If you are interested in getting a reliable survival knife, our guide below will help you choose the best one.
What to look for in a good survival knife?
Fixed vs. Folding Blade
A fixed blade knife will always be a better choice than a folding knife, when you are looking for a good survival knife. The durability and reliability provided by a single fixed blade is not to be found among folding knives. However, a fixed blade knife requires a special sheath and more room to carry around.
A folding knife has too many moving parts for drawing and locking the blade. After a lot of use, it is possible that these mechanisms may break down or become ineffective. This will render the folding knife utterly unusable. Knife manufacturers today have been evolving a number of sturdy folding knives that do not fall apart easily.
If you are not interested in a knife that will regularly be put to harsh use, you can choose a folding knife. In the end, a fixed blade knife will always be more reliable than a folding knife.
A survival knife is required to be sturdy and must stand up to harsh use and adverse weather. When choosing your knife, always go for one with a full tang blade.
In a full tang knife, the metal of the blade extends all the way in one piece with the handle grafted on to the base. This ensures the blade will not crack or snap off when used roughly. The additional stability offered by the full tang blade is always preferable to knives with a partial tang. That extra metal in the handle ensures your knife has a good, long life.
Blade Material & Quality
Another element of the blade should be the metal. You should choose a knife with a blade that is easily sharpened. Your survival knife will lose its edge over time if you are going to be using it frequently. It makes sense to have a knife that you can easily sharpen on the road with minimal effort. This is determined by the blade material and also the shape of the blade. Always choose a blade with an angle that makes it easy for you to sharpen against a stone or your steels.
The blade of a survival knife needs to be long enough for it to be effective in various situations out in the wild. Whether you are digging holes, cutting through foliage, or shaving wooden stakes, your knife should be able to do it. A knife with a blade between 4” and 7” should be good enough for these purposes and also easily stowed.
You can carry a knife with a longer blade for any additional needs like chopping wood, but a blade between 4” and 7” will serve you well for your basic needs. Opt for thicker blades when you are choosing a survival knife. While your average pocket knife has a sleek thin edge, it will not hold up for a long time against any harsh work in the wild. A thicker knife will stand up to the extra pressure and duress of digging and woodwork far better than a thinner knife. A decent survival knife will have a blade that is at least 0.25” thick.
The handle of the knife is as important as the blade. Do not go for a fancy looking handle because the pattern looks attractive. Examine the grip thoroughly and ensure the knife rests well in your hand. If there is any slip in your grip, it could lead to ugly results when you are using it. The handle should also be as weather-proof as possible. Modern knives feature synthetic rubber or modified plastic handles that have excellent weather resistance.
You can also find knives with leather or bone handles that afford an excellent grip while also giving the knife a classic, rugged look. A finger guard is a handy feature to look for when you are examining the grip. It will ensure safety while using the knife and keep your hand from sliding up the blade, preventing injury. You can also find knives with a hard, flaring base that can double up as a hammer.
We hope these key points will help while choosing a good survival knife.