10 Things You’ll Regret Not Having Enough of When the SHTF

If you begin prepping for TEOTWAWKI, and a good stockpile is on your list of preps, it will quickly become evident just how many different items are useful to stockpile for a SHTF situation. Your list can be short and sweet at first, but once you really get into things, you’ll see just how enormous a list of gear to stockpile can really get.

Every once in a while, it’s good to go back to the basics: to make sure that out of all those things you’ve already stockpiled, you’ve got enough of the stuff that you’ll really miss the most. Here’s 10 items that instantly make the cut.

teotwawki prepper stockpiling tips

1. Alcohol

There are many reasons why alcohol is an excellent resource. The top two are obvious: its physical impact on us when we consume it, and its ability to disinfect wounds. Whether you’re personally into drinking alcohol or not, you’re going to regret not having enough alcohol when the SHTF. After all, think of all the people who would be willing to trade almost anything for a bottle of their favourite whisky or beer.

2. Soap

Along the lines of disinfecting, you’re going to really regret not having enough soap post-crisis. Without basic sanitation, you’re going to get sick fast, and ill is something you definitely don’t want to be when medicine is in short supply and you need as much energy and strength as you can possibly have. The best tip you could possibly have in terms of soap shopping for post-crisis scenarios: try to stock up on soap that’s anti-bacterial. Think Lysol.

3. Can Openers

It’s great to have a high quality can opener, but if you lose it or break it, you’re in a lot of trouble. The majority of stockpiles will have a very large number of canned goods, and without a can opener, it’s going to be difficult to get what’s in the can out without wasting a good chunk of the insides or cutting yourself trying to get that can open. Do yourself a favour and get a backup or two, just in case.

4. Lighters and Matches

Really and truly, you cannot have enough of these lying around. Sure you can make fire without them, but it’s hard: really hard. Unless you have apt practice in the fire-making field, stock up on these as much as possible. They’re so inexpensive you might as well. Spare wicks and flints for your gas-fueled lighters wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

5. Toilet Paper

There’s a reason why this one makes it onto pretty much every list like this. Yes, it’s a simple thing, and yes, of course you can live without it, but you probably really won’t want to. Do yourself a favour and make sure you’re always (and I mean always) heavily stocked up on toilet paper. You can keep a back up of tissue paper and paper towels to use when the toilet paper runs out, just remember not to use them elsewhere or that back up plan will go flying out the window.

preparedness through stockpiling prepper gear

6. Scissors

You can have as many knives as you want, but when your last pair of scissors breaks, you’re going to be sorry. Scissors make cutting hair, nails, and a slew of other things one heck of a lot easier. While you can often substitute scissors for knives, it’s always nice to have at least one pair of scissors lying around that you can use. I personally have at least 5-6 pairs in the house at all times, as I find they’re also easy to lose.

7. Screws, Tools, and Building Materials

You’re definitely not going to regret having stocked up on hardware materials post-collapse. In fact, you’ll probably wish you’d stocked up on more. Nails and screws are essential hardware materials. They go fast and are a giant pain to make from scratch. Make sure you have enough lying around while you still can.

8. Painkillers

Now, I know what you’re thinking. A bit of pain here and there is the last thing you’ll worry about when the SHTF. Maybe when it comes to a little pain, yes, that’s true, but what happens when you get a cavity and that tooth absolutely has to come out?

Get some reasonably strong over-the-counter pain meds, and make sure you have enough to last you if the SHTF. Though painkillers have expiration dates, they don’t really expire. They get weaker instead, so don’t be afraid to stockpile pain meds just because of the expiration date. Try to mix and match since many painkillers like Ibuprofen (Advil) and Acetominophen (Tylenol) have different uses, and can even be take simultaneously. Stronger pain killers like Codeine will become useful too, as medicine will run out pronto, and there’s no real SHTF substitute for the strong painkillers without going for more risky natural opiates. It’s also beneficial to keep quite a few of these in a bug out bag if you happen to have one.

9. Ammo

This one’s obvious. Even if you’ve got the guns to hunt with, you can’t hunt without ammo. You’ll probably need more than you expect, so really, you can never have too much ammunition.

Along the same lines, it’s also beneficial to stockpile arrowheads and bow strings. Just remember that in a SHTF situation, you probably don’t want to advertise your position and the fact you have guns.

