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What is a 'survival' knife??

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  • What is a 'survival' knife??

    Here is my humble opinion on the definition of an average person's "survival" knife..

    You know, from my experience, I couldn't agree with you more about the definition of a 'survival knife' as being the one you have on you at the time of the crisis...
    [and most of the time its not the better big one at home you are not permitted to carry every day]



    In my opinion there are also a lot of hype and even BS bordering on mass hysteria surrounding the catchword 'survival' today.

    Though I agree that you must be prepared and master as many of these skills as possible,--what are the odds that you must "survive” in a normal day?

    Once you willingly go off the beaten track, then you have the opportunity and responsibility to plan for your specific environment and challenges and the necessary tools to take with you.



    It's then not 'SURVIVAL" any more' but merely 'rough-' or 'substance' camping [Bush crafting sound more mucho lol] with a lot of appropriate and chosen tools.

    · Your car broke down in a remote area?

    For the sensible traveler there ought to be a lot of emergency goodies available.

    · Airplane crash?

    If you are still alive afterwards you will probably not even have the luxury of a pocket knife, what with the tight security at most airports these days.

    · Small plane crash or boat trip without such tight security?

    Again a sensible and prepared traveler will have packed some [pocket- and other?] goodies.

    I do carry a multi-tool and a good pocket knife with a lighter EDC with me for more than 30 years now, and have NEVER used it for ‘survival’, but a lot for rough camping while hunting.
    [And I do a lot of 'primitive' and other hunting and camping, sometimes in some very remote areas.]



    For remote rough camping I only rarely use my EDC blades, because then one or the other of my (bigger) sharp and pointy tools are with me on the planned trip to do the different jobs required. (My EDC blades would also be capable to do it in a pinch, but being prepared doesn’t mean to see how much you can suffer out there....)

    I do own a lot of bigger hunting/ camping/ bush crafting /bush knives/skinning tools, and I love them all, but really , the times I'm allowed to have them on me I'm merely 'hunting/camping' and not "surviving".
    Yes, they all could be used as 'survival' knives if need be, but then I would most probably not be in a situation where it's the only tool that I have with me.



    I would 100% agree that a 'survival' knife is the one the average person [like 99% of the people reading this now ?] daily have on your person, and it would mostly probably fall in the category of a smaller pocket/multi-tool/neck knife for most of us with a day job where we mingle with a lot of other people.

    Your secondary bigger belt/hunting /bush craft/ camp/skinning knife would be for 99.9% of the time be on you only in the category of a planned or beforehand known excursion/hunt and not an EDC, due to your job or local laws etc.

    (The lucky few can carry it EDC though--like PH)

    I love all of my sharp, pointed tools, but this multi-million dollar 'survival' industry is also playing mind games with a lot of inexperienced well-meaning people's minds [fears?] .This topic of "best survival knife" send the focus away from the more important discussions like maybe ‘which secondary knife is best for what job or circumstances’ -and even maybe when your secondary belt knife become your primary EDC??’

    There is no magic or ideal knife for all terrains, tasks, jobs etc. , and I maintain that your skills are more important than your blade...and your blade is crucial to the average person out in the back woods!

    To be honest, for most of the time while "rough camping" /hunting, I could get away with only a good pocket knife......and have deliberately done it also just to poof a point.
    How much blade do you really need 80 % of the time?
    [And if you have a pocket knife that can do 80% of the day to day tasks--you are in a good position!]

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    Yep, in my opinion when the chips are down in a real unexpected, crises 'survival' situation, your 'survival' knife would be your EDC on your person and not your bigger fixed blade that would probably be the better tool for the situation, but it is at home due to your working circumstances or local laws etc....

    Again, the media hype of the 'best survival knife' is most of the time a sales gimmick and very misleading, especially to the not so experienced, as I think it refer mostly to rough camping...!

    Learn to use and 'survive' with your primary EDC [pocket knife] first!!

  • #2
    "The definition of a 'survival knife' as being the one you have on you at the time of the crisis..."
    That, 99 times out of 100, would be my Buck 110. Texas has fairly decent knife laws, and passed a law allowing open carry of a fixed blade of six inches or less. I just find that it is less obvious and more convenient to carry the 110 Folder and a Case XX two blade trapper. I can do all of the things I need a knife for with these two, on a day to day basis.
    If I am camping, hunting, fishing or off-road, I can choose from a good selection of specialized knives I have acquired over the years, for whatever chosen activity. I have two multi-tools, one in the hunting box and one in the truck, but for knife work, I more often than not, use a knife.

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    • #3
      You pretty much summed it up. I do like the bigger bowe knifes. Especially the ones you can hide stuff in the handle.

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      • #4
        With my big custom knife and multi-tool Wave I am blade-wise good to go....

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        • #5
          Wim, that is a pretty good analysis. A lot of Rambo style knives have been sold to the novice bushcrafters who think they'll need to baton their blade through logs just to survive.

          My carry knives vary for the planned activities and terrain. Granted, in my location, I'm seldom more than a few miles from the nearest paved road. If for some reason I wasn't physically able to walk out on my own, rescue would most likely be within the first 24 hours.

          For canoeing, I carry a Spyderco folder in the pocket of my life jacket. My main concern for initial survival would be cutting away any entangling rope that may keep me or the canoe secured in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Spyderco Tasman with H1 steel is highly resistant to corrosion. That was also my knife of choice when SCUBA diving in St. Croix three years ago. You never know when you may need to cut away from fishing line or netting. Of course mine wears a lanyard.

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          While hunting, I generally carry a long blade for finishing off wounded game or for minor hacking of a trail through briars and such. Lately that's been a custom blade made from a farrier's rasp.

