If you could only take five things with you into the wilderness, make sure one of them is a knife. This is because knives are excellent all-around survival tools that can tackle a large number of functions.
It’s well-known that knives are invaluable in a number of uses, such as woodcraft, shelter-making, constructing rope, preparing and cleaning game, shredding tinder, and even as a means of defense. There is really no reason not to take a knife out with you into the woods, whether you’re glamping or spending five weeks in the Alaskan wilderness with nothing more than what you can carry on your back. Here are five lesser-known uses for a survival knife that may not be entirely practical, but can be useful in a pinch.
1. Cauterize wounds
A survival knife is essentially a slab of steel that can heat up very quickly. If you ever find yourself in a situation in which you might have to cauterize a wound, putting a knife blade in a fire is the easiest way to do it. There is a lot of debate as to whether or not cauterization is a recommended method for sealing wounds, and it can really depend on the type of injury and where you are. Generally, being alone in the wilderness and facing the threat of infection in one of the few scenarios in which cauterizing a wound with a knife is still plausible.
You can learn more about cauterization below.
2. Use it as a stake or to make stakes
You’re out of wood but you need to stake something down. It’s time take out your knife and put it in the ground. Obviously this is not the most ideal solution, but if you have a typical survival knife with a blade length of over five inches then it should work.
Or just carve some wooden stakes out of branches. You can learn how to do that below.
3. Cut down trees
If you know how to baton wood, then you know how to cut down trees. Knives take a backseat to axes in this capacity, but if you don’t have an ax—and aren’t willing to build one out of wood and stone, which is a whole lot of work in itself—then a knife will do.
Just be careful and make sure the knife you’re using has a full-sized tang. A knife also isn’t something you should be tackling a large, live tree with. Target the smaller, dead ones instead.
Learn how to do that below:
4. Start fires with nothing but a rock and tinder
Once again, this is not the easiest way to do this. Even without tools, there are other ways of making a fire that do not involve a rock and a knife. Methods like the hand or bow drill are probably just as much work, but they don’t risk chipping or breaking your knife.
Watch below to learn how to make a fire with nothing but your knife, a rock, and some tinder.
5. Tapping for sap
Sap can be very useful in the wilderness, and not just as a food source. This sticky stuff also serves as an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, glue, waterproofer, fire-starter, and of course can be made into syrup. To get at it, though, you’re going to need a small knife and a tap.
Here is how to do it:
What are some other lesser-known uses for a knife that we missed? Share them with us below.
Image courtesy Daniel Xu