Guide To Find Best Survival Knife

One of the most essential things you should have is a survival knife. And just because you live in a bomb shelter it doesn’t mean you won’t need one. People use these knives for a lot of things such as tool making, digging, splitting wood, hunting, cutting, slicing, first aid, and self-defense. Heck, these knives have become so indispensable even housewives have one hidden in the kitchen!

What is Survival Knife

A survival knife is the essential tool that can be used in the event you get lost in the wilderness or involved in some other extreme outdoor environment. In the event that you are lost in the wilderness the proper knife can truly be a life saver to help you build shelter, start a fire, hunt, prepare food, dig, clear paths, and so much more.

How to Choose

There’s a few things you need to consider when picking out your survival knife which includes your planned needs, uses and budget.In order for a survival knife to perform all of the myriad tasks that is likely to asked of it, it must incorporate several key features that we dive into more detail in the sections below.

Design

When faced with a wilderness survival situation, the user often employs the full length of the cutting edge from the choil to the belly for different purposes and sometimes, even the tip is needed for piercing.  As a result, you should be aware that there are actually several different blade designs consisting of clip pointsdrop pointsspear points, Nessmuks, trailing points, ect., but, those best suited for survival purposes are the clip point, the drop point, and the spear point.

The reason for this is that all three blade designs are meant to position the tip of the blade closer to the center line to provide the user with greater control than can be had with a straight back design. Also, all three designs serve to lighten the tip of the blade in order to balance the blade closer to the hilt which also provides the user with better control over the tip.  Experienced wilderness survivalists tend to think of survival knives as falling into one of three different categories consisting of heavy duty choppers, camp knives, and bushcraft/utility knives depending on their blade length and blade design.

A heavy chopping tool will feature a robust construction and have a blade that is 10 inches to 14 inches in length with a weight-forward blade design and a saber grind and be made from a tough steel such as 1095, 5160, or 440C. Also, it should feature a highly ergonomic, non-slip, handle design with, preferably, a cushioned, textured, non-slip, surface on the handle made from either Kraton or Hypalon rubber.

A camp knife is defined as a medium sized knife with less robust construction and a blade that ranges from 5 inches to 8 in length with a balance point near the hilt and a flat grind or a hollow grind. Also, it should feature an ergonomic handle that allows the knife to be held in several different positions.

A bush craft/utility knife is defined as a knife that has a blade that measures from 3.5 inches to 5 inches with clip point, a drop point, or a spear point blade design and a flat grind or a hollow grind with an ergonomic handle design.

Folding or Fixed Blade

The primary problem with relying on a folding knife is the fact that they have the additional break point that a fixed blade knife does not have.

This is critical when you think about the different uses you may need to use your knife in when you are in a tough survival situation.  The last thing you need is a broken knife when you are trying to setup a shelter or start skinning a recent game kill.

You want something that’s going to be extremely sturdy that will allow you to leverage the knife in just about every situation and not break under contact.  You need to have a knife that is ready to stand up to extreme abuse and last a long time doing it.  A good folding knife has it’s place in any survivalist’s arsenal, but it should never replace a fixed blade knife as the primary resource that you use for extreme situations.

Edge

Here are straight cutting edges which are specifically designed to be general purpose edges. However, it should be noted that they can feature either a positive rake angle, a neutral rake angle, or a negative rake angle measured from the bolster.

The neutral rake angle is the most common and it is defined as a an angle that extends at a right angle from the bolster.A positive rake angle extends from the bolster at a downward angle in order to increase the angle of attack when cutting and slicing.A negative rake angle is one that extends at an upward angle from the bolster and it is designed to lessen the pressure placed on the cutting edge when cutting and slicing.

Then, there are recurved edges which feature a straight section extending from the Ricasso but which then changes to a positive angle at it approaches the center of the blade and curves upward to the tip as it reaches the belly of the edge which places the balance of the blade well forward of the hilt. Therefore, the purpose of the recurved edge is to create the blade that is good for both cutting and carving near the bolster but which is also tip heavy for better chopping performance.

Length

Blade lengths ranging from 8 to 10 inches are usually long enough and have enough weight to be well suited for chopping and splitting with a baton but, they tend to make it difficult to control the tip of the blade when trying to perform small, precision, cutting tasks.