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          I also have a smaller skinning knife in my hunting pack. Most of the time it's a Morakniv Companion. (In each of my vehicles is at least one additional Morakniv Companion, just in case).

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          In my emergency field kit is yet another knife. Most of the time it's a Cold Steel Mini Tac Skinner with straight edge. It can be worn as a neck knife as can be seen in one of the pics below.

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          Now, serious trail work requires a machete, saw, and sometimes an ax. My machete of choice is the Marbles machete with 18-inch blade from El Salvador. It makes a nice ringing sound when cutting through light undergrowth. My ax is an old double bit that I've re-handled. It's really amazing how much destruction one can do with a double bit!

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          For EDC I carry a folder of some kind. The selection varies based upon whim. However, I'm partial to lockbacks with the capability of one handed opening. The top knife below is a Damascus blade from Parker, made in Alabama USA. It was used to field dress many deer and pigs. I do like the Buck 110 like CRM3006 but because of it's weight, will only carry it using a belt sheath (middle knife below). Another I enjoyed carrying for years is the now discontinued Benchmade ACFK (bottom knife below). It was my go-to knife for skinning after retiring the Parker.

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          Attached Files
          Last edited by PigHunter; 07-01-2019, 01:12 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by crm3006 View Post
            "The definition of a 'survival knife' as being the one you have on you at the time of the crisis..."
            That, 99 times out of 100, would be my Buck 110. Texas has fairly decent knife laws, and passed a law allowing open carry of a fixed blade of six inches or less. I just find that it is less obvious and more convenient to carry the 110 Folder and a Case XX two blade trapper. I can do all of the things I need a knife for with these two, on a day to day basis.
            If I am camping, hunting, fishing or off-road, I can choose from a good selection of specialized knives I have acquired over the years, for whatever chosen activity. I have two multi-tools, one in the hunting box and one in the truck, but for knife work, I more often than not, use a knife.
            I have the same Buck 110 Hunter and I love it!
            https://wildproofgear.com/the-best-8...g-buck-knives/
            It works for 15 years now.

            Survival is a fixed durable knife that can be operated as a small hatchet or smth in my opinion, they are designed not only for some crysis accidents. It works for prepping, bushcrafting etc...

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            • #7
              I'm not into collecting a lot of guns for every occasion and same holds true for knives. I hunt big game with one rifle (though I had to borrow something bigger this year for cape buffalo). I hunt birds and shoot trap/clays/skeet with one shotgun (though recently I have been playing with a newly acquired O/U at the skeet range). And I have been doing it that way for fifty-five years. When big game hunting I carry a 4" drop point, either Mora or an old 1930's stacked leather Ka-Bar (will probably go back to using the latter exclusively now that its dangerously worn out sheath has been replaced). When pheasant hunting I now carry a tiny Gerber multi-tool in my upland vest that Santa stuck in my sock two years ago. Before that I never had a knife in the field bird hunting (mind you I dress my birds at home, not in the field). Only acquired the tool out of concern for my dogs. Thirty-some years ago I had a great Lab get a face full of porcupine quills when we were a day and a half into the wilderness clearing USFS trail. I had to pull them out with my teeth. One of my trail crew about swooned when he found me sitting in the trail working on her, blood all over both of us. "Man, that dog should bite your face off!" "She wouldn't DARE!" I growled back. "Um ... oookay then. See you back at the cabin." My current Lab Ellie still hasn't experienced porcupine quills (though we have encountered porkies many times). However, she did experience a wire coyote snare around her neck three years ago. Fortunately she didn't panic and I got her out of it before she choked to death. After that close call I'm surprised it took so long for the multi-tool light to go on for Santa. Guess he's another old timer who doesn't like a lot of technocrap. I usually don't bring a knife when fishing, even in the canoe. Formerly had a small Rapala fillet knife in the tackle box but it seems someone "borrowed" it years ago. Haven't got around to replacing it. That would be a good idea in case I happen to get stuck overnight. Won't have to cook a fish with guts in it. Again, I usually clean my fish at home (I hate it when people gut their fish at the boat launch ... GRRRR!). I can't see having to cut myself free in the event the canoe capsizes. By the time I fumbled around and found it I'd probably be done for anyway (if I wasn't wearing a life jacket ... but I always do). Nothing really to get hung up on inside the canoe when day tripping. If I did the white water camping stuff, I'd definitely wear a sheath knife of some sort when paddling. In Alaska when floating the Alagnak for a week I ALWAYS wore the fillet knife on my chest wader belt. A lot of stuff to get tangled up in inside the raft and we did encounter a few white water spots. And of course there were plenty of brown bears about (not that the knife would have been much of an answer if one attacked - bear spray was always hanging from wader suspenders for that - but at least I could die with the satisfaction of knowing I made the bear pay for his meal [tip included] if the spray didn't work). Incidentally, when dressing/skinning/butchering game at home I typically use the same knife I carry in the field. Also, the same compact ceramic rod knife sharpening kit I gave my late father thirty-five years ago accompanies the knife whether in the field or kitchen drawer. With very few exceptions noted above, NOTHING is on my belt when I'm hunting or fishing. That's an annoyance I can do without. Knives are generally stowed in my day pack, kitchen drawer, or tackle box.
              Last edited by Ontario Honker Hunter; 01-24-2020, 12:05 PM.

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              • #8
                I have carried the Victroinox Swiss Army knife Executive model for over 40 years. Even dressed a deer with it.

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                • #9
                  Well my CRKT folder is missing.
                  Went to LGS and it was not on jeans pocket.
                  Had it when I left the house.
                  Think when I pulled keychain to get in Jeep after leaving grocery store, it must have popped off.
                  Oh well.
                  Think I had it five or six years.

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                  • #10
                    When I hear the term "survival knife," I think of one of those things with a thick tubular handle full of stuff like fishing tackle.

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