A Good Knife

May 20, 2011

Knives, Survival Kits

A good, high quality knife is an essential tool for every survival scenario. With the exception of a multi-tool, no other item has as many wide-ranging capabilities as a good knife.

A good knife can be used to cut saplings to make a shelter or to skin a rabbit for dinner. It can be used to fashion a fire-hardened spear for hunting or to split firewood for warmth. It can be used to make other tools for survival or to defend yourself from people or animals.

There are a wide variety of knives available to the prepper. Many were created with very specific uses. There are bread knives, filet knives, marine knives, throwing knives, and even electric knives. Each type has its benefits, use, and place.

No kit is complete without a good knife. But what constitutes a good knife for a prepper?

A Good Every Day Carry Knife

Many preppers carry a personal survival kit with them at all times. Small, lightweight, and very portable, the personal survival kit contains a multitude of aids for emergency situations. The one that I carry has a flashlight, a magnesium fire starting block, ibuprofen, duct tape, and bandages among other items. It also has a small multi-tool with a 1.5 inch blade.

Though better than not having a knife at all, the small blade of the multi-tool is not my first choice of knives should I get stranded. That’s why I also carry a larger pocket knife to accompany the personal survival kit.

I carry a Columbia Knife and Tool M16-13T Titanium Combo Edge, as my everyday pocket knife. It’s a bit large, but the size is offset by its light weight. The handle is made out of titanium so it’s incredibly strong yet not excessively heavy.

A Good Wilderness Knife

For hiking, camping, or other excursions in the deep woods, a more substantial knife is generally considered a good idea. Many prefer a fixed blade knife to a pocket knife in these situations. Others, like the convenience of a folding knife.

When I expect to be in a more primitive setting, I carry a good multi-tool and a Columbia Knife and Tool M21-14SFG Special Forces knife. It’s well-constructed, extremely sharp, and can withstand the rigors of a wilderness outing.

A Personal Decision

I’ve become a fan of the CRKT knifes. For the price, their quality and design are unparalleled in my opinion.

When it comes to knives, there is no one-size fits all recommendation, no single best option for everyone. It’s a personal choice. In fact you will likely find that you’ll need more than one knife depending on the circumstances.

What I look for in a knife:

  • Edge. I like the combo edge knives where part of the edge is a smooth blade and the rest is serrated. The serrated edge tends to maintain it’s sharpness longer than a smooth edge, yet the smooth edge is better for cutting some things.
  • Steel. I like the AUS8 or 440C stainless steel blades. They are easy to sharpen to a very fine edge yet retain their sharpness relatively well.
  • Form. I like folding blades that lock in place so they cannot accidentally close on your hand during use. For fixed blade knives, a full tang should be a requirement.
  • Carrying. Fixed blades should come with a quality sheath; frequently  these include a pocket for a sharpening stone. I like folding knives with clips that can be used to clip to a pocket.
  • Access. Any knife should be easy to access with one hand when needed. Folding knives should be very quick and easy to open.

A bread knife is great for slicing bread, but I wouldn’t want to rely on one for self defense. Choose your knife wisely. More information about knives may be found on Wikipedia.

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18 Comments on “A Good Knife”

  1. Jarhead Survivor Says:

    I like the KBar knives – specifcally the Becker Campanion. It’s like a crowbar with an edge! I also like the fact that they’re not terribly expensive. I’ve been using the Becker for a couple of years now and I love it.


    • Joe Says:

      KBars are great knives! I haven’t bought a fixed blade yet; I should.

      I’ve been pretty fond of my folding blades for ease of carrying and a few other reasons, but I know that for true survival, a good fixed blade makes life a bit easier.


  2. scrambo Says:

    hard to beat a victorinox swiss army knife. one with scissors and saw blade. i have cut deer bone, and four inch trees. great saw. could be handy if you had to amputate a human limb. yes if I am going to be going comando and fighting for my life – all those fancy knives would be preferable, but for general survival use – i like a swiss army knife.


  3. Brett Says:

    What about those knives sold on the cutlery/knife network? Are they worthwhile?


    • Joe Says:

      Good question, Brett. The short of it is: they maybe alright, but then again they may not.

      I tend to look for the qualities I mentioned above and then do some additional research on the knife. I look to Amazon for user reviews. I look to fellow bloggers for their experiences with them. I look for a local place where I can grip it to see how it feels.

      I did those for my current favorite knife – the Ka-Bar BK2 Companion. It’s a great fixed blade knife.

      Hope that helps.


    • Sentient American Says:

      Probably not. They are designed for use in a kitchen or for show, not the wilderness. Most importantly, you want a full tang, fixed blade knife for strength. The knife will be significantly diminished in utility if the handle breaks off. Good hard steel which can hold an edge is important, but not too hard, or it will be a bitch to resharpen. A high chromium content will help, but not prevent, the blade from rusting. If I was buying a primary survival knife those would be three things I’d definitely want, Good luck, there’s a LOT of choices out there.


  4. Atik41 Says:

    KBars are great knives
    Electric Fillet Knives Reviews
    I am satisfied use the product.



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