If you’ve ever been camping, hiking or just out in the wilderness, having a survival knife on hand can be a very beneficial tool. In the event of becoming lost or stranded, one’s survival for any length of time can be greatly affected by the decision to bring a survival knife for the trip. From general use to more specific needs, there are a wide range of survival knives, and one may want to consider having a small arsenal in their possession for different scenarios. There are survival knife options for multi-use, hunting, food preparation, and path clearing just to name a few. Knowing what your needs are in an ultimate survival knife is the first step in purchasing a great product.
When considering your survival knife arsenal, you’ll need to think of the application of your blades. Having a general, easy to carry, easy to access, multi-use, absolutely can’t get lost without this knife or death will find me, blade is good to have with you everywhere you go. Shopping, having coffee, out in the yard, anywhere and everywhere the opportunity to use your survival knife can happen. Grandpa knew it, that’s why he always carried one. If you’re going on a road trip (especially a camping trip in the woods), your survival knife arsenal should include a blade worthy of hunting / fishing, and should also include a blade for trail clearing, and capable of building a shelter. If your car breaks down in northern Saskatchewan on your way to Aunt Lucy’s in the middle of nowhere at ten at night, you’ll be glad you have your knife, even if it’s only to chop up some wood to create a little fire for yourself.
Survival knives can be full tang fixed blade (blade metal runs full length of handle), partial tang fixed blade (blade metal runs part way through handle) or folding blades. As one can imagine, using a survival knife with a full tang fixed blade will provide the most solid, reliable, least likely to break experience. Using a partial tang fixed blade or a folding blade increases the chance for breakage, however are usually easier on the wallet and if well built will still provide many of the benefits of an ideal survival knife.
Survival knives are made from different materials, each with benefits and different strength qualities. Stainless steel alloy blades are generally used in salt water environments as they do not rust as easily as carbon steel. Carbon steel alloy is most commonly used for survival knives and is quite durable and easy to sharpen, plus gives off more sparks when using a flint. Black blades have become popular, and although initially for military use as the black teflon absorbs light rather than reflect [potentially giving away position], the teflon gives a light protective layer but will deteriorate quickly with frequent use; however if the teflon is scratched, will not affect the performance of the blade. Don’t underestimate the importance of the handle material as well. When using your survival knife, having part of the handle break apart or off completely could be devastating in the wrong environment.
Survival knives have six types of edges or “flutes”.
1. Cupped Edge – easily cuts, very sharp, difficult to maintain sharpness, must be polished often.
2. Smooth Edge – blade tapers from top to bottom equally in proportion to both sides
3. Blade saber (sword) – easy cuts, blade stays sharper longer, does not need to be sharpened as often as a cupped edge.
4. Chisel Edge – one side of blade is angled like a chisel.
5. Double Bevel or Compound – average cut ability, wider blade angle allows blade to be sharper longer.
6. Convex – durable wide angle cutting blade is very durable, better used for axes and other tools created to break hard wood.
Survival knives have blades that come in a variety of sizes as well. The average blade length is four to six inches for an ultimate survival knives.
There are a wide variety of survival knives out there. You may be wondering what the best knife option for you is. The best answer is to find one that you are comfortable with. Knowing your knife’s capabilities as well as the limitations will provide you with the best experience for any survival knife purchase. Survival knives come in many shapes and sizes, you’ll want to touch and feel a few different styles and price points for yourself to find the best match for you.