How to Sharpen Survival Knives without a Stone

How to Sharpen Survival Knives without a Stone

Having a survival knife in hand when you’re out in the wilderness can be of crucial importance. But there’s one thing that you should be aware of – if that knife is dull, you won’t be able to chop, hack, or slice with it. And even though it’s still better to have a dull blade than none at all, a sharp edge can sometimes mean the difference between life and death. The sharpening stone is the best solution for any situation, such as hunting, tactical or bushcraft adventures, but what if you don’t have it on yourself? Have no worries – with just a little bit of ingenuity and thinking, you can use various household items to keep that edge sharp and useful – here are some of them:

How to Sharpen Survival Knives without a Stone


A ceramic coffee cup is something you can find in every household, and you’re probably always carrying one in your backpack for hiking. All that you have to do here is to turn it upside down and run the blade against the raw, rough part that’s at the bottom of the cup.


This won’t sharpen your blade in the actual, technical sense, but it will still realign its edge and make it keener. The name of this process is stropping, and there are many professionals who use leather straps to strop their knives. Just make sure that your belt has no stitching, and then run the blade away from the edge in order to realign it.


The thick spine of your other knife is one of the honing devices that’s, in most cases, very easy to find, and presents another reason why should you always carry two knives with you. Just like you would run the knife against the honing steel, run it along the spine (the unsharpened part) of another knife.


If the sharpening stone is not at hand, you can use a simple stone that’s smooth and flat. You’ll find these along the banks of rivers, and just use them like you would your regular sharpening stone.


Even though this isn’t actually an everyday item, it is so versatile and inexpensive that you should seriously consider carrying some of it in your backpack. For the maximum sharpness of your survival knife or pocket knife, start by using the coarser grit and then work your way up to the finer grit.


If you’re out of sandpaper, the next similar thing to use would be a nail file, which can usually be found in the survival kit. Just use it in the same way as the sandpaper – run the blade’s edge against the emery board.


The car windows are, surprisingly, a pretty good choice when it comes to knife sharpening, as they have rough, rounded edges. Slide both sides of the blade against it for a few times.

As you can see, you don’t need to have a sharpening stone to keep your survival knife sharp and useful. We hope that we’ve helped you!