Modern life has become one of sedentary living and working. Many people scarcely walk a mile a day and they work in offices with air conditioning and snacks. We have lost our connection with the great outdoors and this has been reflected in the plethora of wilderness survival shows that have experienced great success on television. The public yearns to venture once more unto the great beyond and there is perhaps no tool that comes to mind more than the humble survival knife when it comes to outdoor survival.
With the burgeoning popularity of outdoor survival, camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities, there has been a large resurgence of survival knives on the market. What qualities make a good survival knife and for whom?
The best survival knives are typically made with steel for the blade. This, perhaps more than anything is going to be the most variable factor when deciding what knife is best for your purposes. Some steels are quite hardy but do not offer much in the way of corrosion resistance. Other steels may offer superb corrosion resistance do not possess hardness. That’s pretty much how it goes; a knife may be excellent for use but not another.
There are several blade shapes out on the market but there are a few in particular that are popular—and for good reason. Also, as a note, it goes without saying that you’d want a fixed blade knife for a survival knife. A folding knife would be too delicate for the tasks that outdoor work requires.
- Drop Point – A drop point blade is fantastic for cutting and carving especially, the blade drops proceed to drop off when traveling toward the tip. The tip of these types of blades are noted for being sturdy and a bit thicker than other types, which is precisely why cutting, carving and handling game with it is a pleasure
- Clip Point – This design is highly prevalent on many large pocket knives and bowie knives. It is primarily used as a piercing or stabbing knife as the “clipped away” part of the spine lends the knife to easier insertion. The tip is thinner and sharper than other knives however, this makes it also frailer and susceptible to breakage or wear.
- Tanto Point – These thick knives have a sharp tip and are considered to be useful for self-defense. Due to their somewhat inelegant (intentional) design, they are not particularly good at skinning game or doing tasks which require precise cutting. The tanto point is directly inspired by Japanese Samurai swords.
No, we aren’t talking about orange drinks and chimpanzees. The tang of the knife refers to how deep the blade extends into the handle or hilt of the knife. A partial tang means that the blade goes partially into the handle—but not fully. Full tang means, as you might guess, that the blade goes fully into the handle.
For a survival knife, you want a full tang blade. Blades with storage in the hilt are popular because they seem cool and offer utility—and that may be fine in a backup knife, but in your main knife, you want full tang. These knives have an excellent balance and from a personal pleasure perspective, offer that full heft which is satisfying for many people. That feeling that you have something solid in your hands. From a utility standpoint, these knives are the least likely to become loose or break off from the handle. The latter being quite an impressive feat of strength or a sign of a really, really cheap knife.
Some Simple Guidelines
For your first (or next) survival adventure, you’ll want a knife that:
- Has a fixed blade, not a folding one.
- A plain edge and not a serrated one. A plain edge is simply more versatile and easier to sharpen.
- A comfortable handle and a full tang blade housed inside of it.
- You’ll notice most reputable survival blades are about 4-5 inches. This is the sweet spot for being able to use them for a variety of tasks without being too unwieldy.
Custom Knives For Sale
We feature knives of which many are rare collector’s works. These knives have been forged by master bladesmiths who have dedicated their lives to the craft—many of which are retired or unfortunately have passed on, lending their remaining works great historical and artistic value. It is entirely up to you whether you would use such knives for your everyday use; it’s important to remember that before a knife is a collector’s item, it was a knife with an intended purpose and use ingrained into its design.
Like an ancient ceremonial dagger with significant historical and cultural value, its use has been retired but it cannot be forgotten that it once was a tool. You may feel compelled to place the knife in a display case—and that is fine. You may believe in the words of Bob Loveless that it is up to history to decide whether a knife belongs in a museum or a cabinet, not the knifemaker. Whatever your intentions may be, come take a look at our shop; we’ve got a knife for someone like you.