA trip.

Williams and Hall’s Recommendations for Knifes

We recommend that smart BWCA campers usually carry the following four items for safety and practicality: a whistle, fire starter, compass, and a knife.

boundary waters knives

There all kinds of knives to choose from.

Today, we are going to focus on knives. On a wilderness canoe trip, carrying a knife is a smart idea. There are many types and styles to choose from – folding blades, fixed blades, multi-tools (i.e. Leatherman or Swiss Army). I don’t think there is a consensus on what type, or style, to carry in the BWCA or Quetico. Pick the one that suits you best. However, it is important to choose a practical knife, and to keep it clean and sharp.

Choose a Practical Knife

boundary waters minnesota knife

What Should I Keep In Mind, For What My Knife Should Be Able To Do?

When choosing your knife, make sure that it will be easy to carry, both in and out of the canoe. Also, make sure it can be accessible – in your pocket, or in a sheath on your belt. Some of the typical things knives are used for on a wilderness paddling trip are:

• Cutting rope
• Opening packages
• Cooking
• Slicing cheese, pepperoni, and other foods
• Spreading peanut butter and other foods
• Carving tent stakes, spoons, etc (because you forgot them)
• Making fuzz sticks for fire starting
• Gear repair
• Sitting by the lake, carving a stick just for fun

If your knife does not have scissors built into it, make sure you put scissors in your first aid kit. Also, you might want to carry a separate filet knife if you plan on catching and eating fish.

Don’t Forget To Always Keep Your Knife Clean

As shown above, your knife will likely be called into action for many things, including cooking. It is important to keep your knife clean, particularly for cooking purposes. Give it a good cleaning once a day, and make sure it dries thoroughly before putting it away.

We Recommend Sharpening Your Knife for Safety and Effectiveness

Dull knives are much more dangerous than sharp knives. A dull knife is much harder to control than a sharp one and may slip instead of cut. In addition, you are more likely to use more pressure with a dull knife, which can result in serious wounds if the blade slips. If you are going to carry a knife in the wilderness, make sure it is sharp before you leave on your trip.

Sharpening is pretty simple, but you will need a sharpening stone and a lubricant. Here are some good basic instructions on how to keep a sharp blade from wikiHow.

knife sharpening bwca

And, if you really want to do it right, use a strop to finish the job. Hatch Magazine has a great article on using strops here.

pocket knife sharpener boundary waters

Example of pocket knife sharpener

Finally, you might also bring a small pocket sharpener with you into the wilderness to keep that sharp edge throughout the trip.

Just remember practical, clean and sharp when it comes to knives in the wilderness.

Put Your Knife To Use And Book Your Trip to the Boundary Waters

To start planning your trip to the boundary waters canoe area contact Williams and Hall or call us at 218.365.5837

Paddle On. Be Free.