4 Essential Survival Knife Skills to Know

Survival knives are excellent tools that will help you stay safe and stay alive, regardless of the environment. Whether you’re venturing into the wilderness or you’re navigating the urban jungle, survival knives are must-have items to carry with you at all times.

There are so many skills to learn in order to effectively use your survival knife that it can get overwhelming on figuring out where to start. Start with these 4 essential survival knife skills that everyone should know in order to competently employ their knife in order to survive.

1.   Making Kindling for Fires

Kindling is the small bits of wood shavings that help fires get going. Have you ever tried to start a campfire without kindling? It’s nearly impossible!

Use your survival knife to create wood shavings that you can use to make a fire quickly. Start by finding a small, dry stick and begin widdling away small pieces of wood to make a small pile of wood shavings. The more kindling you have, the better.

By creating this small pile of wood shavings, you’ll be much more likely to start a fire on your first try, which is essential when you’re trying to conserve resources like matches and lighters.

2.   Creating a Swedish Torch

If you’re in a survival situation, you’ll likely need to conserve resources. An essential resource is firewood. Firewood offers you heat for warmth as well as a way of cooking meat. How do you make your firewood last?

A great way to do this is by making a Swedish Torch. Swedish torches are very easy to make and can burn for hours.

  1. Start by locating a piece of wood that is at least 3 inches in diameter and at least 4-5 inches long.
  2. Next, stand the wood up so that it is vertical.
  3. Place the blade of your knife against the top of the wood.
  4. With a mallet or hammer (if you aren’t near one of these items, improvise with a large piece of wood or a rock) hit the top of your knife.
  5. Continue hitting the knife until you have created a deep cut in the wood, but be careful to not go all the way to the bottom.
  6. Once you have a deep cut, you’ll want to make an additional cut so that it forms a cross at the top. Repeat the previous steps to create another deep cut in the wood.
  7. Wedge some small sticks in the cuts you have made to open up the inside of the wood.
  8. Create some wood shavings with your knife and place them inside of the cuts you made.
  9. Light the wood shavings to create your torch.

By making a Swedish Torch, you’ll create a heat source that will last for hours. If you need a larger fire than what a Swedish Torch can create, be sure that you are competent with starting a campfire.

3.   Creating Traps

Now that you have effectively used your knife to create a fire, it’s time to go find something to eat. While the human body can survive for several days (and in some cases weeks) without food, you’ll want to keep taking in calories to stay sharp mentally.

Survival knives are great for creating deadfall traps that are effective at dispatching small animals like squirrels and rabbits. Be sure to learn how to use your knife to help you construct a figure 4 deadfall trap and practice often. This perishable skill could come in handy in an emergency situation.

4.   Creating a Bandage

Survival knives are great for creating a bandage in a pinch. If you or your partner is bleeding, cutting off a piece of cloth from any nearby clothing can help stop the bleeding quickly.

In the event that a major artery has been cut, you’ll need to act fast by using your knife to craft a tourniquet. Seatbelts and denim are great materials to create tourniquets with because they are strong, which will help you really crank down to stop the bleeding without fear of them tearing.

Final Thoughts

Knives are essential to carry every day, regardless of where you are. It’s important to practice these skills consistently so that you are ready to use your knife at all times. Emergencies don’t wait for you to be ready! Choose a knife that you are comfortable with and that you’ll use often. If you need help finding a survival knife that is best for you, check out this beginner guide to choosing a survival knife from our friends at Outdoors Being.

Stay prepared. Stay alive.