Pack Weight: Why Knife Weight Is Important

By Steve Sorensen

How much did six knives plus sharpening stones and oil weigh?
And why did I care?

It was our adventure of a lifetime – a do-it-yourself moose hunt in remote Alaska. To do it right, my brother and I planned for over a year and worked ourselves into top physical condition. Moose are massive. Without adequate preparation, the score would have been Moose-2, Sorensen Brothers-0.


The author and his brother killed two Alaska moose at the same time. In these photos, they lie about 20 yards from each other.

But the score ended up Sorensen Brothers-2, Moose-0. People double on pheasants. They double on turkeys. They even double on deer. But a double on Alaska moose? THAT’S an extreme hunt. Bang-bang. Two moose that needed skinning, butchering, and packing out a mile to the top of the mountain.

It’s a great hunting story, published in Outdoor Life, but one of the lowlights of the trip was the 7-hour drive from Anchorage to Tok, Alaska. Andy drove while I sharpened, juggling six knives, whetstones, blade clamps, cutting oil and rags. You gotta start with plenty of sharp knife steel if you plan on skinning and butchering moose.

Shed Pounds with Lightweight Knives For Skinning and Butchering


The hunters flew into the bush in separate Super Cub airplanes,
and each was limited to 50 pounds of gear.

How much did our six skinning and butchering knives plus sharpening stones and oil weigh? And why did it matter? It mattered because we’d be flying deep into the Alaska bush in two Super Cub airplanes, and the pilots limited us to only 50 pounds of gear per man – 100 pounds total. That included spare clothing, rain gear, tent, sleeping bags, binoculars, spotting scope, cooking gear, food, knives, whetstones – everything we’d need to spend 10 days on the top of an Alaskan mountain. Yes, Alaska pilots live by the rules. They actually weighed everything.

That’s why you look for ways to cut ounces. Every little bit adds up. Our knives and sharpening gear weighed almost seven pounds – 7% of the total! If we had packed lightweight Havalon knives, with a dozen extra blades, we’d have saved 6½ pounds. We could have taken more dehydrated food, maybe a luxury like a dry pair of boots, and a security blanket in the form of a satellite radio.

The point is that Havalon knives would have made us better prepared. That’s why every hunt – from Alaska to the Rockies to Africa – ought to include a lightweight Havalon knife for skinning and butchering. But don’t carry one just because it weighs next to nothing. Carry one because it works – even on extreme hunts.


About Steve Sorensen

steve-sorensen-head-shotAward-winning outdoor writer and speaker Steve Sorensen loves the Havalon knife, and has been a fan of knives since he begged his dad for a hunting knife when he was six years old. His articles have been published in Deer & Deer Hunting, Sports Afield, and many other top magazines across the USA. Invite Steve to speak at your next sportsman’s event, and follow his writing on his website,


For more articles by Steve, click here.
And for the lightest hunting and skinning knives
(each weighing only 3oz or less!) click here

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