The knife for survival


For all those who move for a camping away from Europe, for a trip away or in a hostile area without the comforts and comforts we are accustomed to, it is always advisable to use suitable equipment and clothing for the area in which you will go.
An indispensable item that should never be missing in your surviving equipment is definitely the famous THOUSAND USES KNIFE OF SURVIVAL.

Owning a cutting tool in a survival situation can certainly make the difference, in the market there are different types and costs and it is easy to get lost in the purchase. We can affirm that in case of necessity any tool able to cut will be useful (even a table knife). But if we want to buy one we must take into account some things, one in the first place is:

What should we do? Fishing, hunting, mushrooms, survival

but also

Where should we go? Forest, mountain, savannah, jungle …

Surely the factors to be taken into consideration, besides what we want to spend, are:

  • Blade material: among the best materials we find stainless steel (inox) and carbon (carbon steel). The blade must be possibly anti-rust; as far as stainless steel blades are concerned, this problem does not exist (this type of steel does not rust if not in contact with harmful products), while iron and carbon rust.

The carbon blade is light and very resistant, it sharpens quickly but does not keep sharpening for a long time. The stainless steel blades, on the other hand, are more hygienic, sterile and resist corrosion in the most diverse conditions.

  • The hardening of the blade: the tempering is very important as it determines the hardness and consistency of the blade, therefore also the duration and the quality of the sharpening. If a blade is not hardened sufficiently, it will not sharpen well but it will be more flexible, if it has been hardened too much it will tend to chip easily or break if used improperly (for example to pry) but it will be harder and sharper. Metal hardening during production can be controlled using consistency scales. The Rockwell scale is used to determine the hardness of the materials, for example a blade between 55 and 58 Rock-well (HRC) is a good compromise for a hunter or hunter knife. There is also a Vickers scale to measure hardness.
  • Shape, size, dimensions and weight: a good knife should be light but strong, not too large, comfortable and not too long. Although these specifications may not be good for some uses; for example in tropical areas machetes are used (60 cm and more of blade) and large double-edged blades. The ideal size of a blade is from 8 cm up to 15 cm max 20.

To avoid that the knife breaks in half at the height of the handle it is always better to choose knives where the blade and the handle are a whole (ie a single piece). The shank must be coated with a resistant and handy handle, better if screwed and not glued so that it can easily be replaced. The wooden handle is certainly the most proposed even if there are materials such as micarta, g10, g11, FR-4 and FR-5 equally excellent. Avoid knives with metal or poor plastic grips. The knife must adapt perfectly to the shape of your hand to be as effective as possible (this is also why the choice of the knife is a totally subjective and personal thing).


if we want a multi-purpose knife that includes useful accessories for survival; we can opt for a product that contains at least most of these objects:

  • compass,
  • water purifying tablets (optional),
  • fishing gear (nylon thread and hooks),
  • windproof and anti-humid phosphorus matches,
  • tinderbox,
  • hacksaw,
  • blade,
  • altimeter (optional),
  • mini harpoon (optional),
  • mini lance (optional),
  • tourniquet (very useful, for example hooked to a forked branch you can make a
  • slingshot to hunt small animals),
  • whistle,
  • magnifying glass to light the fire (optional),
  • gavel (optional),
  • shear cutter,
  • screwdriver (optional),
  • stone for sharpening or sandpaper,
  • needle and suture thread,
  • scalpel (optional),
  • sewing set (needle, a few meters of cotton or nylon thread, some buttons, a safety pin).
  • magnesium bar (produces sparks to ignite the kelp by rubbing against the blade of the knife),
  • morse alphabet table with international ground-air signaling code,
  • “ELIOGRAPH” signal mirror (even if the blade of the clean knife can still reflect the sunlight),
  • behind the scabbard can also be printed a ruler with different units of measurement useful for any measurements,
  • rope (at least 10 meters, tied around the sheath),
  • in addition to the knife, an additional multi-purpose blade can be crammed into the
  • scabbard, which can be used as a harpoon, corkscrew, cutters; and if holes are present, they can be used to tie it to a stick and create a lance.

A complete knife should contain almost all these objects crammed between scabbard and inside handle.

The sheath, for example, can be covered with a military lanyard, perhaps useful for replacing worn shoe laces, making traps, making ligatures useful for the construction of various tools, to build a shelter. Remember that knowing how to do knots well is very important, take a look at this article: how to make knots.
The blade can also have a serrated part on one side, which can come in handy as a saw.

A good knife has a non-slip handle and a watertight upper compartment to put inside objects that can be damaged in contact with water (objects can also be placed in plastic bags with hermetic seal).

In a sudden survival situation we could hardly be equipped with a thousandusi knife, in this case the need sharpens the wits. Depending on where we are we can make a cutting tool by sharpening a bamboo splinter or using a pointed stone. Waste can be an excellent exploitable resource, now with global pollution we can find trash in every part of the globe, for example from a can you get a very useful sharpened sheet as well as from a bottle you can get a shard of sharp glass . The basic rule is to observe, have an eye for detail, use ingenuity but also imagination … with these premises we can exploit the territory around us and the elements inside it at will.


– Store the blade carefully, removing stains, organic or vegetable sticky substances and rust (a rusty knife loses its effectiveness in cutting, also if neglected rust will literally eat your knife).

– Always keep the knife clean, dry and sharp and do not use it on things that could damage it or break it.

-Do not leave it in contact with the ground, moisture and dirt will ruin it.

– Keep away from the fire.

– We can clean it using ash or sand. Always clean it after each use will greatly increase the longevity of our knife, after each use clean the blade, dry it and close it again. Put some oil on the joints; in this way the blades will open more easily.

– At hard temperatures the blade tends to become more fragile, keep it close to the heat of the body to prevent it from freezing, avoid sharp blows against hard objects or the blade will break. Also avoid sudden changes in temperature (if you put a frozen blade on the flames, it could break). If the blade is too cold you could stick to the skin, if you do not try to pull the object because you would tear the skin causing large wounds, in this case the ideal solution and urinate or pour a hot liquid gradually on the area until you off.

– Sharpening must be moderate but done frequently.

To sharpen you can use a stone, the blade of another knife or anyway a metal object. The best stone to use is the porous one (gray and siliceous pebbles are better than quartz, for example the smooth stones taken in a river bed are excellent), if instead you have a professional stone for sharpening or two ceramic rods (a raw and polished) well come. Before sharpening lubricate the blade using vegetable oil, water or saliva is also good.

– If the handle breaks or the blade breaks, do not despair; in a survival situation nothing is thrown away; the blade, even if broken in half, can still be exploited to make cuts, while if the handle yields it can be replaced by inserting the blade into a piece of hard and resistant wood or rebuilding it by heating plastic, provided that you find it.