10. Bleach

What happens if your septic tank overflows and you’re left with contaminated waste everywhere? Need a quick way to disinfect water so you can safely drink? One simple and effective way to fix both these problems is by using bleach. It’s as cheap and easy as a cleaning agent gets. Once you’re out of bleach, you’ll definitely notice. Get your hands on as much as possible while you still can.

survival blog stockpiling tips for preppers

What items do you think you’ll miss the most when the SHTF? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

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Nite Ize DoohicKey QuicKey and SkullKey Tool Review

Coming hot on the heels of the Nite Ize Doohickey key tool review, here is another mini multi-tool widget-thingy created by Nite Ize for us to play around with. In this review are both the QuicKey and SkullKey, but besides the stylistic differences and an ever so slight change in ergoes when using the bottle opener feature, they are for all intents and purposes identical. As such, when discussing features/performance be aware that my conclusions pretty much apply equally to both these attractive mini tools.

nite ize doohickey quickey and skullkey reviewNite Ize DoohicKey SkullKey Multitool – Amazon
Nite Ize DoohicKey QuicKey Widget – Amazon

The QuicKey and SkullKey were originally conceived independently from Nite Ize by a guy named Chris Hawke. Whilst the Quickey and SkullKey from Nite Ize and that from Trident Design/Chris Hawker are identical products in terms of style and function (and I assume manufacturing) it should be noted that the advertising and suggested uses of the QuicKey/SkullKey from Nite Ize is significantly more down to earth and realistic about the product.

The Nite Ize QuicKey and SkullKey are branded with 4 core functions in mind: 1. A bottle opener, 2. A serrated mini blade, 3. A box opener, and 4. A flat head screw driver. The Chris Hawker original advertising (see here for details) is extremely heavy handed, with the advertising bordering on inane, including functions such as “coupon cutter” and “lotto scratcher” in the mix!

So it seems that Nite Ize either bought or licensed the design and in my opinion they did a good job resisting the trend of inventing “features” for these humble little gadgets. Product hype is so commonplace these days, which is a bit frustrating as once you get the product, you usually can’t help but be let down by the fact that it really doesn’t do all it’s intended to. For the sake of my sanity, I will ignore the “extra feature” advertising from Chris Hawker/Trident Designs QuicKey/SkullKey, and focus simply on what Nite Ize thinks these tools should be able to do.

nite ize doohickey skullkey review edc mini tool

Straight off the bat, both the QuicKey and the SkullKey look and feel like heavy duty keys. Roughly the same size as Medeco Lock keys, and slightly bigger than your standard Chubb/Schlage deadbolt keys, they’re a fair size for your keyrings.

As far as I am concerned, they did a damn good job when it comes to styling. The QuicKey looks utilitarian in nature, and unless explicitly told, I doubt most observers would even suspect what it was besides a slightly oversized and very weird key. It’s much more badass twin, the SkullKey, is my favourite of the two. It honestly looks as good in person as it does in the pictures, and I’d imagine if it got a little grease on it, it’d look even more irresistible. Definitely can imagine myself getting questions along the lines of, “Cool key, but what the hell’s it for?” You want some attention drawn to your gear, this is the one of the two to get.

edc mini multi-tool quickey skullkey review

Here they are compared to the industry reference of mini multi-tools, the Victorinox Classic. The keys are slightly heavier, a teensy bit longer, and just a smidge thinner, but in the grand scheme of things they’re roughly the same size.

Beyond size and weight, comparing the widgets side by side would do all of them a huge disservice, as the intent and applications of the QuicKey and SkullKey are very different from your standard Victorinox mini multi-tool.

everyday carry tool quickey skullkey comparison victorinoxVictorinox Red Classic Swiss Army Pocket Knife – Amazon

The QuicKey and SkullKey are each around 20 grams (0.71 ounces), which is basically nothing. You don’t have to worry about these tools being too heavy for your keychain and/or pocket. I’ve had the SkullKey on my keychain 24/7, and I pretty much forget it’s there until I need it.

