Essential Survival Knife Skills You Must Know 

One of the most important survival gear on Surviving Tactics is a survival knife. A survival knife is designed to help you survive outdoors. It is a versatile tool that can be used for almost anything. 

An ideal survival knife should have a 4-inch to 5-inch blade with sharp flat edges and a strong handle that has a good grip. 

Knife Skills to Know

Cutting, Chopping, and Slicing

This is the most basic use for the survival knife. Like other knives, you can use it to:

  • Chop vegetables.
  • Cut pieces of meat.
  • Cut bandages for use in first aid.
  • Curve wood for a fire.
  • Clear a path when you are walking in an off-beating path. 
  • Cut animal hide to make a cord that you can use for bowstrings, brace shelter and 
  • Chop wood for building a shelter. A long sharp knife can work well in place of a hatchet. 

Hunt and Prepare Food 

You can use your survival knife to hunt for food and prepare it. If the blade is long enough, you can use it as it is. If the blade is small, you can attach it to a long piece of wood and use it as a spear or use it to carve a spear out of wood. Some knives even come with removable handles where you can attach a pole or piece of wood for a makeshift spear. 

Start a fire

Starting a campfire is an important skill to learn if you need to cook or keep yourself warm. You can use your knife to start a fire with or without matches. You can use it to:

  • To make tinder. If you have ever started a fire, you know that tinder is key. However, you may be unable to find small sticks or dried leaves for your tinder. When this happens, you can use the knife to make a feather stick by peeling off the outer layer of small pieces of wood to create thin curls. You can leave the curls attached to the stick to make a feather stick and hasten the process.
  • For the fire bow and hand drill methods. These two methods produce the friction needed to start a fire. Both methods require you to carve out holes on a flat piece of wood and carve out the spindle.  
  • To create sparks. You can also use the knife to create sparks for a fire by striking it against stones or a ferro rod. Using a ferro rod makes lighting a fire easier as it ignites easily. Unfortunately, using a ferro rod continuously can dull your knife. Therefore, it is better to use the unsharpened part of the knife. 


Batoning is a survival skill that involves lodging a knife in a piece of wood and hitting it with another object to split the wood. This method is used to split the wood needed to build a fire or shelter. To some, this method is easier than chopping wood and is ideal when you do not have an axe with you. 

This can be done with almost any fixed blade as long as the blade is sharp and sturdy enough to resist the baton. 

Blaze a Trail

When hiking in the woods, one of the skills you will need to learn is how to make trail markers. Most people usually use pieces of cloth to create these markers, which can be done using a knife. 

To create a blaze, you will need to carve out a mark on the tree in a way to make it noticeable without necessarily hurting the tree. This can come in handy if you find yourself lost on a trail. 


Depending on the knife’s length, you can use it in place of a shovel when you need to uproot plants or dig a fire pit. 


A survival knife is a great tool in combat. Some knives even come branded as tactical knives. When attacked by a person or animal, you can use your knife to defend yourself.  When defending yourself from a predatory animal, do not use your knife to slash because the animal’s fur may be too thick, and the knife will have no effect. Stabbing motions will produce better results. 


A survival knife with a rounded pommel can be used to drive stakes to the ground, crack nuts, break glass, or open shellfish. Ensure you keep the knife in a sheath when using your knife for this. 

Signal for Help

A survival knife comes in handy when you need to signal for help. This only works with blades that have a shiny or reflective finish. The shiny surface will work as a mirror when sunlight hits the blade. Move the knife side to side or up and down to signal for help. 

In Summary

Knowing how to use or wield your knife is an important outdoor skill you should learn. Some of the skills can be hard to master. Therefore, you will need to practice your knife skills.