Fixed blade or folder – which is the better knife in an outdoor survival situation? Knife lovers will readily list pros of their favorite and cons of the other blade. The truth is that both types are perfectly suitable for the tasks they are designed for, as their popularity explains. Still, for a survival situation in the wild, one knife clearly works better than the other - the fixed blade knife.
Why the fixed blade is perfect for a survival situation
A survival knife is a tool that can help you survive in a hostile outdoor environment. It has to have the capacity to be a hunting and first aid tool. Also, it must be proficient with tasks such as cutting, digging, splitting, hammering and prying. Fixed blade knives are perfect for such tasks because of their simpler, more rugged construction. There are several folders that would provide most of the benefits of an ideal survival knife; still, folders lack the extra durability that fixed blades offer. One design aspect that makes the fixed blade knife so sturdy is its full tang, that is, the blade runs to the end of the handle. Since the tang and blade are one continuous piece, the knife can cope with extreme usage without the risk of breaking, a quality that is priceless in the unpredictability of the outdoors.
What the folder’s good for
Folders are more useful for everyday carry because they’re smaller and more convenient. You don’t need a big bowie knife to cut tape, string or those annoying plastic bands they use to secure kid’s toys in their packaging (you need an axe for that!). Some folders have amazingly strong locking mechanisms, but a knife with no moving parts and a thick blade and tang is still more suitable for tough survival situations.
Versatility is great, no doubt, but sometimes you just need that unsophisticated but effective tool that can stand up to constant abuse and still deliver, something that fixed blade knives can do. Once again, this is not to imply that folders have no place in an outdoor person’s toolkit; they do and they are extremely useful in specific circumstances. However, the primary outdoor survival knife should always be the fixed blade knife.