You want a knife that can do it all, not one that’s hindered by form over function. That said, there are always some important things to keep in mind when selecting the ideal survival knife to add to your camping gear, survival kit, or bug out bag. Our friend over at artofmanliness.com does an awesome job sharing how to choose the perfect survival knife.
A “survival knife” is just as it sounds–a knife that can help you survive. It is a tool with literally hundreds of survival-related functions. Below is a short list:
- First Aid Tool
- Food Prep
- Shelter Building
- Fire Making
- Hunting Weapon
- Prying Tool
- Make-Shift Screwdriver
When it comes to your survival knife, less is typically more–despite what you may see on TV. Hang the cool movie prop knife on a wall and embrace the simplicity of a skillfully designed survival knife. Function trumps styling–always. Your first priority is performance and that will depend on a variety of time-tested key features.
6 Important Survival Knife Features
Survival Knife Feature #1: Size
Does size matter? Yes, but when it comes to your survival knife, bigger is not always better. If your blade is too big, you sacrifice the ability to effectively use it for detailed tasks such as dressing small game or carving precision snare sets.
On the flip-side, a small blade does not perform well with more rugged tasks such as batoning and chopping. Batoning is when you strike the back of your knife blade with a heavy object to drive the knife through thick or stubborn wood. This allows the blade to be used for splitting wood and cutting through large limbs and trees.
Having used many survival knives, I’ve found the ideal size to be around 9-11 inches in length. For example, my Blackbird SK-5 survival knife pictured below is 10” in OVERALL length with a 5” blade.
Survival Knife Feature #2: Fixed Blade
A fixed blade knife is more durable and reliable than a folding knife. While I love a good folder for Every Day Carry (EDC), a fixed blade has the upper hand when it comes to meeting the demands a survival situation might present.
A joint of any kind is a weakness. Minimize the risk of damaging or losing your key survival resource by choosing a knife that is better suited for pounding, chopping, thrusting, prying, and rigorous cutting.