Every capable person should carry a good pocket knife. Part of carrying a good pocket knife is using it, and part of using a good pocket knife is that its edge will dull.
The key to keeping a knife sharp is to hone it before every use, and to sharpening it as needed.
This is easy to do when you’re at home, where any number of tools will be up to the task. When you’re away from your home, say on a trip or even at the office, sometimes it’s good to have a portable tool for basic maintenance.
eGear’s ceramic sharpener 2 1/4″ x 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″. It has an odd size that’s built more for safety than compactness. The sharpener is encased in bright orange plastic and has a cheap carabiner so you can clip it to your pack or whatever.
One side is for coarse sharpening, and the other for fine adjustment. If you’re doing your job right, you should only really need to use the white, fine ceramic side. However, if your knife takes a ding or you wind up cutting into something that really blunts the edge you can use the dark gray, coarse side.
Each end has a non-slip surface, which I thought was a nice touch.
Using the sharpener is easy — hold the knife horizontally and run the knife gently but firmly about eight times. Why eight? That’s the number of times I run our kitchen knives down the honing steel and having one procedure makes it easier for me to remember.
Anyway, if you haven’t sharpened your knife in a while you can try the dark gray coarse side. However, I don’t think this will be good enough for knives that need a lot of work. You’re better off using water stones of varying grit and then using the Survival Essentials sharpener for maintenance / touch up work.
I bought this sharpener on a lark for less than $2 on sale from Sierra Trading Post. Retail prices are all over the place, from $2.99 – $7 shipped via Amazon Prime. There’s also an exact duplicate sharpener made by a different (?) company that’s about the same price.
I wish I would have bought more, and I have some in my Sierra Trading Post shopping cart for the next time they send me a really good coupon.