Survival Knives and Their Uses

Survival Knives and Their Uses

First and foremost, a survival knife is a blade, plain and simple. It needs to be able to do all the things that a regular knife can do, such as slicing and cutting. But it also needs to be able to do some of the more difficult tasks that an ordinary knife cannot do. A survival knife needs to keep its edge, stay sharp in the field, be easy to maintain, and always be ready to go.

Another important for a survival knife is shelter building. A good survival knife can cut branches and logs into the correct sizes and shapes needed to build a shelter. Not only that but a good survival knife can also be used to remove the bark from logs so that they can be better weaved together to form the frame of a shelter.

Having a good knife can mean the difference between life and death in a survival situation. And with the right knife, you don\’t have to worry about your blade breaking when you need it the most. When I was in Tanzania on the very first filmed episode of Naked and Afraid, my survival knife broke! I knew that once I made it back home, I would need to design a survival knife as tough as they come to meet any task I could throw at it, anywhere in the world.


Now that we’ve talked about some of the primary uses for a survival knife, let\’s look at what makes a good one. The blade on a survival knife should be at least 6-8 inches long to handle all of the different tasks that may come up. The blade should also be made out of carbon or stainless steel so that it doesn\’t rust and is easy to clean.

The handle on a survival knives should be made out of a durable material that can withstand extreme weather conditions. Some of the best materials for a survival knife handle are usually made from G10, Canvas micarta, wood, etc.

A good survival knife should also come with a sheath to be easily carried around and protected when not in use. Also, keep your knife oiled when it’s not in use.

After a lot of research about survival knives, I came up with a list of tasks that I wanted a good survival knife to do, some very extreme, some simple, and some not even considered by most folks. But I feel that all of these could be possible in the right situation.

The first and most crucial task is being able to defend yourself against an attacker. A big, sturdy blade can do a lot of damage if you need to use it in self-defense. The edge should also be sharp enough to do some serious cutting.

Next on the list is fire starting. A knife with a 90-degree spine is an ideal option. This will let you start fires easily when there\’s no other way to get a flame going.


Another critical task for survival knives is chopping and slicing wood. You may need to build a shelter or cut down trees for firewood, so a blade that can handle some serious chopping is a must.

One use that\’s often overlooked is opening cans and jars. If you find yourself in a survival situation, you may have to ration your food. A knife that can open cans and jars easily will come in handy.

So, no matter what knife you choose, make sure that it can handle the tasks you may need it for. And always remember to practice safe knife handling so that you don\’t injure yourself or others.

After pondering all of the options, these are the abilities and qualities I feel a good survival knife should have:

  • Cutting and Slicing
  • Cutting wood (of various sizes)
  • Splitting wood
  • Starting fires (with Ferro rod and natural tinder)
  • Carving notches in sticks for traps
  • Skinning and butchering game
  • Digging (when applicable in soft soils)
  • Prying things open (searching for grubs in wood)
  • First Aid: such as making a primitive tourniquet or pulling a thorn out of your hand
  • A good quality survival knife will be able to cut through many different materials easily.
  • It is also essential that the knife is easy to sharpen and maintain
  • Another valuable function of a survival knife is batoning, splitting logs by putting the blade edge on a log end and smacking the spine with another log or club.
  • Survival knives can be a great asset in any situation, whether camping, hiking, or even in an emergency.

The list could go on and on, but you get the idea. I feel that if a knife can do all of those things, it is a well-rounded Survival Knife. And don\’t forget, it also has to be durable. A knife is only as good as its blade, so make sure you get a good one.

So, when looking for good survival knives, consider all of the tasks that you may need it to do. And always remember to practice safe knife handling!

Some other uses of a survival knife are piercing and boring, skinning and gutting, filleting, and fighting. While these tasks can be performed with a lesser-quality knife, a good survival knife will make the job easier and more efficient. So, if you\’re looking for a reliable tool that can help you in various situations, a good quality survival knife is a must-have item.

Fighting and stabbing with a knife is something that no one ever wants to do. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you must defend yourself, a good survival knife may be the difference between life and death in a lot of situations.


