Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Survival Knife on Student Budget

So today I found my self searching around the web for a good, sturdy survival knife that won't break the bank (gotta pay the college bills of course), unfortunately I wasn't entirely sure what made a good survival knife and most of the ones I saw were well out of my price range. But being smart and having the internet I did some research in order to make my decision.

Here are some features to look for when trying to purchase a survival knife:

  • Full Tang is a must - Full Tang refers to the area of the knife that would be the grip, it is full because the metal used to make the blade extends all the way to the bottom of the handle (hilt). Knives with hollow hilts, although great for storing items, will fail and break under real use in the wild. (Only exception to this is knives where the blade and handle are all made from the same piece of metal).  

  • High Price Isn't always High Quality - There are plenty of overpriced knives out there that would be of little use to you in the wild, there are also plenty of affordable and durable blades out there for a survivalist. 
  • Have a good sheath - Leather sheaths retain water and wear down faster than other sheaths so avoid these. A nylon sheath or kydex sheath are both better choices, whichever your budget allows. Also it should always have a belt loop and give your knife a lanyard. 

  • Bigger is sometimes better - Having a larger survival knife does sometimes mean more weight and they are more visible but there are certain jobs in the wild that a smaller knife (4 in or smaller) just can't handle like a large one. When it comes down to the most basics of survival it, its better to have a larger knife with you, preferably one 5 1/2 in or greater. 
  • Serrated vs Plain - This argument....the best answer for it is both, and no I don't mean a single knife with one, but to have a different knife of each type. As of this moment I carry 2; one a serrated folding knife, the other a plain edge fixed blade. This isn't a perfect coverage of the knife world but it gives me more options. But to give a more detailed answer, I would make my survival knife plain edge mainly because most of the jobs you will have to do in the wilderness require the plain edge.

  • Fixed or Folding - For this knife and its function, I would stick with fixed blade knives, mostly because you may need to chop or hammer with your knife and a folder much like a non-full tang won't cut it.
Good Knife Choices:

Ka-Bar Survival knife
This is the staple knife in survival and fighting knives. Tough, powerful and durable, this is a tested a true weapon for many occasions. This model is about $50 but there are a few that are lower than $40. here are two links to two models.

KA-BAR Full Size US Marine Corp Fighting Knife

KABAR Short Black Plain Edge Knife

Frost Mora Military Knife  

This is a great ultra light, durable knife, and at an excellent price. At just over $20 including S&H from amazon this knife is a great choice for someone on a tight a college student. This knife does have a slight drawback, that being its a small knife at 3 7/8", not to say this is a bad knife but keep that size in mind.

Frost Mora Knife

Gerber Bear Grylls Knife

This one you may have heard of already, its an all around solid knife with a lot of nice features although the price is a bit much. Developed by Man vs Wild host Bear Grylls, it is another really good choice for a survival knife. There are plenty of videos on it on amazon, it cost about $50 so a little pricey. Another good and over looked option from Gerber is the Prodigy model although this model is a little harder to find. 

Gerber 31-000751 Bear Grylls Survival Series Ultimate Knife

SOG SEAL Pup Knifes

SOG is a well known knife company and they do have great quality knives, but many of which are priced a bit to high (if you have $120 to blow be my guest) but they have a few that are reasonably priced of course these models all are partially serrated so take it as you will but if you want that these are a good choice. This model is about $50, too. 

SOG Specialty Knives & Tools M37-N SEAL Pup













Smith & Wesson CKSUR1 Bullseye Knife

After looking at many options this was my choice for a knife, its durable and strong, good size and comes full tang w/ plain edge. It was obviously inspired by the Ka-Bar type knives and that works well because it can function as a survival or fighting blade when confronted by the not so friendly when the SHTF. Best of all this knife only cost $21.59. Thats a great deal on a solid knife. It also comes with a really nice sheath so its an awesome deal. 


Smith & Wesson CKSUR1 Bullseye Knife

Some other choices.....

Ka-Bar Bowie Black Finish Survival Knife

Buck 119 Special Fixed Blade Survival Knife

Winchester Large Bowie Survival Knife

New Favorite Survival Show: Wild Within

The Travel channel has a new series that I have been watching and I have to say its an informative and entertaining show. The show I am speaking of is titled The Wild Within. The show follows outdoorsman/survivalist and pretty skilled cook Steve Rinella as he travels to global locations to connect with the wild and hunt and gather food which he prepares for his family & friends at the end of each episode. The really amazing thing about this show is that you actually see him out hunting (and butchering) his prey in the wild with different cultures in every episode. The wealth of knowledge from this show is amazing and it pulls the watcher in to the hunter lifestyle, something most of us need/should learn how to do properly. By showing the difficulty, heritage and just plain awesomeness of hunting the viewers leave with a greater interest and respect for hunting. I know that this show inspires me to go hunting and become proficient at it.

