Unless you’re a critical survival situation, you have no reason to make some of the mistakes below. IN theory, your survival knife should last a lifetime.
Without further ado, let’s see what the biggest survival mistakes you can make with your knife are.
Provided you actually use your knife (and you most definitely should), you also need to make sure you keep it in shape. Sharpening it and oiling it are two of the most important things you must do to maintain it. The key to sharpening your knife is to do it at the right angle.
Now, cleaning it should be done every time you use it, sharpening should be done less often. For example, you can do it when you check your survival stockpile and gear to make sure your food hasn’t spoiled and that all your tools and gear still work.
The simplest way to sharpen a knife is using a whetstone. It’s cheap and you can find plenty of youtubes showing you how to do it. Two places you shouldn’t forget is to clean the handle and the portion where the handle meets the blade.
Messing with the Tip of the Blade
That’s exactly what I did when I tried to open a bottle. The knife still works, sure, but I learned my lesson.
Another way you can damage it is to split wood. That’s exactly what a friend of mine did last time we went to the woods. He had this new bushcraft knife that was advertised it can do this. Or maybe he saw it on youtube, I can’t remember.
Still, just because you can do it, that doesn’t mean you should. A good knife is expensive, why would you want to abuse it? Sure, it’s useful to learn how to use it to split wood should you need to do it in a survival situation, but it can’t turn into a habit.
By the way, in case you want to fix a broken tip, here’s a video showing you how to do it:
If that surface is glass, stone or the palm of your hand, you may want to reconsider. The first two will damage your knife, the 3rd one will damage you.
Not Knowing How to Use It
I’ve used knives all my life, what do you mean I don’t know how to use it?
Well, there are best practices for most things, including knives. Plus, certain survival situations require that you’re extra careful with it. Attaching it to a pole and using it as a spear for fishing, for instance, may sound like a fun thing to try, but I wouldn’t do it unless I really really had to. Not with my main knife, at least. Don’t use it to open cans or bottles, either.
Furthermore, please be advised of what your knife can and cannot do. Many knives are advertised as survival knives but not all of them are able to cut certain things or split logs.
Using it to Start Fires
Unless your knife has a built-in fire-starter, you should definitely not use it like that. Not unless you’re in a survival situation and don’t have a choice, of course. The thing is, you can damage the blade when you use it with a ferro rod. So please don’t.
Not Choosing the Right One
Perhaps I should have started with this, but you need to know what you need before you spend your money on it. This means having basic preparedness knowledge and knowing the situations in which you intend to use it.
For example, if you’re an urban prepper, you might not need a large bushcraft knife. Your bug out bag is probably smaller too, so a smaller one such as those made by Mora will do.
Now, even if you live in the city, you still can’t rely on a folding knife. Sure having one is great but you cannot ever consider it as being a survival knife. It’s much too small for that and you won’t be able to properly do many of the tasks you may need. They will generally take longer and you’ll surely ruin it in the process.
So figure out whether you’ll be bugging in or out, figure out whether you want a standard BOB or an inch bag, all the activities you’ll do in the wilderness and you’re well on your way to finding the right knife for you.
Not Having a Back-up Knife
Contrary to what I’ve been saying throughout the article, the reason you might need a second knife is because you might, in fat, use it in ways in which it’s not intended. You want to protect your main (and more expensive) blade, so having a second blade could prove useful for things like spearfishing, splitting wood and what not.
Ok, so these are the main mistakes you can make. Have you made mistakes with your survival knife that aren’t in the list (probably related to misuse)? Please share below.