Whether it’s in an emergency at home, on the streets, or in the wild, your survival knife can clearly save your life. That’s the reason everyone who knows anything about survival considers a good knife an essential piece of gear.
And to ensure your knife will be fit for duty when you need it most, you must be careful how you care for and store it long-term. To help you out, here are some “best practices” when it comes to caring for your knife and storing it long-term.
Clean it properly: First, you should periodically give your knife a thorough cleaning. You can use a Q-tip and toothbrush with mild soap and water to remove any excess dirt on the knife.
Next, wipe the blade down with a silicone cloth to prevent corrosion (Hoppe’s No. 9 Silicone Gun and Reel Cloth is one such example). Another cleaning product is Breakfree CLP.
It can give your knife a long-lasting, lubricating film that reduces adhesion of sand, grit or other abrasives which could cause wear.
Cardboard: Don’t store a knife in a leather or kydex sheath for the long-term. (For example, a knife that you just store in a safe and don’t carry often.)
These sheaths can trap moisture and eventually cause your knife to rust. Even if the leather is vegetable tanned and doesn’t have corrosive chemicals in it, it still absorbs moisture and traps it next to the blade.
And don’t store knives for the long term in cases with foam padding, as foam will also hold moisture. The last thing you want is to lock your knife away in a humid, wet foam-padded box.
Instead, you should make an improvised sheath from cardboard and tape. Cardboard is sturdy, safe, and does not trap moisture next to the blade.
Simply cut enough cardboard and tape it around the blade to form a sheath. This sheath doesn’t have to be perfect, you’re just looking to protect the blade.
Storage: When your knife isn’t on your hip, it’s best to store it in a dry environment and to keep moisture from getting at it. So, after cleaning your knife and putting it in a cardboard sheath (or the original cardboard box)…
Put it inside a plastic bag with a desiccant, and then store the sheathed and bagged knife in a cool, dry place. And, here’s another thing to keep in mind…
Extreme heat can damage your knife. And many knife handles are made from materials that can also be damaged by extreme temperatures (wood, etc.)
So, avoid leaving it in a storage unit or any place that isn’t temperature controlled. The way you treat your survival knife will affect its ability to work for you when you need it most…
And a good knife will take care of you just as long as you take care of it.