Every experienced outdoor adventurer understands the importance of having a survival knife in their possession. When you’re out in the wild and things get dangerous, a quality survival knife can be a crucial tool. It can be used for a wide range of survivalist tasks – from splitting firewood, opening cans, cutting rope, building a shelter, and much more. But what differentiates a survival knife from a conventional knife? More importantly, what differentiates a great survival knife from a bad one?
Well, first and foremost, a great survival pocket knife has a fixed blade, not a folding one. Yeah, a folding knife can be extremely convenient and useful for everyday carry, but a fixed blade is a must in survivalist situations. The main reason for this is because folding knives have a weakness in the joint, and given the fact that survival knives are put through a lot of serious abuse, you don’t need that sort of liability. A survival knife with a fixed blade is reliable, and it can take a lot of beating. Moreover, it’s quickly deployed – you just pull it out the sheath and you’re ready to do some serious cutting. Folding knives need to be opened first, then you have to make sure the blade is locked before you can start using it.
Next, make sure the blade is full tang. This means that the blade goes the entire length of the knife, all the way up to the handle. Partial tang knives can be flimsy when you need to use extensive force against a hard object, while full tang allows you to dig and pry with it. However, take note that a full tang knife will be heavier than a partial tang one. The main problem with partial tang knives is that the blades can loosen, damage the handle and become dangerous. A full tang survival pocket knife is much safer, and even if the handle gets damaged, you can wrap the tang with a rope or cord and still have a fully usable knife.
Lastly, the size of the blade matters. You want a blade that’s 40mm to 65mm thick, and 10cm to 17cm long. A blade that’s too thick can make cutting small things difficult, and it can compromise precision. The same applies if the blade is too long. On the other hand, if the blade is too short, you can’t effectively chop with it. You basically want a blade that’s big enough to do what you need it to do, but not so big that it gets in your way.