A Guide to Survival Knives

A survival knife is an all-purpose, versatile tool that should be part of any outdoor enthusiast’s arsenal. It can be used for a variety of tasks such as cutting rope, digging holes and even skinning game. The blade itself is typically made from stainless steel or carbon steel and features a single sharpened edge with a serrated spine on the opposite side. Some knives also have additional features like saw teeth or gut hooks built into the design to make it more useful in wilderness settings.

What is a Survival Knife?

At their core, survival knives are designed to help you stay alive in the outdoors by providing you with a tool capable of performing multiple tasks. So what are they – really? The most common feature is a full-tang blade (the metal extends all the way through the handle) which provides strength and durability as well as an ergonomic grip so it won’t slip out of your hands when using it under pressure.

The Why behind owning a knife?

If you only had one tool to bring with you – what would that be? Nine out of ten people would say a knife. Why? Simple. Versatility.

Survival knives offer more versatility than many other tools out there due to their size and shape. This allows them to tackle multiple tasks whether its chopping, cutting, stabbing, slicing, carving. There really is no other tool out there that has the functionality.

This isn’t even to mention its self-defense capabilities – perfect for anyone venturing off into unknown territory alone where potential threats may exist.

Types of Survival Knives

When it comes to choosing the right survival knife, there are many options. Fixed blade knives, folding knives, and multi-tools are all viable choices.

Fixed blade knives are the most common type of survival knife. These blades typically range from five to ten inches in length and have a single sharpened edge with a handle that is securely attached to the full tang of the blade. This makes them more durable than folding or multi-tool models, as they cannot easily break due to excessive stress on any one part. They also tend to be heavier than other types of survival knives but offer superior strength and reliability in tough situations where you need your knife to perform at its best.

Multi-tools can also serve as effective survival tools due their wide variety of uses combined into one device. Most include multiple blades along with additional features such as bottle openers, saws, scissors, screwdrivers and pliers – providing an array of functions all conveniently contained within one compact package that fits easily into your pocket or bag without taking up too much space or adding significant weight compared with other types of survival knives.

Folding knives are what they wound like. They can vary in size, anything from a swiss army knife up to around five inches. While not as strong as a full tang fix blade, they make up for it in their ability to be carried easily and used quickly. They are generally small, and easy to wield with metal frame and a good locking mechanism.

No matter which type you choose, having a quality piece of equipment like a good survival knife is essential for staying safe while exploring nature’s wildest places.

What are the components of a knife?

Ok we are not going to go into every point here, as you can see there is a lot. But let’s talk about the main bits.


There are a lot of different blade shapes. Some of them include:

  • Drop-Point Blade
  • Sheepsfoot Blade
  • Clip-Point Blade
  • Straight Back Blade
  • Tanto Blade
  • Gut Hook
  • Hawkbill Blade

Drop point blades are ideal for general cutting and slicing tasks as they provide superior control with less risk of accidentally piercing something you don’t want pierced. Clip point blades have more sharpness than drop points and their recurved shape gives them better piercing power when needed. Tanto style blades are typically used by military personnel because their flat grinds give them excellent edge retention and strength for penetration cuts like rope cutting or skinning animals.

A full tang knife has a single piece of metal that runs from the tip to the handle. This makes them strong and durable, perfect for heavy-duty chopping or prying jobs. These will be heavier, more sturdy, and something you want if you have only a single piece of equipment. If you have an axe or saw in your arsenal then you will not need your knife to act like a multi-tool and you could opt for a folding knife.

Many models also feature serrated edges along the spine of the blade which allow you to cut through tough material like tree branches or bones without having to use much force. Some even include features such as built-in fire starters or screwdrivers on top of their many uses while camping or hiking in remote areas where access to other tools may be limited.


    The handle of a survival knife is often ergonomically designed to fit comfortably in your hand and provide maximum control while you’re working with it. Many modern models feature rubberized grips for extra comfort and improved grip security when handling wet materials like wood or fish scales. Some handles are designed with multiple lanyard holes so you can secure them onto gear packs or other items for easy transportability during long treks through the backcountry.


    One important factor to consider when selecting your survival knife is its size – too large and it may become cumbersome in certain situations; too small and it might not be able to complete larger tasks efficiently enough. Generally speaking though, most blades range between 4-6 inches in length which offers plenty of versatility without being overly bulky or unwieldy during use.

    This range provides the perfect balance between portability and effectiveness when completing tasks such as food preparation or shelter building. If you’re primarily using the knife for camping trips or backpacking expeditions, then opting for a compact folding model with a shorter blade length would also be wise since they tend to take up less space in your pack while still providing all the necessary features of larger models.

    When selecting a survival knife, what’s important?

    The right size will depend on your individual needs and preferences, but it’s best to choose one that fits comfortably in your hand and allows for easy maneuverability. A larger blade may be more effective for heavy-duty tasks such as chopping wood or splitting logs, while a smaller blade can be better suited for precision cutting jobs like whittling or skinning game.


    Sheaths are available in many materials such as leather, nylon, and plastic. Leather offers a classic look but may require more maintenance than other materials; nylon is lightweight and durable but may lack style; plastic can be quite affordable but may not last as long as other options.

    Blade Materials

    Most survival knives are made with stainless steel because it is lightweight yet incredibly strong. It also has excellent corrosion resistance which makes it ideal for use outdoors. High carbon steel blades tend to be more expensive but offer superior sharpness and edge retention so they’re often preferred by professional knife makers who need something tougher than stainless steel can provide. For an even sturdier option, many survivalists opt for titanium alloy blades which are extremely strong and highly resistant to damage from abrasion or shock.

    Another popular material used for making high-quality survival knives is Damascus steel which offers outstanding durability due to its complex patterning process during production. The intricate patterns on the surface of Damascus blades add additional strength while still remaining lightweight enough for easy carrying in any situation.

    Sharpening Your Survival Knife

    It’s important to note that sharpening knives requires a certain level of skill, so if you’re new to this kind of task it’s best to practice on an old or cheap knife first. The right tools are also necessary for sharpening your survival knife; you’ll need a stone (preferably one with different grits) and some oil or water-based lubricant.

    Before starting, make sure you clean the blade thoroughly. To sharpen the edge use strokes that run from the base of the blade towards its tip at an angle between 10-15 degrees; continue until you have achieved your desired result before switching sides and repeating these steps for even results all round. Finally apply light pressure on both sides with alternating strokes from heel to tip as well as side-to-side motion which helps hone any rough edges left behind during sharpening process.

    Storage and Maintenance Tips

    Having the right survival knife is only half of the equation; taking proper care and storing it correctly is the other half. If you remember nothing else – remember to keep your knife dry. This will prevent corrosion which is the beginning of the end of all metals.

    Survival Knife Brands

    When it comes to finding quality knives with good warranties, Spyderco is one name that consistently rises to the top. They produce high-end tactical blades designed to withstand extreme conditions and hard use; plus they come with lifetime warranties so you can rest assured knowing you won’t be left stranded if something goes wrong. Another option is Benchmade which also offers great warranty coverage as well as extremely durable knives crafted from premium materials like CPM S30V steel or 154CM stainless steel for maximum performance and longevity even in difficult situations.

    Cold Steel has become an industry leader for its wide selection of outdoor tools including knives made from high carbon steels like VG-1 San Mai III steel which provides superior edge retention along with easy sharpening capabilities for years to come no matter what environment you’re facing off against nature’s elements in.

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