The ability to cut and shape natural materials in the field is incredibly important in a survival situation. In fact, it is so important that primitive Man was willing to use chipped rocks with sharp edges to get the job done. Fortunately, today we have many different excellent steel alloys that are imminently well suited for constructing survival knives as well as the ability to shape those alloys into some very unique blades that are specifically designed to enhance one characteristic or another of any given knife. Consequently, it could be said that a person’s survival knife is their best friend in a survival situation because, with a properly designed survival knife, a person can cover at least two of the three of the basic elements of survival which consist of creating shelter, obtaining food, and obtaining drinkable water. Plus, a survival knife can also serve to protect a person from indigenous, predatory, wildlife in parts of the world where such animals exist. However, in my opinion, instead of thinking of our survival knives as a single, all-purpose tool, we should instead think of them as a system.
Now, my reason for thinking this way is that, it has been my experience that no matter which of several survival knives I carry, there is always a task that I need to perform for which the knife I have at hand is either not big enough or not heavy enough or vice versa. Therefore, I first started carrying a folding knife to accompany my camp knife so that I could more easily perform small cutting tasks. But, sometimes my camp knife was just not heavy enough and thus, I decided to purchase a heavy-duty chopping tool in the form of a Kershaw Camp 10 (10″ blade made from non-stainless 65 Mn) which is a modern version of a Thai “Enep”. Thus, by carrying three different knives instead of just one, I discovered that I could now tackle any job that I was presented with in the wild. For instance, large, heavy, knives modeled on the Thai and Malaysian Enep, Parang, and Panabas are all specifically designed to chop tough, woody, plants and thus, they embody the best characteristics of both the hatchet and the Machete. Then, in addition to my Enep, I also carry a large, fixed blade, general purpose, field knife that is just long enough to handle light chopping and batoning tasks but, which is also short enough to use as a skinning knife for medium to large game species. Thus, for this niche, I have chosen a Cold Steel Recon Scout knife which has a 7″ blade made from non-stainless, O1, tool steel. Last, I also find it extremely useful to carry a large folding knife as well because it enables me to perform more precision cutting tasks for which my field knife is a bit awkward. Therefore, for this particular task, I have chosen an Ontario Knife Company RAT-1 with a 3 1/2″ stainless blade made from AUS-8.
Consequently, with these three knives at hand, I find that I have the ability to fell small trees, cut saplings, split wood using a baton, build traps and snares, butcher game animals, cut cord and string, and a myriad of other tasks that are required to survive in the wilderness as well as defend myself from dangerous, predatory, animals. Thus, no longer do I think of my survival knife as a single, all-purpose, tool but, instead I think of them as an integrated system in which each knife is necessary to support the others.