Unlike the Gerber Shard, which is pretty awkwardly shaped, the flat design of the QuicKey and SkullKey means that the widgets disappear in my pocket like regular keys would. No discomfort whatsoever.

nite ize review quickey skullkey edc mini tool

The QuicKey and SkullKey are cast out of solid 304 stainless steel, and have a tapered design with very fine jimping on the spine. Trident Designs originally advertised the jimping as a glorified file, but it’s not. It files terribly. As fine, comfortable jimping? Fantastic, I like.

doohickey quickey skullkey multi-tool nite ize review

Opening a beer is slightly awkward initially as the ergonomics leave a lot to be desired. Using traditional grip as shown below was cumbersome, however, I then put my thumb on the ledge of the QuicKey and from then on opening bottles was a breeze. This means that two-handed, you can definitely use the QuicKey/SkullKey to open a bottle. If you’re trying for a one-handed open, however, you’re going to run into some serious trouble.

niteize quickey review skullkey edc keychain tool

everyday carry keychain tool niteize skullkey review

As with everything, there is a knack to achieving optimal performance. The QuicKey/SkullKey will never replace a dedicated bottle opener, but if one of these is the only tool you’ve got on hand, it’ll do just fine.

nite ize quickey review everyday carry skullkey doohickey edc tool

The most noticeable tool/function on the QuicKey and SkullKey is that bit with the 3 recessed serrations. They look pretty functional, but I tried them out on twine as per the example on the back of the packaging, and it didn’t quite work the way I wanted.

niteize edc tool doohickey quickey skullkey

Out of the box, cutting through twine was pretty brutal. It takes a lot of effort, and a solid 7-8 sawing motions to finally make the cut.

survival blog review edc multitool nite ize quickey skullkey


I then tried to cut/saw through paracord, but after 30 seconds, I just gave up. The “teeth” are so smooth that they just glide over the cord. Almost felt like any effective cutting would be down to friction alone, not any actual cutting.

nite ize quickey review skullkey edc everyday carry mini multi-tool

The most I was able to do was saw partially through the outer sleeve. I tried with both keys to see if there was a difference and no, it just didn’t work. Out of box, the cutting ability is sub par. (Quick spoiler, I do try sharpening the tool later in the review, and the improvements are dramatic!)

everyday carry multitool nite ize skullkey review

Just like the Gerber Shard and the Nite Ize DoohicKey, the Nite Ize QuicKey and SkullKey also brag a flat head screwdriver. Like in the DoohicKey review, I tested this feature out on my Kershaw Emerson CQC-6K, and the result was pretty good. I noticed no stripping, in contrast to the DoohicKey, which did strip the screw. The QuicKey and SkullKey I’d consider perfectly acceptable in terms of the flat head screwdriver feature.

nite ize skullkey review mini multitool gerber shard comparison edcKershaw Emerson CQC-6K Clip Point EDC Knife – Amazon

One thing that Nite Ize does not mention about the QuicKey and SkullKey is that they’re actually pretty decent mini pry bars. Not sure why they don’t advertise this, but to test, I lodged the QuicKey in between two tightly screwed boards, and was able to exert a decent amount of pressure.

In my opinion, this is pretty much the most important feature the QuicKey and SkullKey can provide, as it’s something these two mini muli-tools can do exponentially better than a Swiss Army Knife, and other traditional mini multi-tools.

I already carry a Victorinox Classic on my belt, and it’s far more versatile than a traditional widget, but there’s no way it can’t pry without breaking. I’ve used widgets to pry quite a few things when fixing things around the house. By comparison, I actually can’t remember the last time I used my Victorinox because I always have a regular everyday carry folding knife on me! So the prying feature is definitely worth more to me than the other features.

survival blog review nite ize skullkey review doohickey quickey

Now back to the test. The width of the prying area on the QuicKey and SkullKey isn’t wide enough to avoid biting into the wood, but for things like paint cans, separating sheet metal, separating fixtures stuck on the wall, etc., this little tool will definitely come in handy.

prepper gear multitool nite ize quickey skullkey doohickey

I didn’t bother photographing my attempts at opening a blister pack with it. The QuicKey and SkullKey are not replacements for actual knives. Period. That said, they do excel at scoring wood, something I really wouldn’t want to do with my knives, as scoring with knives would make lines that are too fine and deep. I’m keeping the QuicKey in the workshop particularly for scoring with.

