Bladed tools are helpful in survival situations. There are so many different types that it can get confusing which ones to have and maintain in your kit.
A knife of some description is a pretty standard item to be found in any prepper’s BOB (bug out bag). However, once you reach your bug out location, you are still likely to need a number of cutting tools.
Here are some bladed tools for you to consider, and some information and maintenance suggestions you need to know about each one
Pocket Folding Knife
These are easily carried due to their small size. This type of blade comes in very handy in everyday life such as opening boxes, cutting tags off clothes, etc., but they are also useful in a survival situation. They can be used for sharpening sticks to use as weapons or for trap building (why blunt a bigger knife when these do a great job?) or for cutting vines, cordage etc., for shelter building purposes.
What Makes A Good Folding Pocket Knife?
- Small and lightweight – you need your pocket knife to be easy to carry around with you. If the knife is 5 inches or less when it is folded away, it can be carried on a belt or fit into a pocket comfortably (check with your local laws concerning their definition of “pocket knife” – you don’t want to be charged with carrying a concealed weapon).
- One hand opening – you may need to use your pocket knife in a hurry, so any knife that is fiddly or cumbersome to open is not helpful. You should be able to easily open the knife quickly with either hand. Thumb studs on the blade make this process much easier.
- Good locking mechanism – you do not want your knife closing on you while you are using it. This is a sure fire way of injuries occurring and in a survival situation – and THAT can be the difference between life and death.
Your folding pocket knife should be cleaned and lubricated regularly to keep it in usable condition. The more you use it the more maintenance it will need.
Also check the screw or bolt that holds the blade. Ensure the blade isn’t “wobbly” from side-to-side. Tighten as necessary.
Fixed Blade Knife
These are bigger, stronger knives. I like to think of them as multi – purpose tools which can do the job of larger tools, but you are able to carry it comfortably on your hip.
Fixed blade knives can be used for many tasks from weapon making (spear) to starting a fire (using a fire rod and tinder)
What Makes A Good Fixed Blade Knife?
- A decent handle – the handle should be round, comfortable and provide you with adequate grip. This grip should still be there even if you have sweaty hands or using in water.
- Made of steel – high carbon steel is what you should be looking for. These will need a fair amount of maintenance, but will be easier to sharpen and keep in good condition than a stainless steel blade.
- A good sheath – these can be custom made to fit your needs if required. A good sheath should hold your knife below your belt and should cover the entire blade to prevent injuries if you fall.
Your fixed blade knife will need regular cleaning, depending on usage. It will also need sharpening to make sure it is kept in prime cutting condition.
A bowie knife is a large knife that has a blade between 6 – 24 inches. These make great hunting knives as the large blade gives a lot of cutting power for skinning and cleaning etc. They can also be used for cutting through large sticks and bush for shelter building.
What Makes A Good Bowie Knife?
- A sharp blade – the blade of your Bowie should be razor sharp – as with the fixed blade knives, carbon steel is preferred over stainless steel
- Weight – your Bowie should be heavy enough to complete all the challenging tasks you require it for. However, be careful not to slow yourself down by carrying one too heavy for you
- Length of blade – if the blade is less than 6 inches, it is not a Bowie! Longer blades provide more cutting power which is a must for these knives.
You can oil your Bowie blade when it is being stored and not used – this will help protect your blade from moisture. Sharpening is also needed to ensure it is able to complete the heavy tasks required of it.
A camping axe is a heavy, hard hitting tool. Not so easy to carry around but very useful at your final bug out location. They can be used for chopping wood, hammering pegs, stakes etc., into the ground, cutting up meat and for cutting back overhanging bushes, branches, etc.
What Makes A Good Camping Axe?
- Lightweight design – an axe is likely to be one of the heavier tools you carry but you want to get as light as possible while still being suitable for your needs
- Single or double bit – a single bit axe has the advantage of having all torque put through the single bit, however double bit axes can be more balanced and usually offer different uses on each bit e.g., splitting on one side and cutting on the other.
- Size – from pocket size to axes that can bring a tree down, axes come in a number of sizes so you have plenty of options
You can oil your camping axe blade when it is being stored and not used – this will help protect your blade from moisture. Sharpening is also needed to ensure it is able to complete the heavy tasks required of it.
Need tips on how to sharpen your bladed tools? Knife Sharpening 101.