Many outdoorsmen have a knife hanging from their belts. While many think they are just a nice gadget to look cool, these knives are highly functional and designed for a purpose. Avid campers, hikers, and hunters know that a cozy afternoon outdoors can turn into an unprecedented disaster. There might be some unexpected disasters ranging from wild animals, losing your way, foul weather, and more. In any of these situations, a survival knife will really come in handy, and it can make the difference between life and death.
When you are in the wilderness, the next most important thing to have after water and food is a survival knife. If you get lost and the weather becomes unfriendly, you can use the best survival knife to cut firewood for a fire. You can also use it to build a makeshift shelter should you need one. With the best survival knife, you can cut bandages for wounds and even open food cans when needed. You can use it to clean fish or skin and clean your game, which can serve as dinner in the woods.
This tool comes in handy in many situations. You can survive almost any situation with these knives. While backpacking and pocket knives are useful around the campsites, they can never replace survival knives. In this guide are some of the best survival knives on the market. We chose these options with careful considerations. They come with the perfect blade design, build-material, edge, and many other great features to give you an edge over any situation in the wild.
The Best Survival Knives Are:
The KA-BAR Full Size US Marine Corps Fighting Knife is one of the most functional and useful survival knives out there. This knife is made in the United States. It was designed to be used in combat for Marines in World War II. KA-BAR made this survival knife with 1095 Cro-Van steel, which is a highly durable material. It comes with a straightedge clip point blade that is 7 inches long. The blade is coated with epoxy powder for longevity.
It also features a 20-degree edge angle knife blade design that comes in handy in many situations. Despite its sturdy and durable design, this tool is super lightweight. It weighs only 11.2 ounces, which means you can walk around with it without feeling the weight. The overall length of this tool is 11.7 inches. This unit comes with a genuine leather sheath, which is made in Mexico. It also features embossing and a USMC stamp. The stacked leather handle is also there to provide you with a superior grip.
The sheath of this knife is highly durable, and it will always keep the blade sharp and protected. KA-BAR has been in the knife manufacturing business since 1898, and they make some of the best knives in the world. This brand tests their knives rigorously for corrosion resistance, strength, cutting-edge sharpness, and edge-holding ability. This particular model does a great job of retaining an edge, and you do not need to sharpen it frequently.
With the high-quality materials and craftsmanship of this knife, it will serve you from one season to another without losing its value. Nevertheless, the downside of this tool is that it has a rat-tail tang blade that extends the handle length but not the width. This means it performs better as a combat knife and not for chopping wood.
- Blade Material: 1095 Cro-Van Steel
- Blade Length: 7 Inches
- Overall Length: 11.875 Inches
- Sheath: 100% leather
- Weight: 11.2 Ounces
- Secure and firm grip
- Made with high-quality materials
- Durable protective leather sheath
- Great edge-holding ability
- Not full tang
- Not designed for chopping wood
If you are looking for a highly versatile survival knife, you should consider the Morakniv Companion Spark Fixed-Blade Outdoor Knife. This highly versatile fixed-blade knife is great for cutting firewood, carving, preparing food, and more. It is made with hardened Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel, which is both durable and rust-resistant. The length of the blade is 3.9 inches, and it always comes in handy.
The rust-resistant blade will also remain sharp for a very long time, thanks to its great edge-retention ability. The handle of this partial-tang knife is made with rubber, which is comfortable in the hand. It is also very easy to hold and control, allowing for smooth and safe uses. This unit comes with an integrated magnesium alloy firestarter, which twists-locks into the handle. This feature is very useful, as it generates a 5,400-degree F spark for 3,000 strikes. It even works in cold and wet conditions.
The package also includes a plastic sheath to keep the knife protected and sharp. There is also a belt clip and reflective lanyard. Interestingly, this knife is backed by a limited lifetime warranty. This survival knife also does a great job of standing up to moisture and dirt. It is also great for other outdoor and marine applications, such as Bushcraft and camping. To crown it all, this tool comes with a fairly reasonable price despite bagging all these great features.
You can also get it in five different colors (handle and sheath). The knife is super lightweight, as it weighs only 4.5 ounces with the sheath. It has an overall length of 9.4 inches, which means it can fit in almost anywhere. As mentioned earlier, this is a multipurpose knife that you can use for almost anything.
- Blade Material: Sandvik 12C27 Stainless Steel
- Blade Length: 3.9 Inches
- Overall Length: 9.4 Inches
- Sheath: Plastic
- Weight: 4.5 Ounces
- Retains its sharpness for a very long time
- Durable and rust-resistant blade
- Lightweight and portable design
- Highly versatile
- Not full-tang
- Blade length might be short for some applications
Next up, we have the HX Outdoor Blade Survival Knife and it is one of the best survival knives on the market. This multipurpose tool serves as both a tactical and hunting knife. It is designed to meet most needs for outdoor survival. The blade of this unit is made with D2 material and it is 3.4 inches long. It is also superior in sharpness, abrasion resistance, and hardness.
This tool comes with a sturdy sheath that is resistant to extreme temperatures, both cold and hot. The package also includes a fire starter and sharpener. This titanium-faced survival knife comes with a G10-material handle. The handle is ergonomically designed to provide you with a secure and comfortable grip. You can use the knife comfortably even when your hand is wet.
