A lot of survivalists and outdoor enthusiasts, if not all of them, consider knives to be the most important tool in a person’s survival gear, regardless of whether they are going out there in the wilderness camping or bushcrafting, or even if they aren’t going anywhere in particular. In fact, according to some, a knife is the only thing you need to survive in some dire situations because it is a very versatile tool. For centuries, people have been relying on cutting tools for most of their basic needs, and today we still use them in a lot of everyday situations. But, with some survival skills, a well-chosen blade can save also you from some potentially dangerous situations.
When out there in the wilderness, not only can you use a knife to cut things that can help you defend yourself in some situations, but you can also use cutting tools for anything from starting a fire, building a shelter, signalling rescuers, cauterising a wound, preparing food, digging, etc. This is the reason why it’s important to have good outdoor knives in your survival gear, and though there are many types, you can learn how to choose the right ones.
Types of Outdoor Knives
Knives come in an endless range of types but are commonly divided into two main categories: fixed blades and folding blades. While both can be very strong, fixed ones can be stronger. Folded knives make great pocketknives, and they are great for everyday carry.
However, when it comes to outdoor knives, they come in many different forms and they can be divided into categories such as survival, bushcraft, combat, hunting, etc. Knives can be made from different blade materials and have different hafting techniques.
Choosing the right knife is of course very subjective, and you should really understand what you need it for in order to make the right buying decision. The truth is that there are many good knives out there, and they can not only be very useful in the woods or in the wilderness, but they can also be great in any type of emergency. However, there isn’t one knife that’s suitable for all imaginable situations.
What to Take into Consideration?
Though what you consider an ideal knife is quite subjective, there are some requirements that are more or less universal when it comes to survival knives.
First of all, you need to find a knife that suits the task you need to perform, the terrain where you’ll be etc. This can determine the size and shape of your ideal knife. Furthermore, make sure that your knife has a quality handle with a solid, comfortable grip. A good outdoor knife also has to be easy to sharpen, so that you can really rely on it. You should also learn about the steel used to manufacture the knife.
Price is also something that you’ll think about. As with everything, a better quality product will cost more, and if you see an offer that’s too good to be true, it probably is. But when it comes to buying survival tools, you really shouldn’t hesitate to spend a little bit more money on a product that can ultimately save your life.
The Ideal Outdoor Knife
The first thing you need to decide is whether you’ll get a fixed or a folding knife, except if you can have both. However, if reliability and durability are what you are looking for, a fixed blade is the better choice. Folders lose part of the strength, which you can get from a fixed blade because of the joint. So, it will perform worse at tasks like chopping, prying, cutting stronger things etc. Generally, if you need a knife for everyday carry, folders are a great choice, but if you are looking for a reliable bushcraft tool, go for a fixed blade.
Furthermore, when it comes to outdoor survival knife a full tang knife is by far better suited than other types. A tang is the back portion of the blade that extends through the handle of the blade, the unexposed part. A full tang knife can even be used without the handle because it’s a solid metal piece that runs through the whole length of the knife’s handle. As a result, thanks to this solid piece of metal, these knives have superior strength, stability and leverage.
Because of all of this, full-tang knives are considered to be the most reliable, sturdy and powerful knives which can best perform in circumstances that can be encountered in the great outdoors. A partial tang knife will become loose over time if used for activities that place the blade under pressure. If the knife has a partial tang when you are cutting something a lot of the force is placed on the handle, which is why it can become loose or break.
When it comes to the size of the knife, smaller blades are better for more detailed tasks outdoors, whilst bigger ones are better for jobs that require more force, such as splitting wood or cutting through trees. If you can’t have more knives with you, you should go for something around 25 cm.