Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. – Robert Brault
When you are moving out on trekking or other such expeditions where you may have to encounter the unexpected, it is quite natural for you to possess the right survival kits. The list that such kits should contain could run into quite a few lines. However, one thing is common with all survival kits; it is the common knife. No would disagree with the need for the right knife given its various utilities and benefits. It can help in wood cutting, trapping, skinning and for quite a few other purposes. So if you are out there in the wild and in unchartered territory, you must have a good knife with you.
How A Knife Could Help
Though many might call it a joke, a good knife at times could make the difference between life and death. Those who are a part of these regular trekking and other expeditions would certainly vouch in favor of these survival knives. However, choosing the right survival knife from a host of such knives could be a big challenge. This is because all knives do not suit all persons. The suitability or otherwise depends on the specific requirement for which these knives are being used. Skill sets, physical strength and experience in using these knives do play a big role in helping find more about the suitability of these survival knives.
If one goes through the website and spends time on it, one can certainly come across quite a few knives which could suit specific purposes, skill sets and requirements. However, when choosing a knife, there are some simple points that should be kept in mind. But at the end of the day the choice should be left with the end user depending on the type of use that he will subject the knife to.
Important Guidelines When Choosing Knives
A fixed blade or a folding knife is considered very useful and handy because it can easily snug into your pocket. However, it is called by the name because the blade and the handle are made from two separate materials. While the blade usually is made from steel, the handle could be either from wood or some other material or even some metals. While they could be very easy to carry around, since they are joined at a particular place, chances of breakage are quite high. Further they may not be suitable for rough use because the blades are very small.
Full Tang Knives – These are certainly a much better option when compared to the pocket knives. The best thing about these knives is that the blade is quite long and usually continues till the end of the handle. It is almost a one piece knife. However one needs to factor the point that partial tang knives are weaker and they could let you down when you are in a survival situation. Hence, you must be careful about choosing the right tang knife in case you decide to go for it. Further a hollow handle may be a good propaganda but when it comes to delivering when the chips are down, there is no doubt that the solid ones are always much better off.
Quality Of Handles Are Very Important
Many users often go in for fancy handles that are gorgeous and sexy to look at. But when it comes to passing the survival test, there is no doubt that the ones that come with a comfortable grip will deliver when it matters the most. Any knife handle should be easy and comfortable to grip and should prevent slipping from the hand. It would also not be a bad idea to have a proper finger guard to prevent accidents.
Thick Blades Can Make A Big Difference – If one has a closer look at good survival knives, you will find one thing in common. They look much thicker and fatter when compared to the ordinary knife. The more than average thickness will certainly prove very beneficial because it can withstand rough and tough use. It can also be useful for cutting and tearing down thick flora and fauna. Though these blades come in various thicknesses, you should choose the thickness that is recommended by experts in this field.
The length of the blade also is a very important factor more so when it is being used for survival needs. The recommended size of the blade should be between four to six inches. Though there could be knives with much larger blade sizes it is not very clear whether they will be able to serve the purpose for which they are being taken by the users.
In spite of the best quality steel being used, there is no doubt that they would need sharpening and honing every now and then, particularly when you are on the move. Apart from the quality of steel, the knife edge profile could also play a role as far as effective honing and sharpening is concerned. One should always make it a point to choose a knife made from steel that is neither too hard nor too brittle. As far as edges are concerned it has been found that compound grind holds are much easier to sharpen especially in the countryside.
Most Popular Survival Knives
Now that we have a rough idea about what to look for in survival knives, let us have a look at the top knives that are quite popular and much sought after.
KA-BAR USMC Utility Knife:
There is no doubt that this is often considered the best survival knife which has stood the test of time. It has been used by the military, outdoor sports persons and other survivalists apart from being regularly used by marines. The fact that it has been used or generations by the army is a testimony to its efficiency and capability. It certainly is a workhorse knife with a proven track record.
Tom Brown Tracker:
This is another proven survival knife with a shorter blade size while on the tracker. But when one looks at its overall length it matches the KA-BAR. The takeaway as far as this blade is concerned is the unique design of the blade and the edge. It has mini saw blade on the back and can also be used as a drawknife. It is perfectly suited for chopping and other such survival tool options.
There are other big names too that one could have a look at. These include the famous SOG SEAL team knife. It is extremely useful for those who wish to put it into very rough use and in hostile environments. It has superb torsion, gas and acetylene torch resistance qualities and is extremely suited for a host of penetration, chopping and prying purposes. The Cold Steel SRK is a reputed knife and as the acronym SRK (Survival Rescue Knife) stands for, it is a knife that can withstand huge amounts of abuse. It has a handle that makes gripping very easy.
Though carrying a knife or some other weapon with us that could cause injury or even death to a living being, at times we are left with no option. When we look back at the mounting incidents of burglary, robbery, murder, sexual violence and other heinous acts there is no denying the fact that we certainly have to rethink on the need for these survival tools.
The need for a good survival knife is best felt by those who are constantly exposed to various kinds of threats. While in most of the cases the threats could be from outside the homes, in many cases the threat could be lurking inside the homes. There are many instances where close family members have hatched conspiracies against elder members of the family. This is all the more prevalent in families where the elderly people are owners of some big assets. They must have built these assets over the years by their sweat and toil and depriving them of it through violent means is no doubt a dastardly and cold-blooded motive.