edc widget nite ize quickey review doohickey skullkey


survival blog review gear nite ize doohickey quickey skullkey edc

nite ize quickey skullkey review edc gear more than just surviving

survival blog quickey skullkey review nite ize doohickey

Interestingly the teeth of the serrations on the QuicKey and SkullKey are at such an obtuse angle that it works (to an extent) as a way of making curls for tinder that can be used to start fires. Nothing too impressive here, but I thought it was a pretty neat bonus.

edc survival blog review nite ize quickey skullkey prepper gear


After the disappointing performance of its serrations when trying to cut twine with the QuicKey and SkullKey, I decided to sharpen them up with the Smith’s pocket sharpener, which conveniently has a tapered diamond rod to making sharpening serrations trivial.

sharpen multitool smiths pp1 sharpenerSmith’s PP1 Pal Multifunction Sharpener – Amazon

The initial grind/edge was ridiculously obtuse, but after 30 seconds of sharpening (this was a quick, low grit field sharpening job) the results were much better.

sharpened nite ize quickey review doohickey skullkey edc

Cutting twine was trivial: first pull, and snap! Nice, clean cut.

more than just surviving nite ize quickey skullkey review

more than just surviving nite ize skullkey quickey review doohickey

Cutting paracord required 2-3 pulls, but remember that this is a 30 second sharpening job. After a decent amount of elbow grease, I see no reason why the Nite Ize QuicKey and SkullKey wouldn’t be able to go through paracord, safety belts, etc. like butter.

**Note: When sharpening the QuicKey and SkullKey, remember to leave the peaks of the teeth blunt, as that is what they will focus on when it comes to getting past security.

nite ize widget skullkey doohickey everyday carry tool

Pretty impressive that it can go through paracord. Very pleased with it after even a quick sharpening job.

keyring tool nite ize doohickey quickey skullkey series edc

The Nite Ize QuicKey and SkullKey are actually very interesting products. The advertising on them has been pretty terrible, both for overblowing its abilities (which Trident Designs did in the original rendition), and because of focusing on what I’d consider to be the least important functions of the QuicKey and SkullKey (which Nite Ize has done I’m sure unintentionally).

Lets be honest people, pretty much everyone who carries a widget already EDCs a knife. Its ridiculous to attempt to replace traditional knife tasks with such an inferior tool, so you shouldn’t even bother. Simply state that in an emergency/on a flight it can cut thin cordage, and maybe open a parcel after a bit of effort, and be done with that feature, but don’t advertise like that’s the best feature it has, as that’s not a feature that a person who already EDCs a knife desperately wants.

People who are not into knives would just use a freebie bottle opener or a box cutter. You’re unlikely to see them sporting this, and that’s fine. Nite Ize needs to remember its target demographic and realize that the best thing about this tool is that its relatively speaking quite cheap, and at the same time incredibly durable. My knives run into the $500-1000 mark at times, and there’s is no way I am using them to pry open a can of paint. Just not going to happen. That is why I carry a widget. For scraping and prying, and even scoring with a tool that I frankly don’t care if I get scratched up: I can just buy another one if I want to, they’re certainly cheap enough.

If it scrapes, pries, and scores, opens beer bottles (even if that feature is a little rough), fits on my keychain somewhat discreetly, and looks badass doing it? I’m already sold.

nite ize gear quickey skullkey review everyday carry

more than just surviving nite ize quickey skullkey review gear

In conclusion, the Nite Ize QuicKey and SkullKey aren’t bad multi-tools, but are definitely better off after some serious sharpening. They’re identical tools in terms of their features, so if you’re trying to choose between them, go for the one you think looks better (my vote is for the SkullKey, of course!)

The QuicKey and SkullKey are basically mini multi-tools that offer more leverage when doing rough work or in an emergency than your typical Victorinox mini multi-tool. While you can, after sharpening them, use these tools to cut twine and paracord, that isn’t their main appeal, in my opinion at least. If you’re like me and you carry a folding knife everywhere already, the main appeal in the QuicKey and SkullKey is the fact that you can use them to pry, scrape, and score with. Don’t mess up your knife tip: get one of these leave it on your keychain to use for destructive tasks instead. The QuicKey and SkullKey can withstand the battering; spare your expensive knives.

