For the practical survivalist, few items can be more important to have on hand than a good knife… or two… or three! Here, we’ll discuss the top three must have survival knives that every survival-minded individual should have in his or her kit in order to stay alive and thrive in a situation where you might not have all the modern-day living conveniences on hand.
Your Must Have Survival Knives
Number 1: The all-purpose survival knives
It isn’t called a “survival knife” without reason! A hollow-handled survival knife makes the top of the must-have list. I am partial to designs which include a friction saw and compass built into the hilt, with a long hollow handle to store all kinds of smaller-sized survival items, such as waterproof matches, bandages, fish hooks, safety pins, tweezers—you name it.
Good survival knives can be used for multiple purposes, from finding your way with the compass to skinning a game animal to fighting, if need be. One feature to look for is a blade that can be used in tandem with its sheath to become a wire cutter; many models offer this feature.
The ideal length for a survival knife depends on several factors, and each person has his or her own preferences when it comes to this matter. I prefer a blade no longer than five inches, so that it’s not so short as to be limited in its usefulness, yet not so long as to become unwieldy at an inopportune time.
Number 2: A good pocket knife
Everyone should have a good-quality pocket knife on hand. If what you want is the utmost in compactness, a “credit card” knife might be a good option for you—although bear in mind, due to its design, its usefulness is somewhat limited (however, it is amazingly slim and can fit right into your wallet next to your bank cards).
I am personally fond of folders with a four-inch (or smaller) partially-serrated blade. Bonus points if it has a gut hook and even more bonus points if it offers one-handed opening. Such a knife is useful for cutting, sawing, scraping, scaling a fish, dressing game, and picking dirt from under fingernails. Never underestimate the usefulness of a good pocket knife.
Kershaw 1660CKTST Ken Onion Black Leek Serrated Folding Survival Knives<< I have a few of these knives
Number 3: A machete
We’ve covered the small and the medium survival knives—now on to the big stuff: a machete. If you find yourself in a situation where vegetation reigns supreme, you’ll find a machete fits far more handily into your supply bag than a weed-whacker will. Thus does the machete take the third place on the list of must-have knives for survival.
Machetes are not only useful for chopping back trees and plant life, they can also be utilized in butchering game animals. A deer or other larger game animal can be processed on site with great efficiency using a good, sharp machete, due to the weighting and length of the blade. You can take a game animal to pieces quite quickly with a machete—far more quickly than with a standard survival knife.
Look for a machete with a saw on the top side of the blade (a “sawback”), as this doubles its usefulness as a wood-cutting utility. Another feature I like in all my knives—and the machete is no exception—is a black carbonized blade. This reduces the chance of the blade catching the light at an inopportune time, and increases the chance of remaining incognito if need be.