Seven Ways to Use a Knife for Survival

You’re stranded in the wilderness and your phone is dead so you can’t navigate your way out. While this is a serious situation, if you packed a knife you might just have a chance to make it out.

Here are seven life-saving ways to use a knife in a survival situation:

Building Shelter

One of the first things you will need to do if you are lost in the wilderness is to find shelter. A knife can be an invaluable tool for that. You can use it to cut branches and other materials to create the frame of your shelter. You can also use it to cut grass and other materials to create a bed or floor for your shelter. 

Preparing Food

A knife is also essential for preparing food in the wilderness. You can use it to skin and gut animals that you hunt or fish, as well as to chop and cut vegetables and other plants that you may find. If you are stranded in the wilderness for an extended period of time, being able to find and prepare food is essential for survival.

Making Tools

In a survival situation, you may need to improvise and create your own tools. A knife can be used to whittle sticks into spears or arrows for hunting or to shape and sharpen rocks to use as tools or weapons.

First Aid

A knife can also be used for basic first aid in a survival situation. You can use it to cut bandages or splints or to remove splinters or other foreign objects from your skin.If you have some basic first aid knowledge, a knife can be a useful tool to have on hand in case of injury.

Signaling for Help

If you are lost in the wilderness and need to signal for help, a knife can be used to carve SOS or other emergency signals into trees or other surfaces. You can also use it to create a reflective surface by carving a mirror out of a piece of metal or other reflective material.


Of course, a knife can also be used for self-defense. Whether you are up against a wild animal or another person, having a knife can be essential for protecting yourself and your loved ones in a dangerous or emergency situation. 


Believe it or not, a knife can even be used for navigation. In fact, there are two different examples of this.


First, you can create a makeshift compass by rubbing your pocket knife against a wire, eventually turning it into a magnet. After that, find a large leaf and a pond. Place the magnetized wire on the leaf and the leaf on the pond. The frictionless surface of the water will allow the wire to turn in accordance with the Earth’s magnetic pole, pointing North. This can be crucial in orienting yourself when lost.


You can also use your knife to mark your trail by carving slashes or arrows into trees and create a rough map of the area by carving markings into bark or rock. These techniques can help you get your bearings, find your way back, or navigate to your destination.


Whether you are building shelter, preparing food, making tools, providing first aid, or signaling for help, a knife can be a lifesaving tool. Our personal recommendation is the F1 Alpha: a knife specially designed for first responders, with black titanium coating to resist corrosion. It’s perfect for helping you face rugged conditions.


On your next outdoor adventure, pack a knife. Your life may depend on it.