Choosing a Reliable Survival Knife

By: Jeremy Bowe

The main purpose of having a survival knife is, in all its' obviousness, to survive in a rough situation. Whether you're hunting deep in the forest or camping high in the mountains, if a situation arises where you need to act on your own for survival, you want to be as prepared as possible. For this reason, you want to choose a knife that gives you the best chance of accomplishing any task in your way. Let us review which characteristics to look for and which to avoid when purchasing your next survival knife.

What to Look For:

* A Full Tang Design: A Full Tang knife means that the blade and the handle of the knife are one solid piece. Often times the handle has side panels or scales attached to it for improved grip, however the fact remains that both the blade and handle are one piece made of the same material. Full Tang knives are also referred to as One-Piece knives or Integral Design knives. Full Tang knives make for ideal survival knives because they provide maximum durability, strength, and utility.

* Blade Size: When choosing a survival knife, you want to make sure the blade is at least 4 inches long. Knives with blades of at least 4 inches are able to take on most tasks you'd come across when in a survival situation. Choosing a larger blade is a matter of personal preference. That being said, if you plan on being in the tropics with jungle thicket, you'll want to carry a machete or a large bolo in addition to your standard survival knife.

What to Avoid:

* Hollow / Plastic Handles: You want to avoid a hollow / plastic handle knife when making your selection. Hollow handle knives are often held together by pins, nuts and sometimes even glue. If you're putting your knife to the test in a survival situation, hollow handle knives could easily break leaving you without your most important tool. The same thing goes for plastic knives. Not only are these knives more easily broken, they're also less effective for tasks such as hammering and digging.

* Double Edged Knives: Double edged knives do not make for ideal survival knives and are primarily constructed for combat thrusting and slashing. The blades are relatively weak (especially the tip of the blade) and will often break when under the stresses of heavy survival tasks. Double edged knives are not built for performing the field chores needed to survive and can even cause injury when attempting to do so.

When purchasing your next survival knife, keep these tips in mind and you'll find yourself with a knife you can truly rely on when you find yourself in a survival situation.

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Jeremy Bowe is a survival expert / consumer reporter who puts survival knives to the test in actual survival situations. His most recent excursion was to the Everglades where he tested a variety of Buck Knives, Gerber Knives and Benchmade Knives.

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