Which is more important? The tools or the knowledge? This is a debate for the ages, how can the knowledge help without the tools? How useful are the tools without the knowledge? You can make pretty good arguments both ways. But there is no reason to separate the two. In my opinion the two are not mutually exclusive. They are actually integrated and intertwined. Each supports the other in an exponentially increasing usefulness. So you have a great knife? Do you know how to use it? Do you know how to keep it sharp? Do you know how to maintain it? Once you have the ability to sharpen and care for or even repair the knife, then you can use that knowledge on other tools. Sometimes we just get too hung up on one or the other. If you know everything there is to know about sharpening, does it do you any good if you don’t have a knife?
There are any of a hundred million “What if” scenarios you can run on this topic, What if you are stranded without a knife; does your knowledge of sharp things help you still? (Yes, if you know how to make sharp things out of rock or even wood), what if you are stranded and find a GPS unit? Do you know the basic principles of GPS and how to use one? Again, the right tool without knowledge is nearly useless.
Since we can never predict what the “Situation” may be, our best bet it to always be preparing ourselves. Learn new things, pick up new and better tools or gear and know how to use and care for them. You may not have that knife on you when you need it, but if you do, then you are ahead of the game because you know how to use it AND you have it.
The old boy scout motto comes to mind. “Be Prepared”, the two simple words that convey almost everything we need to understand. The more knowledge and tools you have, the better prepared you will be for whatever situation arises. Personally, I tend to put knowledge just slightly higher than the tools, but only because knowledge is easy and often free to obtain and can be used without tools or to manufacture the tools needed. But even if you use the knowledge to build the tool, you still have the tool to do the job. Again they are not mutually exclusive.
Have a good day and I’ll leave you with this one request. Go out and learn something today. Doesn’t matter what it is. Just pick something you’ve never done before but wanted to learn, it could be something simple like knife sharpening or more complex like lock picking. But just pick something and spend a little time learning it. Could be hours, could be days, could be weeks, but once you have that knowledge; it could save your life someday.