So, What Is A 'Survival' Knife...??

Discussion in 'Articles' started by observe, Apr 30, 2017.

  1. observe

    observe CONTRIBUTOR AH Elite

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    Here is my humble opinion on the definition of an average person's "survival" knife..

    You know, from my experience, I couldn't agree with you more about the definition of a 'survival knife' as being the one you have on you at the time of the crisis...

    EDC.png

    In my opinion there are also a lot of hype and even BS bordering on mass hysteria surrounding the catchword 'survival' today.

    Though I agree that you must be prepared and master as many of these skills as possible,--what are the odds that you must "survive”?

    Once you willingly go off the beaten track, you have the opportunity and responsibility to plan for your specific environment and challenges and the necessary tools to take with you.

    18121726_401041820258649_4806917307675395831_o.jpg

    It's then not 'SURVIVAL" any more' but merely 'rough-' or 'substance' camping [Bush crafting sound more mucho lol] with a lot of appropriate and chosen tools.

    · Your car broke down in a remote area?

    For the sensible traveler there ought to be a lot of emergency goodies available.

    · Airplane crash?

    If you are still alive afterwards you will probably not even have the luxury of a pocket knife, what with the tight security at most airports these days.

    · Small plane crash or boat trip without such tight security?

    Again a sensible and prepared traveler will have packed some [pocket- and other?] goodies.

    I do carry a multi-tool and a good pocket knife with a lighter EDC with me for more than 30 years now, and have NEVER used it for ‘survival’, but a lot for rough camping while hunting. [And I do a lot of 'primitive' and other hunting and camping, sometimes in some very remote areas.]

    rough camping.jpg

    For remote rough camping I only rarely use my EDC blades, because then one or the other of my (bigger) sharp and pointy tools are with me on the planned trip to do the different jobs required. (My EDC blades would also be capable to do it in a pinch, but being prepared doesn’t mean to see how much you can suffer out there....)

    I do own a lot of bigger hunting/ camping/ bush crafting /bush knives/skinning tools, and I love them all, but really , the times I'm allowed to have them on me I'm merely 'hunting/camping' and not "surviving".
    Yes, they all could be used as 'survival' knives if need be, but then I would most probably not be in a situation where it's the only tool that I have with me.

    098B620B7BBD4AC682F72A5905860EFB.JPG

    I would 100% agree that a 'survival' knife is the one the average person [like 99% of the people reading this now ?] daily have on your person, and it would mostly probably fall in the category of a smaller pocket/multi-tool/neck knife for most of us with a day job where we mingle with a lot of other people.

    Your secondary bigger belt/hunting /bush craft/ camp/skinning knife would be for 99.9% of the time be on you only in the category of a planned or beforehand known excursion/hunt and not an EDC, due to your job or local laws etc.

    (The lucky few can carry it EDC though--like PH)

    I love all of my sharp, pointed tools, but this multi-million dollar 'survival' industry is also playing mind games with a lot of inexperienced well-meaning people's minds [fears?] .This topic of "best survival knife" send the focus away from the more important discussions like maybe ‘which secondary knife is best for what job or circumstances’ -and even maybe when your secondary belt knife become your primary EDC??’

    17038839_374676942895137_2835414699263886703_o.jpg

    There is no magic or ideal knife for all terrains, tasks, jobs etc. , and I maintain that your skills are more important than your blade...and your blade is crucial to the average person out in the back woods!

    To be honest, for most of the time while "rough camping" /hunting, I could get away with only a good pocket knife......

    Studio_20150913_184752.jpg

    Yep, in my opinion when the chips are down in a real unexpected, crises 'survival' situation, your 'survival' knife would be your EDC on your person and not your bigger fixed blade that would probably be the better tool for the situation, but it is at home due to your working circumstances or local laws etc....

    Again, the media hype of the 'best survival knife' is most of the time a sales gimmick and very misleading, especially to the not so experienced, as I think it refer mostly to rough camping...!

    14962548_320962864933212_1146479002901677210_n.jpg

    Learn to use and 'survive' with your primary EDC first!!
     

