Of all your survival equipment, the single most important piece (besides your Bible), is a good knife. Many experts have agreed that if they had to pick only one piece of equipment to use, it would be their knife. That makes sense really, as you can make much of the rest of what you need out of what nature provides you, if you have a knife to work with. No other single piece of equipment does more.
The question then becomes, what sort of knife should you buy? There are a plethora of knives available on the market, available for a wide range of prices and with a large range of options to choose from. There are even knives marketed as survival knives, which contain all sorts of extra equipment to help you survive. So, what’s the best?
First of all, this is one place where quality counts more than anything else. If you are going to depend on a knife to help you survive, you need one that is going to hold up under the strain of heavy use, without a risk of it breaking and hopefully with the ability to maintain a good, sharp edge.
With that being our criteria, the first thing to consider is the knife’s construction. You want a fixed-blade knife, rather than a folding one. Folding knives can break more easily and the lock can slip at an inopportune moment, causing a serious injury. A folding knife is fine as a backup, but your primary knife should be fixed-blade.
The blade needs to have a full tang. This refers to the part of the blade that extends back through the handle. Manufacturers of cheap knives use partial tangs to save money. But the handle is likely to break right at the end of the tang, when the knife is subject to extreme pressure, leaving you with a blade that doesn’t have a handle. That’s awfully hard to work with.
I would recommend a blade style that gives you a strong point, as the point is the most fragile part of the blade. Drop point knives are pretty good for this, as well as tonto blades. I personally like clip point knives a lot, because you get a sharper point; but those are not as good for survival knives. The same can be said for dagger point knives. Besides, you don’t need a fighting knife as a survival knife, you need a working tool.
The other main issue is the steel that the knife is made of. Most commercially made knives today are made of some sort of stainless steel. That is nice in that it doesn’t rust, but stainless steel doesn’t hold an edge like high-carbon steel does. The best knives have been made of high-carbon steel for centuries.
Some of the best high-carbon steel comes out of Solingen, Germany. This town is known for their knives, most of which are kitchen knives. However, there are a few companies in Solingen who produce outdoor knives. Just make sure you’re actually getting one made in Solingen, and not a cheap knock-off.
Another very popular option is true Damascus steel. This is actually a layered laminate of high-carbon steel and a softer spring steel. The two together provide an excellent edge, while keeping the knife from becoming brittle. High-carbon steel by itself is so hard, that it can be brittle at times. Damascus steel is the one truly obvious steel option, because its layers cause a striped pattern in the knife’s blade.
But other than Damascus steel, it’s very hard to tell the difference between other types of steel. Not all manufacturers will give you that information, essentially expecting you to trust them for the selection of a good steel for your knife.
There are a number of companies who produce excellent knives. It seems that each survival expert has their favorite. ESSE, Tops, Cold Steel, and Becker are popular brands, all three of which specialize in survival and combat knives. The old standbys of K-Bar and Gerber are good choices as well; especially for people who don’t want to spend as much money.
Whatever brand you ultimately choose, realize that you’re not going to get a quality knife at a bargain basement price. Cheap knives are just that… cheap. Most especially, they use cheap steel, which won’t hold an edge. To get a good knife, you’re going to have to spend some money; somewhere between $70 and $200.
Avoid knives with a built-in saw blade, unless the saw blade is on the back side of the knife. A two inch long saw blade isn’t going to accomplish much for you and it’s going to shorten the knife’s effective blade, reducing what you can do with it. You should also avoid “gimmick” knives, which are selling you a survival kit in a knife. Remember, to give you the other stuff, they have to reduce the cost of the knife. That’s done by using cheaper steel.
In this section you will find useful links to quality knives or knife companies that I believe will benefit you when it hits the fan. This list has been created to aid in you in your quest to always be prepared and save you the enormous time and energy researching all the ins and outs of knives. This is what I have found to be some of the best overall knives out there – And remember each time you purchase anything from our site you are helping support this ministry. We sincerely appreciate all your support and patronage.
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