Here is a guest post from Ryan at KnivesAndSurvival.com. Enjoy! -Survival Joe
It’s midnight and you hear footsteps close by. The streetlights went out long ago, so you rely only on the glow of the sliver of moon that now sits high in the dark sky.
Unfortunately for you and your scout partner, your truck ran out of gas a mile and half from your destination in the middle of a town that’s been overrun by the undead early in the outbreak.
Three of them have already surrounded your car, so the only way out is to break the glass of the moon roof using the back of your EDC knife and run and slice your way to the nearby lake.
A knife is perhaps the oldest tool man has utilized. From chiseled arrowheads to long metal edges, we have long known of the power of having a sharp blade in hand.
An “Everyday Carry” (EDC) knife is one that you can count on to help in a wide range of daily tasks or surprise attacks. It’s the knife you didn’t necessarily want to need but suddenly call upon to get out of a sticky situation.
From breaking glass to chopping off zombie heads, it needs to be durable yet practical and never come up short.
So what makes a great EDC knife worthy of being just that, your everyday carry? I’ll tell you…
Consideration #1: Length
One of the details you should pay attention to most is how long of a blade you want to carry around. If this is going to be something constantly packed in your pocket you’ll definitely want something more compact.
Since most folding knives range from 2 to 6 inches, go for something around 3 or 4. If you don’t mind attaching the sheath outside of your pocket you can go with any length.
Consideration #2: Folding Knife or Fixed Blade
This decision should be a simple one: If you want something more compact but slightly less durable, you can select a folding knife. If you want strength, durability, and maximum length of blade, then a fixed-blade is a great choice.
The military and hardcore knife enthusiasts both opt for fixed blade knives. You won’t have to worry too much about breaking a fixed blade unless you go for cheap material. Fixed blade knives also double as great throwing knives in case close-range combat is no longer an option.
Consideration #3: Serrated or Plain Edge
The edge of the knife is the sharp side. Serrated knives have grooves down the length of the edge, which make cutting and slicing a breeze, but can be much more difficult to sharpen. Pin-point accurate cuts are easier with a plain edge and sharpening can be done in a variety of simple ways.
Consideration #4: Handle
Knife handles vary in material, shape, and quality. Choosing a handle should be as simple as selecting your own personal preference.
Rubber provides a sturdy grip, however it degrades much quicker than other options.
One thing to avoid is novelty additions to the handle. Compasses are a common one that an untrained eye sees as a bonus, but are often cheap, useless, and make the knife less sturdy all around.
Glass breaking butts are a great addition, which often come in handy and don’t reduce the life of the knife. Try not to focus on the look of the handle as this will matter little when it comes down to using your EDC.
Consideration #5: Material
Blade materials range due to a number of additives and mixtures manufacturers use when forging the knife. Here are two of the most common materials and how they differ:
- Stainless Steel is known for its strength and durability. In knives it is no different and fights off rust for ages. The only pitfall of a stainless blade is that it loses its edge faster than carbon.
- Carbon Steel is prone to rust at a faster rate than stainless if subjected to moisture, but can stay sharp longer, which makes it a great option as well.
EDC knives are extremely useful to have on hand in any survival situation.
Regardless of which knife you decide to go with, give yourself some practice time to get familiar with your new purchase before taking it on your first excursion. Grip it, chop with it, practice sheathing and unsheathing it to get a strong understanding of what you’re working with.
Simply having faith that you’ll be able to use it perfectly when push comes to shove without taking time to get to know the blade will likely end with you injuring yourself or failing to get the job done right.
About the Author: Ryan is an outdoor enthusiast who can either be found rock climbing, hiking, or camping in Southern California. When he’s not sharpening his favorite EDC knife for the coming zombie outbreak then he can be found over at his blog Knives and Survival. He also loves bacon.