Given we are in a non-life-threatening situation, splitting logs is often beneficial. However, I feel things get murkier in a survival situation. I have brainstormed about this for a while, here is the best I got:
Survival: Wood Splitting Pros
- increase surface area exposed, especially useful if wood is scarce in the current environment
- better burn since its drier
- less smoke would not give away your position as easily as an unsplit, wetter round (assuming goal is evasion)
Survival: Wood Splitting Cons
a lot of effort for a questionable benefit, maybe the person is better off just sliding a large unsplit round into the fire little by little
potential for injury, (probably not a big risk factor, but it's another moving part nonetheless)
minimal smoke could be a disadvantage in terms of visibility to rescuers (assuming we want to be seen)
Is it worth the effort to split logs in a survival situation? Ideally, I would like to have a clear-cut (excuse the pun) answer, but if it depends, maybe we can walk through some basic conditions. Also, let me know if my logic was on-par in my lists above; maybe there are other considerations I didn't think of.
- Survival time-frame: uncertain
- Is help coming?: uncertain
- friendly/unfriendly territory: friendly, not evasion
- other concerns: availability of wood, and other concerns will be optional. These may be important in some situations, but in the interest of simplicity I will allow the answerers to stipulate their own assumptions on things like this.