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Selecting The Right Survival Knife

Having the right knife in your survival gear can make a world of difference to what you can accomplish when things get rough. It is one of the most important tools to have in your possession as the right knife can be used for a variety of purposes. Whether you are using it to hunt or preparing camp, the survival knife will be one of greatest strengths.

Size of the Blade

While a large blade may be more threatening to an aggressor, it could be more difficult to wield when you have to accomplish slight feats. For instance, cutting food items with a machete is possible while providing additional danger of cutting yourself. On the other hand, a smaller blade that is perfect for gutting a fish may not be the best tool for digging holes in the ground if you have no other tool on hand. It is this aspect that many survival knife sets provide a series of different length blades – each having a specific purpose. A nice length for a fixed blade knife should be around six to eight inches from hilt to tip and the blade for a decent folding pocket knife should be at least 3 inches.

folding knivesPocket Knives

A pocket knife can be a great tool to have on hand at all times. It can help you whittle wood, skin game, cut rope and do various other tasks. One of the more attractive aspects to the folding pocket knife is the ability to carry it in your pocket, coat, backpack without fear of cutting materials. Carrying one in your pants pocket can ensure that you will still have at least one tool even if you were to lose the rest of your gear.

The downside to using a pocket knife is the fact that they are not as resilient as a fixed bladed model. For some of the larger tasks, they just don’t have the construction to withstand heavier uses. Pocket knives may be best suited as a secondary item to be used in dire situations or preparing food. A sturdier knife is ultimately needed for survival.  Including one in your every day carry bag is absolutely essential.

fixed blade buck knifeQuality of the Blade

Too many are attracted to the price of cheap knives that are pawned off as “survival” gear. Although 440 stainless steel is cheap, it does provide a bit of flexibility against breaking and is easy to put an edge on however, it is equally easy to lose the edge with frequent use. You should be able to dig a hole in some of the most horrid terrain without breaking the blade of your knife. Quality hardened high speed carbon blades are greatly sought after for they are ranked as exceptionally strong. When it comes to survival, a cheap knife that may break is not what you want in your inventory.

Wood Workingfixed blade knife

Being able to work wood for various purposes is greatly beneficial to survival. Your blade should be able to split and carve wood without severely damaging the tine. Although you will most assuredly begin to dull the edge, your knife shouldn’t be as pliable as the wood itself. What can your knife help you do with the wood?

  • Sharpen down points for spear fishing
  • Fletching arrows by carving away the wood
  • Notching wood in order to improve shelter construction
  • Creating spikes for game traps
  • Making kindling and wood shavings to help start a fire
  • Make new tools
  • Cutting, carving and shaping wood for any other use

 knife sharpeningKeeping the Blade Sharpened

Many survival knifes may come with their own whetstone. If you have plans for a survival knife, your methods of keeping it sharpened will also be a mandatory need. If your choice of knife is without its own whetstone, these can be purchased for relatively cheap. Whether you plan on having stones or using a rod such as what you find in most kitchen knife sets, keeping the blade sharpened is imperative as you don’t want to be with a dull blade in the event of an emergency that requires cutting.

Never assume that the fancy knife sitting on your wall that you bought from a movie replica website will be strong enough to withstand practical use. Your best survival knives will be thick, easy to put an edge on, extremely durable and more expensive than “costume” devices. Although military grade knives are indeed all of the above, some private companies produce comparable units that can withstand the test of time. Don’t put yourself and your family at risk by buying a cheap “survival” knife that may not last longer than a few days.

This is a guest post by Liz Nelson from WhiteFence.com. She is a freelance writer and blogger from Houston.

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One comment

  1. The best choice of steel for a survival knife would be one which is not too hard as to be brittle or difficult to sharpen in the field, but hard enough to keep a decent edge on it. Thanks for presenting the facts and helping me to get a clear understanding of what I should be thinking about and considering for my first Survival Knife purchase.Thanks again and keep up the good work.

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