  2. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    This should be an interesting thread as I suspect it's like asking what's the best rifle!
     
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  3. observe

    observe CONTRIBUTOR AH Elite

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    LOL, CAustin, yes I can see where I could be 'misunderstood'.....!:D
    The point is not which knife is the best,but its just a little swipe at the whole 'survival' hype and industry misleading well-meaning people [prospective / novice hunters/campers] as to the 'best' survival knife to have, when in a real 'survival' situation [Just rough camping for most here...lol] , 99% of the time your on the spot 'survival' knife would actually NOT be that expensive Puma White Hunter knife, but your common pocket knife on your person [EDC]...
    Lets see where all of this end up...:rolleyes:
    2 (1).jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2017
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  4. BC.Pat

    BC.Pat AH Enthusiast

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    As most suspect I think it depends where you are, when I was in West Africa it was my machete ( jungle) , in northern BC & Yukon it was a axe or meat saw (to cut fire wood). In the north your survival often depends on combating hypothermia ( making a fire) . Other than that any fix blade full tang knife. lots of options :A Stirring:
     
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  5. observe

    observe CONTRIBUTOR AH Elite

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    Agreed---when you go out there on a planned hunting/field trip , then the rules for your EDC tools on your person change from our average normal daily EDC.

    Point of interest BC Pat --with these different tools that you used in very diverse and different environments , were you 'rough camping'[knowing where you are going and prepared which tools are required for the terrain] or 'surviving' [crises] with them?
    These terms could be somewhat confusing if used out of context and even sometimes be interchangeable as the one can change into the other in the blink of the eye--but as you mentioned, you had multiple tools at hand for a specific planned for trip/terrain---not a wonderful magical 'survival' knife that the sales gimmick want the innocent to believe in will be the only tool needed to get out of all crisis situations?
    For the average guy [not on a planned hunting/camping trip] , his 'survival' knife would be the one on his person everyday at work etc,and that EDC would most likely fall in the category of a pocket knife type and not a bigger fixed blade.....

    Interesting perspectives ....

    SA55201.jpg
     
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  6. BC.Pat

    BC.Pat AH Enthusiast

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    In the jungle I was working doing in a lose description "security work" so we would patrol for a week to ten days looking for "game". In northern BC and Yukon its been work as a prospector , and backpack hunting, or just getting caught out in the field unable to get back to camp (some times up to 2~3 nights) I usually hunt solo. But in North America its hypothermia IMHO, in Africa it was staying healthy (disease free) malaria, cholera ect. ( sorry a bit of a ramble). So I would pack something to disinfect water in the African bush if that's where I was going. Most of us can operate with out food for quite awhile, not so much without re hydration.
    :D Pop Popcorn:cheers Pat
     
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  7. observe

    observe CONTRIBUTOR AH Elite

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    Thanks Pat-you live a very interesting life....

    Well, for a 'survival' [not normal hunting] situation where you do have the luxury of some minimal tools,you would probably get some distance with these two items, though in a normal EDC setting ,only one of them would most likely be on your person daily...
    [Also just stirring the pot a bit here,lol :sneaky: ]

    18157715_403112723384892_6405674623236449586_n (1).jpg
     
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  8. BC.Pat

    BC.Pat AH Enthusiast

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    More hair than brains and I had a buzz cut.
     
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  9. Dr Ray

    Dr Ray AH Elite

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    Depends on where you are.
    I suggest a multi task knife like a leather man for utility purposes.
    Unless you plan on cutting wood for a fire this type of knife is fine for the tasks.
     
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  10. AB2506

    AB2506 AH Enthusiast

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    WTH is it with these "chopping knives"?

    For the knife to be a chopper, it would need to be rather large and heavy, which IMO, precludes it from much else use.

    For experiments sake, I bought a Camilius Carnivore Z (yes, I know it is the smallest Carnivore, but it fits in my seat back pocket for easy access when in the pickup). I tried it on a December moose hunt, clearing a path through the woods to get the moose out. I found it less than effective to chop the saplings out of the way. My ax was much more effective, and if I had my tree pruning shears with me, they would have been much more effective than the knife, and even the ax on the smaller saplings.

