If you’re like me, carrying a knife is like putting on your shoes. It’s something you do every morning as part of your routine. Another such person is avid outdoorsman Dan Human — and it’s a good thing, too. Let me tell you why.
Years ago, Dan was hiking in the Adirondack Mountains, slogging his way through deep snow, dragging behind him a sled full of gear for a five-day adventure. At one point, he came upon a two-log bridge traversing a 12-foot-wide gully over a frozen creek.
While crossing the bridge, Dan’s sled fell off, pulling him down to one knee as he tried to hang on without falling into the frozen water below. Dan admits he thought about letting go, but he was worried about whether he’d be able to move after the fall or if he would be so severely injured he would lie in the creek and suffer a slow, painful death.
Then Dan remembered the knife hanging around his neck. He quickly pulled it out of the sheath with one hand, reached around behind him and cut his tow rope. His gear-filled sled dropped like a stone, crashing through the ice and into the frigid water below. (Luckily, Dan had waterproofed his gear and was able to pull the sled out of the creek with all his gear still safe and dry.)
Wearing a neck knife that day saved Dan from falling and possibly even dying on his trip. He was in a very difficult situation with limited movement that made it difficult to reach his gear.
This is why I’m a fan of the neck knife, and if you’ve never carried one, I hope the reasons below — in addition to Dan’s story — will make you change your mind.
- Always with you: The biggest advantage to a neck knife versus a knife in your pocket or belt is that it’s easy to keep it on you. If you are hiking, biking, boating or doing any activity where the type of clothing you wear may be limited, a neck knife is always with you regardless. I have a relative, for example, who is an avid cyclist. He wears a neck knife because there is literally nowhere else to keep a knife on his body
- Easy to remove: During our firearms training at the Spy Ranch, we train clients to draw and shoot while seated — because you never know when something bad might happen. What if you were out to dinner with your spouse and you had to engage a threat? Learning to draw while seated is an important skill for concealed carry, but a knife can be more difficult to draw while seated. A neck knife, on the other hand, can be easily drawn no matter what position you are in
- Fixed Blade: I’m a huge fan of fixed-blade knives because they are typically much stronger than any type of folding knife. Given that you would typically use a neck knife in an emergency, you want a strong knife that will hold up in a survival situation.
While a neck knife definitely has some big advantages over other knives, there are a few drawbacks that bother some people:
- Safety: Some people don’t want to carry a knife around their neck for safety reasons. While I understand it would make some people nervous to have a knife hanging near vital body parts, the fact is you can easily purchase a quality Kydex sheath that should protect you from any accidents. I don’t recommend a leather sheath, however, for any type of neck knife because it won’t hold up as well as a Kydex
- Comfort: When neck knives first came out, they were heavy and uncomfortable. Over the years, however, neck knife design has evolved to make them much smaller and more lightweight. Just like you have to get used to the rest of your EDC (everyday carry) gear, the same goes for a neck knife. Over time, you’ll find you barely notice it and it won’t feel uncomfortable. (My neck knife weighs mere ounces and causes me no discomfort)
- Visibility: Obviously, it’s easy to see if someone is wearing something around their neck, but most people probably won’t guess what you’re wearing is a knife. And it’s easy to adjust your clothing choices if visibility is a concern. Just like you wouldn’t wear a tight shirt when carrying a firearm, you wouldn’t wear a tight shirt with a neck knife. Of course, there is a chance someone could see the outline of the knife anyway, but most people won’t be able to tell what is it as long as you are properly dressed.
Overall, a neck knife is a tool that can come in handy when you need it most. Even though there are pros and cons to wearing a knife around your neck, in my opinion, it’s a great idea — especially if you are restricted in carrying a knife elsewhere on your body.