Features of a Good Survival Knife

izula-esee-by-michael pollakSurvival knives are great tools to use while camping, hiking, or in the event that you need to go into survival mode out in the backwoods. Choosing the right knife isn’t as complicated as it seems and a lot of choices come down to personal preference but there are some essential things you should look for in a survival knife before purchasing.

Knives that are best for survival knives or just all around workhorse knives should be no longer than you’re capable of easily and efficiently using. If you’re a big person with big hands, you can easily get away with a longer blade than someone who has small hands and can’t control a knife that weighs a full pound, like the ESSE-6. However, a huge blade can be cumbersome to carry and can really weigh you down on a simple hike. If you’re not planning on hacking your way out of a metal box, you probably won’t need a blade longer than 5 inches.

It’s best to select a knife with a full tang. The tang is the handle portion of the knife that you hold that’s attached to the blade. These are usually covered with scales, or the grip. Full tangs allow you to continue to use the blade when the scales break or replace the scales with new ones when they wear out. They also give you more torque for activities where you’re hitting the blade while holding it, like pounding through wood (called batoning). You’ll also want a fixed blade instead of a blade that folds into a sheath. Foldable blades can’t be used for activities that involve pounding without risking damaging the blade.

Pointed tips also make survival knives very versatile, allowing you to lash it to a pole to use as a spear or to do small bushwork like harvesting nuts from their shells and other small jobs. Since you want a survival knife that can do anything you need it to in any situation,a pointed tip is a great feature to have on your knife. However, pointed tips require more upkeep than other styles so some people advise against them so be aware when you’re shopping for the right knife.

A single edge with a flat ground spine allows you to add more torque to the knife for tough jobs with your other hand without hurting yourself and also to do tasks like start a fire with a flint. Add in a pommel to strike with and you’ve got the perfect basics for a survival knife.

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