Here I have a slideshow to his episode in Canada. Click Here

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day Everyone

Everyone go ing enjoy St. Patty's and remember to be safe tonight and not drive drunk...other then that, show your GREEN!!!!

Bombing of Libya

It has been confirmed that we will be bombing Libya, the time is to be determined but it has been confirmed.
I am posting a link with live updates on the situation. I will comment on this and other news after receiving more information.

Libya Air Strike

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Survival Canned Food Challenge: Final Days & Thoughts

Well people, lets be honest, weekends for college students are how should I say this, "busy" for most, so I couldn't post this weekend I did however keeping making meals so I decided to compile all the photos for this final day.

This weekend I ate mostly leftovers (I had plenty of them) and these two meals which both were delicious. As for this little experiment I would say it was a success and very informative. I was able to get a fairly large amount of canned good for almost 1 dollar each can, it was also enough food to last further than the week I had planned. It was a great variety and I was able to make some pretty good meals, especially under the food restraints I had placed on myself. Some things I learned were that you must keep close watch of you sodium intake (of course in a survival situation this may not be paramount) many of these canned food have high levels of sodium. Also, you have to work to keep a bit of a balanced diet if your eating out of the can alone. There were some foods I missed but it wasn't unbearable and even though I am hardly a good cook the dishes turned out well. Final thoughts, it wouldn't be hard for a student or anyone for that matter to "survive" off of canned and dried foods alone, I would want to live off of them though. I also wished I could have experimented with more dried foods but I have a new found curiosity for them so I may try some down the road (which I will blog about of course) I would give this overall experience a 4.5/5, because there is always room for improvement.

Prayers go out to Japan.....

In the Mist of their crisis, let us pray for those people in Japan right now, after the devastation of the 8.9 tsunami that hit the country. Your in our prayers....

Friday, March 11, 2011

Survival Canned Food Challenge: Day 4

Day 4 here, although this is a very late post. Being a college student I spend much of my time awake in the evening so this is a good time to blog for me. Today was another late day so breakfast was skipped but my lunch was very nostalgic.

My childhood comes flooding back....
I have been getting great use out of my camping cook set this week.
-Mackerel (Pan Fried)
-Cream Corn
-String Beans

I love creamed corn.
Forgot to de-bone....
Adding some seasoning at this point. 
Cooked until darkened.
Nice balanced dinner for 1.
 Now the mackerel wasn't prepared as well as it could have been, but I never claimed to be a cook, needless to say it was a little dry. The string beans and creamed corn made superb sides though. I did enjoy this one, not as much as my Kale Stew but still pretty good. Solid 3.7/5.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Survival Canned Food Challenge: Day 3

Had to use my knife to open this can of milk, it worked like a dream.

Well folks, today was mostly a leftovers day since I have an important Test tomorrow, but I did have some thoughts to share about this little experiment. First I'm glad to say that most of my food is edible and that I bought enough to last for more than a week at least for a single student such as myself. I also wish I could have gotten more, mostly more dried foods, there are several things I would like to try (Spam and powdered eggs for breakfast) and some things I miss (like cheese) that might be supplemented by dried goods. I really want to experiment more with this, I know TheSurvivalMom blog tends to talk about dried goods a lot and I think its worth reading into, especially after this.  Also I've had my craving but I have stayed strong so far, I think I can make it so wish me luck.

Here are some photos of my breakfast:
Oatmeal (Maple & Brown Sugar) w/ a little evaporated milk:

Survival Food Challenge: Day 2

Having some PC problems I had to make this a late & quick post. Also I woke up late so no breakfast edition today sorry.

Simple lunch, was feeling lazy today.
Ramen to go w/ my smoked Ham.
Today I'm using my portable cookware that I have for camping.
All of it was pretty cheap online.
Sauteed the fish in the pan first before mixing in the pot.
adding mixed veggies
Doing second batch.
This stuff is pretty good gave the sauce that extra kick....
This is sad but being college students, we had no spaghetti.
Being a survivalist, I made do w/ Ramen.
I add some more sauce after mixing w/ the ramen and a little more seasoning.
All in all, my seafood pasta turned out pretty good. A decent 4/5 from me, it would be perfect with a little cheese, maybe next time. I was hungry and had 2 bowls, well dig in.