When most people think of a survival knife the first thought that comes to mind is Rambo. All of us that were kids when First Blood came out immediately fell in love with the survival knife that could carry a saw, fishing line, hooks, fire starter, and the kitchen sink. These all had one inherent problem in construction and that was the tang. The tang was basically short and threaded and a nut and washer used to hold the hollow handle on. This was of course the weakest point in the entire knife and lead to breakage. The knife I’m using is a Cold Steel Bushman survival knife where the handle and blade are all one unit. The downside to the knife is the handle is open at the top and the bottom…but it can be sealed with Plasti-Dip. You can also make a “plug” with paracord and wrap the handle. The problem with this is the bottom is still open and all of your gubbins will fall out. I recommend a combination of the plastic dip and the paracord wrapping without the plug. That way you have the goods sealed in and the paracord around the handle to give more grip and there when you need it. The upside is it’s a very strong blade and can be used aggressively without worry that the blade will break off from the handle, and the sheath has a large pouch for carrying a magnesium bar and other necessities.
A machete is made for clearing brush and trailblazing through thick plant life. The machete can also be used for cutting larger trees and limbs for survival, and we’ve all seen them used for removing limbs from people. A machete is a machete…subtle differences between styles (e.g. Bolo vs. Kukri) can make some better at chopping rather than slashing, but all in all they are the same. The one we’ll be using is the Gerber Gator. It has a good sized blade in more of the Bolo shape with saw teeth on the spine. The handle is rubberized and comfortable when cutting for longer periods and the hand strap actually helps save some of your grip.
When I was in Boy Scouts I had a Scoutmaster that said that if he could only take one tool into the woods with him it would be the camp axe. He said you could do whatever you needed to with it. They are very versatile, but I’m not sure about doing “whatever you need” with one. You absolutely can work larger pieces of wood and it’s much better for hammering and chopping. Fine detail cutting with smaller wood would seem to be more difficult. The weight of this is more than double the heavier of the other two choices which can be both good and bad. As for defending yourself the axe has been used for centuries in battle from Knights to Vikings to Lewis and Coach in Left 4 Dead 2. The axe I’m using is just the Rockforge 3.5 lb fiberglass handle axe from Home Depot. I keep a file lashed to the handle of the axe so I always have one for sharpening…because what good is a dull axe?
Stay tuned for the next episode! - Country1059