A Survival knife is a tool every outdoorsmen must have.
A good survival knife can have many uses, such as cutting tree limbs, which can be used for splints for broken arms. You can use it as a pry bar or digging tool. Cutting strips of vine to tie a raft together or a shelter. Making a fishing spear from a straight piece of wood. But what makes a survival knife functional in the outdoors or even in a life-and -death situation.
1. A Survival knife must not be too heavy, a good balance between blade and handle. You will be carrying this with you on your backpack or belt, so not being too heavy is important.
2. The shank guard should be large, so your hand doesn't slip down the knife and cut yourself. This is the last thing you want to happen when you are in the wilderness.
3. Another feature it should have is a container in the handle for waterproof matches or some other type of fire starter. Fishing hook with line and any other survival items, such at water purification pills. Having a "o" ring on the cap to keep the moisture out and keep your items dry. Remember though, a knife with a container is not as strong as a solid handle, but still does have its uses.
4. A primary compass is a good idea, but you want a compass built in to the end of the handle. It needs to be removable from handle, as steel knives interfere with the compass.
5. To cut small limbs, some survival knives feature a saw tooth blade on backside. This is a great addition to your knife.
6.A survival knife should have a "full tang", meaning the blade and handle are one piece. The tang is the part of the blade that goes into the handle.
7. Ideal blade size is 4-6 inches. This length is good for size and control. Any longer will be overkill and add weight.
8. Knife blade material: Carbon steel or stainless steel. The harder the material of the blade will hold an edge longer. A carbon blade will dull easily, but can be sharpened razor sharp. Stainless steel is of course more expensive, but requires less care. Stainless steel knives do have some carbon in them, so it doesn't make them "rust proof", just rust resistant. If you us it in a wet environment, you want to stick to stainless steel.
9. The handle should be grooved, chekered or a knurled surface contoured to fit the users hand. A smooth handle can get slippery and dangerous to use.
10. A good shealth is a must with a sturdy fastener to keep it from falling out. Made of leather or a tough nylon that is that is double stiched with nylon or synthetic thread.
You need to keep your survival knife sharp, this is a must. Dull knives cause more injuries than sharp knives, its a fact. Think about this, you will apply more pressure with a dull knife, causing you to easily slip and cut yourself.
Choosing a survival knife can be a confusing process with all the brands, sizes, and styles out there. Not all knives are created equal, but by using the list above, the survival knife you choose should be your "best friend".
Tom Meyer is passionate about the outdoors and all it has to offer. If you want to know more about what type of knife is for you please visit: