Carrying a sharp, easy-to-deploy survival knife can help you fight away almost any obstruction you face in the wilderness.
Survival knives are the most valuable assets of professional campers, hunters, and soldiers. It is an all-in-one tool that helps procure your food (and cook it as well), shelter, and save a life in dense forests, deserted islands, and many other emergency situations.
Now you must have understood why choosing the best survival knife is so important.
Hence, in this guide, my aim will be to find the best survival knife for your unique purposes.
When it comes to choosing the best survival knife, experts have varied opinions. The convenience of handling the knife is one of the main determinants.
The market is saturated with multitasking, technologically superior, razor-sharp, rough, and tough tactical knives from the finest brands of the world, be it the multipurpose swiss army knives, machetes, or skinning knives.
The key is not to throttle your opinion based on the flamboyant appearance of a knife.
If your requirement for the knife is limited, I’d suggest you avoid feature-loaded knives. Having said that, the very concept of perfection is full of loopholes.
Suitability varies from person to person. Operating survival knives requires a certain amount of outdoor skills, which is why it’s not meant for everyday all-round tasks.
I spend most of my weekends either mountaineering or tripping along with my equally adventurous pals in a forest. A survival knife is not just a tool.
Over the years, I’ve developed a deep friendship with the best survival knives.
An ordinary knife isn’t fit enough to face the rough challenges Mother Nature puts up in front of you. There are many instances in which I’ve seen people coming out of a far-away island or the forest of amazon alive even after losing the direction. Their breathtaking stories are still fresh in my memory.
Into the wild, without your GPS system, cellphone, gun, or food, you’re just as helpless as a kid without its mother. A versatile weapon like a survival knife attached can alone boost your confidence to fight against the odds.
As a Woodcutter
A good survival knife is something no woodcutter should be without. Flat, long-handle knives are a worthy replacement for axes or hatchets.
When it comes to splitting solid wood, cutting thickets, or saplings, it can be a reliable gear. This technique is also known as batoning. You can use a piece of wood as a millet, place the knife over it and pound the back of the knife with a solid wooden stick to cut the wood.
Apply the same method to divide logs into several sections. Seasoned campers possess a sort of spidey sense that helps them detect dry firewood instinctively. Create your DIY fireplace in the jungle to keep cold and fierce animals away.
Lighting the Fire
The primitive technique of fire-making is fascinating for any camper. Although it requires a certain amount of precision over the method, if you manage to master the art, making super-hot sparks even in damp weather won’t be tough.
A survival knife allows you to produce tinder from the bark or branch of a tree. Housing a Ferro rod along with Vaseline-soaked cotton balls is a way better option than packing a regular lighter.
The latter has the risk of running out of fuel. To create a 3 inches high spark for continuous 2 minutes, use your knife to strike the rod vigorously until it produces tinder.
Without fire, it’s almost impossible for anyone to sustain his life in the wilderness or in the cold foothills of a mountain without fire. No wonder why the invention of fire marked the dawn of civilization.
In ancient times, the one-stop solution to almost any problem was fighting duels.
Hanging a fixed-blade knife on the belt was a ritual every man followed. In the pre-historic era, men learned to hunt down animals for their flesh and skin. The use of the knife as a survival or hunting weapon hasn’t diminished with the advent of more action-specific tools.
In unfavorable conditions, a survival knife empowers you to collect your own food, process them and even cook them in the fire. Catching fish with knives instantly reminds us of Survival guru Bear Grylls.
In case you’ve forgotten to pack your metal shovel in hurry, a big fixed-blade knife can perform the task of digging on behalf of it with equal efficiency.
If handled with ingenuity, you can dig fire pits, carve out a hole for disposing of feces to dig up worms or edible tubers, and etch distress signals on the ground to grab the attention of a rescue helicopter.
Disaster never gives you a phone call before bursting in. Despite the overwhelming progress of science and technology, satellite communication, medical science, nature has always proved that we are nothing but mere helpless mortals in front of her wrath.
During the devastating Tsunami of 2004, thousands of people were drifted away to obscure islands by the massive force of sea waves. We all have heard about the successful survival stories of some brave hearts who managed to conquer inevitable death.
How did they do it? Were they just plain lucky?
Definitely not, survival in unexpected life and death situations requires immense nerve strength, experience, courage, and some basic survival resources.
Survival tools, at a minimum, have to be ergonomically sound and accessible. Below, I’ve listed some key features you must look for in your survival knife.
Size and Thickness
Well, when it comes to choosing the best survival knives, size does matter. Large, bulky blades are not desirable for survival needs.
It not only makes it very difficult to handle but also restricts its ability to perform intricate tasks. On the other hand, small blades as well have their share of perks.
You can’t effectively use small blades for demanding tasks like hammering or atoning. Models with around 9 to 10 inches blade length are considered ideal by the experts. Blades below 6 inches or above 11 inches should be avoided. Blades with 4/16 thickness are perfect for strenuous jobs like splitting woods.
The heart and soul of any tool is its material. Corrosion-free, stainless steel is a widely used material for making the best survival knives.
The only drawback of stainless steel is low edge retention power. On the contrary, a carbon steel blade stays razor-sharp for ages.
While choosing the useful survival knife to the house in your ultimate survival kit, make sure the knife is a full tang. Full tang knives are far superior to partial tang or rat-tail tang blades. Being made of one single, solid piece of metal, full tangs are capable of performing heavy-duty tasks like atoning, prying, digging with ease.
A slippery grip can call for more danger than the ones you’re already facing. You need a firm grip on the knife to accomplish precision.
Polymer, hard-rubber are non-slip materials, which is why handles composed for these materials provide a comfortable grip.in full tang knives, the tang has to be attached to the handle portion. Long tangs make for highly durable, robust survival knives.
Sharp Pointed Tip
A sharp-pointed tip is mandatory for stabbing thickly furred animals or hooking fish. A spear-pointed survival knife is deployed for self-defense purposes.
In a similar way, cleaning the fishes, repairing gears, digging worms for bait is also easier with spear-pointed tips than with angled or hooked tips.
The bottom or butt of the knife handle is known as the pommel. It is commonly used for hammering, atoning, or pounding heavy materials.
I typically use the pommel to pound shelter stakes. Many people choose to overlook it but a solid pommel really adds to the functionality of the knife. When you need to crush ice, put the tip of the blade on the ice surface, beat the pommel hard continuously with a wooden stick to drive the blade through it.
For a better and more informed understanding of the different applications of survival knives, I’ve classified it into 5 categories. The classification is mainly based upon two criteria- design and functionality.
The Best Fixed Blade Knives Wildlife always puts your physical and mental strength to the ultimate test. One wrong move and your game are over.
Choosing only the well-tested and tried tools to prepare your survival kit is the first step towards success. Fixed blade knives will always get preference over folded survival knives for a good many reasons.
First and foremost, a fixed blade is way more capable of taking high stress than its other counterpart.
Speed is another advantage. You can go on chopping tomatoes, slicing fresh meat with accuracy, wipe it off, and put it back in the sheath-all in just a matter of minutes.
Imagine yourself losing your way in the middle of a jungle. You don’t have any food or water with you. As the icing on the cake, there are plenty of aggressive carnivores to welcome you. You have to sustain yourself anyhow until the rescue team arrives.
Your presence of mind, willpower, and adequate survival resources are the only things that can get you out of trouble.
Looking for a knife that can stand strong in the most punishing conditions?
If you’re willing to be liberal in expenditure to get the best in the business, Fallkniven A1 is the answer for you. This ultra-strong, outstanding survival tool, manufactured by the premium Swedish manufacturer of military knives, Fallkniven, has a laminated, fine edge VG-10, 6.38 inches long blade with an ideal 0.24 inches thickness.
This full tang survival knife with an attached Kraton handle is crafted to perform detailed tasks like prying, firewood process, sawing like a pro.
This is the reason why the Fall knives A1 is considered the best survival knife by countless knife aficionados.
You can read our detailed review of the Fallkniven A1 to know more about its features.
Despite a few bad reviews, the vast majority of people who own this knife seem to love it. The quality is good, and grip is rubbery and strong, and the knife is made to be stored and used easily.
With that in mind, this knife makes an excellent addition to any survival gear you may already have, or a good start if you are just beginning to put together a survival gear package. With a sturdy knife like this one, you can be prepared for nearly anything your camping trip or survival mission throws your way.
From prepping to hiking to other types of activities, this best survival knife will be ready when you need it, and will give you years of good service so you can feel prepared.
The Bk2 companion is your true companion in life and death situations where nothing else can rescue you except a sharp mind and an equally sharp survival knife.
The key component of this amazing model from the famous Ka-Bar is its 1095 Crovan steel. Be it cutting through the bone, dicing fruits and veggies, or skinning big animals, nothing is impossible for this rugged, tough, 5.5 inches solid steel blade.
