All we “NEED” are food, water, air and shelter. Basically, the same things that plants need. So why do we have all of this other “Stuff?” Because we want it! Because it makes our life more enjoyable. Like Art or Music, it embellishes our lives.. But why big knives? I must admit I have never carried any of the monsters shown here. Not even the smaller Russell knife, which is more reasonable in size. It is this intrinsic wanting that got us out of caves, huddled around campfires, or eating raw meat. It is Want that created beautiful works of Art, which actually serve no survival needs. I think you are getting my point. Needs and Wants are totally separate situations. Do I need a big Bowie or a .375 H&H rifle for survival? Not right now, not in the current state of the state. Has there ever been, or will there ever be, a time when I do? That’s hard to say, but I can use the supposition there will be for justification of transposing wants into needs.
While some people will laugh at the idea of carrying a 12-inch bowie for survival purposes, I laugh at those “survivalists” who attempt to do everything with a 5-inch bladed knife. As the old saying goes, you can work hard or you can work smart. A big knife will do 90% of what a small knife will do, with less effort. If you insist on building your lean-to and splitting firewood with a 5-inch blade, go for it. I can think of better ways to expend valuable energy and time than using an undersized tool, just to make a useless point.
In, and on, my bug-out bag I have a folding saw, a hatchet, and a big chopper. That chopper is an indestructible Becker BK-9 which is strapped to the outside of my bag. In my pocket I carry a medium sized folder with a solid lockup, usually a Benchmade™. Maybe these total more weight than some of you want to carry, but I like the versatility it gives me to handle the camp chores one normally runs into.
So that covers big knives and camping, what about defense uses? As a long-time martial artist, I propose that there are three fundamental parameters to defense or offense. They are Timing, Distance, and Rhythm. The function of the knife is to extend one’s reach, ie. distance. Let’s assume I am confronted by a person similar in size to me. He is carrying a 12-inch bladed Bowie and I have a more “manageable” 7-inch fighter like a Blackjack 1-7. We each thrust, without lunging. My blade tip just touches his chest. His blade buries the last 5 inches in my chest. Who’s laughing now? You say that is not a realistic scenario. I might have agreed with you 5 years ago, but now I have seen too many online videos of people being attacked with axes, hatchets, machetes, bats, even swords, in public.
Similarly, when I go out in public today, I do not carry only my 22 cal. Mouse gun, I carry my .357 magnum Python, and maybe the 22 for backup and also a quality folder. So basically. what I want to convey to you is don’t confuse wants and needs and don’t judge what another person might do, or can do, with the tools they choose to carry. For example, is the Python with the 8 inch barrel a reasonable "carry" piece? No of course not, even though I have a shoulder holster for it. But it is a work of art and fully functional, if the need arises. On the other hand, I carry the shorter barreled Python frequently. I didn't need the bigger pistol but I sure did want it. Wants versus needs.