23 Survival Knife Uses You Never Thought Of

Come on, don’t try to deny it, you love your survival knife. If you didn’t need to keep it inside your BOB for emergencies, you’d probably sleep with it under your pillow.

Knives have so many uses it’s not even funny. To prove it to you, I’ve listed as many as I could think of or find here.  But before we begin,

A small warning! I am not saying you should use the knife in all the ways suggested below. This advice should be used for entertainment and information purposes only. I an not liable for the effects of using any knife as suggested in this article.

To Open a Can

Before you do this, you must place the can on a solid surface such as a table. Never put the can on your lap, you’re very likely to get injured.

Position the knife perpendicularly on the edge of the lid, holding it firmly with one hand. Tap the pommel with the other hand until the tip has pierced through the metal can.

Once you made a hole about half an inch wide, you’ve got two choices: you can either continue to pierce holes one next to the other in the same manner or you can hold the can firmly with one hand and begin to enlarge the existing hole by cutting it like you would cut bread. Simply hold the can at an angle towards you with the left hand and use your right to cut the lid down. Rotate the can inch by inch for almost 180 degrees and keep cutting.

Warning! Do not rotate and cut at the same time! You rotate a little bit, enlarge the hole, then rotate again.

To Start a Fire

…using a ferro rod. Hold the knife in one hand and the rod in the other. Begin to pull the latter backwards until you see sparks. If sparks don’t come out the first time, keep doing it until they do.

To Poke Things

If you want to find out of something is dead or alive, give it a poke or two with your trustworthy knife.

To Hunt and Fish

Hunting with only a knife requires a lot of skill and practice. Plus, you need to know the kind of game you’re gonna be targeting.

If you’re looking to get started with knife hunting, I recommend you find an instructor instead of figuring it out on your own.

Here’s a video of a group of people hunting boar with a knife and the help of a few faithful dogs:

Now, in order to catch fish, you can attach your survival knife to a pole (using duct tape, for instance) and you’re ready to go spearfishing.

To Eat

If you want to impress your friends on your next camping trip, you might as well use your knife. This could work in a survival situation in case you don’t have forks, although I wouldn’t count on using your edc knife, who knows where else you’ll be using it.

To Chop Wood

Nothing beats an ax or a machete but you never know when you’ll have to rely on your knife.

Don’tr try this with your edc knife, though, you need something sturdier, such as your bushcraft knife. Even better, get two bushcraft knives and use the back-up one for tasks such as these. Since you’ll be relying on your main one for life and death situations, you should keep the blade in top shape.

To Whittle

There are a lot of things you can carve with a knife such as a wooden spoon, a fire bow and drill, even a container (to store water, for instance). For carving you ideally need softwoods such as pine and basswood.

Another thing you can do is to feather sticks for kindling before starting a fire.

For Protection

Obviously your knife can be used for protection, but what may not be obvious is how to actually use it effectively. Though watching a video won’t help you much, you can watch the following to decide if this is something you want to learn from an instructor:

 To Carve Markings and Write Stuff

Maybe you’re lost and you need to make carvings on trees. Maybe you need to leave someone a message.

To Cut Branches

Whether you’re looking to build a shelter or fire, you can always use a knife to cut down tree branches. The trick is to cut them at an angle, not perpendicularly. As you strike the knife, it has to go with the branch not against it.

Even More Uses?

Definitely. I’m just gonna add the rest here :

  • to clean fish and game
  • as a hammer
  • to dig things up (such as veggies from your garden)
  • as a pry bar
  • to remove staples from a cupboard
  • as a screwdriver
  • to remove a bullet (not recommended unless you really really know what you’re doing!)
  • to pop a beer (better hurry, beer has a short shelf-life so you’d need to drink it all before it spoils in a grid-down situation 🙂 )
  • to anchor things into the ground (as a stake – just jab it into the ground)
  • to remove splinters
  • to sterilize wounds (by heating the tip of the knife inside the fire)
  • open your mail (well, why not?)
  • sharpen a pencil (you probably won’t have a pencil sharpener post-collapse)

Further Recommendations

  • To avoid cutting yourself, you may want to wear protective gloves (they are really cheap and they should be part of your bug out bag or INCH bag anyway).
  • You should avoid using your knife for things other than cutting and always have the right tool for the right job. A Leatherman multi-tool is your best friend for many of the things listed above. Sure, there was a time when using a knife to do most of these things was normal, but protect the blade by not abusing it for as long as you can. Also, keep in mind you might lose the warranty if you use it in a way that wasn’t intended.
  • Always keep your knife sharp. If you don’t, you might spend a lot of energy to do some of these things and you won’t even know why.
  • If you’re out into the wild and you don’t even have a knife, use a sharp stone to replace it.
  • Consider having more than one knife. A fillet knife for skinning, a folding knife for self-defense, and even a larger knife for skinning bigger animals such as deer.
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About Dan F. Sullivan

My dad was military. My grandfather was a cop. They served their country well. But I don't like taking orders. I'm taking matters into my own hands so I'm not just preparing, I'm going to a friggin' war to provide you the best of the best survival and preparedness content out there.


  1. Avatar

    The axe is there to do more efficiently than what the Marine Ka-Bar in D2 steel would take longer and is more work. IT IS NO PLACE TO CHEAP OUT EITHER!! A Wetterling or Granfor Bruks will set you back a little, but the wooden handle is capable of being something steel and polymer handles don’t do well – be made into shavings fir a fire. Last gasp, yes, but better than no gasp at all. Sharpening: unless you spend $250 on a brand with the word “Professional” in it’s name and looks like it is built like a tank. I’ve tried Lansky and Gatco and others, but alas,,,back they went. Easily bowed rods made it impossible to bear down and move material – Junk. The flip open diamond stones from DMT will outlast you and do an excellent job.. I’m oriented towards Smiths Arkansas stones and honing oil. It takes time and practice, but my Dad started me at 6 learning how, so I can generally do a reasonably good job.

  2. Avatar

    Having a pencil sharpener with you would work better for sharpening pencils as well as sticks. It would also be useful for making kindling while sharpening those pencils or sticks.

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