Know Your Tools: Knives

Jessie Krebs

Lesson time 14:23 min

Jessie walks through what to consider when choosing a knife—the ultimate survival tool. Learn how to care for your knife and improvise when you don’t have one.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Blades • Bevels • Keep Your Knife Sharp


[MUSIC PLAYING] When you talk about going out into the woods, or desert, or Arctic, just about any situation, there are two things that I think are really important for you to have with you. And these are just basic tools that could be used to satisfy all the other basic needs in one way or another. So one of those is a knife. Some kind of a cutting edge that I can use. And I can improvise this out of all kinds of things. Even better, take one with you, right? Another is rope or line, especially if you know what to do with it. I feel like if you work with somebody who knows what they're doing with a piece of rope, they look like a magician. Like, they're just whipping out all kinds of stuff, right? Oh, I just built a raft. Oh, here's a sink. Oh, you need bear hang? Great. Tarp? Fantastic. And they can just whip it all out, and put it all up, and it's amazing. We call rope the hammer and nails of a survivor. I can build just about anything with that. So these two things, a knife and a rope-- put these two together, and there's an awful lot I could do with those two things, right? [MUSIC PLAYING] What's the best knife? The one you have. Right? So in this case, first, we're just going to look at what the different styles are. And trust me, I'm not really a knife nerd. I love knives, but mostly because they're useful to me. So I have this, which is a fixed bladed knife, right? It's one that doesn't bend or move. And keep in mind, whenever we're working with any knives, keep in mind some safety rules. So with this fixed blade one, one of them is to keep my fingers down here when I pull this out. I get a lot of injuries where somebody puts their hand here and pulls that knife out. Not going to have a fun day. So fixed blade. Like, this is one example. Another one is using this one which a friend made for me. And this one it's nice because I can see what's called the tang. You can see the width of the metal here. And that same with continues all the way through the handle. So that shows me that it's a solid piece of metal that just happens to be covered with a handle. We want to be careful if we get a fixed blade knife to make sure it's one that has at least most of a tang, which usually these do. These usually have about a 3/4 tang. But a partial tang is when often, it only goes, like, this far into the handle. And so that grip isn't real strong. And so it's really easy for the blade to separate from the handle. And then, yeah, I still got a knife, but it's not as useful. So make sure if you're looking for a fixed blade that you're getting one that has a full tang or at least a 3/4 tang. So these are fixed blades. Then you could go to something like a locking blade, which is something that-- this is a multitool. It has a blade in it, along with a whole bunch of other fun, fancy stuff. So I can open this up, and I'll hear a click. And that click is telling me it's locked out. So now, I can tak...

About the Instructor

As a former Air Force SERE (survival, evasion, resistance, and escape) specialist, wilderness survival expert Jessie Krebs spent 30 years preparing people for the unexpected. Now she’s teaching you the mindset and skills to safely explore the outdoors. Learn essential survival techniques—from signaling for help to reading a map, finding water, making shelter, and more—and embark on your next adventure with confidence.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Jessie Krebs

Wilderness survival expert and former Air Force SERE specialist Jessie Krebs teaches you the skills to explore nature safely and confidently.

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