Hiking, Camping and Survival Knives

A serious hiker or backpacker knows that a standard pocket knife will not work in the backwoods. It might be nice to have one as a back up – but when push comes to shove, no you need to play like the pros do. A good survival knife will be big enough and strong enough to chop down small trees or cut branches from bigger one. You will need to be able to cut rope or vines to make shelter or other emergency provisions.

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Many survival knifes will have a serrated back that can be used to saw small limbs and trees. They may be folding (the blade folds into the handle or fixed. Folding knifes carry smaller but have a weakness at the joint. A fixed blade will be longer, normally comes with a carrying sheath and has more ridged strength for prying or digging.

Compared to a standard “pocket knife” or boy scout special, a survival knife will made with higher grade steel and hold a sharper edge longer. Some survival knifes may also be multi-functional, sort of like a Swiss Army knife on steroids. Others have built in compasses, fire starters, emergency whistle or paracord (see discussions on paracord here
) handles.

The two most important things about buying your survival knife.
1) Don’t buy it for the fancy extras unless you need/want the fancy extras. Sometimes simple is better.
2) Use this list as a guide to some of the options and the prices and the features. But also visit a high end hunting/camping store to personally try out some of the options. The greatest knife in the world that does not feel comfortable in your hand – will quickly become a burden when being used in the back country.

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Courtesy T. Turner – Cactus Sunrise