The significant question to ask yourself when in a situation that requires survival is what type of knife would suitably help you survive the ordeal.
In this case, we are not talking about hunting and killing predators or killing lions for food, but instead, we are thinking of a knife that can help you to split firewood filet a fish or even for building a makeshift shelter as you wait for rescue to come your way. This best survival knife review will help you to make the right knife selection in the market.
When survival knife is necessary
A survival knife is a basic tool that any hunter needs to possess at any given time in their hunting mission. In this regard, different types of survival knives are specially designed for specific purposes. However, an ideal survival knife should be able to work for all the particular purposes including hunting, tactical fighting and bush craft among others.
Ideally, the definition of a survival knife is far-fetched. Nonetheless, it is imperative to ensure that the survival tool of your choice can be used in a variety of urban situations. For instance, you might find yourself in some circumstances in your car when using such knives become of great significance hence necessary. A good example is when your vehicle has broken down in a thick forest late in the night, and you hear footsteps getting closer, you can use the knife as a tool for arming yourself from the supposed enemy approaching you.
Last update on 2018-08-13 PST - Details
To sum it up, a survival tool can be used in carrying out numerous things and rather than asking what this kind of knife can necessarily do, you would rather ask to determine what it cannot do, considering survival. In this case, when you find out that the list for the latter is short, the better the knife.
Types of Survival Knives
There are two major types of survival knives in the market based on the nature of their blade that you may decide to purchase. Any serious outdoors person will always ensure that they carry both of these knives just if one fails, they will be able to use the other one. Here are the two categories of survival knives in the market;
1. Fixed blade
This is a type of survival knife that has a continuous length of more than 14 inches. The weight of this particular knife also increases with size and has a standard sheath that enables the user to attach it to their belt. But ideal fixed blade survival knives with longer sheath will always come with Molle compatible sheaths. One outstanding feature of fixed blade knives is that they have a long and extended tang that makes it possible for them to handle relatively tough outdoor projects. Fixed blades essentially have no moving parts at all.
2. Folded blade
This is the second category of a survival blade. One aspect that gives this particular type of knife an edge over the fixed blade is that it can be stored safely given it folds into the handle. For instance, the sheath of a 7” fixed blade could probably be over 10”. On the other hand, a 7” folding knife may be folded and tossed effectively anywhere. The only challenge of a folded blade knife is that at any given hinged point, it can fail hence causing life threatening injury because it cannot withstand immense force.
Factors to consider when buying an ideal survival knife
Essentially, there are several elements that you need to look into when purchasing this kind of knife. Of course, any knife can be suitable based on what you are looking for and how effective it can be in solving your particular needs. But it should also be noted that the renewed hype of survivalism has seen the rise of demand for survival knives in the recent past. It is thus vital to ensure that you look into these aspects as a way of ensuring that you get the best quality when purchasing in the market.
1. Blade material
The blade is an essential component of a survival knife that you must consider when making a purchase. You need to look into the type of material that the blade is made of before settling on one. Most of these knives are made of steel, and it is vital to know that steel is of different types. It would be necessary to shop for a survival knife made of quality carbon or stainless steel material.
The essence of going for a high carbon blade steel is that you need something that you can use in carrying out various heavy duty projects and may easily break if you choose to go for the soft steel that will not be able to hold its edge.
2. Blade edge
When purchasing survival blade, you need to ensure that look into the design of its cutting edge. The blade edges are intended for different purposes hence important to make sure that you determine what you will specifically need to use it for before making the ultimate buying decision. Just ensure that you go for a knife that has an edge that will be easy and efficient when it comes to performing different tasks when trying to survive especially in the wilderness.
3. Blade thickness
The thickness of the blade is also a vital element that you need to consider when buying a survival knife. In most cases, relatively thick blades are somehow difficult to sharpen and do not provide efficiency when it comes to using it in undertaking some vital tasks. On the other hand, slimmer blades also tend to lose sharpness rather fast and can also break easily when used in cutting or splitting hard materials. It is thus essential to make sure that you choose a blade with a thickness that will serve you effectively irrespective of the particular task you are undertaking.
4. Tang construction
This is also another critical element that you have to put into consideration when shopping for an ideal survival knife. The tang of a knife is simply the length of the blade that goes into the handle. Different survival knives are designed with different types of tangs but it important to go for a full tang when looking for a suitable knife for survival purpose. A full tang means that the entire blade runs through the handle while partial tang implies that the tang runs partially through the handle.
