Whether you’re an avid camper who prides themselves on preparedness or a competitive survivalist, one truth is universally held: having access to proper survival tools is critical to a survivalist’s safety, success, and enjoyment of their time in the wild. Among the most invaluable survival tools is the knife, on account of its multifaceted functions and uses.
Discrete and easy to transport, the ideal survival knife assists its user from dawn until dusk. From hunting and food preparation to fire starting and wood-cutting, a trusty blade may make the difference between life and death for an individual attempting to survive in a hostile environment. What’s more, a great survival knife doesn’t only serve a purpose in the great outdoors. The tool comes in handy in many dangerous situations, as it can assist with self-defense, escape, and more.
Those who find themselves in an unexpected survival situation in which they may have to hunt for food and hand-build their shelter will quickly find themselves wishing for a knife in their pocket if they don’t have one already. Despite a survival knife’s efficacy and importance, not every blade is the sharpest tool in the shed. The wrong survival knife may dull your outdoor experience, especially if the knife is too dull, unreliable, or unsafe to use.
While owning a knife will undoubtedly assist in your survivalist endeavors, a shabby dagger may do more harm than good. If you want to be sure that your weapon of choice makes the cut, check out these tips for choosing the perfect survival knife.
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1. Choose your retailer wisely
When it comes to getting your hands on a high-quality survival knife, not all retailers are created equal. Some survival retailers lure customers with promises of top-tier materials, only to deliver low-quality knives that dull quickly and won’t last long.
A reputable survival knife retailer will have a host of experience in selling and using survival tools and weapons. The right knife store should offer expertise and support as you shop for your new treasure. Additionally, these survival knife experts will offer a plethora of inventory options to accommodate many different knife-related needs. To avoid overspending or settling on a subpar survival knife, do your research and buy from an established, dependable retailer like Self Reliance Outfitters.
2. Strategically select your blade shape
Although folded blades are stylish and convenient for pocket carrying, a fixed blade (one that does not fold or hinge from the handle) will prove to be more durable in survival situations. When a user applies aggressive force to a fixed blade, the knife is far more likely to remain intact and undamaged. In life-or-death survival situations with animal predators or thick materials, a knife that buckles under pressure will have you wishing you did more research in no time.
In the interest of ensuring that your knife is sturdy and dependable, you ought to request a full tang knife that is made from a blade and handle that are one solid and continuous piece of metal.
3. Avoid common pitfalls
As with any purchase, paying close attention to the details and investing in a knife that satisfies your needs is critical. As you embark on your shopping journey, be careful to avoid falling victim to common pitfalls.
While some shoppers are intrigued by a hollow handle for storage, keep in mind that a recessed handle indicates that the knife and blade are made of different materials and are not structurally connected. Other common knife-shopping mistakes include buying a knife with a handle that is uncomfortable to hold, a knife that will be difficult to sharpen, or a knife that has poor grip.
If you’re not sure how to start identifying your must-have knife qualities but want to ensure that you won’t miss any critical red flags, do your homework. Begin with a google search, a glance through a survivalist book, or a conversation with a trusted employee at an established nearby retailer.
4. Remember that size matters
When considering the ideal size of your dream survival knife, you ought to keep in mind that the stature of your knife will influence what you can and cannot do with your tool. If you plan to hunt, chop wood, or use your knife for self-defense, a small knife may not afford you the force or surface area that you require. Large blades are capable of skinning and preparing hunted animals and digging sizeable holes. Additionally, they may be more intimidating to attackers of human or animal varieties.
Still, a smaller knife certainly comes equipped with its perks. If you’re considering using your knife to perform small, detailed movements like carving, whittling, or starting fires, a large knife may prove too unwieldy and might ultimately fall short. Smaller knives are also easier to transport and are more discrete during travel. To make the right choice regarding your knife’s size, carefully consider the projected function of the tool and strategize accordingly.
5. Consider your surroundings
Although every outdoor environment can present its unique dangers, the challenges associated with varying climates and geographical locations are far from the same. The perfect knife for a family of campers will likely look different than that of an avid hunter or solo survivalist.
Those who tend to venture into humid forests should opt for a machete-shaped knife, while those who plan to travel to the desert will have a less urgent need for a sizeable dagger. For those campers who plan to fend for themselves, hunt for their own food, or chop firewood for warmth, a knife strong enough to cut through trees while user-friendly enough to handle during food preparation is a must. Ask yourself when and where you’ll most frequently be using your knife before making your purchase, as this answer should heavily influence your decision.
After doing the proper research, asking the right questions, and thinking carefully about the knife you want and need, you’ll be ready to invest in a survival tool that will consistently cut it when things get tough.