Someday some idiot will ask you if he can borrow your knife to open a can with, and while you can’t save yourself the frustration of there being such annoying people in the world, you can save yourself the agitation of saying no and subsequently having to explain why you don’t pry with your knife. “Oh I’ve got a tool for that,” hand over your QuicKey or SkullKey (a tool they couldn’t possibly break if they tried), and watch as they’re impressed by the sheer strength of such a tiny object.

View Price of Nite Ize DoohicKey QuicKey Multi-Tool on Amazon

View Price of Nite Ize DoohicKey SkullKey Widget on Amazon

Thank you to Nite Ize for sending us the QuicKey and SkullKey to test out ourselves!

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Knife Drop: A Few Too Many Spydercos

spyderco knife collection thomas and elise xavier

folding spyderco collection edc knives

spyderco collection spydies

That’s a good chunk of the Spydercos Thomas and I own. There are a few more still mint in boxes, and I’m guessing a few at the bottom of pockets/purses or lying around on desks/nightstands. Yes, our collection of Spydercos is probably a little out of hand, but we do love ‘em to bits.

Knives Featured

1. Spyderco Paramilitary 2 Digi Camo – Review.
2. Spyderco Military CTSXHP Sprint Run – Review.
3. Spyderco TenaciousReview.
4. Spyderco Sage 2 – Review.
5. Spyderco Sage 3Review.
6. Spyderco Urban Safety Orange – Review.
7. Spyderco Delica 4 ZDP-189 – Review.
8. Spyderco Delica 4 Super Blue Sprint Run – Review.
9. Spyderco Tenacious Black Blade (Custom Handles) – Review.
10. Spyderco Lum Chinese Folder Nishijin Glass FiberReview.
11. Spyderco Sage 1 – Review.
12. Spyderco Dragonfly 2 ZDP-189 Nishijin Glass Fiber Sprint Run
13. Spyderco Balance Nishijin Glass Fiber – Review.
14. Spyderco Stretch Super Blue Sprint Run
15. Spyderco Endura 4 ZDP-189Review.

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Advil, Tylenol, or Aspirin?

Since Advil, Tylenol, and Aspirin are all common pain-relieving medications, it can be pretty confusing remembering all the differences between them. While many will admit they know the three medications don’t all work the same way, not many can say what the differences between them are.

Advil, Tylenol, and Aspirin each have a unique function, and a specific kind of pain that they’re better suited to relieving. These over-the-counter pain meds also have very different side effects. You may have a go-to pain med that you instinctively reach for whenever you feel any type of pain coming on, but this guide will help you break that pattern. Using the information below, you’ll be able to properly assess which medication to choose to relieve the particular pain that you happen to be feeling.

prepper blog article medical first aid


Medical Name: Ibuprofen

The Science Behind How it Works

Advil is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory. It works by preventing COX 1 and COX 2 enzymes from creating the compounds that can increase pain and inflammation in your body.

When to Use It

Advil works on the affected location of any injury that causes pain and/or inflammation. If the pain itself is caused by an inflammation, Advil will directly help to alleviate it. This is in contrast to Tylenol, which works centrally to increase your pain threshold.

For inflammatory pain, Advil works best. If you’re hoping to get rid of the cause of the pain, and not just reduce the amount of pain you’re feeling (which is what Tylenol does), taking Advil is a good fit.

Side Effects

These will of course depend on each individual. The following symptoms are uncommon but can happen: upset stomach, mild heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, dizziness, headaches, nervousness, rashes, blurred vision, or tinnitus.

advil tylenol asprin article prepper blog


Medical Name: Acetaminophen

The Science Behind How it Works

Tylenol is an analgesic that inhibits production of cyclooxygenase (COX), which then blocks the production of prostaglandins. Unlike most non-opioid alagesics, it doesn’t block CO in the peripheral nervous system to an appreciable extent.

When to Use It

Tylenol is a relatively weak analgesic that should be used for headaches, fevers, and minor aches/pains. Tylenol is not ideal for sprains or pain as a result of inflammation, as it does not possess anti-inflammatory properties like Aspirin and Advil do. It works very well to increase your resistance to feeling or sensing pain, and as such is considered efficient at reducing fevers and general bodily aches.

