Hello folks, so today’s topic is, what is a knife meant for and different methods it can vs should be used for, in survival, bushcraft, camping, or just having some fun in the bush?
Well I’ll probably get a bit of flack from some people after publishing my own opinions about what knives are for and what they should be, vs can be used for and what they can do for you in an array of different situations.
The first thing I will say about any knife is, the sole purpose of a knife is to cut, plain and simple that is why any knife is designed. Some knives are meant to cut meat such as processing animals, some are designed to cut fur, skin, or hides, some are designed just for the purpose to process fish,
some are meant to cut materials such as leather & other clothing materials, some knives are specifically designed to carve wood, and some knives are designed specifically for tactical usage and meant to cut into flesh.
And no I do not own or want a boot knife, I have no need for this type of knife. Lol
Whatever the cutting task at hand there has been a knife specifically designed for it (I’m sure.) They all have one thing in common tho, they are all designed to cut.
What knives were never meant to do “originally” was to do the following and this is why many people are going to have many opinions of their own after I say these things lol.
Knives were not designed to
Baton with, saw trees, dig holes, hammer with, be used as a stepping device as a support to get into a tree, used for what axes were made for, such as, chop trees down with,
“Ok now I’ll wait a second let’s hear what the bushcrafters and outdoorsman and woman have to say about that” lol.
Ok well I will also go on to say that many knives of today are designed still to be used as a cutting tool, but knowing that people are also going to use knives beyond what they are intended for, manufacturers and knife designers have been forced to rethink original designs and use materials that “CAN” stand up to an absolutely ridiculous amount of abuse these days.
There are just so many designs out there and they all have different abilities, features, & functions, and they all do a few things fairly well and some things horribly, but the fact is, no matter the knife design, if it’s designed to do anything other than it’s sole intended purpose of cutting, then the knife itself looses some of its integrity of being just a knife.
When choosing a knife to take into the woods with you, you should really think about what it is you think you’ll be needing it for most? Will you be going on a hike and possibly mushroom picking? Or just need something to eat some fruit with at the office? Then you might consider a clip point stainless knife, or a pocket folding knife for that,
or maybe you’re on a fishing trip? Then a filet knife is best for that job. The point is there are so many knives made on the market now a days that you should really give it a good think about your personal needs before you choose the right one for you. Or maybe 2 or 10 as the case may be for some people lol. (Not mentioning any names here)
Knives can be made with a great many different kinds of metals, each metal used has a different use or super strength over another metal, for example high carbon steel is great for striking ferro rods and making sparks to create fires, and they can be pretty easy to sharpen in the field. ( like on a River rock) However high carbon knifes like my Ka-bar knife, have a tendency to rust when wet and they don’t hold an edge on the blade nearly like a high quality N690 stainless steel knife does. while a knife with a drop point blade and a flat spine, will baton much better than a knife with a clip point blade, or a tip sharpened on both sides. Here’s an example of a well made stainless steel knife.
Don’t get me wrong there are amazing knives in every category & style, but the higher grade you go the more expensive it becomes. Personally I have always found that the mid range knives price point (around $150CAN) are very capable of any task I have put my knives up against.
What about the difference in full tang or short tang handled or of course folding knives vs Fixed blades, they are all useful knives they are both great but a full tang fixed blade knife is a much more sturdy design over the other short tang handles or folding knife. However a short tang knife will not conduct electricity which would be very important if you were planning on cutting wires, (maybe an electrician might want to consider one of those instead, or even a military soldier? And neither a short or full tang knife is designed to fit comfortably in ones pocket like a folding knife. (Again picking the right knife for your situation is key.)
In a survival situation, any knife you have available is a survival knife and can assist you in any number of tasks.
