“A knifeless man is a lifeless man,” believes Tony Nester, an Arizona–based survival expert. Since time immemorial, survival knives have been considered indispensible tools for survival in adverse conditions. Even “During WWII, survival knives were issued to aircraft crew, as it was a real possibility that these personnel might be shot down over wilderness or behind enemy lines,” states Wikipedia.
What Are Survival Knives
Survival knives are “knives intended for survival purposes in a wilderness environment, often in an emergency situation when the user has lost most of his/her main equipment,” Wikipedia notes, adding, that while- some “survival knives are heavy-bladed and thick; others are lightweight or fold in order to save weight and bulk as part of a larger survival kit.” These knives are generally carried by hunters, hikers, and outdoor sport enthusiasts, given their dual nature of being both- a weapon and a tool!
The Top 6 Uses of Survival Knives
Referring to an incident -where a hiker was killed by a mountain goat-Anni Sofferet, notes: “A goat, which should pose no threat to man’s cunning, can ram a man in the thigh with its horns and inflict a fatal wound, unless the man has the necessary self defense tools to ward off the attack and save himself in case of injury.” Personal Liberty Digest also stresses the use of survival knives for the purpose of self defense. It observes that it is “better to have a weapon than not. Knives are one of the lightest and easiest weapons to use against any attacker, whether it be man or beast.” Addressing the issue of ‘man versus wild’- Sofferet states that survival knives are “essential not only for self defense against wildlife but for any survival situation. If your hiking shoe becomes jammed between two rocks in the river, you can cut the laces and save yourself from drowning. In the case of an attack by wildlife, a knife that you can pull out instantly could make the difference between a skirmish and a tragedy.”
Hunting out Food
In the wilderness and adverse conditions, survival knives are also used to find food. “Depending on your extra reserves it takes a month or more to starve to death. Conserve energy and water by staying put rather than foraging,” as “The fasting body taps into its fuel stores,” declares Nester. “In survival situations, people can last 25 percent longer this way compared to those who burn calories looking for a measly morsel,” he observes. In such extreme circumstances, Backpacker advises- “Grazing on nearby food like: acorns and other tree nuts; ants and ant larvae; grasshoppers and crickets and fish.”
One among the many uses of survival knives- is “looking for water”. The best places to search for water are in “shady areas at the base of north-facing cliffs; islands of green vegetation; rock depressions; tree trunk cavities; undercut banks or shady, outer bends in dry riverbeds; and anywhere you see birds and insects gathering,” Backpacker advises. If you still can’t find it there-“Head down gullies, or dig wells with your knife: Find a spot that’s likely near the water table such as a riverbed. Dig a few holes, about two feet deep, and wait five minutes. If water seeps up, line the hole with pebbles so it’s less porous. Sop up mud with a shirt and wring the moisture into your mouth,” it advises.
“While a clumsy, unpracticed hand can do as much damage as good with a knife in a medical emergency,” survival knives are “versatile in first-aid as in basic campsite routines” and are “useful for cutting improvised bandages, for example, or—with a sterilized tip—draining pernicious blisters,” informs the ‘Pathfinder Survival Blog.’
Survival knives are often used as substitutes for an axe or a hatchet. “…a large, full-tang model with a flat edge to the blade back can be a formidable wood-splitting or cutting implement. The design allows you to use a piece of wood or mallet to pound the keen edge into a log or sapling. This is often called batoning,” states the Blog.
The ‘Pathfinder Survival Blog’ declares that the sixth important use of survival knives is in-the “manufacture of other, more specialized survival gear.” “From simple throwing sticks and spears to the more elaborate quickie bow and atlatl, primitive survival weapons provide efficient tools for acquiring food sources in the outdoors. When combined with knowledge of traps, snares, game animals, and wild edible plants, there is rarely an occasion when survival food cannot be acquired,” asserts the Alderness Wilderness College in this context.
This article was written by Andrea Williams, an emergency preparedness trainer, who believes that survival knives can be a life-saver, in the wilderness and in a big dangerous city.