How to Use A Survival Knife in Emergency Situations


Survivalists, preppers, homesteaders, outdoor enthusiasts, soldiers, mercenaries, and some professional circus acts will all agree that a survival knife is one of the things they can’t live without. Well, knife throwers don’t actually use survival knives in their craft. Plus, it would be dumb for you to throw their survival knife at someone or something and risk losing one of the few things that can help you survive any emergency situation. People who know better know that taking take care of their survival knife is the right thing to do.

A survival knife is called such because it may spell the difference between life and death. If you own one but do not know how to make full use of it, then you’re just putting yourself at a disadvantage. Mental note: you don’t buy a survival knife just to intimidate or look badass. It’s there for a reason. As a matter of fact, there are a lots of reasons why you should own a survival knife.


Self Defense

Admit it or not, many of you bought a survival knife because you thought it looked cool and would scare the heck out of anyone. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that as long as you’re trying to intimidate threats to you and your loved ones’ lives.

Gerber StrongArm 420 High Carbon Stainless Steel Fixed Blade Survival Tactical Knife

A survival knife is a great weapon to defend yourself with, especially when you’re out in the wild. However, you should know that knives are not just for scaring away threats ala-Crocodile Dundee. You must know how to use it properly. When the threat still comes at you even after you brandished your knife, you should know how to defend and fight with your weapon.


Clearing A Path

Mossy Oak Survival Knife 10-Inch Fixed Blade Hunting Bowie Knife

Perhaps you’ve seen movies or TV shows where the characters slash away with their machetes as they walk through the jungle. A machete would surely be useful in such a situation but you can use your survival knife if it’s big enough. You can also tie it to one end of a durable stick so you can clear a bigger area.


Building Fire

Some survival knives come with fire starters, which is a good thing. In case you don’t have any matches or lighters or if your survival knife doesn’t have these bonus features, there is no need to assume the fetal position and cry a lot. Don’t embarrass yourself.


Feather Sticks for Tinder

Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife

You can still use your survival knife to build your fire. First, use your knife to gather tinder by feathering a stick. Stand the stick on one end with one hand holding the other end firmly. Push the knife down on the side of the stick. You should be making curls of thin wood.


Bow Drill

Use your survival knife to cut pieces of dried or dead branch off a tree with medium hardness wood. Cedar, cottonwood and willow trees make for a good bow drill. You’ll need a curved stick that’s as long as your arm for your bow, a shorter stick for the spindle or drill, an even shorter one for the handhold, and a flat piece for your fireboard.

Smith & Wesson SWHRT9B 9in Stainless Steel Fixed Blade Knife

Tie each end of a piece of paracord or string to the ends of the curved stick to make a bow. Wrap the string once around the spindle then adjust the tension of the paracord so the spindle will not slide. Make sure the paracord is not rubbing against itself while wrapped around the spindle.

Place one end of the spindle on the fireboard then the handhold on the other end. Hold it firmly and perpendicular to the fireboard. As you start moving the bow back and forth, the friction, with the help of tinder, should start a fire.


Building Shelter

Aside from food and water, one of the most basic needs of human beings is shelter. It’s true you can sleep under the stars but not when it’s freezing cold and wild animals are everywhere. Ideally, when you’re out on and outdoor adventure, you should bring a tent and other items to keep you warm and comfortable.

KA-BAR Full Size US Marine Corps Fighting Knife

In the absence of such valuable items, you can still make your own shelter.  Use your survival knife to chop or saw off branches, cut vines, and gather other materials. You can also use it for digging.


Making Rope

Paracord is another valuable survival item. If you don’t have one, you can make your own rope out of things you can get from around you with the help of your survival knife. Vines, for example, can easily be cut and used for tying.

DAX Survival Knife

You can also make a rope out of the bark of a tree, particularly the cedar bark. First, peel off the outer bark to expose the phloem or the inner bark. This is the part that’s fibrous and whitish. Beyond this layer is the sapwood. In most trees, you can pry the inner bark off to get long strips you can use to make your rope. It’s better to make your rope with dry fibers. Wet ones will shrink when they dry causing the rope to loosen.

A rope has many uses aside from tying things up. Use it to catch food by making traps, a fish line, or a net. If there are wild animals or zombies, tie rope around your camp and tie things that will make a sound. You will know if someone or something is nearby when you hear your DIY alarm system.


Tool Making

BlizeTec Survival Knife

A survival knife is one tool that already serves so many purposes. For some tasks that your knife is not really suited for, you can make other tools instead. Ancient people didn’t have the luxury of having a survival knife, among other things that makes life a lot easier. Back then, they made their own tools using stones and sticks for cutting, hammering, grinding, digging and other tasks. When you’re in an emergency situation, say stranded in a deserted island, you can fashion tools from such materials with the help of your knife.


Catching Food

A survival knife in itself may be used to hunt game. It would even be safer and more effective if you fashioned a spear out of your knife and a long, sturdy stick. However, it would be better if you have your knife aside from a spear made out of a sharpened pole or a stick and sharpened stone. This way, even if you miss your target, you still have your survival knife to earn your meal.

Survivor HK-106320-2 HK-106320 Series Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife

You can also use your DIY spear to catch fish.  As long as you can stand still in the river for a time, you can likely catch some fish. As mentioned earlier, you can make rope using your survival knife, which you can use for fishing. A knife will also come in handy in making traps to catch animals such as rabbits.


Food Preparation

Morakniv Bushcraft Carbon Steel Survival Knife

There are many ways your survival knife can be used to prepare food. If you don’t have a can opener, for example, you can use your knife. It’s also used for cutting and slicing your fruits, vegetables and other ingredients. And if you manage to catch game or fish, use your knife to dress them. Just be sure to clean it up well, especially after using it on guts. That is, if you have a good source of water. If you don’t, it’s best to conserve your meager supply for hydration.



The back of your survival knife is hard enough to be used for hammering. That also means it’s hard enough to break glass during an emergency. If the blade of your knife is made of shiny stainless steel, you can use as a signal mirror to reflect sunlight and point rescuers to your whereabouts.


First Aid

When you’re all alone and hurt, you only have yourself to blame, I mean, depend on to survive. It’s a good thing you have your survival knife with you. Ripping bandages will be easier and faster if you use a sharp knife.

Gerber Prodigy Survival Knife

If you have a bullet wound or any deep wound that needs to be closed immediately, simply sterilize and heat your knife before using it to catheter your wound. In extremely dire situations, you may need to amputate a part of your body. You can also use your survival knife for this.


There are tons of other ways to use a survival knife in emergency situations. If you know other ways you can use a survival knife, please feel free to share them in the comment section below. The Gentleman Pirate also talks about how to survive different life-threatening scenarios.

Survival Gear Essential: How to Choose the Right Survival Knife for You
Survival Gear Essential: How to Choose the Right Survival Knife for You

Just a disclaimer – We have partnered with these companies because we use their products and/or proudly trust and endorse them – so we do receive a commission if you make a purchase or sign up for services.
Often, we are able to negotiate special discounts and/or bonuses, which we will pass on to you via our links. We often get short notice on sale items available for 24-48 hours as we will pass these savings onto you.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Us

Gentleman Pirate Club aims to share valuable knowledge and tips on how you can prepare and survive emergencies and other dire situations. We think of different scenarios and show you the many ways you can survive them. We also believe in self-sufficiency as a way to prepare for whatever lies ahead. As our ship sails in these waters, we look for valuable treasures. When we spot one, we tell you where it is.

Product Categories

Snake River Farms Wagyu Brisket

Recent Posts

Like Us on Facebook