How to Survive in the Wilderness with Just a Knife

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Last Updated on October 14, 2022 by admin_hunter

Being stuck out in the wilderness for a prolonged period of time is not fun if you don’t have the right equipment. A camping trip is great fun, but here we are talking about pure survival, not camping. So, let’s imagine a scenario. Your plane has crashed in the wilderness or maybe you’ve just gotten lost in the woods.

You have nothing but your trusty survival knife. How are you going to make it? Let’s talk about how to survive in the wilderness with just a knife and nothing else. It is doable; it might not be easy, but surviving with nothing but a knife can be done.

Collecting Wood and Making Fire

If you are stuck in the wilderness, chances are that at some point or another, it is going to get cold. Hypothermia and exposure to the elements are leading causes of death for people lost in the wilderness. Therefore, making a fire to keep warm is essential.

With a good survival knife, collecting wood is easy. You won’t be able to chop down trees or split logs with a knife, but you can cut down smaller trees, break apart branches, collect kindling, and do enough to collect fire-making materials. Finding burnable materials is the first step.

Next, you will need a way to make that fire, but you don’t have matches and lighters. You can use your survival knife and strike it on a hard rock to create sparks that can set dry kindlin ablaze. Moreover, there are also plenty of survival knives available that come with fire starters. Flint works best of course, but quartz, granite, and obsidian all create lots of sparks as well.

Building Shelter

The next step in surviving outdoors in an emergency situation is to build a shelter. Once again, this has to do with exposure. A good shelter can keep you off the cold ground, it keeps wind out, it will keep rain off your head, and keep you warm enough to survive.

A good survival knife can help you create a shelter. There are many types of shelters that can be built, but anything like a teepee or a makeshift tent will do just fine.

Your knife is going to come in handy for collecting branches, sticks, bark, and foliage, all things that can be used to build a small survival shelter. You can even use the knife to carve notches into the wood to create a more stable shelter that might even be able to withstand a good bit of wind and rain.

Hunting and Preparing Food

You might not be skilled enough to launch a knife through the air and nail a rabbit or deer in the head like some kind of action movie hero, but you can still use a knife to hunt. If you are quiet, maybe you can hide yourself well enough to have an animal come right up to you, at which point it’s a “stick it with the sharp end” kind of scenario.

However, for most people, this is not in the cards, as managing to get close enough to a wild animal, close enough to put that knife to use, is just not going to happen.

However, a knife can be used to fashion various traps like snares; you can sharpen some sticks to make makeshift spears, and fashioning your own fishing supplies is also possible.

You can then also use that knife to skin and gut animals, to cut apart meat, to clean fish, and to forage for food as well. Feeding yourself with a knife is not the easiest thing in the world, but it is doable. You will need to be patient.

Searching for Water

One of the most important things you will need when stuck in the wilderness is water. Humans can’t survive for more than a few days without water. If you cannot find fresh water, you’ll have to search for it, and this is going to involve digging.

Water will usually accumulate at the base of slopes, in gullies, and at the bases of trees. You might have to dig down a couple of feet, but if it’s the only tool you have, digging with a knife is better than digging with your bare hands.

Making an SOS

A knife can also be used to signal for help. You can use a knife to reflect sunlight, hopefully to get the attention of passing boats or airplanes. You can also use that knife to make a fire, and then put a bunch of greens and leaves on it to make a smoke signal. You can survive in the wild with a knife, but you do obviously want to get home too.


A knife is not the best weapon or self-defense tool in the world. The blade is short, so you need to get in close to an attacker or an animal, and dropping a knife is something that happens more often than anyone would like to admit. However, a sharp blade is better for defending yourself than nothing at all. Once again, that pointy end of the knife can come in quite handy for staying alive.

Tools, Tools, Tools

The other thing to remember is that there are plenty of tools and items that can be made from knives — survival tools. Water collection systems, spears, shelter, crutches and walking aids, hunting equipment, and more can all be made with that trusty survival knife.


Of course, it is not ideal to be stuck in the wilderness with just a knife, or stuck outdoors without help at all for that matter. However, there are plenty of things that a knife can do. This includes helping you find water, food, stay warm, build a shelter, defend yourself, and signal for help.