They say that a real survivalist has a knife that will help him survive through harsh times. In fact, the reality is different and most preppers and survivalists have more than one knife. Buying the right knife for all your survival or camping needs is not easy. I suggest you follow these tips when purchasing a knife.
There are a lot of people asking me what knife works best for me and I always try to answer without pointing them in a specific direction. As we differ physically and we have specific needs, buying a knife shouldn’t become a universal task, but rather a personal experience. To help people figure out what would work best for them, I decided to list a few of my tips. I follow these to the letter when buying a knife.
Ask yourself these questions before buying a knife:
What’s the budget I’m working with?
Just like with any other purchase, staying within a budget becomes difficult when you have a lot of choices. We tend to go for the best of the best and our knife purchase may end up affecting our monthly budget. Although I agree that one should always buy quality when it comes to knives, the hardest part is to get something you can afford. There are knives at every price, regardless if you plan to use them for wilderness survival or urban exploring.
Not to mention that if you go over your budget and spend a lot of money when buying a knife, you will not have the heart to use it as a tool when needed. Some people treat their knives like trophies because they won’t be able to replace them if they break. Don’t follow this path and stay within your budget when buying a knife for your survival needs.
Is my knife up to the task?
Buying something we really need or want can often trigger an emotional response. We usually end up buying a knife that we don’t actually need. This is the trap of the “want versus need.” Most people will become in love with the form or design of the knife, instead of focusing on the knife’s function. Before you make a purchase and go for the Rambo knife, think about if that particular knife is actually what you need.
If you want to use it for self-defense, go with a double-edged dagger. However, if you need to use it for wilderness survival go with a sturdy bushcraft knife that you can be used for batoning. Buying a knife just because it looks good should not be one of your selection criteria.
Which is the best blade type for my needs?
When buying a knife, most of the times, one will choose a blade only if it looks cool, without knowing that looks can be deceiving and the knife he picked might not be the right one for him. You should at least know why the blade is shaped in a particular style and what it is good for.
The blade is the part of the knife that slices, chops or pierces as measured from the furthest tip to the beginning of the handle. The blade does all the work and it’s important to know how its shape will work in your favor based on the tasks it has to complete.
Related article: The blade type of a perfect knife
How does the handle feel?
Every type of anatomy needs a perfect fit when it comes to gear. Otherwise, you will just make things harder and you will end up injuring yourself if the tool doesn’t fit your proportions. When buying a knife, think about the handle. Try it out to discover how it feels inside your clenched fingers. A thick handle won’t fit as comfortably in a small hand and you won’t have enough precision when using it.
If you go with a handle that is textured exceedingly, you can get blisters during prolonged use. When buying a knife, you should remember that holding it through various grip manipulations to get a feel for the handle is a must. If it doesn’t feel comfortable enough in your hands the smart thing would be to move to the next one.
Which is the best steel for my knife?
When you talk with people about buying a knife, the question you will most often here is: “what type of steel is it made of?”. Although this is an important aspect, most average knife users have a hard time differentiating between the types of steel available on the market. Without reading the label, it would be almost impossible to tell the difference between stainless steel and let’s say carbon steel. Considering that there are various grades of steel and that it is hard to decide on the best option for you.
I recommend doing a little online research. Start by searching “which type of steel is best for” and here add your needs. This is probably one of the most challenging steps you have to cover when buying a knife. You can’t do it without proper research.
Can I legally own it?
The legal issue is also present when buying a knife. You need to figure out if you can legally purchase, possess and most importantly, carry it. I always had troubles figuring out if the blade of my knife is the appropriate size for every day carry and if I’m not breaking any laws when buying a knife. A friend of mine from the survival community pointed out that there is no need to spend hours online searching for the right info and that I should go to the correct source.
If you need to figure out if your knife is legal, you should consult the www.kniferights.org source. I also recommend carrying a printed version of your local laws in your wallet or bag. It will become a good reference for pointing out the rights to carry your knife.
Suggested article: Seven must have survival knife styles for preppers
Does the sheath hold any surprises?
My grandfather used to say that the sheath is to knife as a holster is to pistol. You wouldn’t want a sheath that doesn’t properly secure your knife. Buying a knife requires also to pay attention to the sheath the knife comes with. A suitable sheath should secure your knife in an easily accessible manner and it should even hold a few surprises.
A fitting sheath may feature a friction fit or a click retention fit. It should also allow carrying on the body or survival bag. There are also sheaths that pack a little extra, like a ferro rod, a compass, a whistle and even a sharping mechanism. Look for the extras the sheath may hold when buying a knife and get your money’s worth.
What do people say about my knife?
With the amount of information you can find online, there is no why you won’t be able to find a review or two about the knife you intend on purchasing. It’s always a good idea to check what people are saying about your knife. You shouldn’t rush before you read all the opinions you can find. Buying a knife should also be influenced by the overall experience of the people who bought and used the knife you have your eyes on.
Keep in mind that some feedback may be negative due to buyer’s use error, while some of them may be overly zealous when giving feedback. Try to get a balanced view by reading as many opinions as possible. If most of the input is negative, moving to the second knife on your list should be a no-brainer.
Buying a knife is always an exciting experience for me. Over the years I’ve learned that you need to pay attention to how you spend your money. Mainly if your survival depends on a particular tool. You should never rush into buying a knife without making sure all the above is covered.
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