There are many different knives out there and some are better suited for certain tasks. A survival knife, however, is designed to be effective at a variety of survival tasks. It’s not necessarily the best knife for any one of those task, but it’s at least good enough to be used for most of them. That’s the point of a survival knife, it has a variety of uses so you don’t have to carry multiple blades.
A survival knife can be used for many things, like cutting rope, boning meat, or cutting wood for a fire. Even if you don’t do much hunting or camping now, what if a disaster hit one day and you found yourself without a home, or you had to leave society? It could be tough out there in the woods tying to survive, but with a survival knife you could at least make things a little easier.
With the importance of survival knives becoming apparent the real task becomes finding one among so many brands in the market. The only way to get hold of the best knife in the market is to learn the features of a good one.
The best survival knife:
The tang is an important aspect of a survival knife referring to the part of the blade metal that extends to the handle. A full tang means that the blade goes all the way to the base of the handle making the knife stronger. Half tang knives are weaker and can break off during various applications.
The blade makes the knife and those looking for one must decide upon the best steel. What is the best steel for survival knife? Stainless steel and carbon are the common materials used to make survival blades but the debate is still raging as to which is better. The truth is, both work just fine. It really comes down to preference.
Stainless steel is hardy and can hold up against rust while carbon blades are known to hold their edge much longer but rust faster. Oiling a carbon steel blade regularly is a good idea to keep it from rusting. You can even use the fat from animals if you need to. Carbon steel does have a couple of advantages over stainless steel. You can get a spark off of it with a piece of flint rock if you had to which gives you another way to start fire, and it’s easier to resharpen on a stone in the wild.
Some survival blades feature serrated blades while the common ones have straight blades. Serrated blades are difficult to sharpen making straight blades the better option which can also be used to chop wood.
You should consider the blades thickness depending on what you want to use the knife for. The best survival knife blade should be no smaller than 1/8 inch thick and preferably more like 3/16 inch thick. That will make it easier to baton or split wood with and you can use it for light chopping tasks as well. For serious chopping, you’re probably better off with something bigger that has some weight behind it like an axe, hatchet, or a machete.
A good blade length for a survival knife is between 3 ¾ – 6 ½ inches. Larger knives that have blades longer than 6 ½ inches can be a bit cumbersome to use. I prefer 4 ½ – 5 inches myself. Just remember that the blade length will determine how big around of logs you can baton or split. If you have a 5 inch blade for example, you will be able to split wood up to 4 inches in diameter.
After the blade you need to think about the knife’s handle and grip for that matter. There are many factors that define a handle including the materials used to make it, pommel and hilt but all you need is to pick one that provides good grip even when wet. Some knives have flat pommels which allow the survivor to use their knife as a hammer. Avoid handles with hollows because this means that they do not have full tang, making them weaker.
In a real survival situation you might need to use your knife as a spear to protect yourself from a wild animal or to spear a fish. For this reason, it doesn’t hurt to have a survival knife with lanyard holes which will make it easier to tie your knife to the end of a stick.
After choosing the ideal knife you should take a closer look at the sheath to ensure that it can withstand harsh outdoor conditions. A good sheath should not absorb water even in wet conditions as this might lead to corrosion of the blade. The sheath must be thick enough to prevent stabs as the wearer scrambles through thick brush. It must also be designed in such a way that the knife cannot fall out even if the sheath is upside down.
With so many features that determine a survival knife’s stature, the best certainly depends on its intended use. It is hard to predict the survival situation you will be in but that doesn’t mean you can’t choose a knife that matches your preferences. The sheath’s color, handle design and brand may be trivial factors in defining a survival knife but they certainly add a personal touch to the important tool. Remember to pick a knife that you can easily handle in tense situation as that is the hall mark of a knife that plays a role in your survivals.
A survival knife is one of the most important tools for survival. Here are some other tools for survival.
In case you’re wondering, the survival knife examples in the picture above from left to right are:
The Rat-5 by Ontario
Bushcraft Black by Mora
Bushcrafter by benchmade
Fieldcraft by Brothers of Bushcraft
Bushlore Camp Knife by Condor
ESEE-5 by ESEE Knives
Surival Hunting Knife by BlizeTec
The BushTool by Habilis