If you’re no survival veteran it can be easy to fall for the hogwash ads from the knife manufacturers.
You want to be cool and prepared for whatever comes your way. You’ve seen Bear Grylls on TV and want to be just like him.
I get it… but not all survival knife features are actually useful in an emergency.
Some even reduce your knife’s strength and durability which is a no-go for any real survival situation.
If you see a knife with any of the three features from below don’t just walk away.
Run and never look back because you do not want to bet your life on shitty manufacturing and false advertising.
#1 Cheap Compass
If there’s a cheap compass attached to the rear of your knife you know it’s a toy not a real knife.
First you don’t want to run around with your knife unsheathed while you search for directions.
Second these compasses are cheap China garbage and you could have a far superior model hanging from your hip belt for less than $10.
The biggest problem with a compass survival knife though is that they are usually fixed to your knife’s butt and once you try to smash the rear of your knife with a piece of wood or a stone – to build a survival shelter or cut firewood for example – you’re guaranteed to smash your compass into pieces.
#2 Hollow Handle
To buy a survival knife with a hollow handle is an outright life-threatening choice.
By definition a hollow handle survival knife can’t have a full tang.
That combined with the absence of a solid core inside the handle makes for a knife that is about as strong as a piece of paper.
As a result your knife will gladly break the very first time you subject it to heavy use.
The tiny additional storage space is simply not worth the huge reduction in knife strength and durability.
Worse, when you break, lose or drop your knife into water, you can say goodbye to whatever you’ve stored inside the handle.
Many amateurs put matches in their hollow handle and once you lose your knife you’ll have lost your primary fire starter AND your backup. How stupid is that?!
#3 Serrated Blade
There’s a big debate if survival knives should have serrated blades or not.
I’d advise you to buy one without serration and go for a straight blade instead.
Surprisingly any real outdoor veteran will tell you that the straight edge of your blade will cut rope, wood and even metal just as well as a serrated blade, which makes them kind of pointless.
The real problem though is that serrated blades are almost impossible to sharpen without special tools and you’ll end up with half of your knife being dull and unusable.
Now, if you really want to survive in the wilderness you’ll avoid these three features like the plague.
That said if you just care about looking like Rambo, then, well, go for it ;-)…