Creating a troop's pocketknife policy can be difficult at times due
to the fact there are no specific official Boy Scout knife policies.
Below is some insight intended to help troops with their knife polices
for scouts as well as give some incite as to why some troops may have
they policies they do.
Lockable blades are good to bring on a campout assuming they are not
too big.Â 4" is largest a scout should have to carry.Â Anything beyond
4" can more of a hazard than serving a useful purpose.Â Many scouts
prefer using blades that lock because there is no chance of the blade
folding back during use.
Serrated edges have the benefit of that they usually stay sharp longer
than straight blades.Â Having a sharp blade is important because if
someone does get cut it is a cleaner cut which heals faster.Â The
downside is serrated edges are harder to sharpen and need to be
sharpened by someone who is experienced at sharpening knives.
Double-edged blades serve no practical purpose in scouting and a scout
should not have them.Â There is no reason a scout should need one.Â
They are more of a danger than a useful tool.Â A double-edged blade
means a scout has twice the chance of cutting himself or someone else.
It is important scouts understand a knife is a tool and not a weapon or
Maximum blade length
There is no official max blade length.Â A knife with a blade of 4" will
be able to handle most needs a scout will have for a knife.Â In many
states a knife with a blade over 3" can be considered a concealed
weapon so many troops set a blade length of 3" as the max a scout
They serve no purpose in scouting now matter how far they pop out and a
scout should not have them.Â Many times spring-loaded blades invite
scouts to play with them and see how they work with an end result of
someone getting hurt.
Switch blades are forbidden at most camps. Many Boy Scout camps have a policy of
taking switch blades from scouts and keeping them till they leave.
Sheath knives/ fixed blade knives
The official BSA policy regarding sheath knives according to the "Guide to
safe Scouting" is 'Avoid large sheath knives'
scouts to carry them.Â Many years ago the BSA sold official
sheath knives however scouts had to one up each other till scouts were
carrying machetes. At that point most camps banned all sheath/fixed blade
knives.Â The only knives a scout should be carrying is one that allows them
to fold the blade into the handle for safe carrying. Almost every camp will allow
scouts to have fixed blade knives in kitchen areas at campsites but the knives
stay in the kitchen area.
The Boy Scouts do not have very many official policies regarding
knives.Â Â Many camps have formed their own polices with respect to
knives. Most camps policies are all about the same but policy is up to
the camp ranger to decide.Â Â Many troops allow older scouts to carry
slightly larger knives while younger scouts are very highly encouraged
to carry smaller Swiss army knives (or cheap Swiss army knock offs
since young scouts are always loosing knives).Â Many scouts find a
pocketknife that has scissors rather than a huge knife is more useful
since the scissors will most likely be used more than the
knife.Â Pocketknives should not be used for preparing meals, that is what
kitchen knives are for so there is no need for scouts to carry large blade
Many troops have a policy of if a scout is using a knife improperly they
are first shown the correct way to use it and if they continue using the knife in an
unsafe way the knife is taken away for a certain period of time.Â Some
troops will cut a corner off a scouts totin' chip card if they use a knife
improperly but since many scouts do not carry their card with them or were
never given one, cutting corners is not a very effective means of keeping
scouts safe with knives.Â The important thing is a scout needs to
understand is a knife is a tool that can seriously hurt them so they
should treat the knife in an appropriate manner or they can loose the
privilege of being able to use one.