Serrated vs. Plain Edge Survival Knives

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If you are going out into the wilderness, even if it’s just for a short hike, there are certain things you should have with you at all times.

One of those things is a survival knife. You may be thinking that it seems a bit silly to carry a knife if you only plan to be out for an hour or so.

But, you really never know what kind of trouble you can get into. It could be as simple as needing to cut a branch, but it could be a lot more serious.

Not having a survival knife with you could lead to problems.

What kind of knife do you need for a survival knife? There are many options and arguments about whether or not a survival knife should have a serrated edge.

Today we will look at why you need a survival knife in the first place and whether it should be serrated or have a straight edge. Let’s get started.

Serrated vs. Plain Edge Survival Knives

Why do You Need a Survival Knife?

There are several reasons why you should carry a survival knife with you when you are out in the wilderness, and not just for hunting trips.

First, it can save your life if you find yourself in a situation where you need to defend yourself. Other reasons to carry a survival knife when in the wild include:

Clear Dense Brush

If you walk along and come to a spot where the brush is thick, you can cut it away with your survival knife.

Build a Fire

If you need to light a fire, but you don’t have enough wood, you can use your knife to make a feather stick that will make it easier to light a fire.

Wood Batoning

 You can use a survival knife to split and cut wood when you don’t have an ax or a hatchet with you.

Open Cans

If you have canned food with you but no can opener, a good blade will do the trick.

Use as a Digging Tool

Suppose you need to dig a hole for waste disposal or any other reason. In that case, your knife can be used as a digging tool when you have nothing else available.

Use for Medical Emergencies

If there is a medical emergency, your knife may be used to cut bandages and even remove objects from the wound.

Use as a Signaling Device

If you get lost in the wilderness, you can angle the knife so the sun reflects off the blade, acting as a signaling device.

Serrated vs. Plain Edge Survival Knives

Should a Survival Knife Have a Serrated Edge?

If you are only carrying one knife with you when out in the wild, make sure it is a good survival knife with a straight edge. Knives with serrated edges come in handy at times, and it is great to have as a secondary knife.

There are several things you can use serrated edge knives for, such as:

Cutting Rope

The saw-like edge of a serrated blade knife is ideal for cutting rope and plants with woody stems. It can even be used to cut someone free from a seatbelt.

Cutting through Tough Surfaces

The serrated edge can grab and cut surfaces easily because they have thinner blades than straight-edge knives.

Better Cutting Ability

Serrated blade knives can sometimes cut better than a straight edge, depending on what you are trying to cut.

With all of this said, it sounds like a knife with a serrated edge would be the ideal tool and should be your primary type of survival knife.

But, there are many other things to consider when choosing your main survival knife. If you need to make a clean cut, it won’t happen if you are using a knife with a serrated edge.

A straight-edge knife is more versatile than one with serrated edges. If you need to be extremely accurate with your cutting, a straight edge is the best choice.

Maybe you want to peel an apple to have as a snack while you are hiking. Doing this with a straight-edge knife is a lot easier than using a knife with a serrated edge.

Here are a few more reasons why a straight-edge knife should be your primary survival knife:

Easier to Sharpen

Unless you are planning an extended camping trip in the wilderness, it’s unlikely that you’ll have a lot of tools with you, including sharpening tools. You can sharpen a straight-edge knife on a rock if necessary. You can’t do that with a knife that has a serrated edge.

Better Durability

If you have to cut into something hard, such as wood, a serrated-edge knife will likely end up with broken teeth. That is not a problem with a straight-edge knife.

Better Slicing Ability

When you use a straight-edge knife, it will slice through what you are cutting. A serrated-edge knife is designed to tear things, so it isn’t always the best option in the wild.

Ease of Maintenance

It is a lot easier to maintain a straight-edge knife than one with a serrated edge. You can easily file or sharpen a straight-edge knife. It can last for many years without any maintenance from outside sources.


If you want an all-purpose knife for when you are out in the wilderness, a straight-edge survival knife is your best bet.

You need to think about the situations you could be in and what you may need to be cutting. The best choice is to have two knives, one with a straight edge and one with a serrated edge.

The serrated-edge knife can be used as your secondary knife, and it can come in handy at times.

But, if you are only carrying only one knife, a straight edge survival knife is what you really need to have with you.

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