Before we start, let’s remind ourselves that knives are not primarily offensive weapons. They should only ever be used to defend, or for practical purposes like food preparation, and cutting materials for construction projects. We in no way advocate carrying weapons on the street, regardless of our thoughts on constitutional rights.
Being a survivalist is all about preparation. We all hope that it’s something that we’ll never need to rely upon, but the skills and equipment we amass could very easily responsible for getting us out of life or death situations one day. Knives are an important consideration, and here we’re going to consider the important aspects of what you need to know.
Putting together your kit of Prepper gear, one thing you don’t want to be without is a survival knife. There are two main functions it will serve for you:
- Food preparation
This covers both your ability to kill-to-eat, and also taking your ingredients and cutting them into the sizes you need to prepare meals. While one size will often need to fit all in a survival context, some survivalists do choose to carry a larger and a smaller blade to cover both situations. Of course, there may be legalities from state to state that vary, so be sure to know what you can and cannot carry when you’re out and about. Having knives confiscated in a civilized society reflects badly upon the owner, and also means that if you need them in future, you will no longer have access to them. Carrying them today is very different to doing so for protection in the future in the event of societal breakdown.
Defending yourself is paramount in any survivalist’s mind. It’s sometimes rooted in a deep sense of insecurity, and occasionally even paranoia that people are watching, out to get you or simply putting their own interests before theirs. Of course, in a life and death scenario, it will be every man (or woman) for themselves, but if you feel that you fit into these categories on a day to day basis, it’s probably best to think very carefully about what you’re defending yourself against. Remind yourself again about the fact that we’re referring to defending ourselves. Survival knives provide that peace of mind, and will therefore ideally never need to be used in this context.
Understanding the types of pocket survival knives well will make narrowing down your choice of purchase much easier. Some are best suited to cutting tough materials like wood and bushes, whereas others are more surgical and accurate such as those for food prep. Let’s have a look at the common variations:
Folding blades are usually attractive to Preppers that want to be able to conceal the blade. Again, we’re not talking about launching movie style ambushes, more making sure that we don’t come across as threatening to others, yet have a knife to use for cutting or whatever other task is at hand. Generally speaking, the blade folds down into the handle when it’s not in use, making it safe enough to carry almost as you like.
The blades are usually shorter on folding versions compared to fixed varieties, so they’re more prone to breaking under a lot of pressure, not only due to the size and thicknesses of the blades themselves, but also the moving parts in the handles.
Often carried in a sheath to make them safer to transport, fixed blade knives tend to be used for heavy duty tasks. Imagine needing to carry around multiple tools to get jobs done – that’s the way we do things in a fully equipped woodworking class, but for survival, we use what’s available. In this case, fixed blade knives will be the tool of choice to cut a tree branch, or prepare fire wood. You’re going to be using them for anything that needs to be sturdy, in situations where the last thing you want it is the handle to snap away from the blade.
Multi Tool Knives
Sometimes referred to as Swiss Army Knives (particularly in Europe), the multi tool is a great solution that is often seen as less offensive of a weapon than a straight knife. It often comprises a large number of tools, all that fit nicely into a small fold in unit. Typical examples of these tools would be scissors and bottle openers, can openers and nail clippers. There’s a lot of variations of these tools on the market – so be sure to check what you’re buying. Finding yourself in a survival situation, only to discover you’ve got one tailored to golfers or electricians is going to be a problem!
In addition, the quality of these tool sets vary dramatically. Be sure to get one that feels solid and sturdy – cheaper versions are available that may not be up to the jobs you need them to do, and a knife snapping while cutting could do you some serious damage. Learning what each tool does is wise – and more importantly what it is suitable to work with or cut.
Knowing your knife types is important in making a good choice. Your physical safety and well being is greatly enhanced by having access to the right tools, and they can allow you to turn a dire situation in one that quickly becomes more comfortable and safe while you plan your next moves. Something as simple as choosing the right survival knife can make creating shelter and feeding your family much faster, as well as putting food in front of them more easily.