One of the most important survival tools that every avid camper, hiker or hunter must have with them at all times is the hunting knife. These tools have been the same as we know them today for thousands of years, dating back to the Stone Age. Initially, they were simple stone knives made of sharpened stones like obsidian. Even though technology has advanced and you’ll now see knives made out of a wide range of materials, the function and purpose of camping knives are still the same. Many beginners may wonder why even the most experienced campers need a camping knife. Even though modern campsites may not require heavy-duty survival knives, a good knife can make completing ordinary tasks like cutting rope, butchering, skinning meat, opening plastic containers, etc. much easier.
That being said, you should consider getting a tool that’s capable of performing a variety of functions. Usually, camping knives are strong and feature non-slip handles. The aforementioned tasks can quickly dull most normal knives, whereas good survival knives still keep their sharpness even after heavy use. But in order to make sure you’re getting a quality survival knife, there are a couple of characteristics you should pay attention to so that you don’t spend your money on the wrong product.
Type of Steel
The two main types of steel used to make knives are stainless and carbon steel. Both have their own distinct advantages. Stainless steel knives are great for regular and occasional campers. Steel doesn’t corrode and is easy to sharpen, keeping their edge for long time periods even with extensive use. This makes steel knives ideal for beginners who don’t go camping frequently enough to dull the knives from extensive use. Carbon steel, on the other hand, is much tougher and harder, and you can cut down a small tree with it to make yourself a makeshift spear. This type of steel can withstand the elements and can take a lot of abuse, making it ideal for hardcore survivalists. Carbon steel knives are more expensive, but they’re worth every penny more often than not.
Many survival knives come with both serrated and straight blades. But are serrated blades useful and necessary? While they may look great, or make you feel cool, they’re not as useful as they’re made out to be. One argument that people make for serrated knives is that they can cut even when dull. However, as you probably know, cutting food, or anything else for that matter, with a dull knife is difficult and not safe. Plus, serrated knives are more difficult to sharpen than straight blade knives. Additionally, they tend to get stuck more often as they get hung up where the straight blade would still slide through. Straight blades are easier to sharpen and they’ll do any camping task better than a serrated knife would.
Survival knives are available in a wide range of sizes. They range from knives that are just a bit bigger than scalpels to knives that are almost as big as short swords. So which is the ideal knife length for you? As a general rule of thumb, you should get a knife that’s suitable for the type of tasks you’ll want to perform. If your camping trips revolve around fishing, a shorter knife will make it easier for you to clean up the catch. Basically, more delicate tasks are better performed with short knives, whereas larger knives are better for cutting or slicing larger items. If you’re looking for a general, multi-purpose knife that’s capable of performing almost anything, you’ll want a 15cm knife blade.
Fixed or Foldable Blade?
Foldable knives are the more popular type among average campers, simply because they’re easy and simple to use and put away. They come with a simple locking mechanism that makes them safe to stuff into any pocket or camping backpack. The locking mechanism helps keep the blade locked in place when closed or when opened. Their portability and simplicity make them the preferred choice for generalised campers. On the other hand, fixed blade knives can’t be folded away, so they require a sheath to help protect you from accidental puncture or stabbing and to prevent the blade from dulling. As a result, these knives are larger in size, but they do have their own advantages. Fixed blade knives are commonly used by serious outdoor enthusiasts and hunters who need the extra strength that comes from this type of blade design. Most fixed blade knives feature a metal piece that goes deep into its handle, giving the knife more cutting power and stability. Further, fixed blade knives don’t have any moving parts that can get jammed and no stress points that can break or bend them. This allows you to perform a wide range of tasks like creating a shelter, butchering work or anything else that may demand high torque cutting.