Some of the other items you should include in your backpack survival kit are different types of tools, like a knife. This can be as simple as a hunting knife or more complex, and definitely multi-purpose, like a multi-tool. Most people are familiar with the multi-tool known as a Swiss army hunting “knife”. This type of implement also incorporates eating utensils, such as a spoon and a fork, as well as small scissors, screwdriver, corkscrew, even a small digging blade!
You should also carry the means to sharpen any of your blades. A dull blade will wind up making you do twice as much work, which is not something you want to do if you’re trying to conserve your energy and time as much as possible. In the past, the only means of sharpening a knife was to use a large bench stone which is way too heavy and awkward to carry around anywhere. Nowadays, and dependent on what type of blade you need to sharpen, there is a wide variety of sharpening tools available to choose from.
A grinding wheel is great, but again, it may be too difficult to transport. Usually, it is a solid piece of abrasive stone mounted so you can move the edge of the knife you need to sharpen back and forth so that as the grinding wheel turns, it will cut away some of the metal to reveal a sharper edge. It can be either a straight wheel, good for sharpening smaller items, or it can be a cylinder wheel, which is best used for sharpening much larger items. Grinding wheels can be made up of several different materials, but the most commonly used is aluminum oxide. This is the best material to use when you need to sharpen hard metals like bronze, iron, or steel.
Another effective grinding stone material is a combination of zirconium oxide and aluminum known as zircon alumina. This is best used when you need to sharpen anything made of steel and other metal alloys.
One of the newest developments in grinding stones is an incredibly strong material known as ceramic aluminum oxide. Don’t let the name fool you, though; this material is not only super strong, it also allows you to make more precise sharpening cuts.
Another thing to remember when it comes to grinding wheels is the grit size. This is very important: the higher the number, the finer the grit. Coarser grits are perfect for starting to edge your blade; the finer grits will help you better finish the job by putting a nice, sharp finish on the edge.
Bench grinders are probably the oldest and most reliable way to sharpen anything. They are probably the most inexpensive as well. These can easily be mounted to a workbench and also come in a variety of sizes to use. They usually have a small motor to spin the grinding wheel; the best of these even has a place to rest the tool so it will remain as steady as possible during the grinding process.
Some campers like to take their chainsaws along to make finding firewood a breeze. If you’re one of these people, and you do a lot of camping, you might want to invest in a specialized sharpener for your saw. There are both manuals as well as automatically powered chainsaw sharpeners that work very well and each has a safety feature that locks in each of the chain links as they are sharpened.