There’s nothing quite like being outside. However, if you intend to spend any amount of time in the wilderness, you must be well-prepared. While camping, trekking, or doing any other outdoor activity, there are a few things you should always take with you, the most important of which is a survival knife.
You should know how to care for your survival knife because it is one of, if not the most critical item you will be taking into the wilderness with you. Today, we’ll look at how to take care of your survival knife, including how to sharpen it while out in the woods.
Survival Knife Care
Use your knife for what it was designed for
In the same way that you wouldn’t use a kitchen knife in the wilderness, you shouldn’t use your survival knife for anything other than its intended purpose.
This is a unique knife designed for usage in the wild. Other knives, such as skinning knives, are used outdoors, but if you use your knife for something it wasn’t designed for, the blade will dull, and you won’t be able to use it when you need it for survival.
Maintain the cleanliness of your survival knife
After each usage of your survival knife, it is critical that you clean it. Not only should you clean the blade, but you should also clean the handle.
You should never soak the knife for an extended period of time because you don’t want to damage the blade or handle.
Moisture can cause rust, and even if the blade is stainless steel, there’s still a chance it’ll rust, so it’s best not to risk it in the first place. Instead, wash it under running water and thoroughly dry it afterward.
You can use a leaf to dry your knife if you’re cleaning it in the field and don’t have anything else. It’s critical to develop the practice of cleaning and drying your knife after each use.
Also, avoid touching the blade with your fingers more than is absolutely required. Amino acids left by fingerprints can discolor the knife and potentially cause corrosion over time. Also, avoid using a dishwasher to clean the knife because the chemicals are abrasive and can damage the blade.
Keep Your Survival Knife Oiled
It’s a good idea to lubricate your survival knife on a regular basis to avoid friction when using it. This will provide a protective covering to the blade, which will aid in the prevention of rust formation.
If it’s a folding knife, be sure to lubricate the moving parts as well. You may use almost any oil for this, including household oils and even guns oil.
Keep in mind that some oils might leave an aftertaste on meat, so choose a mineral-based, food-grade oil whenever possible.
Avoid getting oil on the handle because this will make it slippery, and you won’t be able to get a good hold on the handle when you need to use the survival knife.
Use a small amount of linseed oil to treat the hardwood handle if necessary. If the knife handle is made of rubber or other synthetic materials, there is no need to apply any oil to it. You can use something like ArmorAll to oil this type of handle if you feel it’s required.
Mink oil is perfect for keeping the handle soft and supple if it is made of leather. Mink oil can also be used on the sheath. Crevices exist in handles made of bone or deer horns, and the easiest way to clean them is with conventional soap and water.
Keep these crevices clean because dirt can accumulate and suck moisture into them, causing serious damage to the knife.
Store Your Survival Knife in a Humidity-Free Environment
When not in use, your survival knife should be stored in a dry location.
When you’re out in the field, always sheath the knife when it’s not in use, but don’t keep it in the sheath for long periods of time; the chemicals in the leather sheaf can cause blade damage.
The knife should be stored in a non-acidic container. Wrap it in paper and place it in a plastic bag with a packet of silica gel or another desiccant to keep it dry if you’re going to be storing it for a long time.
Keep the Blade Sharp at All Times
Because you never know when or for what purpose you’ll need to use your survival knife, it’s critical to keep it sharp at all times. If at all feasible, test the knife before using it to ensure that it is sharp.
The easiest method to see if it works is to use it. Cut a piece of wood using your knife. It should cut through the wood fibers without harming them or leaving any visible scars.
A paper test can also be used. Hold a piece of paper vertically and use the knife to slice it. If the blade is sharp, you should be able to cut through the paper in a single smooth motion with no jagged edges or tears.
You can also test the blade’s sharpness on your arm hair, but this should be done with utmost caution to avoid slicing your flesh.
Sharpening a survival knife normally involves using a whetstone or something similar. However, there may be instances when you’re out in the field and your knife is dulled, and you don’t have a whetstone with you.
There are a few options for sharpening the blade in these situations. If you have a ceramic coffee mug with you, for example, you can use it as a temporary knife sharpener. Place the mug on its side and brush the blade on the cup’s bottom surface.
Another method is to sharpen the blade of your survival knife using a leather belt. This process, also known as stropping, will not give you a super-fine edge, but it will make the edge a little sharper because it has been reset, allowing you to utilize the knife.
A smooth stone, which you can easily locate outdoors, is another choice for sharpening your survival knife. Sharpen the blade by rubbing it against the stone. It may take some time, but it will eventually work.
Simply ensure that the rock is not rough or rutted, as this could cause more harm than good.