The SOG Spec-Elite Mini served the author well during an Amazon jungle survival course. The open design and bulletproof lock make it a jungle-ready folding knife.
Throughout my years in the knife industry, I’ve had the honor of working with some of the best bushmen and survivalists in the world. Most of these experts don’t have a mailing address, choosing instead to survive through a nomadic lifestyle in some remote Third World environment. When it comes to jungle life, in almost every instance, their tool of choice is a simple cutting edge, many times a well-worn machete, sometimes an axe, and almost always a piece of cheap kitchen cutlery in the mix. And while I consider myself extremely fortunate to be able to work with these experts, modern conveniences mean a lot to me, and all you have to do is look at what I carry in my pockets to see that.
I’m a fan of machetes when it comes to wilderness survivalcraft, but in the real, everyday world my Carhartt pants carry a flashlight, a Blackberry smartphone, a Bic lighter, a small folding knife and a multi-tool. Over the years, this combination of survival tools has served me well just about anywhere I land. The pocket folder changes depending on the knife I’m testing at the moment, but the multi-tool has pretty much stayed the same for the last 10 years: a SOG PowerLock EOD. Why the EOD model? Well, even though I’ve helped crimp a few caps with some Sappers in South America, most of my crimping work revolves around our farm. When it comes to working on tractors, machinery and electric fences, there’s always a wire to cut and a terminal to crimp. Not to mention a bolt or screw that needs to be tightened or an adjustment made on a piece of farm equipment.
The PowerLock has also served me well during both our jungle and stateside survival courses. The saw makes it a breeze when it comes to teaching trap triggers to survival students, and the quarter-inch drive adapter is just plain genius since I carry a small array of quarter-inch drive tools in my backpack. I’ve used this tool kit several times to repair outboard and “pecky-pecky” motors on the Amazon River. The awl also stands out as a must-have for me. I’m constantly using it to punch new holes in gear or drilling a hole through a piece of wood for some reason.