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The Many Uses Of Survival Knives

July 2, 2012 by  

The Many Uses Of Survival Knives
Be sure to pack a knife in your bug-out bag.

Let’s face the facts: When you pack your bug-out bag, you don’t want to be bogged down with multiple items when one will do the trick.

One of the most valuable and variable tools that you can use in the wild is the survival knife.

Some people call it a hunting knife; but when you are in the wild or in a crisis situation, it takes on the much greater role of helping you survive. It would also be inappropriate to call it a hunting knife, as its uses are considerably more diverse than just hunting.

There are seven major ways to use a knife. Some of them may seem obvious to you; but, surprisingly, not many people know every use for a knife. Even in writing this, my eyes were opened to how important having a knife can be.


Hunting is the most rudimentary reason for owning a knife. It is so easy for us in the modern world to take firearms for granted. There are many scenarios wherein eventually we may not have guns and we will need to survive. In that case, hunting may be accomplished with a knife.

You can use a knife to snare a trap as well as stab your prey. This would take some time to learn how to do, but it works. A knife can also be used to skin the animals that you have killed.


If you need to defend yourself or family against an oncoming attacker, it’s better to have a weapon than not. Knives are one of the lightest and easiest weapons to use against any attacker, whether it be man or beast.

Cutting Wood

Knives are great for whittling and cutting wood. Most survival knives are strong enough to cut through moderately sized logs. You can actually saw fairly well with them. You can also use the knives to shave off pieces of wood that would be good for kindling, which leads us to No. 4.

Starting Fires

Knives are great to start fires with. Making kindling with a knife is just a start. Striking a knife on flint or similar rock creates sparks that can start a fire.

Making Other Weapons

In every war movie or film about fighting in the thick of things when you are “out of options,” the hero almost always makes weapons out of the materials around him using a knife. This would be no different for you in the wild. One of the first things that you can do is make spears, arrows and other simple and sharp weapons using a knife and nature.

Think about hunting in this environment. You are going to want to avoid having to get close to animals; that is an extremely difficult to do. It’s only smart to make other weapons that are more long-range, like spears and arrows. You could also fashion a bow to shoot the arrows with by using your knife.

Slicing Softer Materials

Knives are great for cutting rope, bandages and other materials that you will need to bind things with. It’s easier to have a knife on you than a pair of scissors and a knife.

Knives are also great if you need to cut your own skin to remove something from it. We hope that type of situation doesn’t ever happen, but you never know.

Cutting A Path

You just never know where you’re going to end up when you are in the wild. You may be in the woods or in the thick of things and need to get through in a hurry. Again, it sounds like something from movies like “Rambo,” but knives really can be used for this. After all, you want to see where you’re going and not have to drag through the unknown.

Knives are a must-have for any preparing that you are doing. As you can see from this list, there are many uses for the small, lightweight piece of metal that you can carry with you.

Be safe, be prepared and, as always, be smarter than they think you are.

–Tim Young
Managing Editor, Absolute Rights

Tim Young

is the Managing Editor at Absolute Rights and has been featured on Fox News, Forbes, and The London Daily Telegraph. You can see Tim's latest work by clicking here.

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  • Patriotic Proud Dad

    Could anyone suggest where I can get information on Self Defence using knives? I’ve used knives for hunting, camping, survival training, I’ve even had to perform minor “surgery” on my self while out hunting the stitching was…fun) but I’ve never had to defend myself or family with a knife. Knowing how to use the knife for its first maybe second use as a tool would be very helpful. Anyone?

    • Bud Tugly

      to Patriotic Dad-

      Cold steel ( is a California company run by Lynn Thompson. They offer great tested products at fair prices and even teach courses in using knives for self defense. When I took the course the other students were all military , law enforcement, and private security people.

      My old gov’t knife issued in Laos in 1970 has seen much use and is still as strong as ever. The steel is amazing.

      Gil Hibben is one of America’s finest knife makers.( Gil Hibben is the creator of knives seen in the motion pictures “Rambo III”, ” Rambo” (2008), “The Expendables” (2010) and numerous other movies. He is an inductee into the knife throwers Hall of Fame. Gil makes practical and collectors knives and is truly a class act.

      You should also check out A. G. Russel is a knife designer himself and his catalogue carries knives by many makers with honest descriptions of each item and fair prices.

    • KG

      They also work good for slicing your wrists when the enemy is about to capture you and torture you to death.

    • James Airey

      try Front Sight in NV., they offer ‘edged weapons’ courses

    • dan

      Don’t confuse survival with fighting….fighting should be a last resort especially with a
      knife. Your best defense is always to avoid confrontation and remaining inconspicuous is
      your best bet ….the best thing about knives is that they’re quiet if you need to use them as a weapon. Stealth is natures best example on how to survive predators.

    • Silas Longshot

      Unless you’re looking for one on one lessons from an expert, here’s some info:

      And if you’re looking for a quality knife (over 100 choices):

      • Erick

        There’s no set rule as to have every type of knife. It depends on how you cook and which knievs feel good in your hand. Each person is different, I use knievs for different things that are designed for paring. They are more comfortable for me to use. I recommend that you locate your local restaurant equipment store. Go in and look around, you’ll find better knievs that are truly practical in the kitchen, also they have lots of items to help save time and energy and they will be at a fraction of the cost of a retail store.I would suggest you invest in good baking and sheet pans, just look and see what you find. They will also have items used some times they are in really great shape. and pennies on the dollar

      • ChiEe

        Sick. GB is simply sick. This is like tniyrg to regulate rocks. Seize back your country from the weak, fast, or you will be toast. Sickly, twisted, pathetic weaklings have hijacked what was once a nation feared by it’s enemies and respected by it’s friends.This isn’t about knives, crime, or anything like it. It’s about sickly, pathetic weaklings thinking they can legislate human evolutionary behavior with this sort of fantastical logic.I can’t wait to see your cities burn. You deserve it. You have sullied beyond all comprehension the memories of your grandfathers who stood on the beaches waiting to receive the Nazis with little more than Enfields and shotguns. And this is what you have become.You should be banned from procreating. You will only produce jellyfish.

  • Coitus

    DON’T buy just any cheap ass knife and expect it to do what you want… when you want. Remember, this is a “survival knife” and your very life is gonna depend on it. Buy the best quality, most versatile knife that you are comfortable with. And, guys/girls, this doesn’t have to be something that Daniel Boone would carry, remember versatile.

    • Patriotic Proud Dad

      Yep. You get what you pay for. Don’t think that Monster Chinese hunk of junk with the serrated back and spikes all over it. Best advice I can give is, buy a US made knife for more than one reason. You get better quality, warranty, Customer support. My first knife over 40 years ago was a boy scout type Gerber, then as I got older I got a genuine Ka-Bar. The KaBar is awesome- nearly 40 years old and still going strong. Cheap to replace & tough as good US made steel can be. If you want to know a good honest US knife retailer – msg me.

      • dewayne

        where is the best place to buy a food knife

    • Rafi

      I’m with that Angel guy. I like to cook and I have every knife that comes with that black bag. I only use two. My paring knife and my 8 in. Chinese veltbaege knife (or so that’s what someone called it). It looks like a chef’s knife but curves at the business end. Get good ones, though. In the store you’ll see them from $ 20-$ 50 each. So know what you want to do in the kitchen. These knives are carbon/steel. I don’t know the carbon percentage, sorry. And when you get your block NEVER store them blade side down, always up so to keep your edge. Have fun, I know I do.

    • Idha

      I think that you could pin the blame on either the rash of stbaibng deaths in Britain lately, or sensationalist reporting of same, rather than some nanny state (which term gets used for everything from banning lawn darts to having any sort of food or drug regulation whatsoever). It’s a futile idea, to be sure do they really think that chavs won’t make shivs? but that’s actually a clever design that retains a little point for the only thing that I’d use the tip of a kitchen knife for, which would be to open a package of hot dogs.

  • John

    You can snare a trap?!!

    • turingschild

      I suspect his fingers got ahead of his brain, and Spellcheck saw no problems. lol. You can MAKE a SNARE TRAP with a knife, although I think I’d rather use fishing line. ^^

      • DaveR

        I agree with your proffered help to the author. However, another type of trap can be made with a knife and natural materials commonly available — a deadfall in which a rock is positioned to fall on the prey [small food source animal] and supported by notched sticks one of which also serves as a trigger which could be baited with a piece of fruit or other food attractive to the desired prey. There are many older books on construction of deadfalls. Notably, deadfalls do not require any string or cord to construct.

  • Pete

    Yeah, that struck me as whacky too, “Snare a trap?” and…what does one do with the trap he has snared?

    • John

      And another thing, what kind of an idiot would stick their knife in the ground?

      • Nadzieja Batki

        You can dig out medicinal and food roots.

  • 45caliber

    A knife is one of the most versatile and simple tools ever invented. It has been around longer than any other – and will undoubtedly continue to be used millinia from now.

    • Benjamin Fox

      Sorry, this age hasn’t got that long to go, about 1007 years or about that long?

  • FreedomFighter

    Top 5 Survival Knives (and How to Choose the One That’s Right for You)

    Laus Deo
    Semper Fi

    • Benjamin Fox

      Just wanted to say Semper Fi freind, 1961-1975, God Bless Devil Dog:

    • Neon

      I would ad Zero Tolerance’s ZT350 for a folder and Buck’s Hoodlum for a fixed blade as well. Both American made and top quality. In my mind as good or a touch better than some Cold Steel products. And I like Cold Steel and go to their parking lot sale every year.

  • Smithkowitz

    Buck, Puma, Gerber, Sog, Cold Steel are just some who sell some good products for survival. Some are USA made and some are not. The steel grade is the important part. Go read about Rockwell Grading Scale, there are many websites that explain the ratings and the comparable European grades. Cool looks do not make a good knife, and a good knife doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg (yikes!). An important feature in a non-folding knife is a full tang blade and how the handle is created. The last thing you want is a handle that splits in half or a blade that falls out of the handle. Keep paracord with you, in case the handle breaks, you can wrap the full tang steel with it in a pinch.

