When you’re in the wilderness, or anywhere removed from civilization, you need to be prepared. While some of this preparation takes place in your mind, a huge part of it has to do with packing everything you need. With the possible exception of food and water, perhaps the most important thing you can bring with you is a survival knife.
While this seems obvious, and it probably is, it’s easy to underestimate what these versatile tools are capable of. Once you know how to use a survival knife, you realize what truly indispensable tools they truly are. Here are some of the best uses for a survival knife – some you are likely already aware of, and others you may not have thought of:
Naturally, a weapon is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a survival knife. Survival knives are most useful as a hunting weapon, but can be useful as a weapon for personal protection as well. Ideal for harvesting fish or small game, a survival knife has many uses in the wild.
#2. First Aid
When you’re in the woods or otherwise far from civilization, a survival knife can be a real lifesaver, but take care, as only someone experienced with a knife should use this tool in this way. If you’re comfortable, a survival knife can be used to drain blisters or cut improvised bandages. Of course, it’s crucial to sterilize your knife before using it as a first aid tool.
#3. Adjusting Clothing and Other Gear
If you’re planning a somewhat lengthy outdoor excursion, it’s almost a given that, at some point, you or someone you’re with will need their clothing or other gear to be altered in some way. Clothing gets uncomfortable or cumbersome, and gear can become unsafe. You also never know when you’ll need to make adjustments to clothing if someone gets injured, and you need to treat their wounds. For these reasons, a survival knife is especially useful, particularly during extended camping and hunting trips.
#4. Cutting Wood
Obviously, you’re unlikely to saw down an entire redwood with a knife, but a large, well-made survival knife is more than adequate for splitting wood or cutting saplings.
A high-quality survival knife can serve as a makeshift shovel for many different purposes. You never know when you’ll need to dig a hole, and these knives are capable of helping you construct a fire pit, bury bodily waste, or even carve out distress signals in an emergency.
The pommel or, if you prefer, the back end, of a survival knife handle can make a surprisingly effective hammering tool. This is perfect for driving stakes into the ground to secure shelters or snares.
Speaking of stakes, if you don’t have one or don’t have enough, a survival knife can serve the purpose of anchoring an emergency shelter or even holding a food bag up in a tree canopy.
#8. Making Other Tools
As great as a survival knife is at taking the place of other tools, one of its most profound uses is giving you the ability to make other tools. This is an often-overlooked benefit of having a knife at your disposal, but it is nevertheless important. A good quality survival knife can help you craft other, more specialized gear that can help you survive. These tools are crucial in the production of a fire bow and drill, a tool that can mean the difference between being able to light a fire and suffering in the cold.
#9. Building a Fire
When you’re in the woods, the ability to build a fire is inarguably one of the most crucial elements of survival. With your survival knife, you can take a branch and slice ribbons of its inner branch to produce easy-to-ignite tinder. Out in the woods, conditions are not always ideal for fire-building, so being able to cut wood in a way that’s easy to ignite is of the utmost importance. Once you’ve shaved the tinder from the branches, your knife can be used to ignite the tinder by striking your Ferro rod.
#10. Building a Shelter
You may never have thought about building yourself a home in the woods, but, if the need arises, a survival knife will likely be the tool that does the lion’s share of the work. The blade can cut tree limbs and other small pieces of wood and brush, making building your temporary home much more manageable.
The Bottom Line
While a survival knife is a great tool in and of itself, there are many other uses that make it a must-have for any outdoor adventure. If you don’t have one already, but love the outdoors, it’s never too soon to get one.