For general pains and aches, then, take Tylenol. For fevers and headaches, Tylenol is also ideal.

Side Effects

If taken incorrectly, Tylenol can actually cause liver damage. Stop taking Tylenol and immediately consult a doctor should you have any of the following symptoms: jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), dark urine, and/or clay-colored stools. Nausea, stomach pain, and a loss of appetite can also occur as side effects of taking Tylenol.

prepper first aid survival blog


Medical Name: Acetylsalicylic Acid

The Science Behind How it Works

Aspirin works in two ways:

  1. It’s part anti-prostaglandin, which works to reduce fever, general pain relief, and inflammation (just like Advil).
  2. It’s also part anti-platelet agent, which acts as a blood thinner by inhibiting production of thromboxane, which is what binds platelets together.

When to Use It

Aspirin is great for regular headaches, to reduce swelling of joints, for mild fevers, and as a part of an everyday regimen (in low doses) to combat various disorders like Ischaemic strokes, dementia, heart attacks, and certain types of cancer like bowel cancer.

Aspirin is ideal for everyday use in small doses (under 100 mg) because it helps to circulate the blood in your body, and is especially ideal to use during the onset of and after a heart attack, as it reduces chances of heart attacks recurring.

Aspirin is not ideal for migraines or severe pain, as it may not be sufficiently strong enough to reduce extreme pain. Aspirin’s anti-inflammatory properties, while similar to Advil’s, are not as strong as Advil’s. So if you’re looking for the strongest anti-inflammatory medication, again, don’t use Aspirin, use Advil instead.

Side Effects

When using Aspirin, there is risk of stomach ulcers and irritation. If you happen to get the Aspirin pills that come with an Enteric coating, however, these protect the stomach lining, thus dramatically reducing the likelihood of stomach ulcers from occurring.

Its abilities as a blood thinning agent should be kept in mind if you are bleeding, as aspirin can exacerbate the flow of blood.

preparedness first aid pain relief

For those who like to skip to the end, the conclusion is that Avil is ideal for inflammatory pain, as it prevents your body from producing the enzymes that can cause inflammation and pain, Tylenol is ideal for general pain, as it raises your pain threshold, and finally, Aspirin acts as a weaker anti-inflammatory medication to Advil, as well as having the added benefit of being a blood thinner that can be used as a daily supplement, thus making it ideal for mild headaches and heart attack prevention.

Next time you reach for a pain med, think about which one of these three common over-the-counter pain medications will help you out the most. You may find yourself reaching for a different bottle than you’re used to.

Disclaimer: The information in this article not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it is provided for educational purposes only. As always, defer to a healthcare professional for medical advice.

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Opinel No. 8 Traditional Pocket Knife Review

Opinel has been producing knives much longer than the majority of present-day knife manufacturers: they started in 1890 with a distinctive sense of style and function and haven’t stopped since. The Opinel No. 8 is by far their most popular knife design & size, and while it’s most commonly seen sporting beechwood handles and a carbon steel blade, it’s also available in a wide array of different handle materials and steel types. The one featured in this review, for example, has Bubinga wood handles and a stainless steel blade.

The Opinel No. 8 was the first folding knife that I ever purchased for myself. Now that I am older, I decided to kick back some nostalgia and get myself the upgraded/luxury version of the classic Opinel No. 8 that I can’t help but love.

opinel number 8 review traditional pocket knife

edc pocket knife opinel no. 8Opinel No. 8 Traditional Folding Knife – Amazon

Besides the different wood and blade steel/finish, there really isn’t any difference between my knife and the classic Opinel No. 8 in Beechwood. I do have the classic Opinel No. 8 as well, but I have to say I love the overall appearance of this Opinel just a little more. In all cases, however, the Opinel No. 8 has a refined, clean and quite beautiful look to it. It’s minimal in the aesthetics department, but I think therein lies the charm of it.

opinel #8 review pocket knife more than just surviving

On my version of the Opinel No. 8, the 8.26 cm (3.25 inch) long blade is perfectly finished, which is a nice change from the standard industrial finish of the regular classic Opinel. Be advised that if you get the version I have, the blade is a huge fingerprint magnet.

folding pocket knife opinel no. 8 review mtjs

The Opinel design is as basic as you can get, which means no clip of any kind. I sometimes carry it as a glorified neck knife in an Opinel leather sheath I purchased separately. I got the inspiration to carry it this way from the way Cody Lundin wears his Mora Classic as a neck knife.

opinel #8 review neck carry edc

The sheath is well made with nice contrasting stitching and clean branding. I couldn’t find the exact one on Amazon, but this one here is very close, and looks to be exactly same except for that slit at the front that mine has.