However, you need to understand that blades designed with partial tang may necessarily become vulnerable to wiggling and subsequently becoming relatively loose after using it and are possibly unlikely to withstand the pressure put on the knife. But on the other hand, full tang knives are often well-balanced and can stand up to lots of pressure.
5. Length of the blade
Size is also an important consideration, but you should understand that big is not necessarily suitable for a survival game. Remember you need a knife that is long enough to help you in attaining the best results and not necessarily long sufficient to prevent you from doing what you are supposed to do. For instance, a thick blade can be challenging to use in carving precision snares or dressing small game. An ideal survival range should fall between 4” to 7”. But it is also important to keep the overall length of the knife to between 10” and 12” since it is easy and practical to use and carry it along this way.
6. Handle material
Many people often focus on the blade when shopping for survival blades forgetting to factor in the type of handle they need for efficient usage of the knife. Always remember that the handle is a significant aspect since you use it in dealing with the knife in undertaking a variety of tasks. Hence you must ensure that you go for a handle that offers durability, strength, and grip. It is recommended that you stay away from poor quality plastic, metal and hollow handles.
The essence of going for a strong, durable and comfortable to hold is that lack of any of them might make your knife a liability as well as put you at risk of getting serious injuries. Metal handles are unsuitable because they tend to conduct heat and can also become difficult to control during winter in the wilderness because of accumulating ice.
Uses of a survival knife
A survival knife should be essential and versatile when in need of doing a variety of tasks to survive in a particular situation. Here are some of the useful things that you can perform using this particular knife when need arises;
- This is simply about splitting. An ideal knife for survival should be in a position of cutting firewood or anything else for that matter that requires the same without necessarily breaking or bending.
Skinning- it should also be in a position of removing the hide of the animal that has been hinted so that it can be prepared for consumption. But on the same note, it can also be used in removing thin bark layers of an animal as well as rubber from a tire.
Chopping- this task is often done using a hatchet or an axe, but it would be important to have a knife that can perform it as well when such circumstances call for it.
Starting a fire- there are always some situations where you forgot to carry your lighter, and you have to start a fire. In this case, you can use a Ferro cerium rod in conjunction with your knife can be of great significance in helping you start the fire.
Review of top selected knives for survival
This section provides an in-depth consideration of the top rated survival knives in the market that you should consider purchasing. The review looks into the strength, durability, and ergonomics of the knives, which are essential elements when it comes to making the right purchase.
This knife is manufactured by KA-BAR, a reputable company that has an outstanding name in manufacturing of wide range of knives. This product weighs 16 Oz, has an overall length of 10.5”, and sheath material made of Nylon, which shows why it is essential for carrying out in the wilderness.
The other outstanding feature for this particular knife is its drop point shape and ability to be used in carrying out different types of tasks while camping. You can also never forget the comfortable handle that this knife has, which is made from Grivory and the blade made of high-grade carbon steel. The knife also features a heavy duty construction and has a full tang, which explains why it is durable and can endure harsh conditions.
- Ergonomic handle design.
- Light weight.
- Highly durable
- Resistant to rust
- Provides right balance on the hand when holding
- Highly versatile
- Comparatively expensive.
This knife is ideal for someone who is looking for a survival knife that will serve them for relatively long. Its versatility is also a plus hence an essential acquisition that you can make to for your outdoor and camping activities.
The Gerber 22-01629 LMF II Black Infantry Knife is one of the greatest survival knives to have even in worst conditions. This knife is specifically designed for military survival and can be described as a utility knife given that it can be used in performing some tasks. This knife has a blade design with a drop point of 4.84” with a blade made of 420CH stainless steel.
This knife also features a glass filled nylon and rubber coated handle, which has a length of 5.75” which allows for better grip when handling it during various tasks. The sheath material for this knife is also made from ballistic nylon, which is also resistant to fire hence guaranteeing protection to your knife. Has an excellent construction and full tang which enhances its strength and durability.
- Tough enough to cut through hard objects.
- Ergonomic design.
- Resistant to rust and wearing.
- Easy to carry due to its compactness.
- Light in weight
- Protects the user since through the lanyard holes in the finger guard
- Too little to perform heavy duty tasks.
This is a suitable survival knife for anyone looking for one that offers myriad of small utility jobs when facing a survival situation.
This product is manufactured by Schrade and features a blade material made from a 1095 high carbon steel with a robust construction that gives it the necessary strength and durability. The handle is ergonomically designed and made from a plastic elastomeric material.
The sheath is made from nylon material, and the overall length is 12.1”. With a recurved cutting edge with a drop point of 6.4 inches. The handle is also textured in a sense and has Lanyard holes as well as removable storage pouch making the user stay safe from possible injuries that may arise. It weighs about 1.0 pounds.
