The Three-Knife Survival System

I have had a passion for cutlery since I was about eight years old and thus, not only do I own a large collection of knives, I have endeavored to learn as much as I possibly can about them. Consequently, I now consider myself to be an expert on the topic of cutlery and, in fact, I have written over two hundred survival knife reviews for various web sites.

However, writing about them is not the same as using them! Thus, as an avid wilderness survivalist, I have come to the conclusion that, contrary to popular belief, there is simply no such thing as a single, do-it-all, survival knife! Therefore, I now view my survival knives as a system instead and thus, I now carry a large, heavy duty, chopper meant to replace a hatchet, a somewhat smaller field knife, and a significantly smaller fixed-blade utility knife to enable me to perform all of the jobs that I find necessary in the field.

kck086sFor instance, to an experienced wilderness survivalist, saplings are the single most important building material since they are used for building shelters, traps, snares, and hunting tools such as an atlatl and darts or a long bow. Thus, the ability to cut down saplings is of major importance but, it has been my experience that the average survival knife is woefully inadequate for this job and the indigenous peoples of Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines have apparently discovered this as well since they have a number of knife designs meant specifically for chopping woody plants.

Therefore, after looking at numerous American versions of these knife designs, I have chose a version of the Thai Enep made my Kershaw Knives called the Camp 10 that features a 10 inch blade made from 65Mn high carbon steel which I find is capable of performing any job that a hatchet is as well as some that it is not. However, there are several other knives such as the Cold Steel Smatchet, the Bark River Knifes Grasso Bolo III, the Fox Knives Prang XL, the Entrek Destroyer, the Ontario Knife Company Bolo, and the SOG Jungle Bolo that will also fill this niche quite well.

But, there are some jobs for which my Camp 10 is simply too large and thus, I also find it useful to carry a large camp knife as well. Therefore, my personal choice is a camp knife designed by A.G Russell that that features an 8 inch, recurved, blade design made from AUS-8 stainless steel. Thus, I use this knife as my general purpose knife to handle most of my cutting tasks but, once again, there are several other knives that will serve this purpose well such as the Fallkniven Odin, the Cold Steel Recon Scout, the Cold Steel Survival Rescue Knife, the Bark River knives Bravo II, the Randall’s Adventure Training ESSE-6, and the KA-BAR Becker Combat Bowie. However, once again, there are some jobs for which even that knife is simply too large and thus, I also carry an A.G. Russell Laplander which features a 3 7/8″ blade made from A-2 high carbon tool steel which will take and hold and exceptionally fine edge but, some other knives that would also serve in this capacity are the Fallkniven Pilot Survival Knife, the Entrek Javelina, SOG Field Pup, the Kershaw Diskin Hunter, the Randall’s Adventure Training ESSE-4, and the Tops Tennessee Tickler. Therefore, I use this knife for any small cutting jobs that require that I maintain extra fine control over the blade as well as using it as a hunting knife for removing the hide from the game animals I catch in my traps and snares as well as for gutting and removing the heads from the fish that I catch. Also, it performs exceptionally well for cutting the notches in the sticks that I use to make traps and snares as well as for sharpening staves for use as a makeshift spear and for the detail carving that I need to do when making atlatls and darts or refining a stave to make a long bow and arrows.

Consequently, by carrying these three knives on a military surplus utility belt along with my survival kit and a canteen, I find that I a well prepared to handle nearly anything the wilderness can pit against me!

Written by,

Bill Bernhardt

Outdoor Professional

PS: Don’t forget to pick up your free knife bonus from the Self-Reliance Association right here.


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