Regardless, my sheath is definitely looks over function, as it has zero attachment points of any kind. It’s actually more of a pouch than a sheath to be honest (which is advertised), but it functions adequately for its intended purpose. At the end of the day, if you everyday carry an Opinel, it’s certainly not for quick deployment! So no bother with the sheath making it slightly harder to deploy.

edc opinel #8 review survival blog

gear review opinel number 8 stainless steel

On the forums, whenever someone asks for a recommendation of an inexpensive folding knife that cuts very well, the replies are usually flooded with suggestions of Opinels. It’s not hard to see why! The Opinel No. 8 is a super slicer, and honestly outcuts everything. It’s probably one of the most anorexic blades I own. At 2 mm (0.08 inches) thick, I can’t think of a single other folding knife that comes this thin out of the box.

Not only that, but their unbelievably low price tag make them an easy entry into the knife market. When it comes to the most affordable bang-for-buck survival/bushcraft knives, you go Mora. When it comes to the most affordable bang-for-buck folding EDC super slicers, you go Opinel.

pocket knife opinel review survival blog

The Sandvik 12C27 blade is full flat ground and crazy lean. In terms of aesthetics and performance, Opinel really hit the jackpot. It’s basically a folding light saber and will slice through pretty much anything with insane levels of ease. Between the two steel options, carbon steel (XC90) and stainless steel (12C27), in my experience both hold a great edge. Although if you are located in a humid environment where rusting is a possibility, I would suggest going with the stainless option.

It should be noted that out of the box the blade might not be at its full potential of screaming sharpness, and of course it may need to be resharpened to get to that point. At the sub $15 price point, however, this should come as no surprise. You’re in luck, though, as Opinels, even if they’re stainless steel, are almost trivial to sharpen (if you’re curious you can find out exactly how to here), and the results of the new edge will be awe inspiring to say the least.

everyday carry opinel #8 review more than just surviving

The tip is pretty acute, so I really do not recommend prying with it. If you do manage to snap the tip off, you can simply regrind the blade. Of course you’d be forced to join the club of Opinel owners who have treated their knives badly, but don’t worry, it’s a popular club, due in part to how inexpensive the Opinel really is.

stainless steel bubinga opinel no. 8 review

The construction of the Opinel No. 8 is one piece with a single pivot and no way to adjust anything beyond the lock engagement. It’s truly the perfect example of keeping things simple.

opinel no. 8 review stainless steel pocket knife

Opinel #8 handles are very nicely contoured, with no visible defects and a superb ergonomic palm swell. The lathed construction means that the ergonomics are as neutral as you can get. We’re rivaling a Mora Classic here.

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Balance on the Opinel #8 is likewise perfect at right behind the pivot. The Opinel weighs in at 1.6 ounces (45 grams) so it’s basically weightless in your hands and a pleasure to use all day long.

stainless steel opinel #8 review more than just surviving

It’s easy to spot where the single pivot is located. This single pivot holds the metal sheath where the rotating lock of the Opinel sits. The lock will never fail under normal use, although with excessive torsion and lateral pressure (again, just don’t pry+twist), it has been said that the steel ring can pop off. That said, this has never happened to me in over a decade of owning and using Opinels pretty damn hard, so I can’t really comment on that.

Back to the aesthetics of the Opinel No. 8, in my opinion, I can think of very few knives that are as minimally rugged as this one.

stainless steel opinel review no. 8 folding knife

There is a nail nick to open the Opinel No. 8 on the blade of the knife. Due to the knife’s lack of washers and also because of its wood construction, environmental factors like humidity and temperature can at times cause the scales of the Opinel No. 8 to expand, which can almost lock the blade in closed position. I personally have never experienced this, but it’s a common criticism made of the Opinel No. 8. Some take steps to combat this issue. For example, they’ll try boiling the handles in linseed oil or submerging them in anti-freeze. No promises with regards to how well these methods work, as I’ve never tested them out myself.