The steel is rust-proof and retains its shape even in extremely humid weather. It comes to your pocket for a fairly reasonable price and offers a lifetime warranty on the blade too.
Read our full review of the Ba-Bar Becker knife here. This is why the Ka-Bar deserves a place in your tactical backpack!
Overall, there are mixed reviews on this particular best survival knife. Many people love it because of its durability and how it can handle heavy-duty tasks, but others feel it is too heavy for most general applications.
Instead, they would prefer something that is easier to pack and does not weigh them down as much. Carrying a lighter knife has been recommended by some who bought this knife, so if you are looking for something light and easy to handle this knife may not be for you.
Ka-Bar is a quality brand, and if you need a hard-shell sheath and a heavier style of camping or survival knife, this may be the right choice for your particular situation. If you are anticipating a lighter need, a knife that weighs less and is smaller in size could be a better option based on how you will be using your best survival knife.
For the ardent lovers of the wild, the ESEE-6 comes as a blessing. This true-blue-gorgeous Black blade is a perfect addition to your arsenal when you’re gearing yourself up for an adventurous weekend in the foothills of Andes or in the mysterious lush of Daintree forest.
Black blade is admired by survivalists for its unique 0.188 inches thick, 6.5 inches long carbon steel blade which helps you conquer the deadly wildlife or merciless climate without debilitating.
The 11.8 ounces frame swiftly fits in your grip. Need to fix gears, cut open twigs and branches of the tree? Sure thing.
When you need a quality survival knife that has plenty to offer, many people recommend Esee. It is one of the top brands to consider, although not everyone loves it as much as the next person.
Like other knives, it is a matter of personal preference whether this is the right knife for you and your needs. Some people love the balance and grip, while others feel the knife is blocky and unbalanced.
What you are looking for in the best survival knives will have a strong effect on whether this is the right survival knife for you.
If you want a quality brand that generally holds up well and a company that will stand by its warranty then Esee could be just what you are looking for to get the best survival knife.
Gurkha Kukri is a synthesis of the best features of regular life, a machinate and a tomahawk.
Driving the blade through the skin of the carcass, cleaning small games, chopping woods, or permeating thick bushes there's a long list of tasks it accomplishes with speed and accuracy.
The oversize is a little on the negative side albeit, I couldn’t still help mentioning it as one of my all-time favorites.
This is a more unique option than many of the best survival knives you will find.
It is hand-forged, which is not that common, but there is a tradition behind this knife that you do not get just anywhere. Additionally, the fact that is it sharpened right out of the box makes it a good choice.
Some knives have to be sharpened as soon as you get them, and that can be annoying and frustrating. Rather than deal with that, you can get a knife that is ready to use right away. Lightweight for its size and what it has to offer, this knife is one that can have you ready in nearly any survival or camping situation.
Any Chris Reeve-inspired model is an asset for any knife lover. The unparalleled combination of CR legacy and modern technology has brought to you a powerful combating tool with a slightly serrated 7 inches long edge blade.
Albeit the massive length of the blade increases the bulk of the equipment, making it a bit tough for the novices to deploy, as you gain experience, you’ll get used to the bulk. Suitable for splitting logs into sections, tearing apart animal skin, and batoning.
With this particular survival knife, you are going to get the quality and value you want and expect, at a price you can really appreciate.
Not all knives you find in the survival section are going to give you this level of durability, so it is important to get the knife that is going to meet your needs on a consistent basis.
The stylish look of this knife also matters as you can really appreciate the way the knife performs.
When you want the best survival knife, you want to choose something that is really going to get the job done, and you can find that value with this Schrade option.
With a reputation for quality and value, Schrade is a company that will stand by its products and provides some of the best survival knives available. You can trust this knife to see you through on your next outing.
Buck is the king of knife-making since I don’t even know when. There’s a huge fan base of Buck knives around the world and rightly so. The iconic powder coated, 5.62 inches 5160 steel blade is incorporated into a feather-light 7.04 oz. frame, making it an excellent multipurpose tool for professionals and amateurs alike.
Buck 65 also features a multi-function MOLLE compatible nylon sheath. The 11 inches length of the knives allows easy, efficient maneuvering. The added deep finger groove maximizes safety. Hence, it’s considered one of the best survival knives out there.
All in all, it’s quite suitable for outdoor activities.
Finding the best survival knives that add plenty of quality and value to your survival or camping experience is not always easy, but there are some options for the best survival knives that will really help you get what you need.
With this particular Buck knife, you can expect the value that comes with an established knife brand. All Buck knives have a reputation for a high level of quality, and this particular survival knife is no exception.
