What is the Best Survival Knife for Batoning?
When you are in a disaster situation, it helps to have a good survival knife and to know how to baton. There are many disaster situations that one may find themselves requiring the survival skill of batoning wood for example being deserted in a forest or abandoned in the desert. A survival knife in such situations will prove to be indeed important since you can use it to carve, split and baton firewood, skin small game or for self-defense. You therefore need to have a good survival knife anytime you are moving outdoors. However, possession of the knife is not alone enough. You need to know how to use it. If you do not know how to use it, then it is no better than a child’s play thing.
Here is a list of the Best Survival Knife for Batoning
Batoning with Your Survival Knife
Batoning is one of the most popular survival and bushcraft skills where a strong survival knife is placed vertically on top of a log of wood and using a baton-like object, the survival knife is driven into the log of wood until it gets split. Batoning helps you get access to inner portions of wet wood, produce shingles and slim boards. Batoning takes less effort, consumes less time and gives better slices of wood than chopping. It also doesn’t require as much expertise and energy as chopping would demand.
The down sides of batoning with your surs. The con side of batoning is that it may break your knife if you baton at an angle. Again, you have to use a right baton (piece of wood mostly), otherwise if you use a rock or brick, the knife will become damaged with jagged features all over.
For a better and less risky batoning experience, use a piece of hardwood carefully shaped like a short baseball bat and smoothened grip. Have a wide hitting area while the handle is much thinner. Knives with a full tang are better suited for batoning than those with a partial tang since the pressure exerted by the baton may easily break the knife handle. The edge of your knife blade should be 2 to 3 inches longer than the log of wood being split so as to give you a vertical angle as you split and to also dig into the log of wood uniformly.Synthetic handles on your survival knife give you a better batoning experience since they absorb all the shock during batoning as compared to rigid knife handles that make a lot of vibrations as you hit the blade.
In summary, follow these batoning guidelines:
1. Centre your knife on the log of wood which is vertically placed on the ground.
2. Keep the knife straight down and not an angle.
3. Hit the centre of blade and dig into the log.
4. Baton with the grain of wood and not against it.
5. When your knife hits a wood knot, baton around and not through it. Wood knots create extreme resistance that could cause damage on your knife blade.
6. If the knife digs with an angle, read just it so that it is straight again.
Situations When Batoning Is Necessary
Batoning is mostly taught in survival classes and in scouting groups. It is argued to be a better and safer wood slicing method as compared to chopping wood with an axe. While using an axe, one must be very mindful of their surroundings and people working near them lest they injure them with the swinging axe blade.
Again, chopping wood with an axe requires more space and effort unlike batoning where you can do it in a crowded campsite or even when you are a parent with a scampering kid nearby.
When using an axe, you must have a wide log of wood. But what if all you have got is a thin piece of wood? Will you go ahead and swing the axe countless times only to have your efforts wasted as you hit the soft ground again and again? With batoning however, the thin piece of wood will be sliced easily with little effort and no energy going to waste. With batoning, you can place the piece of wood on any surface be it a soft ground, hard rock or even a picnic table without fearing to damage anything.
For an axe, you have to use a soft ground lest you damage the blade by hitting on a rocky surface or break your picnic table if you place your log of wood there.Batoning using a survival knife can be used in any situation and location. The survival knife isn’t too heavy to carry out to your picnic or hiking location, is it? With axes comes the baggage that no one wants. You wouldn’t want to carry an axe to that mountain picnic that you want to go out to with your girlfriend, would you? No, the axe is not only too heavy but a huge turn-off for certain outings.
What to Look Out for When Choosing Your Best Batoning Survival Knife
1. Consider the Size
With batoning unlike other survival skills, the bigger the knife blade the better. Small blades are for simple tasks such as effectively skinning small game or carving out animal traps. Such a small knife blade will prove useless for batoning and chopping pieces of wood. You therefore need to optimally choose a knife blade that can be used in any situation.
A good medium survival knife can range from 9 to 11 inches with a blade 5 inches long. Such a blade can be used for batoning as well as other tasks.
2. Fixed versus Folding Blade
A fixed blade on your knife is more reliable and durable as compared to the folding blade. For batoning purposes, a folding knife is a complete no-no since it will make the task hard.
3. Full tang
There are full tang knives and partial tang knives. Full tang knives have the blade and handle made of one uniform and continuous piece of metal with equal thickness. Partial tang knives on the other hand have a thinner handle as compared to the blade thickness. With the scales and grips covering on a survival knife, you may not really know whether it is a full tang or partial tang. However, you can ask.
A full is more robust and ideal for hardy tasks such as batoning and carving wood. Again, in case the handle chips off or breaks, with a full tang, you only need to wrap it up with cordage for comfortable use. With a partial tang knife however, incase the handle damages, you need to get it replaced since using it in its condition is difficult and also dangerous. A partial tang knife is not good for batoning since it may break with the pressure you exert as you hit hard on the blade.
4. Your survival knife needs a hard, solid pommel
The pommel is the bottom most part of your knife. It is also commonly known as a butt. A solid pommel can be used for light duty tasks such as hammering and pounding on surfaces. It can also be used to crush into tough ice fishing holes by pounding your knife on the pommel such that the blade tip drives into the ice splitting it. For a better batoning experience, go for either a solid or rounded pommel for enhanced handle grip.
