emergency shelter.
snowy field and bare trees
Scott Falls, Alger County, Michigan
A forest bed of wild leeks
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Basic Survival Skills

Survival Knives

Survival knives are among one of the most important and versatile pieces of equipment to have when venturing into the wilderness. Anything from the sharpened edge of soldiers' dog tags to a machete can be used and work to your benefit in a survival situation, but they are just substitutes for a good knife.

Ideally you should have more than one: one that you keep in your pocket and a larger one for your survival kit.  Your knives perform a multitude of tasks that include but are not limited to:
Cutting cordage
Making kindling for fire
Cutting materials for shelter
Blazing a trail for yourself or rescuers
Skinning and quartering animals
Dressing and cutting hides, just to name a few
Things to look for in a good survival knife are:
4 1/2 to 5" blade with a comfortable handle
Full tang, for strength
High carbon steel, for its ability to generate a spark
3/16 to 1/4" thickness, for durability
Skandinavian Grind, for ease of sharpening in the field
This configuration is very verssatile.  It can be used for fine carving, skinning and dressing hides carving meat, processing or even splitting wood when used in combination with a billot.
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The harder the steel of your blade, the more difficult it will be to work up an edge in the wilderness. If it is too soft it will not hold the edge you do put on it.
High carbon steel is generally the easiest to work with, but has the disadvantage of rusting unless maintained regularly.
Keep your high carbon blades sharp and oiled with light machine oil. Most commercial animal fats contain salt and will cause rust.
Include a sharpener in your survival kit. (You want to keep a serviceable edge on your blades.)
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Your equipment will take good care of you if you take care of it.  To learn how to keep an edge on that new knife or to sharpen an old one, visit our knife sharpening page and watch the video.

Survival knives should be chosen with care.  It all comes down to personal preference based on your own experience.
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The following recipes contain ingredients found in the wilderness
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