One of the most important tools that you can have with you in any situation, from a household chore to survival in the harsh elements of the outdoors, is a high-quality survival pocket knife. You shouldn't pick just any survival pocket knife, however. To ensure that you have a durable, versatile survival knife that suits your needs, there are several factors that you should keep in mind while shopping.
Large survival knives may seem appealing for self-defense purposes and for the added bonus of some sleek designs. However, bigger knives are typically clumsier to handle, take up a lot of space and they are not useful for more detailed and intricate uses like carving and dressing small game like rabbits. However, you don't want a knife that's too small as these also have problems with larger tasks such as chopping. Most people will find that a knife with a length of about 9 to 10 inches will be best for most situations.
You'll want your survival pocket knife's handle to be just as strong as the blade. Remember, it's not just the blade that is subject to wear and tear as you use the knife. The handle also suffers from hits, falls, friction, weather and more. To ensure that you get a strong handle, look for solid handles in thick rubber, antler, bone and micarta. Wood is another viable choice, but it may crack easily due to sudden hits or water damage. While smooth metals such as titanium and stainless steel provide durability, they may lack in grip. Textured metal and rubber grips can help with this, but it's usually better to choose an alternative material.
For the blade, carbon or stainless steel work best for survival pocket knives. For frequent use, it's best to find a carbon or stainless steel that is wear-resistant to improve the life of the blade and help prevent dulling. The blade should be fairly thick without seeming unnecessarily heavy. Thinner blades are great for more detailed jobs, but thicker blades are needed for several basic survival functions like opening some quick emergency food in aluminum cans.
There are many different types of blade that you can choose for a survival pocket knife. It may seem like a blade will suit any job no matter what tip it has, but it's actually a major consideration point in your purchase as certain blade types are most beneficial for some purposes and fairly useless in others.
For everyday purposes and survival purposes, straight-back, spear point and drop point are your best options. They have a sturdy design for everyday use, sharp points for self-defense and suitable shapes for skinning.
If you're looking for more of a hunting and survival knife, trailing point, spey points and clip points are best. They have thinner designs for easier skinning, large cutting areas for long and clean cuts and some piercing power for self-defense.
Finally, if you're looking for a blade meant for more rough survival use such as carving, cutting and chopping, tanto points, sheepsfoot blades, hawkbill blades and wharncliffe blades are the best options. Their unique designs and thick metal make them perfect for tougher jobs.
In the end, what is likely the biggest consideration of your survival pocket knife purchase will be the cost. High-end survival pocket knives can run upwards of $500, but these are usually for collecting purposes. You can find fairly decent survival pocket knives for $10 to $50, and this is the range you'd likely want to stay in if you want the knife for everyday use as well as survival. If you only plan to use the knife for specific occasions, you can spend around $100 or more. Remember, a good survival knife is an investment. If you're going to put a lot of money into it, do proper research and ensure that it's a strong, durable and useful knife for your needs.