Choose the Best Knife Handle Materials
The success of using your survival knife largely depends on the knife handle that you use. If you pick one that is too brittle and chips off easily, you might find yourself unable to use the knife in difficult situations when you really need to use it. Different knife grips are carved to make knife handling a safe process. For batoning purposes, I advise that users go for bone, rubber, wood, G10 and micarta.
In this Youtube video, the viewer is shown how to baton wood in a forest setting when all they have is a survival knife. Though he states that he does not like batoning with a knife owing to the complexity of the task the video, the trainer says that there are situations when all you have is that knife and wet wood which have to be split into small bits. To simplify the task, he creates a wedge from a thin piece of wood such that when he has cut into the log of wood with a survival knife, he hammers the wedge into the wood to be split such that the batoning task becomes more easier.
Popular Survival Knives Good for Batoning
I decided to search through the Internet for the most popular batoning survival knives and from my search, I stumbled over the following: Fallkniven F1, Cold Steel SRK, KA- BAR Becker, ESEE-6 and Gerber LMFII knife. Reading the rave reviews of all the knives, they stated that they were good for batoning. All these knives were full tang- a must for batoning. They also had a considerable length of knife blade. I decided to try each of the survival knife to determine which was the best for a batoning task.
1. Fallkniven F1 survival knife
John, a user of this brand of Swedish knife says that he liked the blade for its long size, scaly handle for good grip and durability. “The designer of the fallkniven knife must have had a picture of the different situations when a good survival knife is needed” I found this brand of survival knife the best for batoning owing to its long, strong, full tang, steelblade. It is lightweight and has a scaly handle giving it a good grip. It also lasts for long owing to the stainless steel blade.
-11 inches knife with 6.3 inches blade.- Kranton handle with Zytel sheath.- Long and thick steel blade that will never rust.- Scaly grip on the handle for comfortability.- Strong and durable.- Full tang
View Fallkniven F1 survival knife here
Here's a video of the Fallkniven F1 survival knife for more information and review.
2. Cold Steel SRK Survival Knife
Jane a reviewer of the knife said, “The SRK which means Survival Response Knife is indeed a must-have for people who find themselves in tough disasters that would require a survival knife to mitigate”. She continued stating thatwhile other survival knives sellers concentrate on gimmicks and nonsensical adverts, the makers of this knife concentrated on the knife itself making it the best brand of product in the market. I rated it as the second best batoning knife.
- 6 inches blade.- Concealex sheath for protection.- Rough handle for good grip.- Steel blade that withstands all forms of pressure and torture while out there surviving.- Full tang
View Cold Steel SRK Survival Knife here
3. KA-BAR Becker Companion knife
The knife has a smooth fixed handle which suited Ethan Becker, the person who made it for his cookery and outdoor hunting activities. It has a 1095 Cro-Van steel blade of 5.5 inches. It is one of the heaviest survival knives in the market but this can prove to be an advantage when doing labor-intensive jobs. It is a good batoning knife but for its heavy weight, I did not like it very much.
- 1095 Cro-Van strong steel blade.- 5.5 inches fixed blade.- Smooth handle for easy and comfortable grip.- Heavy weight.- Full tang
View KA-BAR Becker Companion knife here
Here's a video of the KA-BAR Becker Companion knife for more information and review.
4. ESEE-6 Survival knife
Users of this brand have found it quite versatile for not only batoning but also hunting, skinning small game, carving wood and cracking wild nuts. It is 11.75 inches long with the longest knife blade. It has a smooth, curvaceous handle for a comfortable grip which I very much liked especially when batoning.
- 11.75 inches with a long blade ideal for batoning and cutting up pieces of wood.- Versatile.- Curvaceous, smooth grip for a better, comfortable handle.- Full tang
View ESEE-6 Survival knife here
5.Gerber LMF II knife
I particularly liked this knife because of its multifunctionalities and would have easily picked it as the best were it not for the big price it sells at. If one needs a simple cheap knife for batoning, I wouldn’t advise them to go for it but if they were looking for a versatile survival knife, then it definitely is the knife to choose. It has a rather rough Kranton handle for a good grip. The 420HC stainless steel blade is resistant to rust and has a partial serration running up to 4.84 inches long. The serrated part can be used for cutting or sawing through surfaces. Its handle has a window breaker edge making it an ideal survival tool for both wild and urban survival travels.
- Rough Kranton handle for good grip.- 4.84 inches serration on blade adding its versatile functionality.- Window breaker edge on handle for urban survival.- 420 HC stainless steel blade making it rust resistant.- Strong, wide blade.- Full tang
Here's a video of the Gerber LMF II knife for more information and review.
In conclusion, when looking for a survival knife for batoning, also consider other situations when you will need it. Batoning is not the only survival tactic. So apart from features, adaptability of the knife to situations where you may be in should be considered. Prices should be the last thing you should look at since cheap is always expensive and at the same time, you may find an expensive knife that does not suit your needs. Go for a blade that will last long, a full tang knife as well as a handle that is durable.
*We wrote a dedicated post on Best Survival Knife - feel free to give it a read!