Basic Survival Series: 10 Uses for Your Survival Knife

survival knife

10 Things You Forgot Your Survival Knives Could Do!

A high quality hunting knife can serve many purposes. It can be used to fell trees, clean game, create sparks for fire, build other necessary tools and provide self defense among other things. Its multi-functionality is why it is called a survival knife. Check out our review of the 10 Best Hunting Knives here.

No one should ever venture into the woods without at least a quality blade and an idea of how to use it if a survival situation were to present itself.

survival knife

The following is a list of 10 uses for a survival knife:

  1. Making Shelter: First and foremost, a knife works well cutting down saplings and trimming limbs for shelter material.
  2. Procuring Food: Lashed to the end of a green sapling, your knife can be improvised into a hunting spear that can be effective at taking down mid-sized game up to and including a boar(be carful with wild boar). Or as self defense from said boar, coyote, wolf or bear.
  3. Processing Food: The proper knife will do very well at skinning and quartering animals caught or killed for food. It will also work well for cracking nuts and extracting grubs from dead logs.
  4. First Aid: Your knife can be used to create bindings from clothing or other natural material to make a splint of dressing. It can be used to remove foreign objects and even cauterize a wound.
  5. Procuring and Processing Fire Wood: A quality knife can withstand tremendous chopping and beating. This is useful when you need to split wood for fire or harvest wood to use around camp. Batoning the spine of the blade with a club sized log is extremely effective for splitting and chopping.
  6. Improvised Tools: The knife can be used as a hammer to drive stakes when making camp or setting snares. It can be used as a can opener or as a pry bar, should the need for one arise.
  7. Repairing Gear: Over time, your gear will need repair or modification. Your survival knife will prove its worth if/when this situation arises.
  8. Making Tools: Your knife will allow you to make a range of tools to aid in your survival. It can be used to make trap componants, cooking props such as tri-pods, containers from tree bark and even a backpack, should you find yourself without one.
  9. Making Fire: A quality knife should be made of high carbon steal, with a flat spine. This allows for striking a ferrocerium rod or even striking the spine with a piece of flint stone. Or, it can be used to fashion a more primitive fire board and shaft for a bow drill fire set.
  10. Used as a Shovel: As a last resort, a well-constructed survival knife can be used as a shovel for digging fire pits, collection of root tubers for food along with many other aspects of survival that require digging. Better would be to create a digging stick with your knife and save the blade edge.


The more time you spend in the woods and with your knife, the more useful it becomes to you and the more resourceful you become with it. Be sure to have a proper knife in your kit. One that will be durable and trustworthy. Your life may depend on this one piece of gear.

Choose wisely and always keep it sharp and strapped to your body.

For more information on what makes a quality survival knife, check out my guide How to Choose the Right Survival Knife.

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