If you happen to have tried any methods of combatting scale expansion on the Opinel No. 8, let us know in the comments: 1. What methods you have used, and 2. If they have or haven’t worked. It’s quite interesting information to learn, and would definitely be useful for those who have experienced the issue personally.

folding stainless steel opinel review #8

opinel review no. 8 survival blog knife edc

Once the knife has been deployed and is fully open, simply twist the ring to engage the lock. As simple a concept as you can get, really. I’m sure any 10 year old would have this knife figured out in moments. In our day and age of over-complicated super modern locks, it’s actually nice to own a knife with just two moving parts.

stainless steel knife more than just surviving opinel review #8

The Opinel Number 8 has absolutely zero choil to speak of. It’s essentially a folding guillotine, so I would suggest being careful and (yes, I’ll say it again) not prying using the knife, as should the ring pop off and the blade come down on your digits, you will have a very up close and personal understanding of how well Opinels can really cut.

stainless steel everyday carry folder opinel number 8 review

In saber grip, the Opinel Number 8 is extremely comfortable with absolute neutrality. Kinda feels like holding a giant sharpie, but better because of its palm swells. The wood handle is warm and pleasing to the touch. It’s probably my second favorite knife handle of my entire collection, second to only the Mora Classic, and its handles are definitely my favorite for a folding everyday carry knife.

opinel no. 8 review stainless steel bubinga wood knife

Choking up on the Opinel Number 8 is also comfortable within reason. The gap in the ringlock can get wedged in the fat of one’s fingers, so in this grip, I prefer to not grip too hard.

opinel no. 8 review more than just surviving stainless steel

Reverse gripping the Opinel Number 8 is equally neutral, however it’s definitely not a tactical knife, and the lack of a guard reflects that. I would advise against stabbing with it. You don’t want your hands to slip, as using the knife will then backfire on you.

opinel no. 8 stainless steel review survival blog

opinel number 8 more than just surviving knife review

Pinch grip, by contrast, is excellent. The Opinel Number 8 is definitely of the better knives to pinch grip with. The wooden handles might be problematic when it comes to field dressing, as blood and guts might get lodged inside the knife, so keep that in mind. It’s not a flow through/open frame construction, and as such there is no real way to take the knife apart for maintenance and cleaning.

survival blog knife review opinel no. 8

But stunning and very efficient as an EDC nonetheless. It’s a classic for a reason, and like I said, at that price point, perfect entry knife into the market.  If you’re a collector, the sheer number of different variations of this knife also makes it an excellent collecting piece. Don’t want the standard Beech Wood handles? You want walnut handles? They’re available. So are Oak, Olive wood, and of course Bubinga. You can even get it in blue. Prefer an outdoor version without wooden handles? They’ve got that, too!

edc opinel review no. 8 folder more than just surviving
opinel no 8 review everyday carry folder

To me, the Opinel No. 8 is an interesting knife to discuss and review, as it’s almost ubiquitous in the knife world. For the money, no knife on the market cuts as well. Period. The superb grinds and ergonomics ultimately mean the Opinel No. 8 has no rival in its price range. If you want a performance knife, and haven’t got a huge budget, for less than $15, pick one of these up and you’ll never regret it. If you want the same performance, but with better materials and cleaner aesthetics, spend some extra money and go for the Bubinga one I’ve got. Hell, you can even splurge and buy both for under $50.

There are some downfalls to this knife, but objectively speaking, if we were to address them it would change the knife irreparably. If you made the scales synthetic and allowed faster deployment it wouldn’t even be the same knife. Part of the charm of an Opinel is that this classic has been made in Savoie, France for well over a century with little changes having ever been made, and with no regards to modern design and material trends. Much like the Buck 110 or the Mora Classic, this knife is tradition and history all wrapped into one sleek, age-defying package, and needs to be appreciated as that.

Pick one up, if nothing else, to experience one of the most acute edges on the market at one of the most ridiculously low price points.

View Price of Opinel No. 8 Traditional Pocket Knife on Amazon

View Price of Opinel No. 8 Bubinga Handle Stainless Steel Knife on Amazon

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