Given the above facts there is a need to look out for the right survival knives to safe guard oneself against such abnormal creatures who could be lurking around. But choosing the right survival knife is a challenging task to say the least. There are literally dozens of options available out there. Each one of them claims they are the best and hence at times the customers find themselves in a state of utter confusion and indecision. This is where experience and expertise in handling survival knives counts. It would always be advisable to take advice and counseling from those who know what survival knives are all about. They would easily be in a position to separate the grain from the chaff so to say.
The Best Survival Knives
Now let us get started looking at some of the best survival knives.
Those who have the best of knowledge about survival knives would certainly have a lot to talk in favor of the ESSE RC 5. Made from the best of carbon steel blade, the thickness of the blade is something that has to be seen to be believed. A must have for those who are concerned about their safety and well being.
Gripping a survival knife especially in rainy and wet conditions could be a nightmare The Scharade SCHF9 has made a place amongst the best of knives having the best of handle. It is a great survival knife to have when you are out there alone in the garden or when it is raining heavily.
The Gerber LMF II ASEK is a very much sought after all purpose blade that has the backing of many US soldiers.
Connoisseurs of fishing destinations and outdoor camping locales will certainly have much to talk in favor of the Morakniv from Mora of Sweden. The blade is made from the best quality MG Carbon Steel.
The SOG Seal Team Knife may not look very attractive but when it comes to performance, it certainly leaves behind some amazing tales. It is a knife that can take a lot of abuse and it has been built to take hammering over a long period of time. Amongst other features it is well known for optimum sharpness, torsion and also can withstand very severe salt water immersion. Those who are fans of short sized knives will have lot of reasons to rejoice.
The Buck Hoodlum is a 10 inch blade survival knife which again is very suitable for rugged uses while not letting you down in small and menial tasks.
The Tom Brown Tracker is another great survival knife that has stood the test of time for many years. It has the stamp of class because it has been designed by the legendary Tom Brown Jr. who needs no introduction and a wildness survival and tracker expert. It comes with a number of features. However the takeaway is the phenomenal design of the blade. It has a mini saw blade on the back and can also double up as a drawknife when needed. It can help you in chopping and other such activities mainly because of the shape of the handle. A true marvel, it can be counted as being one of the best in the business.
The Worst Survival Knives
Everything that we use in our daily lives comes with the bad and the good. The same also is true in the case of survival knives. While we have mentioned some great knives that can offer excellent value for money, it would be worthwhile to look at some atrocious knives. Without meaning any harm or disrepute to the manufacturers of these knives, in the final analysis they leave a lot to be desired in terms of looks, appearances, quality, durability, and other such important parameters.
If you are planning to buy survival knives from Frost Cutlery, one word of advice to you; stay away from them. Going by many experiences, the knives coming from the stables of Frost Cutlery leave a lot to be desired as far as quality, performance and durability is concerned. Though they might be good looking, it would be a bit naïve to be taken in by good and provocative looks alone.
The Buck Vantage is another survival knife about which lot has been written. However, when one goes by the opinion of experienced and hard-core knife users, their final takeaway is that it has one of the best centering as far as the blade is concerned. So better stay away from this blade even if it comes to you at a highly discounted priced.
Almost all the Smith & Wesson knives are again atrocious. Coming from China (which certainly is gobbling up the US domestic market) and being made from 440 steel they are not worth even having a first look, leave alone buying them.
Though GERBER is a popular name for some great knives, the knives that they have made ever since 2006 are of very ordinary standards to say the least. However, the older models are rock solid and it is a mystery why things have gone wrong for these knives since 2006.
How To Buy The Right Survival Knife
Now that we have had a closer look at some good, some not-so-good and also some atrocious knives, it would not be a bad idea to learn some useful tips when it comes to buying quality survival knives.
Understanding the law of the land is important when buying a knife. Different provinces and states have different rules and as a knife user you must not be trespassing or violating the rules in any manner.
Do not get carried away by the knives that Sylvester Stallone brandishes in his famous Rambo series of movies. They are good only for viewing on the screen but when it comes to actual performance on the ground they are disappointing to say the least.
Understand the part of the knives before you get into the job of buying. Pay attention to the tip, the blade, the bolster, the handle, butt and the rivet. A good knife is not about the quality of blade but it has to be looked from a holistic point of view.
Choose the type of knives keeping in mind your specific needs and requirements. For small garden works and for survival any good bushcraft knife should do the job. If you are out there in the jungle always go in for a large machete.
Let us have a look at a few more features that go in describing the various types of survival knives.
Fixed blade knives are good for carrying in the pocket and can make good survival knives, especially if you are in a home all alone but being always in the danger of being hounded when you least expect it.
Full tang knives are the best only when they come with a blade that covers almost the entire part of the blade. They are also one piece knives that cannot be folded. They are useful when you are out in the wild but not exactly suitable as a self-defense knife.
Handles have a very important role to play when you choose a survival knife. The handle should be comfortable to grip and should not slip especially when your palms are sweating or when the weather is wet.
The thickness of the blade is another point to be noted when buying a survival knife. A blade with above average thickness can stand wear and tear much better. It will also land much longer.
Length of the blade is also an important factor when choosing a knife. While knives with longer length are much better for self defense and survival purposes, at the end of the day the choice should be left to the customers.
Last but not the least good knives are the ones which can be easily sharpened and honed on a regular basis.