> TEOTWAWKI Blog: The Survival Blade



The Survival Blade

By reader request, some of my thoughts about survival/self reliance/TEOTWAWKI knives.

A good knife is an essential part of any survival kit--big or small. And unless we're talking about a micro kit or urban EDC setup, that knife should be a fixed blade, full tang knife. A big, sturdy, nigh-indestructible knife.

Blade length varies upon the rest of your kit and your likely area of operations. For example, if you're carrying an axe, you'll have less need for a big blade to use for chopping duties.

Generally, you'll be looking at blades 3-7 inches in length--there's not a lot of additional utility for a blade beyond 7 inches, and they start to become heavy and unwieldy. A blade at around 5 inches in length will provide a happy medium of ease of carry and use while being big enough to get the job done.

Blade steel is often a big question, but in my experience, I've found that most of the steels used by reputable manufacturers to be of good and useful quality. If you have a favorite blade steel, go wild. If you don't care/don't know the difference, don't worry too much about it.

Also, I would recommend against spending hundreds of dollars on a fixed blade you'll be using for bushcraft, camping and survival/self reliance. It's a tool, and one that you're going to use hard--batoning through logs, chopping out stakes, skinning game, and so on. It will get dinged, scratched and chipped. I would personally have a hard time doing that with a high-dollar custom knife. And really, the money spent on such a such a knife provides little additional utility over a less expensive knife. If you have the money to and it doesn't bother you to ding up an expensive knife, go for it.

For production knives, my two favorite makers are Becker and RAT Cutlery. The both offer bomb-proof blades geared to these kinds of things.

My personal knife is a BK-7, a sturdy 7-inch knife that I would not hesitate to trust my life to. The BK-2/Becker Companion is another good choice--two inches shorter than the BK-7 but thicker and more crowbar-like. Beckers can be had for $60-$75. You may or may not like the factory sheath, and may want to pick up a $30-$40 aftermarket one.

RAT Cutlery offers a wider variety of blade lengths, from the 3-inch RC 3 to the 6-inch RC 6. RAT knives are a bit more expensive, running from $80-$125. They are practical, durable, no-nonsense knives. The RAT Cutlery knives come with high quality kydex sheaths, but you may want to pick up an aftermarket sheath if you're picky.

My preferred knife vendor is New Graham Knives. They have a great selection, good prices, and have great customer service if you need to give them a call.