When it comes to gathering supplies for your next wilderness adventure one of the most important survival gear items you should pack is a solid knife. When it comes to choosing a solid survival knife there are seven key elements you should look into before making a purchase.
The first element to consider is the knife tang. A knife tang is the part of the knives blade that extends down into the handle. Knives that are full tang are considered the highest quality of knives. A full tang means that the tang goes to the base of the handle. Full tang knives offer support and extra strength to the knife. Be careful with cheaper knives that are not full tang as they have the potential to break off if too much strain is put on the knife.
Another important factor when it comes to purchasing a survival knife is the knives handle. Knife handles vary a great deal from hard rubber to bone. Avoid purchasing a survival knife that doubles as a storage container, compass, time piece or anything other than a knife. The knife handle should be solid, hollow knifes are not appropriate to carry when it comes to a knife that could possibly be needed in a life and death situation.
Consider the metal that the blade is made from. Popular options include stainless steel and carbon steel. Many survivalists have a preference but truly this comes down to what you are most comfortable with. Stainless steel is a nice knife blade metal option because it is basically indestructible. The main complaint is that stainless steel blades tend to lose their edge more quickly than their carbon steel counterpoints. Although the blade will stay sharper longer with carbon steel be sure to note that carbon steel is more volatile and is quicker to rust especially when used in the elements.
The blade design is another option that you will have a choice in when deciding what survival knife to pack in your outdoor survival kit. There are three options to choose from; straight blade, serrated blade or a combination of the two. This is a personal preference and will be best determined based on how you are going to use the knife. Straight blades are easier to sharpen however serrated blades are better at ripping through tough materials.
Look into different length blades when purchasing a survival knife. The average range will fall between six to twelve inches and is completely personal choice. This keeps the knife in an easy to use and carry size. Anything larger than this and it becomes difficult to carry and use effectively.
Purchase a knife blade that is between 3/16 and 4/16 thickness. Any less than that and you will have flexing in your knife blade. Purchase a knife that the blade is thick enough that it does not allow for flex and that will be solid enough to withstand the abuse it will take if it is needed to chop wood or be used for prying.
When looking for survival knives consider the knife sheath. There are three attachments to carry the knife on your person or that allow the knife and blade to be stored safely within a backpack. A lower attachment straps the knife to your leg or backpack via a hole or attachment piece. Survival knives can also be carried via a sheath that attaches around your belt or a lanyard attachment as well as a crossover strap. Consider the most comfortable method to carry your survival knife that also allows for ease of access. You never know what situation you will fall into when exploring on your next wilderness adventure.
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