CRKT RSK MK5 Survival Knife
Major Pandemic 10.04.13
A knife is probably the most important item to have in a survival situation, and although a 4″-5″ blade is optimal, a tiny 1.75″ bladed knife like the CRKT RSK MK5 Survival Knife is far better to have than to have nothing.
A core tenet of wilderness survival is that, when a real survival situation arises, a tiny survival kit on your person will be 100% more useful than the 20lb 3-day survival pack left at home. This methodology has spawned smaller and smaller survival kits, with the Altoids Mint tin survival kit being one of the most popular. Many of us carry a tin of mints, so swapping fresh breath for a survival kit is an easy decision for the outdoor survivalist. Of course, there’s plenty of debate over what should go in these small kits, but a knife is a necessity that everyone agrees on. With this in mind, the CRKT’s RSK MK5 is the best high durability tin-packable knife option I have found yet.
Fit and Features
The CRKT RSK (Ritter Survival Knife) MK5 was developed by Doug Ritter, a renowned survivalist. The strongest, most durable knife design will almost always be a fixed blade knife that also reduces bulk and allows more items in the tin. Doug designed the stainless 2CR13 steel knife with a highly utilitarian drop point design, unique handle jimping, and lanyard which, when gripped in the hand, extends the grip in a way that makes it feel more secure like a much bigger knife. The adjustable lanyard is not only handy, but critical to the design as it functions as a handle extension when mounted in the hand correctly.
Through his design process, Doug was able to maximize the blade length to a pretty useful 1.75″ length while still making it fairly comfortable to use. And it still fits in the tin. Included with the knife is a CRKT branded survival tin, lanyard, slim blade cover, and a really good suggested list of items to include in your survival tin kit.
In reality you can do a lot with a 1.75″ blade if the edge geometry is right and the steel is high quality. You can baton it through a thicker sapling with another piece of wood, clean fish or game, make weapons and fire. The uses are endless. The high grind of the blade really makes the RSK MK5 a great little slicer that cuts deep. The RSK sailed easily through my typical whole chicken breakdown, but I did have to work at the joints a bit where I could have powered through them with a larger knife. If you live with the knife for a week in your pocket, I’m sure you will find that that little blade delivers cutting utility and edge holding far better than the size would indicate.
Although small, great design attention has clearly been paid to assure that this is a brutally tough little knife that will not fail you like a the typical scalpel or utility knife blade included in Altoids Survival kits. The 3Cr13 steel is similar to a high end 440 or AUS8 (but with more toughness and corrosion resistance) and is improved further with the stone washed finish.
The CRKT RSK MK5 also has a skeletonized handle, which means that you can lash it to a pole as a spear or do things like wrap the handle with dental floss (a very handy and strong cordage that you can use for fishing or building) and also provides a knife design over 30% lighter than one with a solid handle. Overall, the MK5 is a thoughtful design which you should find plenty of uses for when you need it most.
The CRKT RSK Mk5 is clearly not the survival knife I would reach for as I planned a walk into the woods or if I expected to fend for my life in a survival environment, but it is the one that you can guarantee will be with you should a survival situation occur. As with all CRKT knives, this is a high value knife at a great price. Although the MSRP price is $29.99, I picked mine up for only $22.99, which is a heck of a steal for a little, tough knife that just might save your life.
- Columbia River Knife & Tool RSK® Mk5
- Design: Dr. Andrew Osborne, David White, Doug Ritter
- Blade Material: 3Cr13 hardened to 52-55 HRC
- Blade Length: 1.75 in. (44.5 mm)
- Edge Length: 1.94 in. (49.3 mm) plain edge
- Blade Thickness: 0.12 in. (3 mm)
- Blade Shape: Wide-Chord Drop Point
- Blade Grind: High Flat Grind, 18º Nominal
- Overall Length: 3.81 in. (97 mm)
- Handle: Skeletonized
- Weight: 0.78 oz. (22 g)
- Sheath: Molded & Riveted Fiberglass-Reinforced Nylon
- Weight w/ Sheath: 0.88 oz. (25 g)
- MSRP: $29.99, Street $22.99