Since I was a young Scout when my parents bought me my first knife, I have been collecting them. Some may find this strange but that first knife which was like $2 next to the cash register and was really a complete piece of junk still sits in my collection. As you will note in this very small sampling of my collection there are knives of all sizes and types ranging from the large Bowie Knife, to the smaller utility sheaf knives, the various folding pocket knives, on to the different styles of the multi-tools.
The ones I use the most are the mini-buck, the small single blade, black folding knife at the top right of the photo and then the winchester multi tool, which is the center of the three pliers. Some of the things I like about the Winchester multi-tool is it comes with a set of inter changeable screw driver heads, its has held up pretty well for me, and if I lose it – no big deal as its only like $10 at the local discount chain store. The mini buck knife actually lives on my key chain and virtually goes every where I go.
Some notes about other knives in the photo. The top left most knife is a 4 inch folding old timer that I bought the first year I was on summer camp staff (I was the instructor for Pioneering) for cutting rope, have used a lot since then. The middle top is a official BSA jack knife. The left most of the sheaf knives is a winchester knife around 4 inch blade and has taken over a lot of the work my summer camp staff knife originally was used for, it is also pretty inexpensive around $15 at the local discount chain store. The pliers the left one is a Leatherman and the far right one is a Gerber. I have not really found a huge differences or preference between the two brands, but I know many who swear by one or the other.
Generally if you are looking to get a knife for a young Scout I also recommend to wait until they earn there whittling chip if a Cub Scout or Totin Chip if a Boy Scout. For a first knife I suggest one that locks, but is easy to unlock (I prefer the ones where u just push in the lock, I don't like the slider ones), also don't go to big a small 1.5 to 2.5 inch blade is all they will need. When it comes to safety two things to remember a small blade is better for carving and a sharp blade is far less likely to slip and cut the user. If the you are cut by a sharp knife it will leave a straight, clean wound that is easier to treat.
What kinds of knives do you like? What do you recommend for as a Scouts first knife?