A survival knife might be the most important tool you can have in your survival kit. There is so much that these tools can do, it could make your life a lot easier.
Sure, if you were without a knife, you could fashion one out of a piece of bone or some rock, but they can’t hold a candle to the strength of a steel blade.
Now, with that said, we have to point out that any old knife simply will not do. You have to know exactly what to look for when you’re hoping to find a good survival knife.
We hope that as you continue reading this article, you’ll understand the importance of having the best survival knife that your money can buy, but also the sort of uses for the knife.
You might be of the mindset that you are never going to be in a situation where you’re going to need a survival knife. Well, you’d be wrong. A wilderness survival knife isn’t just for cutting things, these tools are incredibly versatile and can perform a bunch of tasks that are critical for your survival.
As useful as these knives can be, we have to press upon you that not all survival knives are created equal. If you are looking for the ultimate survival knife, keep reading.
There are a lot of attributes that you should take into consideration when choosing a wilderness survival knife.
Tactical Intelligence provides us with a list of some crucial elements you need to stay away from when selecting a good blade.
There are three main components that you need to consider when looking for your knife:
A survival knife that you purchase should have those three components mentioned above, but there are few other factors that you’ll want to consider as well.
The handle of a survival knife can be made of a variety of materials. Some are made of durable rubber, some with a polymer, others with a leather wrapping. You want to look for a knife that doesn’t have a compartment where you can store things because:
Survival Cache also advises against using a knife that has a compass in the handle. You may think it is a smart idea to combine two important survival tools into one unit. However, by including a compass in the handle, you could compromise the grip, and that could be dangerous.
There are two types of steel that are ideal for the blade of your survival knife: stainless steel or carbon steel. While we can’t tell you which is the better choice, we can tell you the characteristics of both materials.
Stainless steel has a big advantage because they aren’t going to corrode over time. They tend to be used for smaller knives, and they tend to be relatively inexpensive.
They can definitely take a beating. Unfortunately, the edge of the blade won’t stay very shape very long. When choosing a stainless blade, Tactical Intelligence recommends:
Carbon steel is strong and will hold an edge longer, but it will rust faster. Quality carbon blades that are perfect for survival knives are:
It depends on which survival expert you ask on which blade design is the best. A straight blade is good for cutting wood, and it can make sharpening a blade much easier—all you need is a smooth stone if you don’t have a whetstone. If you have a serrated blade, you’ll need a special sharpener to keep your blade strong and sharp.
The way your knife is shaped is going to determine how functional it is. A knife that works in the kitchen for slicing and dicing is going to be useless in the wilderness. So with that line of thinking, the point of your knife should be conducive to survival (a drop point or a clip point) rather than a knife that is better suited for fighting or stabbing (spear point or tanto point).
Tactical Intelligence has an illustration that shows you exactly what each tip looks like. The blade with a clip point has a concave curve called a clip point. These knives are strong, but they can break the spine if you’re pounding it into wood. Because of that little drawback, a drop point is a great knife because it can handle a variety of tasks with no problem.
Most survival knives will fall in the 6 to 12-inch range. If you have a blade that is shorter than that, then your tool won’t be big enough to do the things that you’ll have to do in a survival situation.
However, if you go toward the higher end of that spectrum, it could become cumbersome and awkward to use. As we said, you may want to stick to a blade that is between 5 and 8 inches in length.
Okay, it’s easy to understand how the blade length and design can be a factor in why you should choose one knife over another. However, the thickness? Well, that is something that unless you are a knife expert, it may not seem like a big deal.
Generally, a good survival knife will be between 3/16 – 4/16 of an inch thick. A knife at this thickness is going to be very solid and can stand up to any abuse you put it through while chopping wood and prying open cans. Avoid any blade that has even the slightest bit of flex, as it could break if too much pressure has been applied.
Wide Open Spaces points out that when you’re choosing a knife, you want to make sure it is a full tang, but also pay attention to the grip of the handle. There are a plethora of different grip options available, such as wood, paracord grip, synthetic, or a metal grip.
Each of these grips has their own unique traits that work (and do not work), so choosing which kind of handle is best will ultimately be your choice of which feels best in your hand.
A pommel isn’t just a term you hear when crafting weapons in role-playing video games, they are real and it is what the butt of your knife is called. A lot of people don’t pay much attention to this, but they should, as it is considered to be the most important thing to have in your survival knife.
You want to choose a knife that has a hard pommel that can handle any sort of blunt force. For example, if you’re going to use the knife to split a log or maybe a coconut, you’ll want to stab the tip of your knife into the object and then use a rock or something equally as hard to hit the pommel. By doing this, you’ll be able to split the object.
You aren’t going to be carrying your knife all willy-nilly in your survival gear because you could get cut or the exposed blade could damage something important like your tarp or even your food supply. You want to keep the blade sheathed. So that means you should focus on these three things when choosing a sheath for your knife (if the sheath isn’t already included):
When it comes time to choose the right survival knife, there is a lot to consider. You want to choose a knife that is strong, will perform well no matter the task, feels comfortable to work with and to hold, and is going to be able to perform multiple functions.
When you take into consideration these factors, only then can you choose the best survival knife to suit your needs out in the wilderness.