It gives the user a well-crafted and well-balanced knife experience, allowing you to use it the right way every time.
You can expect it to be durable, too, so you can rely on it through all of your adventures. You will never need to settle for less than a survival knife that can offer you reliability, because that equals peace of mind, too.
When it comes to building knives for survival in adverse situations, Ka-Bar is the gold standard.
The Ka-Bar 22 is the ultimate survival kit for real-life action heroes. It weighs around 14.6 ounces and the non-slip grip provides excellent control over the 5.25 inches long 1095 Crovan steel is.
The solid glass breaker pommel and heavy-duty frame are included among the other highlights. It is the perfect choice for rescue and hunting applications in the wild.
Ka-Bar has a reputation for offering some of the best survival knives at the right price, and this Becker option is no exception. There are many reasons to choose this brand, and quality is only part of the equation.
You will get a durable knife you can rely on, with stylish good looks you can appreciate. Storing this knife is easy, and since it is light and nimble for its size you can move it around easily and use it the way it is intended with little effort.
Whether you need a true survival knife or you are just looking to do some camping, you have options you can enjoy with this. It is one of the best survival knives you could choose, and a good option for all of the adventurous times you have planned in the future.
Having a good knife in your survival kit can make all the difference.
Gerber survival knives have been rocking the market since I’ve known about them. The 420 HC solid, stainless steel is the biggest highlight of the model.
The insulated hand grip ensures maximum protection of your hand from potential injuries while cutting live wire. The super-sharp blade has partial serration which easily increases the application of the knife.
Break heavy materials such as firewood, split logs without any hassle with the help of its heavy-duty glass breaker/pommel.
There is not really much that is better than an infantry knife when you want a solid survival knife you can rely on. Gerber also has a reputation for quality and value, so you can trust that you are getting the best survival knife you can rely on. With a solid style and a nimble balance, this knife is one you can appreciate.
It offers just the right size and design, giving you the chance to focus on what you need the knife for when you need it.
Whether you are a hard-core camper or you are just starting out, you will want a knife you can appreciate, and one that will be there for you when you have to use it.
This could be the best survival knife you will own, and Gerber cares about its customers with good service and a warranty on this knife.
The Schrade model is one of the best survival knives, is known for its smart ergonomic design and diverse applications. The 12” knife easily fits in your palm and allows smooth maneuvering for demanding tasks. It integrates a powerful 1095 carbon steel construction with a durable 6.4” blade.
The razor-sharp blade stands strong in the most extreme conditions without fraying. The pommel greatly multiplies the pounding capacity of the knife. The pointed tip is effective for performing detailed jobs like opening cans, prying, or digging.
A survival knife should be well-balanced, sharp, and ready to go whenever you are. You can get those qualities and more with this particular option from Schrade.
It offers a high-quality blade, a grip that is strong and comfortable, and a knife that is going to be sharp and durable. Cut, chop, and do all kinds of other things with this knife, and it will hold up.
Ranked among the best survival knives out there on the market today, you can use this knife for all of your camping chores and survival needs without worry that it cannot take the punishment.
If you damage this knife it has a warranty, too, so you can work with the company to get a satisfactory resolution to your concerns. Schrade wants you to be happy with the best survival knives you have chosen for the long term.
The Tom brown master survival tool is crafted to perfection for those who never compromise with the quality. The large size (11.9”) of the knife, quite unbelievably, doesn’t restrict the application of the model.
Rather, it provides accuracy and mind-blowing speed for light chopping works, processing firewood, slicing rope, and other materials. Definitely deserves a place in your ultimate survival kit!
The Tom Brown Tracker is among the best survival knives to use on all of your camping trips and other adventures. You can trust it to see you through when you need it most, so you will be able to get through whatever project you have to tackle.
Whether you are chopping wood, cutting rope, or doing something else that requires a sharp blade, this knife will give you what you need. While not perfect for everyone, the Tracker is an excellent survival knife choice for most people, who appreciate its sharp edge and good balance.
The grip is strong, as well, and comfortable for the majority of hands to hold. A knife needs to be safe, solid, and reliable, and this particular knife delivers well in all of those areas and more.
You can never go wrong when you invest in a fixed blade survival knife. They have been around for hundreds of years and have withstood the test of time.
I’m not asking you to rush out, buy all the above-mentioned knives, and then head out into the wilds. I know first hand that it’s not very easy to find the best knives considering a lot of factors like budget, usage and etc. Realizing this is why I have written this article. I hope you find it helpful.