NOT JUST ANY KNIFE WILL DO
Here are some general traits to look for when choosing your first survival knife:
• FULL TANG DESIGN—FULL tang means that the knife and handle are on solid piece of steel. The handle area is usually then sandwiched between two pieces of rounded material to form the gripping portion of the handle. This is vitally important because if the knife is three-quarter, half, or worst yet, no tang in design, the probability that the knife will snap at its weakest point is almost a certainty in the field, and that can be disastrous on so many levels.
• BLADE LENGTH AND THICKNESS—A survival knife has to be beefy to be effective during heavy use when outdoors or when giving it heavy-duty tasks to perform. It’s a general recommendation that the blade length should be no shorter than 5 inches, and no longer than 8 inches. This range will aid in the greatest number of tasks without hindrance or awkwardness due to size. For blade thickness, one-quarter inch is a great thickness for durability and long-time use.
• BLADE MATERIAL—YOU need steel that is both easy to sharpen and holds its edge well. Two types to consider for this is D2 and 1095, both high carbon steels and both would perform well under the pressures of a survival situation in nature’s backyard.
• GRIND STYLE—A Scandinavian grind and flat grind work the best for survival knives. When out in the field, you don’t want a grind that requires special requirements to sharpen; you just won’t have the time or accessibility for that. Instead either of these two grinds on a survival knife are ultra-easy to sharpen and produce fantastic results.