Best survival knife guide: How to choose the best all around survival knife
1. Why Fixed Blade Steel is Important
Remember, the best survival knife for the money is not cheaply made. When it comes to fixed blade survival knives, the truism “You get what you pay for” holds true. A bargain priced knife with cheap quality steel blade is not going to deliver the same caliber performance as blade made with superior quality steel. Sure, the cheap knife may be sharp, but it can’t hold the edge and lacks the strength for heavy duty knife use. Basically, your flea market bought knife is going to let you down at the worst possible time, probably snap from over use and possible hurt you in the process.
2. Choose a Single Edge Blade Knife for better performance
Form really does follow function when it comes to fixed blade knives. Sure, a knife with a double-edge design may catch your eye but the trade-off in blade strength may not just be worth it for tasks such as batoning wood and prying. Remember, a fixed blade survival knife is more of tool than a means to defend yourself against a band of ninjas. The thinner the blade the less durable the knife is. Choose one of the following styles for best knife performance: A curved or “belly” edge is useful for skinning and finer tasks. Another recommended style is a drop point knife blade which slopes from the spine of the blade from the handle to the tip of the blade.
3. Why full tang makes sense for fixed blade knife
Pick a knife that has blade that extends the full length from tip of the knife to the end of the of the handle. Full-tang construction provides structural strength to the whole knife and gives better leverage when forcing the blade against a solid object. Over time, partial tang knife blades can loosen and develop “play” in the handle–especially under demanding tasks such as batoning, prying, and chopping. If a partial tang blade comes loose from the handle it can be very difficult (and dangerous) to use effectively.
4. Give Yourself an Edge by Forgoing Serrated Blade
Less is more when it comes to choosing a plain edge vs. serrated edge. Sure, a serrated edge makes your blade appear like a toothy shark’s mouth but it’s really less practical. A simple smooth or plain blade is far more versatile since it can perform the same field tasks as serrated, like cutting rope, better than jagged edge cousin. Can’t decide which edge is best then go with a saw tooth knife featuring a duo plain edge and serrated edge. Ideally, choose a knife that performs cutting, slicing and carving tasks well.
5. Watch the Grind
The grind is best explained by looking straight at the knife tip, as if it’s being thrust at you. The shape of the cross section of blade where the spine is at the top and the edge is at the bottom is the grind. A knife’s grind depends on its intended use. A flat grind, where each side of the knife tapers flat from the spine to the edge, is probably the most utilitarian and versatile — great for chopping, splitting wood and batoning. It can also be easily sharpened in the field. Check the knife’s grind and make sure it suits your primary tasks best.
6. Supersizing Your Knife is not the answer
A good rule is to keep blade size between 4 and 7 inches. Overall knife length should ideally stay around 11 inches. A large machete knife look impressive, but if a fixed blade knife is too large, it gets unwieldy. You’re more apt to need it for regular tasks like splaying a branch for kindling than whacking through the amazon jungle. A knife must be controllable. Conversely, if it’s too small, then you’ll be screwed when you need to do the heavier jobs.
7. Get a Handle on it.
Many people tend to ignore the design of the knife handles while purchasing survival knives. It is important that you have a good grip on your knife while using it. Do not choose a survival knife that is uncomfortable for you to hold. The last thing you need is the knife slipping off your hand while you’re working. Grip, feel and handle materials are almost as important as the blade, itself. Steer clear of hollow and/or plastic handles. Kraton (synthetic rubber polymer), Micarta (resin-impregnated linen composite), G10 (resin-impregnated fiberglass), glass-reinforced nylon, dense wood or rubber are the best for strength, durability and grip. Also, look for beneficial features like a blunt end (for hammering) and/or a lanyard hole to thread rope through to keep the knife around your wrist.
Take Advantage Of Survival Knives – Read These 5 Tips
Survival knives come in many configurations, but needless to say a rugged fixed blade, with an edge that is kept sharp by its owner, is worth its weight in gold when you find yourself in a survival situation. When a novice is faced with the decision to purchase a knife, they only need to remember a few basic reasons. Using the knife as a multi-tool, using it for hunting or defense, and using it to help build fire justify the purchase all day long. There are also some common sense uses for a survival knife that most users will encounter.
1. Building Shelters
Knives for survival are essential shelter building tools, especially if you have lost your hatchet. A sharp survival knife can be used to take down saplings, create notches to help secure limbs together, and cut or chop branches and other materials to cover a shelter frame, or make bedding for the evening.
2. Hunting and Fishing
Everyone is a hunter when they are hungry enough. If you have exhausted your supplies, a survival knife is a tool that can ensure your next meal. Whether you are using the blade to break open nuts, or you are using it to fish, your knife will serve you well. Simply using a shoe lace to secure your survival knife onto a straight branch will make a perfect spear to catch dinner.
Whether you are digging to find water or looking for roots and grubs, your knife is a perfect tool for the job. If you have found a source for edible roots, using a knife to dig them out, clean them, and cut them up is far easier than attempting to use your hands.
When faced with spending a cold night in the woods, or cooking a freshly caught fish, fire is an absolute necessity. Whether you are using the knife to cut and split wood, or you are using it to create a spark against a rock to ignite tinder, it’s simply an invaluable tool. Shaving dead branches to create small pieces of kindling will almost always guarantee a fire that starts easy and stays lit.
An often overlooked use for survival knives is a signaling device. By cleaning your knife on your shirt, and using to reflect sunlight, the glint can be seen for miles on a clear day.
Knives for survival are a fundamental tool for any outdoors adventurer. They should never be left at home, not even if you only plan to take a short hike. The best survival knife is the one you have with you…so choose wisely.
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