Knives Illustrated - - Contents - STORY AND PHO­TOS BY EJ SNY­DER

Iam of­ten asked, “What’s the best knife in a sur­vival or emer­gency sit­u­a­tion?” My re­ply is al­ways the same, “The one you have on you.” A knife in th­ese sit­u­a­tions can make the dif­fer­ence be­tween liv­ing and dy­ing. In ca­pable hands, a knife can be a se­ri­ous game changer. Even in the hands of a novice a knife can af­fect the out­come, be­cause ne­ces­sity is the mother of in­ven­tion. Hu­man in­stinct and the will to sur­vive runs deep in the hu­man con­di­tion, but hav­ing some­thing to as­sist us in our strug­gle—such as a knife—can make a dras­tic dif­fer­ence, which is why I sug­gest never leav­ing home with­out one.

Sur­viv­ing with just a knife is very dif­fi­cult, but when push comes to shove, and it’s all you have, try to re­mem­ber th­ese half dozen uses to help get you out alive.

1 MY KING­DOM FOR A CAS­TLE OR A CHAR­IOT If you be­come stranded out in the el­e­ments, you can use your knife to build a shel­ter and stay dry. Use it to cut down vines for lash­ings or cut cordage/ropes to the right lengths needed to hold a struc­ture to­gether.

If you need to get out of Dodge and a river is your only av­enue, a knife is the cor­rect tool to help you build just the right ride, com­plete with pad­dles.

2 LIGHT MY FIRE, BABY A knife can be used to build a good prim­i­tive fric­tion fire kit or to strike against a ferro rod, cre­at­ing the spark needed to get a roar­ing blaze go­ing. It can also be used to process wood to keep your fire go­ing, al­low­ing you to stay warm, boil wa­ter, cook food or even fire­harden tools and weapons.

3 GET SOME GRUB In a sur­vival sit­u­a­tion, calo­ries are im­por­tant, and your knife can be vital in help­ing you with many sur­vival hunt­ing tasks; such as mak­ing a spear, build­ing traps and pro­cess­ing game. A knife can eas­ily be at­tached to the end of a shaft to give your spear more bite and up your hunt­ing game. You can also use your knife to make weapons for hunt­ing, as well as for de­fense from an­i­mals that view you as food.

4 DE­FEND YOUR­SELF Sur­vival sit­u­a­tions are not limited to the wilder­ness, some­times a life­and-death sce­nario can present it­self in an ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment as well. In the event of a vi­o­lent at­tack—whether from a would-be mug­ger or a wild an­i­mal—a good knife can be just the equal­izer you need. Make sure to check your lo­cal laws to learn what is le­gal to carry in your area.

5 CLEAR THE WAY When you find your­self im­peded by thick growth on your trek through a jun­gle or for­est, a good knife can be used to cut down the brush be­fore you to clear a path.

Al­though I don’t usu­ally rec­om­mend it, be­cause this tech­nique can dull your blade, a knife can work as a good dig­ging in­stru­ment, should you need it in a pinch. How­ever, I rec­om­mend that you use your knife to cut a dig­ging stick or make a shift shovel, for bet­ter re­sults.

6 911, WHAT’S THE EMER­GENCY? Dur­ing an emer­gency, a knife can be a good all-around tool for ev­ery­thing from smash­ing glass to cut­ting a crash vic­tim free from a stuck seat­belt. A knife will be a Johnny-on-the-spot life­saver when called into ac­tion. It can be used to mod­ify cloth­ing into use­ful first aid items or even heated up cherry red to cau­ter­ize an open wound if no other al­ter­na­tive is avail­able. How­ever, it should be noted that this type of use will de­stroy the heat treat of your knife. Al­ways boil wa­ter to ster­il­ize it be­fore use in any first-aid sce­nario.

If you need res­cue and your knife is not pow­der-coated and has a pol­ished fin­ish, you can use it as a mir­ror to sig­nal a pass­ing boat or air­craft to get you out of a hellish sit­u­a­tion. Worst case sce­nario you can bang it on a pot or pan to make enough noise that the neigh­bors can hear you from a dis­tance. With such an un­nat­u­ral racket, they might just de­cide to in­ves­ti­gate.

It can Hap­pen Any­where

A sur­vival or emer­gency sit­u­a­tion can hap­pen any­where, at any time, with­out no­tice, so give your­self a fight­ing chance. Th­ese sim­ple knife tips and tricks can spell the dif­fer­ence be­tween sur­vival and your own demise. You need to be a fac­tor in your own sur­vival and learn how a knife can save your life, but beyond learn­ing, you need to prac­tice, be­cause a knife can also cause a sur­vival cri­sis if you are not pro­fi­cient in its use.

As a sur­vival­ist and a war­rior, I see to it that I al­ways have a knife on me, in my truck or some­where strate­gi­cally placed around my home, and I know how to use it. Do not be crip­pled by fear or shock when th­ese sit­u­a­tions arise, be the X-fac­tor and make a dif­fer­ence when you find your­self on “The Edge of Sur­vival.” KI


Photo credit: Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel, “Naked and Afraid”

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