Hope for the best and prepare for the worst is a mantra that could keep you from the reaper if you ever find yourself in a disaster scenario.
Under these circumstances, your survival will depend on your knowledge, experience, and ability to use the resources you have at your disposal. A knife should always be one of those resources. Understanding the different features of survival knives will help you make a choice that could save your life one day.
Survival knife features
Like any purchase, you want to research and know what to look for before buying a knife. Below are six must-have survival knife features to consider when you buy survival knives.
The size of your blade matters significantly. For starters, if your knife is too big, you will surrender the ability to use it for any task that requires precision and detail, such as carving snare nets and dressing small games.
On the other hand, tiny blades are not efficient when performing tasks such as chopping and batoning. Batoning allows you to use your blade to split wood or cut through large limbs and trees. The knife size ideal for these tasks is 9-12 inches. Practice handling different sizes of knives to get a feel for what works for you.
Blade type: fixed or foldable?
If durability is of the essence, then a fixed knife will win out when pitted against a folding knife. Folding knives are convenient to carry around on your person, but a fixed blade is the best choice for the rigors of a survival situation.
Having a joint of any kind is a weakness. To decrease the risk of losing or even damaging your essential survival tool, choose a sturdy knife capable of taking the pounding of thrusting, prying, chopping, and constant cutting. Consider a thigh holster if you want to carry a fixed knife on your person.
Tang style: full or partial?
Your survival knife should be a full tang. That indicates that the metal blade of the knife starts at the tip and continues into the handle. Wood typically covers the handle, and grips or scales get attached to the handle to make the knife more comfortable when you’re holding it.
The full tang-style knife is more robust than the partial tang knife. As time passes, the partial tang blades will start to loosen, making them difficult. A loose knife handle compromises your ability to use it effectively when performing tasks such as chopping, prying, or batoning. You don’t want to waste extra calories elbow-greasing your knife into doing its job in an emergency.
Contrastly, you can still use a full tang knife even if the scales are missing. If that’s the case, you can wrap it with cloth or cordage for better grip and comfort.
The sharp and pointy tip
Self-defense is one of the primary reasons you should get a knife with a sharp pointy tip instead of rounded or hooked. Whether you’re going up against an animal or a human, you need a sharp point to protect yourself adequately.
You won’t have much luck getting through layers of clothing or thick fur with anything besides a sharp knife with a point. A pointed tip will also make skinning and cleaning any fish or animals you kill easier.
Lastly, you can use this knife style as a spear when hunting by simply attaching a pole to make it longer.
The bottom of the knife, also known as the butt or the pommel, must be sturdy and flat. You can drive stakes in the ground or even chip out fishing holes in the ice by pounding the flat end of the pommel with a heavy stick. Some survival knives have a hooked or rounded pommel, which isn’t ideal for this usage.
It may seem like a minor detail, but if you want to get the most out of your knife, a flat pommel is a way to go.
Blade design: straight edge or serrated?
Since the best survival knife will be capable of both slicing cuts and pushing cuts, it’s best to purchase a partially serrated knife. Note that if the blade is serrated less than 1 ½ inch, it probably won’t be of much use.
Most knives with partially serrated edges place the serrations close to the handle, perfect for slicing through wood or carving.
The part that curves is called the belly of the knife or the rounded edge of the blade. This straight edge is the ideal place for push cuts. Therefore, you should want a knife that is serrated near the handle and straight on the belly.
If you’ve never picked out a survival knife, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the limitless options. Hopefully, this short guide helped clarify the must-have survival knife features that will come in handy in a survival situation. Happy adventuring, and don’t forget to sharpen regularly.