Your survival knife is one of the most important pieces of equipment and will save your life.
It can really be the center of your survival when all you are left is with is your survival knife. We previously ran an article on how to purchase a survival knife and this offers more insight to knives and their quality.
Survival Knife Tip #1: Blade, materials, and design
The knife blade has variations that make it an important consideration in your purchase.
You should be considering the following:
Survival Knife Materials
A good survival knife should either be stainless steel or carbon steel. Carbon is said to hold a blade longer but rusts faster.
Survival Knife Design
A smooth stone can be used to sharpen a straight blade knife in the wild, and these types of blades are better for chopping wood. Serrated blades generally require a special sharpener, a consideration you may want to look at depending on the application.
For thickness, you are looking for a knife that does not have a lot of flex in the blade. We recommend knives that are 3/16 to 4/16 of an inch for durable wood chopping and prying.
Survival Knife Tip #2: Only one piece
The tang of a knife is the portion of the blade that extends into the handle. Cheap knives end at the beginning of the handle whereas the best knives have tangs that go all the way to the base of the knife. A fuller tang gives the knife more power and is one of the most important factors of its strength.
Do not buy survival knives that are more than one piece.
Here are some survival knives to stay away from:
Survival Knife Tip #3: Handles
Mentioned above was the opinion that tangs that ended at the beginning of the handle should be avoided. Knives like a hollow handle knife fit this bill
It may sound like a good idea to have miscellaneous items in your knife but if you lose your knife you also lose those important items. Look for knives that are hard rubber or made out of a polymer material.
Survival Knife Tip #4: Sheath
The knife sheath will affect how you carry and draw your knife and thus plays an important part in your selection. Knife sheaths can be attached to your backpack by a strap contained on the sheath. This may give good access to your knife as would strapping it to your leg. You may also want to look into a knife that contains a sheath that has a belt attachment for waistline access.
Finally you will want to look at a knife with a strap that crosses over where the handle meets the sheath so it does not allow the knife to slide out.
Here’s a great looking sheath from a Glock knife: