Thursday, August 12, 2010

Selecting a Blade

The second most important tool to bring into the wild (after a steely will) is a quality blade. Loyal readers will have noted a disparity between the sizes of blades used to cut open an animal before crawling inside to survive a storm in the wild. Simon, from The Last Crossing, drove his "sixteen-inch blade into the horse's chest" and used it to saw "the belly down to the legs." Essentially he unsheathed his pirate sword and went to work, hacking and sawing. Bear, on the other hand, used a slightly overgrown pocketknife, valuing precision over brute force as he separated the camel's innards from the camel.

Whenever I embark on an expedition I'm faced with my own conflicting desires for a blade small enough to hurl end-over-end at trees and large enough to wave through the air with a satisfying swish swish. But, as the good people at Survival Topics note, "Choosing the right survival knife is more than an exercise in individuality--your very life may hinge upon its proper selection."

In general, I suggest a full tang, drop point blade approximately six-inches long that has been tested to cut through airplanes and oil drums (knife manufacturers presumably test on these items because of the large number of consumers who slice their way into and out of airplanes and oil drums each year.) The Becker BK10 is a good example. Fallkniven also makes an excellent model. But, ultimately, the choice is yours. Your knife should make you happy and confident, whether you're wandering the aisles of your local grocery store, secure in the knowledge that you could slice that can of chili clean in half, or if you're stranded in the wild, a storm brewing, surveying the carcass of a moose for an entry point.


  1. yup, check out

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  3. My personal philosophy..own as many different knives as possible. This way I can be assured I always have the right knife for the job. In the case of COACISSW I concur with choice of a full tang drop point blade, but also think that a partially serrated blade is essential for occasion where cutting through the chest bone is necessary to open up the cavity.

  4. The samurai sword is the obvious choice here. "Revered" for "its pitiless beauty and deadly precision", it is also "the ultimate cutting weapon", ideal for slicing open any animal, including, apparently, those made of iron, like mecha-godzilla. Check out this absurdly stupid / fascinatingly dull documentary: