BOWIE KNIFE The Bowie-style knife, popularized by the Western hero Colonel James “Jim” Bowie, is the quintessential blade to use for hunting, fighting, and survival tasks. Modern incarnations abound; buy one that has a full tang (the blade metal extends all the way through the handle). Pick one that has some weight to it for chopping but isn’t so heavy that you don’t want to carry it. Many different steel types are (and have been) used for Bowies.
TACTICAL KNIFE This knife is all business, and that business is self-defense. These blades are often used as backup for firearms in military and law enforcement. They should be rugged and large like a Bowie. They should also be razor sharp, with a penetrating blade tip. The tanto style of blade tip is ideal for some serious “punch through” capability.
RESCUE KNIFE Also known as an EMT knife, this versatile survival tool is commonly carried by various emergency services personnel, from firefighters to police to paramedics. It’s a folding knife with an edge that’s at least partly serrated, and bears two important accessories: a seat-belt cutter, and window breaker. A belt clip on the handle allows it to be carried within easy reach to use at a moment’s notice.
COMBAT KNIFE As the name indicates, these blades are made primarily with hand-to-hand fighting in mind, with secondary use as a utility knife. A single-edged, high carbon steel straight blade with a clip point allows the wielder to both thrust and slash. Other occasional innovations for utility include a serrated spine, or a hollow handle for survival gear storage (thought this weakens the knife handle considerably).
MULTITOOL More than just a blade, the multi-tool got its start as the venerable Swiss Army knife, although the more robust Leatherman and Gerber tools are a modern stereotype. The multi-tool folding mechanism holds things like pliers, screwdrivers, saws, and at least one knife blade. While not as effective as a set of purpose-built tools, this is still a versatile mini-toolbox that fits right in the palm of your hand.
These tips, and 337 more survival skills, are in MacWelch’s new book Prepare For Anything. This latest Outdoor Life survival manual is available now on Amazon.
And if that’s not enough, you can:
Follow Tim on Twitter @timmacwelch
Take one of his survival classes at www.advancedsurvivaltraining.com
and check out more of MacWelch’s outdoor skills and survival articles at Outdoor Life Magazine’s survival site, The Survivalist