What is the important thing for survivalists?
If you were to be left in the wilderness with only one tool, which one would you choose? Most survivalists would select a sharp, sturdy knife. Everyone recognizes the importance of possessing a reliable blade, but the knowledge of how to put it to use is much less common. A survivalist must learn and practice bushcraft knife skills in order to obtain food, shelter, and security. Just as owning a guitar does not make a person a musician, simply tossing a knife in your bug-out bag will not ensure your survival.
Shelter is usually the first priority when spending time in the great outdoors, but building it from scratch is a Herculean task unless you can cut, whittle, and hew the wood to the correct shape. This takes considerable practice. You’ll have to learn how to shape the wood so that it fits together into a stable structure. In addition, you’ll need to use your knife to cut grasses and vines to be made into cordage. Cutting large bundles of greenery for cover is also more efficient with a knife.
Naturally, food procurement requires knife skills. You’ll first have to hunt or trap an animal and dispatch it quickly and humanely. When you’re skinning the animal, careful cutting with a well-honed blade will minimize damage to the skin and fur, leaving most of it usable as clothing, blankets, or shelter materials. Finally, you’ll need your quality survival knife to butcher the animal. A sharp knife in skilled hands will preserve as much of the meat as possible.
Countless survival implements can be fashioned out of natural materials if you have a sharp knife and the right knowledge. For instance, you can create a set of fire sticks by boring a few holes in a stick with your blade and sharpening a second stick to a point. A bow and arrow is another tool that can only be created with the aid of a knife. These tools and many more are extremely difficult if not impossible to create without a metal blade.
In the wilderness, personal safety is always a concern. Aggressive animals abound in every part of the world, and in a true survival situation, there may very well be humans skulking through the bush with malicious intent. The survivalist must always have a means of fighting back. Humans evolved as tool users, and a knife is an excellent tool for self-defense in the right hands. Bolster your chances of survival by studying and practicing knife combat.
All of these skills are necessary to best utilize your knife in the struggle for survival, but perhaps the most neglected skill is that of knife maintenance. If you only have one knife, taking proper care of it is crucial. Get yourself in the habit of keeping your knife clean and dry to prevent corrosion of the blade. Don’t jeopardize your knife by using it as a hammer, shovel, or pry bar; acceptable substitutes for all of these can be devised out of rocks and wood. Also, take notice of smooth stones that could be used to sharpen your knife. A knife well cared for will provide you with a lifetime of service even in the wilderness.
There’s simply no substitute for a well-built knife and the knowledge of how to utilize it to the fullest extent. Every survivalist should purchase a rugged knife and learn how to build shelter, get the next meal, and protect themselves. Practice these skills every chance you get, and converse with other survivalists to learn their techniques. Without this essential tool and the right know-how, even the best laid survival plans could go awry.