While the likelihood of a survival situation is probably not on your own personal radar, nonetheless, such a challenge can be as probable as your next adventure in the field. However, being prepared to face such an inopportune event should be part of your overall game plan. I can well remember the Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared,” as the mantra of my youth. And this has followed me for more than six decades of life.
Before I set out on a hunt, whether it’s a day in the woods or a multi-day event, pre-hunt preparations always include a few survival necessities. Paramount among that gear is a back-up edged tool. I also carry a length of cordage, a thin reflective mirror (signaling), a lighter (fire starter) and a compass (orienteering). With these few items I can cut bark off a tree for fire kindling, produce a flame for fire, signal rescuers and find my way back to camp. While the need may never arise, carrying a few extra ounces of gear to insure my survival is just the intelligent thing to do.
Realizing that everyone who spends time in the outdoors need a survival edge, the folks at Smiths Consumer Products (the producers of some of the finest and most innovative edge restoration tools) in Hot Springs, Arkansas have recently introduced a very affordable survival knife. Even though every hunter usually carries a knife to deal with game care, having a back-up blade is always a good idea. There was an occasion when I failed to pack an edged tool and had to settle for an old paring knife that was discovered in the remote cabin where I stayed. Sharpened on the concrete step just outside the cabin door and carried in a sheath made from a piece of cardboard, that little cutter served to field-dress an elk before the hunt was over. That said, if I’d had a backup knife somewhere in my gear, the whole adventure would have gone a lot better. Smith’s new Survival Knife is a lock-blade folder that possesses several additional emergency features. To begin with, the blade is 2-1/2-inches in length, reported to be crafted from 440A stainless steel (carbon 0.60-0.75%, chromium 16-18% and Rockwell hardened to Rc 57-58), and is hollow-ground in a drop-point pattern. A short portion (1/2-inch) of the blade edge near the base has been serrated for use on fibrous materials, while the remainder blade has a plain edge. In addition, on the spine of the blade, just forward of the junction with the handle, there are flat serrations which both act as a thumb rest and a striker for the onboard carbide fire starter. Also, there are ambidextrous thumb engagement studs mounted on the blade so the blade can be opened with one-hand. The blade locking function is provided by an inner-frame brace (lock) that automatically springs into place securing the blade in the open position.
The grayish-black knife handle is molded from a rugged thermoplastic, with bright yellow resilient inserts to enhance the gripping surface. There is also a handle-mounted stainless steel attachment clip that allows knife mounting to the belt, the edge of a pocket, or even the top of a boot. Finally, both a carbide fire starting rod (sparker) and a diamond-sharpening rod with built-in shrill whistle are stored on-board in the body of the handle. Interestingly, this knife has an extremely robust blade that is fully capable of dealing with the most challenging game care assignments. Moreover, the addition of the on-board sharpener and fire-starting rod provide additional functional options for the user. Many outdoor types, including hunters of all persuasion will appreciate this knife because it looks sharp, has a couple of trick tools in the handle, demands very little in the way of maintenance and is tough as nails. And the knife is so affordable that everyone I know will find one in his or her Christmas stocking this year.–Durwood Hollis