When it comes to survival, having a reliable survival knife is quite high on the priority list. There are a variety of uses for a survival knife such as skinning game, spearing or chopping, and batoning wood—among other things. And with such versatile uses, it’s important to take proper care of your survival knife for an optimal experience. As you might already know, most survival knifes are extremely durable—which is another benefit to having one. Still, there are some best practices you should follow to preserve the durability.
Cleanliness is extremely important. No matter how strong the metal is, if you do not keep your knife clean it won’t live up to the lifespan you might be expecting. You use your survival knife in so many different scenarios and neglecting to clean it after each use might mean harmful bacteria can begin to grow. To avoid this, clean your knife after each use—even if you don’t think you’ve done anything too messy. Wipe your knife down before you put it back into the sheath. Clean the blade and the handle with soap and warm water. When you’re cleaning it, do not use anything abrasive because it could damage the metal. Even if your blade is corrosion resistant, you should still take proper care to clean it. Finally, once the knife is fully clean, wipe the blade and the handle dry. Make sure to dry off any moisture to avoid rusting.
There’s no point in having a dull knife. A survival knife is much more useful when it is sharp. And even though dull knives may still work somewhat, you have to exert more pressure for them to be effective. The more pressure you apply, the less control you have of the knife—and that can be very dangerous. Keeping the knife sharp means you can use it with ease and without concern of losing control to perform a task. So to avoid putting yourself and others in danger, make sure to either sharpen your knife yourself or take it to a vendor to be sharpened frequently.
Oil prevents friction and protects your blade from rust. You don’t need a lot of oil as a little will go a long way. Using too much could make the knife too slippery and that’s the
last thing you want. Just dab a small amount of oil and rub it on your blade. WD-40, Dri-Lube and 3-in-One are all great brands to choose from. If you’d prefer other brands or types of oils, that’s fine. The only oil that is off limits is motor oil. But any lubricating or household oil should do the trick.
When you aren’t using your knife, it’s best to keep it stored in a dry place. That means no moisture or humidity at all. Remove your knife from the sheath when you store it because the leather attracts moisture which is not good for long-term storage. The leather also has chemicals that can damage the blade if the knife is stored in the sheath for a long period of time. The best way to store your knife is to wrap it in with paper and then put it inside a plastic bag. It’s also not a bad idea to drop some desiccant inside of the bag to absorb any moisture that might creep in. Place your bag in a cool, dry place and when you come back to it, it will be just the way you left it.
Knife repair may not be something you look forward to, but it’s a reality that comes with owning a knife. Typically knife warranties are void if you try home remedies to repair your knife, so before you take to online videos and advice of a friend, you should go to the manufacturer. As long as your warranty is valid, the manufacturer can typically manage the repairs.
Your survival knife is a very valuable tool, and the better you care for it, the more useful it will be to you when you need it most. It can be easy to skip one of these steps every now and again, but you don’t want to fall into a habit of improper care for your survival knife. Make a conscious effort to clean, oil and sharpen your knife to maintain the lifespan. And when you’re not using it, store your survival knife in a cool dry place.