- Highly resilient
- Easy and comfortable to handle
- Quality design and construction
- Safe to use and store
- Sharp, strong and reliable in cutting hard materials
- Very affordable.
- Relatively long to carry out some survival tasks effectively.
If you are looking for a suitable survival knife but operating on comparatively low or tight budget, then this is the ideal knife to go for. It offers reliability essential for professional and recreational use.
This is an iconic knife used for carrying out various camping tasks. This particular 119 model has been a spectacular one and has played an integral part in the Buck models since 1945. With a Rockwell hardness of 58HRC and a clip point blade, this product provides excellent strength, durability, high resistance to corrosion and incredible edge retention.
The clip’s blade is relatively sharp hence essential for piercing and cutting in tight places. The handle has palm swells with enhances comfort when using it, and it is also designed with an aluminum guard that offers a fantastic combination of balance and exquisiteness. This knife also comes with a protective sheath made from a high quality leather material that also allows you to carry it around conveniently.
- High quality construction and design
- Razor sharp clip point blade
- Easy and comfortable to carry around safely
- Safe to use and store
- The edge becomes dull if continuously used for chopping.
The Buck 119 is superlative for outdoorsmen who appreciate antiques and classics. This is a general camping knife that you need to have given that it is appropriately designed for surviving in the camps hence a necessary acquisition.
The ultimate Ka-Bar BK&T is a general utility knife that was originally designed for soldiers and other adventures that would need strong and lightweight combat knife, which can apparently withstand the hard use. This product has a sturdy, durable and skeleton handle that offers adequate grip and comfort when using it for various operations.
The blade has a length of 7 inches but has an overall length of 12.75 inches. This is a fixed blade knife with a full tang and a durable construction from sturdy high carbon steel material that gives it an edge when it comes to durability and wearing. The blade and handle are resistant to corrosion and rust as well as premature breaking.
- Sharp, strong, durable and lightweight.
- Ergonomic design
- Comfortable and easy to handle
- High versatility.
- Relatively expensive.
This is an ideal knife for anyone looking for a general surviving knife that offers exceptional quality and reliability. You can use it doing different projects while camping and still satisfied with all results you attain from it.
Caring for survival knife
Acquiring this kind of knives is an investment hence the need for ensuring that you take great cares of them upon having them so that they may be able to serve you well for quite a considerable period. In as much as most of these knives are usually resistant to corrosion and abrasion, when used and mishandled they may end up breaking down relatively fast that you would expect.
The first step in taking care of your survival knives is ensuring that you sharpen them continuously between uses. Experts say that a dull knife is rather dangerous than a sharper knife and this assertion seems to be true in the sense that a dull knife can easily fall or slip off and injure you or anyone around in the process.
The other idea of taking care of your knife is by cleaning off any sap, dirt, and water and makes it dry all the time between uses. It is also recommendable that you wipe the knife before placing to back to the sheath. This process seems to be insignificant but the truth of the matter that is that it plays a great role in ensuring that your product life stays longer.
When planning to store the knife after a trip from the wilderness, make sure that you clean it using warm soapy water to remove bacteria before storing them. Also, ensure that the sheath, handle and blade be completely dry before storing the knife. The essence of this is any slight moisture may lead to the formation of rust in the blade hence reducing its lifetime.
Lastly, you need to ensure that you store your knife in a dry and cool place. But at the same time, you need to be conscious of the type of sheath that you are using to store the knife. It thus implies that you need to periodically take the knife out of the leather sheath given that leather tends to attract moisture that can in turn damage the blade in the long run.
Although this review only serves as a guide to buying the perfect survival knife for your needs, you need to ensure that you take safety precautions whenever you are using or not using this particular tool. It can become a weapon if misused and a survival tool if properly used.
The first thing, thus, is to ensure that you are meticulous when sharpening it to prevent you from cutting your hand or fingers.
The other thing to do is storing the knife at an appropriate place where it cannot be reached by children or where it cannot easily hurt someone unknowingly. And that is the reason it would be vital always to put our knife inside the sheath to prevent any unlikely eventuality regarding causing injuries.
This article shows that there is so much to consider when choosing the best survival knife on the market currently. Choosing the best knife by blade type, length, thickness, and design is even more difficult even if you do not consider the other aspects such as tang construction and handle design among others.
Nevertheless, it is also essential to ensure that you think of the best survival knife as an all-purpose tool that you may use for performing different tasks when in need for survival.