Survival Knife Skills You Might Need in an Emergency

Survival Knife Skills You Might Need in an Emergency
Survival Knife Skills You Might Need in an Emergency

A trusty survival knife is more than just a tool – it’s a lifeline in critical situations. Whether you’re exploring the great outdoors, preparing for unforeseen disasters, or simply seeking self-reliance, mastering survival knife skills is a must. From basic techniques to advanced strategies, this guide will equip you with essential knowledge to navigate emergencies with confidence.

The Importance of Survival Knife Skills

In an emergency, your survival knife becomes an extension of yourself. It’s your means of building shelter, procuring food, and defending yourself. Acquiring the right skills ensures you can use this versatile tool effectively and safely.

What Can You Do With a Survival Knife?

A survival knife is a versatile tool with a wide range of uses. In outdoor scenarios, it can help build shelters by cutting branches and fashioning supports. It’s crucial for food procurement, enabling you to clean fish, dress game, and prepare food. 

The knife aids in firecraft, as its spine can be used to strike flint and create sparks for ignition. It’s invaluable for crafting tools and utensils, from carving stakes to fashioning snares. Additionally, a survival knife offers protection and can be used for self-defense if necessary. With its various functions, a survival knife is a true lifeline in critical situations.

What’s a Knife Used for in a Medical Emergency?

In a medical emergency, a knife can serve as a vital tool. It can quickly cut through clothing to access wounds for assessment and treatment. It’s useful for cutting bandages and medical tape, as well as creating splints or slings. However, caution is required to prevent further injury. Sterilizing the knife before use is essential to minimize infection risk. A knife can also be used to fashion makeshift tools or items needed for medical care, enhancing the chances of effective response and treatment in emergency situations.

Does a Survival Knife Need to Be Re-Ground?

Yes, a survival knife may need to be re-ground over time. The blade’s edge can dull due to use and wear. Re-grinding involves reshaping the edge to restore its sharpness. It’s recommended to use specialized sharpening tools like whetstones for sharpening systems. 

However, excessive re-grinding can alter the blade’s geometry, impacting its performance. Regular maintenance and proper use can extend the time between re-grinding sessions. A sharp survival knife is essential for its intended tasks, ensuring efficiency, safety, and effectiveness in various situations.

Top 6 Essential Survival Knife Skills in 2023

1. Knife Selection and Maintenance

Choosing the right survival knife is paramount. Opt for a fixed-blade knife with a sturdy tang for durability. Regular maintenance, including cleaning, sharpening, and oiling, ensures your knife is always ready for action.

2. Safe Handling and Grips

Proper handling prevents accidents. Master different grips like the hammer grip for chopping and the precision grip for detailed work. Always maintain control of the knife, keeping your fingers away from the blade.

3. Firecraft

A survival knife is your key to starting fires. Use the spine of the blade and a piece of flint to create sparks, igniting tinder. The edge can also be used to create fine wood shavings for fire-starting.

4. Shelter Building

With your knife, you can fashion shelter from natural materials. Learn to cut branches, create supports, and secure your shelter’s framework. A well-built shelter is essential for preserving body heat and staying protected.

5. Tool Creation

Your survival knife can craft essential tools. Whittle wooden stakes, fashion snares, or carve utensils for cooking. The right skills transform your knife into a multi-purpose toolkit.

6. Food Procurement

From cleaning fish to dressing game, your knife is vital for food preparation. Learn to gut, fillet, and skin animals efficiently. You can also improvise traps and snares to catch small game.

3 Advanced Survival Knife Techniques

1. Notching and Batoning

Notching involves cutting small grooves in wood for securing ropes or creating traps. Batoning is the art of using your knife and a baton to split wood, useful for creating kindling.

2. Featherstick Making

A featherstick is a tinder bundle made by creating fine wood shavings on a stick. This advanced technique enhances fire-starting success, even in damp conditions.

3. Carving and Craftsmanship

Refine your knife skills by practicing detailed carving. Craft spoons, bowls, and other utensils that contribute to comfort and survival.


Q1: What’s the best way to keep a survival knife sharp? 

A1: Regularly sharpen your knife using a whetstone or a sharpening system. A sharp blade is safer and more effective.

Q2: Can I use a folding knife for survival purposes? 

A2: While folding knives have their uses, a fixed-blade knife offers more strength and versatility for survival tasks.

Q3: How do I protect my knife from rust and corrosion? 

A3: Clean your knife after use, dry it thoroughly, and apply a thin coat of oil to prevent rust.

Q4: Are there specific laws regarding carrying a survival knife? 

A4: Laws vary by location. Research local regulations to ensure you’re compliant when carrying a survival knife.


Your survival knife isn’t just a last-resort tool; it’s a means of empowerment. By mastering these skills, you’re prepared to tackle challenges that range from building shelter to procuring sustenance. Equip yourself with knowledge, practice diligently, and embrace the power of survival knife skills. Remember, it’s not just the tool that matters – it’s the skillful hands that wield it.