Survival knives are designed for just this purpose – to help you stay alive in challenging situations. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to fight or stab with a knife, make sure you have a good quality survival knife on hand. It could just save your life.

Knife skills are essential for any outdoor adventure. You can use the point of your survival knife to cut and mark many types of materials or scratch shallow grooves into the wood with its fat curve to make a fire bow or start a fire on a more rigid bark.

The least useful to almost absurd uses of a Survival Knife is using as a Hammer, Prying, Chipping, Digging, and Spreading – I lumped these tasks together because they can be the most damaging to your survival knife. 

Hammering with this type of tool is usually not recommended, but if you have a thick blade, it may work especially on stakes or other hard objects that need pounding in place; leaving the sheath off will allow strikes from the pommel handle instead (though remember we\’re talking about survival here, not construction!).

Some people use their survival knives to pry or spread things apart, but this isn\’t the best idea since it can damage tips and edges. You should only do that if you are spreading butter on bread!

Digging with a knife is inefficient, tiring, and bad for the blade, but it can be helpful in certain terrains. I would recommend making an earth stick or shovel first, though, before using one on your own because they are easier on hands and nails than digging with just your hands.

I combined all of the tasks needed in a survival knife, as well as my years of experience, to aid me in creating my new Signature Mountain Predator, Survival Combat Bowie, by Stroup Knives,  and my TOPS Knives SXB ~ Skullcrusher\’s Xtreme Blade.


The one thing I never want to experience again is when my most important tool breaks. It\’s a tough enough struggle for survival without having that happening too!

The knife you have with you may be just the thing to get yourself out alive! You never know when an emergency will arise, but it\’s always a good idea to have a quality blade on hand. 

You can see the newest lineup of Stroup Knives that I just added to my website and go check out my new Mountain Predator Knife! If you love Survival Knives, you\’re going to love this one!!!

P.S. – Don\’t forget to check out all of the amazing products I\’ve added to my website this month.

2 thoughts on “Survival Knives and Their Uses”

  1. Thank’s EJ for taking the time to cover a wide range and variety of uses and specs for a good survival knife. Whatever knife you chose, it MUST be extremely tough and durable with a good bit of weight and size to it. You must also prepare in advance how you are going to keep your BLADE sharp… As you said, YOUR knife may very well be what makes the difference between life and death, in many ways, for you and other teammates. If I may add to your list. The survival knife should be shaped and designed in such a way to allow for easy, secure lashing to a stick or pole for making a spear for hunting, fishing, self defence, and reaching taller objectives. I love the bow drill holes in the handle of the SXB and, lashing design. Hell, I JUST love that knife. I am looking forward to owning the new, ( Stroup Mountain Predator ) Good job.

  2. I am not a survivalist, but I have had a self-defense fight with a knife. I learned about the importance of the lock on a folder. But that is a different conversation. I work in the woods a lot. Three qualities of a knife are important. Toughness, the ability to resist chipping is #1 to me. Slashing saplings, vines, or anything at ground level can cause chipping due to hidden rocks beneath the dirt, regardless the steel. I have used 5160, 8670, 52100, 1V, etc., and they all can chip; however, these listed are far less likely to chip if they have a good heat treat. (My AG Russell Sandbox knife is the only blade so far not to chip). Chips can be repaired, but it is not good for a variety of reasons.
    Edge retention is another good quality. When in the field, one does not need a dull knife. However, if one is only there for a day of a few days (not 21 days), then edge retention is not as important to me as toughness. You do not get both. Some steels like 52100 have good amounts of both, but no knife steel has both qualities at the top. So decide if you need one more than the other and choose. I think a small honing steel would be useful in the field.
    Corrosion resistance is quite important when working near salt water. Some tool steels may rust quickly, so the environment could predict the steel choice. LC200N is very good for corrosion resistance.
    Enjoyed your column here. Survivor Lilly on YouTube had an excellent video demonstrating your “Mountain Predator” knife. It is so impressive that I am considering purchasing one, although 1095 is not my favorite and the price is a bit high for that steel. The performance was very impressive, and that is what counts, however. I love the design too.

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