    I wonder if the trees being frozen had something to do with it? The knife just wasn't big and heavy enough? Or do these chopper knife fans love them so much they overlook effectiveness to justify their Crocodile Dundee knives?
     
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  11. MarkCZ

    MarkCZ AH Veteran

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    IMHO a "survival" knife should any knife that you trust your life with in any situation, and I mean totally trust. I do like the Cold Steel SRK. Not good for hunting gralloching etc but bloody tough.
    Markcz
     
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  12. Art Lambart II

    Art Lambart II AH Fanatic

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    I agree with the OP on taking more gear for planed survival. Every day I carry a Swisstool, a Victorniox Soliders knife (the one in the OP) and a good flashlight. When I went on Safari last year I added a 6" full tang fixed blade knife, some fire making gear and a bottle of water. I was all set to help with the afternoon cookout should the need arise.

    Lets talk Stainless vs High Carbon, Scandi vs Saber, why have a 90 degree spine, the pros and cons of blade length, this should be an interesting thread.

    @observe you have a fine collection of camping gear in your second picture
     
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  13. BC.Pat

    BC.Pat AH Enthusiast

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    the only time I go to stainless is some fish filleting knives for the salt chuck, I am a fan high carbon steel. Yes they are more work to maintain and sharpen but they hold a edge better in my experience, and after all is that not the 1st of many characteristics of a good knife? I have carried a puma as that in post 3 for over thirty years. decisions decisions:A Stirring:
     
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  14. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I carry a Victorinox SwissTool everywhere except to Church. On my African Safari I brought a Mora knife. If I were going to have to do some serious camp chores I guess A Cold Steel Master Hunter or a Cold Steel SRK would be in my kit. Another AH Member Rookhawk is currently on a 14 day fly camp hunt in Zimbabwe. He took a number of "bushcraft" type knives with him. His goal is to use each one and then decide which ones cut the mustard and which ones didn't.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2017
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  15. rinehart0050

    rinehart0050 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    I vary my EDC between one of these three options, or sometimes I carry all 3:
    a97049_g028_9-swiss-knife.jpg

    a97049_g028_7-shark2.jpg

    6e406bc76391aaa9e25791060b2a6f61.jpg
     
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  16. BC.Pat

    BC.Pat AH Enthusiast

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    perhaps he will post his observations , I d be interested. (y)
     
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  17. Rick Cox

    Rick Cox AH Enthusiast

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    Typically, a survival knife is one that is way too big, and not good at doing anything.
    Years ago, when trapping with an old trapper in Northern British Colombia, I asked him one evening around the fire, what he would pick in a survival situation as his only tool (I think the caveat was no firearms). He stated a good sharp axe. He felt you can do anything with it you do with a knife, but lots a knife won't do, such as build a shelf of cut wood. He had a point...
     
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  18. PeteG

    PeteG AH Elite

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    Ive been giving this a bit of thought and i cant actually decide what use a "survival" knife needs to have.

    To put this in perspective. When I go hunt, i always have a Gerber multitool and my knife on me. I wouldnt classify the Gerber as a survival knife/tool though.

    Some survival tools ive seen have a compass, basic firestarting kit, fishing line, plasters, whistle and a few other odds and ends... yes, this may be a survival tool because if it were the only thing you had on you in a tight spot on your own, then you certainly could use it to increase your odds of survival.

    After all this rambling, i dont think it is possible to have a "survival" knife. otherwise it would resemble something like what @rinehart0050 posted above.
    Do i use my Gerber multi took often, yeah i do. But i also travel with an axe, shovel, machete, toolbox, portable winch, spare tyres and a whole host of other bits and pieces, dont forget, in general, camp consists of 1-2 hunters, 1-2 scouts and at least 1-2 helper (operations managers ;))... so its far from roughing it.
     
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  19. spike.t

    spike.t AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2013 AH Ambassador

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  20. PeteG

    PeteG AH Elite

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    Yep, that'll work!!!
    Just not sure it'll be very comfortable to hang off my belt every day! :eek::D
     

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