The one thing that we are sure of is that in today's uncertain times, owning a survival knife is more important than it ever was in the past. With everything from unemployment hikes to the impending zombie apocalypse, we make sure that everyone in our family has a good knife and knows how to use it to be able to survive in times of crisis. However, we often find ourselves hearing one question over and over again from people who are looking for a survival knife. The question is, “What makes a good survival knife?”
When it comes to choosing the right survival knife, we always choose one that is durable, able to take a ton of abuse, and highly reliable. In our opinion, a folding knife is none of the above. While a folder does have its uses, being used as a knife for survival isn't one of those uses. You can use a folding knife as a backup, but your primary survival knife use should be a fixed blade.
When it comes to choosing between a serrated and a plain edge on a knife used in a survival setting, a plain edge wins hands down. A serrated blade is great for things like cutting rope and even seatbelts, however, a plain edged blade can do the same thing and a lot more. Serrations get in the way of many cutting tasks. A plain edge is easier to sharpen when you are in the field, while serrations are a pain to sharpen even under ideal conditions.
We always say that the blade of a survival knife must be big enough to handle any outside job, but still comfortable enough to use for small jobs as well. The best blade size is about 1/8-1/4 inch in thickness and four to five inches in length. Much more than that and the knife gets in your way. Remember the old saying, “The more you carry in your mind, the less you carry on your back.”
As we have always said, the handle is one of the most important parts of a survival knife. The handle should almost feel like an extension of your hand, and you should feel comfortable with it resting there. We always go for a thick handle and strictly avoid anything that is hollow or made of plastic. In the past, these types of handles have proven to be very undependable. The handle should be comfortable for extended use. We like the handles Bark River Knives uses—they are specifically designed for long, hard use.
These are just a few tips that we feel will help anyone answer the age-old question of what makes a good survival knife. We never know when we will need to survive in the wilderness, or when that zombie apocalypse is coming. Better to be prepared than caught unaware.
The Most Important Thing
All of the above advice is good if you are planning for an emergency (which you should), but what if you are caught unaware? In that case, the knife you have is the best survival knife in the world. Carry a knife.