When it comes to purchasing a survival knife for yourself or a loved one, it is important to put careful deliberation into the decision making process. You need to take the time to ask yourself questions like, what is the best feature for a survival knife? How can you decide if a given knife is the most suitable for you? Will this survival knife be the ideal choice for the activities you need it for?
Whether you love to hike and camp or find yourself most at ease when surrounded by nature, a good survival knife is something of an essential tool in your arsenal if you consider yourself to be an outdoorsy kind of person. On the other hand, if you know a friend or family member who is an avid traveler or loves to hack, a survival knife can prove to be a super useful and relatively affordable gift.
What Is The Best Feature For A Survival Knife?
Regardless of whether you are trying to choose one for yourself or a loved one, it is important to look out for certain stand out features that truly determine and define any given survival knife’s high quality. To help you make your decision, we have compiled a list of some of the best features to look out for in your survival knife:
In case you are looking for a survival knife for batoning, please refer to that post that I wrote about the best survival knives for wood chopping and batoning.
In terms of thickness of the blade, a good survival knife should ideally have a blade thickness ranging between 0.125 to 0.25 inches or 3/16th to 1/4th of an inch. This kind of thickness ensures the durability and reliability of your survival knife. It ensures that the blade is strong and sturdy enough for you to be able to use for tough tasks such as digging and prying.
Coming to the blade length, anything between 4.5 to 6 inches should be ideal. A properly sized knife gives you the versatility to perform almost all kinds of outdoor functions without needing another tool.
The blade should also be fixed. While you may be tempted to get a foldable knife because it looks cooler when you snap it open, it is also much weaker because of the presence of a joint.
One of the most important features of a good survival knife is that it is full tang. The tang is the internal part of the handle to which the wooden or rubber scales are attached for safe handling. Being full tang means that the knife blade and handle tang are all continuous- that is, made from the same piece of metal.
Knives that are not full tang are prone to breaking and snapping at the joint where the handle and the blade of the knife coalesce. Understandably, if you need your knife to be able to handle a lot of prying and other forceful, heavy-duty tasks, then full tang is a very important feature for your survival knife.
Coming back to the blade of the knife, you need to take into consideration the type and number of edges you want as well. For example, many people recommend that if you plan to be working with wood a lot, it is best to get a single edged blade as opposed to a double edges one as the latter does not allow for proper batoning.
Batoning is a technique wherein you apply sudden force against the blunt end of a knife to split a piece of wood.
Another aspect of the knife edge is to consider a plain or serrated one. You can always get a knife that has one plain end and another serrated one, but it largely depends on what your required usage is. If you specifically need to be cutting down on hard surfaces with good grip like ropes and cords, a serrated edge may be preferred. Otherwise a classic plain edge with a sharp tip is the way to go.
Jimping simply means that your knife has notches on the spine of the blade. These notches help to increase the hold and grip you have on the knife. It is a great supplementary feature to have to make your knifing experience easier and more convenient.