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 Why I Carry a Knife in Life and Travel /// VINJABONDKnives have been a part of my EDC since I’ve been a kid, my profession and now extends to my vagabonding lifestyle and this is why…

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A knife is more than just a weapon, it’s a tool for survival and utility.

JOHN V CAIN
FOUNDER OF VINJABOND

It all started while watching MacGyver craftily using his famed Swiss Army Knife on TV during the late 80’s and early 90’s. As an impressionable boy, it was particularly fascinating seeing how such a small tool could be so useful in both everyday and tactical scenarios.

Knowing my parents wouldn’t actually buy me a knife, I saved up my allowance for months to get it myself.

Even at the age of 13, it wasn’t that difficult to acquire a knife in New York City’s Chinatown all those years ago. For $20 I got a knockoff version of MacGyver’s.




Born and raised in the Bronx, I grew up on the streets so I didn’t carry a knife for protection since as a local, it wasn’t exactly necessary. That is until this one day.

On the same street of the elementary school I went to, PS 9 on Ryer Avenue is a playground I spent much of my youth in. Just a minute walk to our old apartment.

Like any other day, I was playing with some neighborhood kids and if I remember correctly; an ordinary looking middle-aged man comes up to me and tells me he’s an off duty police officer here to take me to my parents. He said they were in the hospital waiting for me. I was only 13. I hurriedly got into the back seat of a car I can only recall as being beige with red interior.

After a bit of driving, I started asking how much longer it will take and if my parents were okay. He never answered but he would look at his rear view mirror making eye contact with me every time I asked.

I was just a kid but I believe I sensed malicious intent in his eyes so I started to get suspicious and eventually asked him to let me out… No response whatsoever.

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To this day, I distinctly remember the feeling of the blade tip hitting his shoulder bone and the knife slipping out of my tiny hands and landing on the dashboard as he lost control and hit a parked car.

I got out, ran like hell to the nearest metro and got on the “D” subway train to get back home.

I never told my parents or the police of this fearing I did something wrong but I did watch the news later that night and saw he was arrested for a “hit and run” (that I caused) and had several warrants for his arrest.

That crappy counterfeit knife saved my life.

- Complete EDC Knife Kit System -

– Complete EDC Knife Kit System –

Almost 20 years later, I still carry a knife on my person at all times. But now I have extensive tradecraft knife training in both martial and culinary arts.

Also, I’ve learned to modify knives specifically for my needs, situations and fitted for my grip.




Most guys love guns and sports, I love knives and travel.

Knife laws in my home country of the United States is complicated and varies from state to state but I’ve kept up with them over the years, constantly changing the type of blade I can legally carry.

So when my life of world travel began, I had to rethink my knife EDC; abiding to international laws and best suiting my minimalist lifestyle of living out of a backpack.

But like any tool, it’s only as good as the wielder.

Why I Carry a Knife in Life and Travel /// VINJABONDNo one should carry any sort of weapon, knife or otherwise, without the basic knowledge of how to use it as well as its limitations and the potential dangers to oneself and the assailant.

Furthermore, other than the laws of possessing a knife, the wielder should be aware of the technical legalities of self-defense and assault.

This is why I carry a knife for life and travel.




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16 COMMENTS ///

  1. John

    Have you ever had a problem getting that knife through airport security? Does it set off the metal detectors? I want to travel the world with a knife for edc, but I was wondering how it would be possible except for buying a knife every time I get into a new country.

    • JOHN V CAIN //

      Almost any knife, metal or not, should be assumed that it will be detected – by the metal detector, scanner or physical search. With that said, I put knives in my check-in luggage.

  2. Michelle

    I carry a kubotan everywhere, and most often a fold-away as well. I’m looking to get more knives as cheaply as possible.
    Thanks for a great article (good job dealing with that guy, btw), and great site.

  3. Joe

    Great article and insight into the utility and practicality of carrying a knife. Consider writing another article sharing your finds on the various laws concerning knives around the world, especially Asia where the laws are harder to decipher?

  4. Mica

    I love my MicroTech, but never travel with knives since I always just pack my gr1. So you must often check luggage? I thought you lived out of a backpack!

    • JOHN V CAIN //

      I get credentials for flights to bypass standard security protocol but it’s a pain to obtain and there are other ways.

      I have go-bags hidden in most of the cities I frequent; in a stump in the Amazon, under a rock in Central Park, in a derelict sewer access in Bangkok etc… In these bags are some essentials and knives are one of them. Think of it as my way of prepping.

      When I am consulting (which is often), I have to also pack a small duffle bag full of equipment that must be checked. But as for actually “living out of a backpack”? It’s less than 20 liters total.

      • Flman

        i was wondering, having done a good bit of international travel myself when in the military.
        What do you do with knives and such when you are unable to carry/take them with you for legal reasons? mail it to the next known destination? or “ride dirty”? lol

  5. Cameron Burgess

    Reached out to you via email, but might as well ask this question here. You mention checked luggage. I travel almost exclusive with carryon only. I’m curious what your opinions are of this. The benefits are obvious. The costs are less gear (not really a cost in my view, but still), and the inability to carry anything that wouldn’t get through security (not having a multitool on me, for instance, is vexing). I’ve been based in San Francisco (loosely) for the past few years, but am not an American, and as I prepare to hit the road again, I’m rethinking my gear. So clearly a broader question than just knives, but motivated by your comments on knives above. I’d prefer to carry one – I’d rather not check luggage more. Thoughts?

  6. Jason Martin

    Another alternative that I do is to travel without, deplane and go to the closest grocery/hardware/ general store and buy a knife, usually of the kitchen variety and some tape and then you have a handy knife that will get the job done and then trash it or if you need to “lose it ” before you leave.


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