Alaska offers some of the most scenic views and wild spaces of all of the states in the US. With around 70 million acres of public land, it’s no wonder that Alaska’s nickname is “the last frontier!” The beauty of Alaska or any other wilderness adventure can quickly turn into an ugly nightmare if you end up losing your way.
That’s why the survival knife is the most important tool that you can take with you wherever you decide to go into the backcountry. But before you go grab the best survival knife on the market, make sure you know how to use it effectively! Below are 5 of the most important survival knife skills you must know to make sure your wilderness adventure, whether in Alaska or anywhere else in the world, ends with you coming home safely!
1. Shelter Creation
Survival knives are amazing tools to assist in one of the most essential skills in making it out alive during an emergency; shelter building. The easiest shelter to create is a lean-to. Find a large rock or tree to begin leaning branches against.
After you have leaned a sufficient amount of branches against the rock or tree, use your survival knife to cut down small pine bows to create bedding inside of your shelter. The bedding will keep you elevated off of the ground, which will conserve body heat.
2. Food Gathering
After you have created shelter, it’s time to use your survival knife to take care of your second most important need; getting enough calories. If you have been lost for a while, you’re going to need some serious calories to make sure that you have the energy to continue surviving.
Use your knife to construct a variety of different food gathering devices. One that is easy to make and super effective is a dead fall. Your survival knife will allow you to create the trigger so that any critter that trips it will trip it and ensure you have the calories you need to survive.
3. Fire Starter
Now that you have captured your dinner, use your survival knife to create a fire. This will allow you to safely cook your dinner as well as stay warm.
When constructing a fire, a technique that will help create your fire effectively is feathering your kindling. Get a small stick and hold it firmly in your hand. Take your survival knife and with the blade facing away from you, make small cuts into the stick.
Be careful not to shave the cuts off of the stick though. The cuts will allow for the stick to catch fire much easier and lead to a roaring fire in no time.
In the event that a predator has smelled your cooked meal and decides that it wants to try to take it from you, you’ll need to use your survival knife to defend yourself. Keep in mind that this is a last resort and that you should try to avoid fighting the predator as best as you can. However, if the animal is intent on taking you along with your cooked dinner, fight as hard as you can with your survival knife.
The best thing you can do is use your survival knife to slash and create space between you and the predator. Avoid stabbing as best as you can, because your knife can slip and you might risk cutting yourself. The goal is to discourage the predator from attacking you further and if you slash wildly, it will improve your chances that it will decide that you’re not worth taking out.
5. Medical Care
If you sustain an injury, survival knives are great for creating a variety of medical interventions. Use it to cut off a strip of clothing in order to create a make-shift tourniquet to stop severe bleeding. If you need to make a splint for a broken bone or to stabilize an ankle, you can use your survival knife to shape a splint from a small stick or branch.
Going into the Alaskan wilderness or any other place where rescue is far away necessitates that you bring the right gear and right knowledge with you. With these 5 tips on how to best use a survival knife, you can confidently go into the backcountry and know that you’ll be able to handle whatever you encounter!