How To Use Survival Knives

Is there any cooler item of outdoors gear than a big, fixed-blade knife? Or a more misunderstood one? Let’s look at what you actually use them for and how to do so.

Since Rambo’s up top, let’s start with some common big knife misconceptions: They’re not for killin’ people or animals, those saws on the back don’t work (and actually weaken the knife) and you don’t want one of those nifty hollow-handled ones with a compass and fishing kit or whatever inside.

What a big knife actually is, is a convenient, multi-purpose tool for the outdoors that can perform the tasks of several larger, more specialized tools, but can be worn on the hip, making it much easier to carry than, say, an axe.

Let’s be clear, we’re talking about fixed-blade knives here. It may sound counterintuitive, but fixed blades are safer than their folding counterparts. That’s because they’re enormously strong and will never fold back on you, cutting your fingers and hands. That strength and simplicity — no moving parts — also makes them ideal for use outdoors. Folders all use complicated mechanisms that can become jammed with dirt or rust if exposed to water. A good fixed blade will outlive you and its design means it just can’t fold back on your hands.

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