    • Bud Tugly

      good points

  • Benjamin Fox

    A knife is good but, a gun is just as good.

    • Benjamin Fox

      I guess it depends on the use? Never take a knife to a gun fight,

      • Jessica

        yeah its fine. the law specifically bans conebalacle weapons, if you have a 6 fixed blade survival knife its legal as its not conebalacle (not really), and not a folding knife of any kind. for survival I have a Ontario Knife 12 saw back machete in my car (part of my car kit) at all times unless where prohibited (such as a school or on government property).and I got some cheap German-clone folding spade too (made in china). I actually did get stuck once and had to dig my car out, and all i could find was a cracked glass mug. nowadays I’m prepared, with a proper digging tool. these are legal in California, where i live. sometimes I have a S W M P folding knife too, and a Norinco AK-47 Bayonet ($12 at a gun show).

    • 45caliber


      “A knife is good but, a gun is just as good.”

      Only in a fight. You can’t carve a bow with a gun. And once the bullets are gone, it is useless except for throwing or a boat anchor.

      • Cliffystones

        You forgot tack hammer.

  • Smithkowitz

    Can’t make a spear with a gun, or cut kindling or build shelter or . . . . .

  • Patriotic Proud Dad

    depends on what type of cooking you are looking at. Colt Steel make a decent range of cooking knives. Just about every good Knife makers have a good knife or two, perfect for camp chores. A lot depends a/ how long you want it to last. cheap ones you could get Cold Steel’s Finn Bear & Roach Belly’s both are very cheap, decent camp cooking/chores knives. For really good quality chef’s knives, Consult a professional.

  • FreedomFighter

    To those that have lost power and water service due to the eastern US storm system:

    Did you prepare?

    If not you are suffering from lack of water, fuel, food and any form of comfort. Take this as a warning —- get prepared NOW!

    Laus Deo
    Semper Fi

    • TIME

      Dear FF,

      A straight to the point post – and one all should take note of.

      Peace and Love

  • TIME

    I disagree with the author, YOU should have at least {3 knifes} all with a differant task.

    #1, A all around general knife with a fixed blade wook tool for cutting anything non human / or amimial. Wear this in your boot.

    #2, A Combat form of knife with a high carbon steel blade and full tang, as well a FIXED blade. Randel is one of the best, and these are not cheep a solid example will set you back an easy $350.00 Plus.
    This type of knife should have a balde with a length of no less than 10″ it should have a case that can be attached to your belt, or pack strap’s.
    This type of knife is used for KILLING only! No other reason at all.
    Really do you want to take a chance of getting aids or some other nasty blood related issue – on top of everything else?

    #3, A knife for food, this can be either a fixed blade or folding knife with a stainless Steel blade only.
    This type of knife can be in your pack, or pocket.

    A Knife is a TOOL and as such you should have a tool for each platform of use. As in {never take a water gun to a Machine Gun Fight!}

    Peace and Love

  • http://PersonalLibertyDigest Jarhead

    Many surplus or new bayonets serve as a knife and other functions. Some surplus AK-47 bayonets and M-16 bayonets can be used as wire cutters when coupled to the attachment on the scabbard. Some also have a serrated edge on one side for sawing small limbs (not logs). The old WWI German Engineer bayonets had one long saw edge and could be used to saw small logs. I have seen surplus AK wire cutter bayonets (insulated scabbard and handle) for as little as $15 at gun shows. For just a heavy duty full tang dig a shallow ditch if you need knife I have seen surplus Turk bayonets made of superb German steel for as little as $10 at gun shows. They exhibit super workmanship.
    I hope this helps if you want a $100 quality knife but only have a $20 budget. Semper Fi.

    • TIME

      Dear Jarhead,

      You’re spot on – as to finding low cost Knife / Bayonet – let alone German steel, at Gun Show’s. Now thats really a Great idea for folks that don’t want to spend a ton of cash.

      A Good knife is worth every cent paid.

      Peace and Love

  • Nytmayr

    Just remember folks, you get what you pay for, so when you are buying something that may save your life (and the lives of your loved ones) don’t be stingy. Buy the best you can find. But Keep It Simple Stupid. Here are a few other quality brands, some are pricy, some are not so much.
    Scrapyard Knives
    Busse Combat
    Bark River Knives

    • Ece

      I really don’t see the prbleom here. What do you use the point of a kitchen knife for? Virtually nothing I would argue. No (of virtually no) kid’s going to go to the trouble of grinding the knife to a point or making a shiv. You’re nuts if you think they are. The point is that most of the stabbings that have happened lately are done with kitchen knives and making that more difficult has to be a good thing. Isn’t this just some sort of American you can’t take my weapons off me overreaction to a fairly reasonable idea?


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