Knives are versatile tools that come in handy in a variety of situations. Figuring out which survival knife is best suited to your needs can be a daunting task with all the options that are available out there, but let’s cut to the chase and look at some knives to help you make a decision.
Survival Knife Uses
The best survival knife is the one that suits your needs and particular situation and the one you have with you when you need it. Survival knives can be used in a variety of situations including camping, hiking, in actual survival situations and even around the house.
The most important thing to keep in mind is the tasks that you want to accomplish with your knife and to ensure that the one you finally choose is of high quality. You don’t want a knife that’s going to quit on you the moment you really need it. Choosing the right survival knife could literally save your life.
Imagine for a second you’re out in the wilderness and you suddenly find yourself lost in the woods. You look around trying to find your way, but everything looks the same. I can’t think of a better tool to have in that situation than a survival knife. Your knife can help you build a shelter, start a fire, obtain food or can be used for protection against animals.
There have even been a number of articles in newspapers across the country involving people who have gotten trapped in the wilderness under fallen rocks or equipment and used a survival knife to sever their own limbs and set themselves free. These people had to make tough decisions under considerable pressure, but simply put; they would not be alive if they didn’t carry a knife on them.
Featured Survival Knives from Some of the Best Brands
Swiss Army Knife Adventurer
Blade length: Almost 4.5 inches
You can’t talk about survival knives without including the classic Swiss Army Knife. This nifty little multi-tool includes a large locking knife blade, can opener, bottle opener, 3 screwdrivers, reamer with a sewing eye, tweezers and even a toothpick. Like all Vicorinox knives, the Adventurer is a well made, solid unit.
This knife is really great for smaller tasks. If you carry it around with you, you’ll be surprised at how often it comes in handy while camping or even during day to day life. Any time I get a splinter, need to tighten a screw or open a bottle, it’s second nature to reach for my Adventurer. I really like that the blade on this knife is a bit larger than the traditional swiss army knives.
Unfortunately, the nature of folding knives is that they don’t hold up quite as well as a fixed blade knife when it comes to the more heavy duty tasks. For this reason I think that the Adventurer makes for a better secondary knife or EDC knife. For its price and versatility I wouldn’t hesitate to call it the best folding survival knife on the market.
- Compact on-the-go multi-tool ideal for campers
- Enclosed in classic red housing made to exacting Victorinox standards
- Locking blade, Phillips screwdriver, and tweezers
- Can opener with small screwdriver; key ring for transport
- Measures 3.6 inches long; weighs 2.8 ounces; lifetime warranty
Gerber’s Bear Grylls Ultimate Pro Fixed Blade Survival Knife
Blade length: 4.8 inches
The Bear Grylls Pro has a blade made from high carbon stainless steel. This is a full tang survival knife, meaning the blade steel runs the full length of the knife, from tip to butt. This is a nice upgrade from original Bear Grylls Survival knife as it was only ¾ tang construction.
The pro version is only available with a 100% fine edge blade, meaning no serration, unlike the original which you could get with a half serrated blade. The back of the blade sports an uncoated firesteel striker area. The construction and the new pommel design also make it capable of being used in some hammering tasks. The Bear Grylls Pro also comes with a nifty lanyard whistle that is attached to the knife.
This is a pretty solid knife, but with all the upgrades Gerber threw in, they also increased the price substantially. The increased cost puts the Bear Grylls Ultimate Pro in the same price range as some of the best survival knives in the world.
- Full-tang, premium 9CR19MoV stainless steel construction for durability
- Military-grade, mildew-resistant nylon sheath with pull-through carbide sharpener, for guaranteed sharpness
- Built-in fire starter rod in watertight holder
- Includes Bear Grylls' "Priorities of Survival” Pocket Guide
- Lanyard with loud emergency whistle
Ka-Bar Becker BK2
Blade Length: 5.2 inches
The Ka-Bar Becker BK2 is a stout and extremely solid fixed blade, full tang knife. The ¼ inch thick blade is made from 1095 cro-van steel. This is not a stainless steel blade so you’re going to have to take precautions to keep it rust free. Coating the blade in a thin coating of pure mineral oil should do the trick.
This beefy knife is great for chopping and cutting tasks. The rounded curves on the handle make it really comfortable and they keep your hand from slipping even when swinging pretty hard. The pommel is really strong and you can feel comfortable cracking open nuts or using it for your other hammering needs. The only downside I can think of to the Ka-Bar Becker BK2 is the upkeep required to keep the blade rust free. Other than that, this jack of all trades knife is an amazing buy in its price range.
- Full tang heavy duty field knife suited for camping chores.
- Made in Olean New York, U.S.A
- Designed by Ethan Becker
- Manufactured by KA-BAR Knives Inc.
- Comes with a hard shell black nylon sheath.
Blade length: 10 inches
The Buck Hoodlum is a very large straight blade survival knife. And yes, this is another full tang knife. This knife is about double the length of typical survival knives.
The Buck Hoodlum is really great for chopping, clearing and protection due to its size. For its size, the Buck Hoodlum is actually pretty light weight. The blade is made from 5160 carbon steel and has been machined down to remove excess material, keeping it light. Like the 1095 steel of the Ka-Bar Becker BK2, 5160 carbon steel is not stainless and can rust if not cared for properly, so you’re going to have to be diligent to keep this knife looking its best.
On the spine of the blade, you’ll find a notch. This not is multi-purpose in that it can be used to score wood or bend wire. I’ve found the notch most useful for removing cookware off of a hot fire. The handle on the Buck Hoodlum is a little slick and sometimes hard to hold on to, but overall I would say that this is a well made knife at a reasonable price.
- Life time warranty
- Built with precision and quality
- Variety of outdoor uses
- 10" Survival Straight Clip, 5160 Alloy Steel Blade with a Powder Coat Finish for Corrosion Resistance
- 15 ½" Overall Length, 22.0 oz. Carry Weight
Tom Brown Tracker
Blade length: 4.25 inches
The first thing I think of when I look at the Tom Brown Tracker is that it just looks cool. This knife has been used in several movies, but I assure you, it is not just a movie prop. The Tom Brown Tracker is another full tang fixed blade knife made from 1095 steel, so it will need some upkeep to keep from rusting.
The spine of the blade sports some monstrous saw teeth and a very thick tip. While the teeth might be okay for notching, I would never try to use them to saw down a tree. The blade is fairly thick overall and that really helps out with chopping, which I think is what this knife excels at. This knife is a bit on the pricey side, but I would say that the cool factor definitely offsets the price.