Knives with blade lengths ranging from 3.5 inches to 5 inches are much better suited for more delicate tasks such cutting notches in stakes and staves to build traps and snares, skinning small game animals and gutting fish, slicing up root and tubers, ect.Blade lengths ranging from 6 to 7.5 inches represent an excellent compromise between long, heavy-duty, blade designs and short utility blade designs.

Steel

You should first be aware that there are two different categories of blade steel consisting of non-stainless, high carbon, tool steels and stainless steels with the defining difference between the two being the amount of Chromium the steel contains.

While high carbon tool steels are often significantly tougher than stainless steels, they are less likely to break, they are more prone to corrosion. Plus, although they are also easier to sharpen, they will not hold an edge quite as well as stainless steels. Whereas, stainless steels are generally less tough than high carbon tool steels but will generally hold an edge better (depending on composition and Rockwell Hardness) and, they are far less prone to corrosion But, they are also more prone to break and, they are generally more difficult to sharpen as well.

The relative toughness and edge holding ability of any blade steel is also dependent on its Rockwell Hardness (designated HRC). Therefore, knife blades with a Rockwell Hardness of 50 to 54 are meant to be tough whereas, knife blades with a Rockwell Hardness of 58 to 62 are meant to hold an edge well and knife blades with a Rockwell Hardness of 54 to 58 are meant to be a compromise between toughness and edge holding ability.

Large, heavy-duty, survival knives with long blades should be made from a non-stainless, high carbon, tool steels and have a Rockwell Hardness of 50 to 54 whereas, small bush craft knives with short blades can be made from either type of steel and should have a significantly higher Rockwell Hardness and the same is true for camp knives. Therefore, some good choices for high carbon tool steels for this purpose are 1095, 5160, O1, and A2 whereas, some good choices for stainless steels are 420HC, 440C, AUS-8, and AUS-10.

Gride

While there are several different types of blade grinds, the two best suited for survival knives are the saber grind and the flat grind. The reason that this is important is that a saber grind exhibits a primary bevel that extends only a very short distance from the cutting edge to the back of the blade and it creates a thick, axe-like edge that is difficult to sharpen to a fine edge but, which does an excellent job of holding an edge when chopping and splitting.

A flat grind exhibits a primary bevel that extends from the cutting edge all of the way to the back of the blade which represents a compromise between a saber grind and a hollow grind.  As a result, it can be honed to a much finer edge than a saber grind but will hold an edge better than a hollow grind.

Some survival knives have a hollow saber grind which designed to incorporate both the spine thickness of a saber grind and the fine edge of a hollow grind and while this type of blade grind works fairly well for chopping, cutting, and slicing, it is not optimized for either task which makes it a good compromise between a saber grind and a flat grind.

Tang

The point where the tang meets the blade is the knife’s weakest point, it should be noted that while there are several different types of knife tangs, the ones best suited for survival knives are the full tang and the hidden tang due to their inherent strength with the inherently weaker partial tang and stick tang being poplar for some handle designs.

The hidden tang is similar to the full tang in that it extends nearly the full width and length of the handle but is designed in such a way the handle can be hollowed an slid onto the tang where is usually affixed with epoxy.

The partial tang and stick tang are the least desirable of the four types of tangs used to construct survival knives since they have a tang that extends the full length of the handle but only extends a small part of the width. This type of tang is most commonly used in conjunction with handles made from stacked leather discs that are secured with a pommel cap that screws onto the end of the tang via threads.

Handle

When choosing a survival knife is the material from which the handle is made because it must be both tough in order to prevent cracking and breaking and it must be impervious to the absorption of moisture to prevent rot.  The single most popular handle material for survival knives is either canvas or linen Micarta which is a resin impregnated fabric that has been heated to liquefy the resin and then pressed under tremendous pressure to form into a solid material.

Fiber reinforced plastics such as G-10 and Zytel are also popular and work just as well. However, neither of these materials provide the user’s hand with any sort of cushion to lessen the shock generated when chopping with the knife.  Textured rubber handles such as those made from Krayton or Hypalon are good choices for heavy duty choppers.

By thinking of survival knives as a system rather than a single, all-purpose, tool, you can combine a compact heavy chopper with a small camp knife or a large camp knife with utility knife to form a complete system that will ensure that you always have the correct knife for the job at hand.

How much and Where to find?

I always purchase my online tools and such off Amazon.com because they can offer the most competitive prices and they are also a very safe site. If you are interested in purchasing it or you just want to check the current price, follow this link to Amazon.

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