The Versatile Uses of Knives
If you are a prepper or survival enthusiast, by now it must be obvious that a knife is one of the most essential tools in a prepper’s apparatus, so I’m sure you have at least one close to you, while maybe a couple of others in various locations waiting for their purpose to be fulfilled.
A knife might have several similarly obvious purposes, such as for eating and cutting, or as a tool of deterring attackers. Meanwhile, even us preppers do forget about the real versatility and the range of possibilities that any simple knife could possess, let alone the state-of-the-art hunting knives many of us prefer.
Now, let’s talk about some ideas that are neither new, nor groundbreaking, but the sheer necessity of a critical moment.
We are all preparing for critical moments. That’s what preppers do, right? But I would like to talk about more of the everyday possibilities of knives, useful in any homestead, or when the world goes down that road, even in any critical survival situation.
This is not a bullet point list, this is food for thought. Let’s get into it.
When I’m home, I always have at least a pocket-knife or even a fixed blade full tang at hand. Since I’m homesteading, it’s a necessity: There is always something to trim or cut, or even more often to draw a cut line in wood.
The fixed blade I often use for cutting off small branches or vines from trees and shrubs, to simply make way, For me that is the primary purpose of a knife, since a variety of its uses comes down to that: making way for you.
You might think of it as a herald of you arriving, and this is the way it should be.
You don’t have to have a machete to bushwack your way out of a thick forest (or your back yard), if you have any kind of knife at hand. Sure, it’s easier, but it shouldn’t be about having it easy.
I crawled and cut my way out of the bush many times with a simple blade and what I’ve found out is that these simple tools that we are so fond of, they love this and back in the Bronze Age they must have been invented for the same: guiding your hand and making way for you in many terms.
Knives aren’t made for big moves, like swinging your arms in front of you like a sword. They aren't swords.
Knives are more nuanced precision tools, so when you are practically cornered, you have no space, a knife should be the perfect tool for you to help you get out.
Here is why I would never recommend using a knife as a tool of self-defense: Having nothing but a knife is a recipe for getting cornered.
Being able to use it only in your arm’s reach, it is extremely inadequate to reflect the strength and power one is required to demonstrate in dire circumstances. If you are already in a tight spot, that only proves that you were not able to conquer over the situation.
My point is, that you have to also see the restrictions of a knife, and what it is really made for.
There are hunting knives, but you don’t typically hunt with a knife.
You use long-range weapons or traps, all of which provides a distance from the target.
Spears were one of the most effective weapons for Hoplite soldiers in ancient Greece
What you can actually do with a knife is to make weapons that are capable of inflicting harm farther then your arm’s reach.
One of the most ancient weapons is the spear, and it’s practically still in use in the form of bayonets that are essentially knives attached to the muzzle of a rifle.
Considering a situation when you are cornered and you have no other means available, a spear could be just as useful. It’s quick to draw, far reaching, thus you are able to maintain distance from your attackers and create confusion to get away.
For this, a sharp knife similarly attached to a stick as to a rifle would perfectly do the job.
But if you fear your most precious tool in times of need, then you could just as easily sharpen one end of the stick, and use it as the explicit demonstration that you don’t want to share your space with any others than your loved ones around you.
We could easily make a list of hundreds of uses for a knife, but I think those kind of lists are less useful than they seem to be.
They serve up solutions on a plate, while the point should be always to obtain an intuitive mindset with which you could come up with solutions by yourself in any given moment or situation.
I have a KA-BAR Becker BK2 Campanion on my side every time I’m going hiking or camping. It’s easy to fall in love with a knife that feels like it has a weight to every move you make with it.
My KA-BAR Becker is no different, but even a cutting edge knife can’t help you if you are not edge on yourself.
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The Ka-Bar Becker Companion BK2 was designed for all of those who camp, hunt or spend time afield. This model is built with a 1095 Cro-Van steel blade in a black finish and a black zytel handle.
The Companion offers a versatile design that excels at splitting kindling, skinning game, camp cooking prep and more. Add an all around outdoor knife to your gear with the Ka-Bar Becker Companion.
Now once again, let’s talk about making way with a knife.
Example: You are in a forest you do not know. The only thing you know that there is a safe place on the other side, so you have to either get around it, or cross it. You decide to cross it.
The idea is always to go the easiest way: straight forward, clean and simple. But when you are in distress, either alone or with your family, it won’t be clean and simple.
You will possibly meet others, or even come across game that you could be tempted to hunt for.
Perhaps you will prefer to forage around the bushes for berries and mushrooms.
Also the sun always sets earlier in the forest, and you might be in need of a shelter sooner than in the open.
Meat, berries and shelter are not sowed across the forest in a nice straight line.
I only hope that your brain was ticking how you could make use for your knife in all these situations from wood working, starting a fire using a feather stick, creating shelter, cutting down branches and even eating those porcinis.
But after wondering around this forest you don’t know, how will you know where are you and where you should be heading to?
One simple trick I use especially in unknown territories is to mark my way.
I can’t use rocks or the forest floor, since those could easily be moved, but a simple carving, not too deep into a tree’s trunk or even a large enough rock will always be there as a personal compass to go back to.
And every time I decide to change course, I mark that spot, indicating the directions of where I came from, where I was heading and of the detour.
The Fire of a Survivor
If you know your way through even the most unfamiliar places, you are okay. But a survivor shouldn’t rest content with being okay.
I feel that there is something innate in every man that draws us to fire. Its warmth, its light makes us feel safe and secured, so it is no surprise that being able to make a fire is still regarded if not an essential but a useful skill even in the 21th century.
No knife can give you that safety that a simple campfire could provide. So when I’m all alone in a dark forest just before sundown, my campsite already all set up, I have a special trick I do to get the fire going just a little bit quicker than usual.
I get my KA-BAR and make a wide, sloppy pit, usually at least with a diameter of 3-4 feet. The deepest point should be at the center of the circle where you will need to build your fire.
A full-tang knife such as this one with its blade being as thick as 0.25” and having a width of 1.625”, it’s fully capable of digging into even hard and compact soil, however you should later not forget about taking care of its precious blade for doing the hard work for you.
If you build your fire this way, the cold air will move downwards, fueling the fire with fresh oxygen and providing bigger, warmer and lighter flames than usual.
One more advantage of this method is that it provides you with a warmer than usual ground to sleep on. Find small and large stones in the area and when it’s getting late, just roll them into the dying fire and let them warm up. Then cover the stony pit with dirt and place your tent or bivy above. You’ll find the ground warm, which means a lot during a chilly night in the wild.
The next day you should find a nearby stream and a couple of stones with flat sides that you could use as whetstones for sharpening your knife.
This is essential, since batoning wood and digging through the ground (with many small rocks in it) will surely be hard on the blade if you leave it unattended.
The most useful thing any knife can offer you is freedom, but no knife can save you if you are not prepared to use it right. Since that freedom is made up of both the blade and all of the things you can think of using it.
For this reason, if I had to choose a single tool to have on a deserted island, it would be a heavy duty fixed blade knife that has both the power and the precision I need to be able to more than just wonder around and barely survive, but to be able to become anything I ever wanted to.
And Preppers, what do You want to become?
by Ethan Logan at AmericaSurvival.org