Part of it may be my morbid fear of dropping a knife onto the forest floor and not being able to find it. My nightmare scenario is this: I'm on the edge of survival. It's just me and my trusty knife against all mother nature has to toss at me. I'm doing just fine, thanks, since my blade helps provide fire, shelter, food and protection. Then I stumble, the knife falls from my hand onto the forest floor and is lost in the confusing pattern of leaf litter, sticks, grass and vines. I search frantically but the knife is gone. Mother nature wins. I die.
So to prevent certain death while out on day hikes along well marked trails and within line-of-sight distance to my pickup truck with satellite radio and air conditioning I carry an orange handled knife. Or two.
I think it's great that more and more manufacturers and custom makers are offering knives with bright orange handles. Modern synthetic handle materials like G-10 make it easy to produce rugged knives with colorfast handles that can take a lot of abuse. While international orange isn't 'tacticool', I believe there's a strong argument in favor of carrying at least one knife that sports an orange handle. It's a lot harder to lose an orange handled knife than it is to lose one with a handle made out of wood or other earth tone colors like green or black micarta. This is even more important if, like me, you are even just a little bit color blind and you lack the ability to differentiate subtle color differences in the red-green spectrum. At some point everything on the forest floor looks the same to me, even items that have deep red coloring (like the handle of a Swiss Army knife). International orange, however, stands out like a bright blaze against an otherwise consistently drab and indistinguishable background.
There's two knives in the photo below. Both are the same size and blade shape. The only difference is the handle material. One knife sports African Rosewood (bubinga) scales, the other orange G-10 scales. Roughly the same amount of handle material is exposed for each knife. Which is easier to spot?
Here's what you are looking for:
|Two J.D. Davis drop point hunters|
Of course screaming orange yellow handles put off the tacticool and mall ninja crowd, but for folks who take knives into the woods to be used and relied upon I think orange handles are a wise choice.
So here's some more great examples of orange handled knives:
|Benchmade Triage on the left. From top to bottom on the right:|
Ka-Bar BK-24 in D2, Blind Horse Knives Small Workhorse in D2
and the J.D. Davis drop point hunter in CPM154
|The ever popular Buck Folding Hunter in orange plastic scales|
|Here's the Buck Bucklite Max in orange (the Boone & Crockett model)|
|The Ka-Bar BK-14 with orange scales. This model is|
made of 1095 steel
|A Case small Camper model with orange G-10 scales|
|Heck, I'll even let an axe get in on the act!|
So, if you spend a lot of time in the woods and depend on your knife consider taking along one with a bright orange handle. It might just save your life. OK, a bit over dramatic, but for sure it can prevent you from leaving your dropped knife on the forest floor because you can't see it.
Stay sharp, and go orange!