For me and my regular activities of choice I would currently choose my Ka-Bar BK16
(My review of the Ka-Bar BK16 can be viewed at the following link ). https://mathiasbushcraftingsurvival.wordpress.com/2022/01/05/knife-review-of-the-ka-bar-becker-series-bk-16/
or I still like to take out my Gerber Strong arm If I know I’m going to be beating the living hell out of my knife that day, simply because the BK is new and I don’t want to dull the edge yet ha ha ha. No not really but the reason I still choose to take my strong arm and you see it in the past couple videos I’ve made, is because I’ve ordered some new hunters orange handles and a new sheath for the BK16 that has not arrived yet and I simply hate the sheath that knife came with so I’m choosing my old reliable and faithful strong arm until my BK, has been upgraded. Lol.
However, when I go to work, I always carry my little pocket folding knife , it has a serrated edge which remains sharp and can even cut through thick lines (rope) when the blade is dull, not to mention it has a marlin spike to get tight knots out of any lines, which is important-to me since I work on boats for a living. And let me tell you, this little thing can do a number on apples and cheese during lunch hour, lol.
Ok moving on, now to recap, knives are meant to cut but not take the abuse that are handed out to them by so many (myself included as you can plainly see in all my outdoor videos and pictures. Then I contradicted myself and said “ manufacturers and designers have been forced to upgrade designs and materials used to create knives that can withstand the abuse so this is also true however if you read the manual for most of these manufacturers it states warranties are only valid if the knife has normal wear and tear and most immediately state if you baton with the knife it will not be warranted if any damage. Accept of course for my future knife! The ESEE series knives. They have one of the best warranties on the market I believe, $ cost just a bit over my comfort zone when purchasing a good blade. Approx $180.00CAN
Can the knives of today do everything you want them to in the field? YUP they sure can. And then some. Knives are being built better and stronger then ever before and can absolutely take a beating. Just don’t expect your money back when you’ve gone to far with them. Lol
There are draw backs to the knives of today tho, such as, maybe take a look at the multi tool knife?
They come with a crazy assortment of tools on them, but almost every tool on those things are useless.
Ok waiting for people’s reaction for that comment too. Here I’ll start. The military gives their soldiers multi tools and they are very durable. Well it’s a crock. Yes the knives are sharp and the saw can cut and the tweezers can pick a splinter out of your finger, accept maybe the pliers for small tasks. Their blades are too small, to thin, they have weak joints to hold all the tools so every tool on them, their strength is compromised just so they can have additional gadgets, ( I would never baton with a multi tool I may only widdle sticks with it or possibly open an orange. In other words they are complete crap in my opinion you simply cannot put the pressure on a multi tool like you can a regular knife. Also look at the saw they put on those things, it’s a total gimmick, a 3” blade for a saw? You could possibly cut through a 2” price of wood I suppose, but using one of my knives I could slice through the same price of wood or baton through it faster than you can saw through it with a multi tool and it’s only 2 “ for cripes sake just snap it with your hands lol.
Ok so I’m not a fan of multi tools lol. I’m sure people love the gimmicky crap lol. However I’m just as bad let’s be honest with myself. I do all kinds of things with knives that other tools should really take credit for, really why try and slice through a 3 to 4 “ piece of wood with a knife? When a saw should be doing that job anyway?
Ok so what are some other uses of knives one may find themselves doing?
Digging for grubs or whatever else if you so choose to. If your not a backwoods camper or survivalist type? Then don’t bother asking about the grub thing, lol
Or Prying , maybe a stuck rock in an area that you intend to make a fire pit with, there are plenty of times I’ve used my knife for exactly that reason lol
Fire making, (of course ) probably my favourite activity to do with my bush knives lol
Or cutting, sawing, splitting wood for shelters and kindling.
How about cooking and mixing or using as a stirring tool, & or Trimming rope, or cordage,
These are just some of the usages of a knife I employ almost every time I set out for an adventure in the woods.
Of course there are so many other uses for a knife in the woods too! some I’ve purposely left out of my blog to hear what others might have to say? Let me know in the comments what you might need a knife for outside regular household reasons, I don’t need or want to hear, “to cut boxes with, or as a letter opener” lol.
Thanks for reading, I’d love to hear your comments below.