Top 7 Tips for Choosing the Best Survival Knife: A Little “Knife Terminology”

Do you consider yourself an outdoorsman?

If so, you probably carry your best survival knife on every hiking, fishing, and camping trip. You know it comes in handy for everyday outdoor tasks, and more importantly, it can make all the difference in the event of an emergency.

Have you recently decided to upgrade your survival knife?

Here Are 7 Top Tips for Choosing the Best Survival Knife

1. Blade Length

The average length of a survival knife blade is about 5 to 10 inches.

A knife too small is not effective enough for tasks like chopping wood or striking other heavy objects. A blade too big gets in the way when trying to perform intricate tasks like trap-making and prepping to cook small game.

Another bonus of having an average size blade is the ease of carrying it.

Do not make the mistake of convenience for a folding knife. Although these are great for standard carry, the best survival knife has a fixed blade, which has less risk of breaking or falling off.

2. Full Tangs

A full tang means the blade and handle are the same piece of metal all the way through.

Emphasis on “all the way”, as some tangs go only halfway or are much thinner than the blade, as in the case of rat-tail tangs.A full tang, though, is the handle.

It improves the strength of the knife by making it available to multi-use tasks like pounding, chopping, and prying at various items.

Full tangs are also much sturdier than partial tangs, which cannot take on such activity because they are at risk of becoming loose. A loose knife is more dangerous to use effectively, and can often get in the way even of the simplest tasks.

To ensure safety and longevity, pick a survival knife with a full tang. These are usually visible in between the scales, but can sometimes be unexposed.

3. Steel Type

Another important tip for purchasing the best survival knife is the quality of the steel. Steel can determine the strength of the blade, its ability to strike an object, how long it will stay sharp, and how easy it will be to sharpen the blade.

Most knives are derived from stainless steel or carbon steel. Although both are great options, the main differences may be your deciding factor.

Stainless steel is more rust resistant. This makes it great for a long-term knife investment. Stainless will last longer when exposed to the elements than carbon because it needs less maintenance.

However, carbon steel tends to better maintain a sharp edge. It has more power and precision for big tasks like splitting or chopping but will need more upkeep in times of survival.

4. Edge Shape

The most important rule when it comes to the shape of your blade is to ensure you purchase a single-edge.

Single-edge blades are usually either drop point or clip point.

Drop point blades have a slight downward angle from the top of the blade to meet the tip. The slope begins from about midway along the length of the blade and joins the edge just above the width’s center.

A clip point has a tip curved upwards. A slight curve is ideal to ensure the overall longevity and strength of your survival knife. An overly exaggerated curve may break in heavy-duty tasks like chopping wood.

Always keep in mind a serrated blade has no advantage to basic survival chopping and cutting tasks. At times, it can even get in the way.

5. Spine

Just as the shape of your knife’s edge matters, the spine can affect performance and use as well.

A flat, 90-degree spine is the most versatile. It can be used for striking a fire-starting rod or come in handy when putting together a makeshift shelter.

A sturdy spine also gives users more control.

The best survival knife needs to effectively make traps and snares to ensure meals and safety. Having the back edge of the knife as a thumb rest allows better precision without the danger of cutting yourself, as a double-edged blade might do. This makes tedious small tasks a smoother, more efficient process.

6. Sturdy Pommel

Some pommels (bottom of the knife’s handle) have a rounded or hooked shape, but the best survival knife comes with a flat bottom. This essentially transforms the end of the handle into a hammer.

You can use the pommel to drive your makeshift shelter stakes into the ground, chip out fishing holes, and other tasks which require a little extra pounding.

Although the blade is the main feature of your knife, the right pommel ensures you are getting the most uses overall. This is key since, in times of survival, there is no such thing as having enough purposes for your knife.

7. Sheath

There are three basic sheath options, which play in to how you plan to carry your survival knife.

A lower attachment sheath has a hole at the tip end to strap your knife to something like a backpack strap or on your leg.

Belt and lanyard attachment sheaths come with specific loops. You can run your belt through the loop or add a lanyard to it as well.

Lastly, consider how the sheath covers your knife. A snug fit is one in which a strap crosses over at the point where the handle meets the sheath. Straps at the base of the handle might leave your knife at risk of falling out.

The Best Knife for Your Best Shot

Having a survival knife handy can make all the difference in the great outdoors.

Especially in extreme situations, knowing the multiple ways to work your knife can better improve your odds. A skilled hand paired with the best survival knife has virtually no limits in food, shelter, and even protection.

The best survival knife has a strong, sturdy blade with a full tang and the right shape. Its edge is sturdy and stable and even the butt can be of use as well.

For more on outdoor gear and survival tips, contact us today.

Top 7 Tips for Choosing the Best Survival Knife: A Little “Knife Terminology”
Top 7 Tips for Choosing the Best Survival Knife: A Little “Knife Terminology”
Top 7 Tips for Choosing the Best Survival Knife: A Little “Knife Terminology”