A Foragers Most Important Tool

No forager is fully equipped without one specific tool.

Let me start this post by saying, I’m a gear guy. I love trying out new tools, equipment, gadgets and gear. I’m always reading about the next best fishing rod, or cutting edge new arrow heads. I spend more time than I’d care to admit researching every purchase I make, so that when I’m adding a piece of gear to my kit, I know its the very best available.

But for a forager, I think any amount of gear is overrated. You need a handful of things.

  • a willing attitude
  • an adventurous spirit
  • a handful of paper and plastic bags
  • a bottle of water
  • a sturdy bag
  • and most importantly, A GOOD KNIFE!
My go to knife, a cheap folding blade from a classic knife maker, Buck Knives. -photo © Nick Schneeman

Buck makes a wonderful, cheap folding knife, that you can usually find for $15. Its got a solid blade, and is the right size to be your utility blade. Its always sitting on my desk at home so I can just toss it in my pocket when I’m on the go.

A good blade comes in handy for many things, including camping, fishing and hunting activities, but for the sake of foraging, its basically the only tool I ever bring with. If I need to trim a branch for a walking stick or digging stick, I’ve got my folder. Its great for freeing hard to release fruits and forage from its parent plant. And when I’m investigating a particular fruit or mushroom, its perfect for halving my specimen to inspect the inside.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you have to run out and pick up this particular blade. But I am saying, don’t leave home without a knife. There are tons of options for you to find what suits your style. I love carrying a fixed blade on my belt for camping or hunting, and always have a filet knife with me fishing. I will also usually be sporting a Leatherman on my belt on a daily basis. But the blade I find most useful, and have on me most often, is the aforementioned Buck 284 Bantam.

Notice the thumb notch for one handed opening, and belt clip to keep the knife secure in your pocket. There is also an opening to attach a lanyard, if desired. -photo © Nick Schneeman

A good knife is small enough to be inconspicuous and portable. Sturdy enough to handle every day duty. Light enough that you won’t know you’re carrying it around all day. Secure in your pocket. And it holds an edge with intermittent sharpening. For $15 I don’t think you can beat my Buck! But I’m happy to hear that you’ve tried! Let me know your go to blade.

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