It is also lightweight, weighing only 8.8 ounces. The overall length of this tool is 8.7 inches, making it a highly portable survival knife. It has a full tang design, which means it goes through the length of the handle. It is quicker and easier to use than foldable blades in terms of safety when every second counts.
You can use this knife for different purposes such as camping, hunting, fishing, bushcraft, and more. It also has a rail hammer, which comes in handy in many cases. This tool comes with a 7-day money-back guarantee, a 2-year warranty, and lifetime technical support.
- Blade Material: D2 material
- Blade Length: 3.4 Inches
- Overall Length: 8.7 Inches
- Weight: 8.8 Ounces
- Heat resistant sheath with sharpener and fire starter
- Superior in sharpness and hardness
- Full tang, fixed-blade design
- Multi-tool for fishing, camping, and hunting
- The blade is short
The Gerber LMF II Survival Knife is one of the best survival knives on the market today. This knife was originally designed to free an aircrew from a downed aircraft. A former military leader designed this knife and he field-tested it with his troops to make sure it could handle the most rugged conditions. You can use this tool to handle emergencies. It comes with a 4.84-inch half-serrated blade that you can use to cut and saw at the same time.
The break between the buttcap and the tang helps to absorb shock from hammering and provides insulated protection against stray wires. This unit has a pointed buttcap that can be used to pierce glass in the event of being stuck in a car. You will not experience any blister while using this tool to cut or saw, thanks to its over-molded handle. The handle also provides a secure and comfortable grip.
It comes with a low-profile sheath that you can attach to a MOLLE vest or belt. The sheath is also designed to keep the blade of your knife sharp always, thanks to its inbuilt carbide sharpener. It is also convenient to walk around with, thanks to its lightweight design and overall length of 10.59 inches. Almost anyone can use this tool because it has a simple design.
It is also versatile, which means you can use it for a wide range of outdoor activities. It is great for hiking, camping, fishing, and more. The sheath is made with ballistic nylon and it has a fire retardant coating. The blade material is 420HC stainless steel. This survival knife is made in the United States of America and it comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
- Blade Material: 420HC Stainless Steel
- Blade Length: 4.84 Inches
- Overall Length: 10.59 Inches
- Sheath: Ballistic Nylon
- Weight: 16.67 Ounces
- A great addition to vehicle emergency kits
- Inbuilt carbide sharpener
- Ideal for cutting and sawing
- Comfortable and secure handle
- Heavier with the sheath
- Not full tang design
The Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife Serrated Edge is another great survival knife out there. Gerber partnered with a host of a worldwide survival TV series – Bear Grylls – to make this knife. This versatile knife comes with a half-serrated edge design, which is very useful. It is great for outdoor adventures and backpackers in the wilderness. The length of the blade is 4.75 inches and it features a drop point design.
With the serrated part of the blade, you can cut ropes and other fibrous materials with ease. It also features a full-tang design that makes it highly durable. The blade is made with high carbon stainless steel and it is corrosion-resistant. It also has a stainless steel pommel at the bottom of the handle for hammering. The blade does a great job of retaining a sharp edge, which means you will not have to go through the hassle of frequent sharpening.
It has a rubber grip that is very comfortable and soft in the hand. With the texture of the handle, this knife will not slip off your hand even when it is wet. It is also great for fishing, thanks to the holes on the handle, which you can lash to a stick for spearing fish. To keep your knife safe and sharp always, the package includes a sheath made with high-quality nylon. The sheath has a fire starter and a diamond blade sharpener.
The package also includes a lanyard with an emergency whistle. The military-grade sheath is also mildew-resistant and lightweight. The overall length of this tool is 10 inches with a weight of only 11.2 ounces. With its durable construction, this knife will serve you for a very long time.
- Blade Material: High Carbon Stainless Steel
- Blade Length: 4.75 Inches
- Overall Length: 10 Inches
- Sheath: High-quality Nylon
- Weight: 11.2 Ounces
- Ergonomic textured rubber grip handle
- Full tang blade construction for maximum durability
- Half-serrated high carbon steel blade
- Built-in diamond sharpener and fire starter
- Complaints about coating wearing off
- Not the most durable firestarter
Next on the line is the Kershaw Ka-Bar Mule Folders Survival Knife. If you are a fan of foldable knives, then this is the best foldable survival knife for you. While fixed blades are very popular for survival knives, this folding knife comes with all the traits of a survival knife in a foldable format. It comes with an AUS 8A stainless steel blade that is 3.9 inches long.
The handle of this tool is made with Zytel steel, which is sturdy and highly durable. It is also slip-resistant, which means you can use it with wet hands comfortably and safely. The overall length of the knife (when the blade is out) is 9 inches while it is only 5.25 inches when folded. It is also a lightweight option, as it weighs only 7.2 ounces. The knife has rubber inserts that make it feel comfortable in the handle.
It has double-thumb studs that allow for easy opening. Both left-handed and right-handed users can open it with ease. This unit has a clip point blade, plain edge blade, and a hollow blade grind. It has a 15-degree edge angle and a reversible pocket clip. The package also includes a Velcro sheath with snap closures, which you can mount on a belt horizontally or vertically.
The knife is also versatile, as you can use it as a utility tool. The blade is designed to hold an edge for a very long time. With the portable and lightweight design of this knife, you can take it with you anywhere.
- Blade Material: AUS 8A Stainless Steel
- Blade Length: 3.9 Inches
- Overall Length: 9 Inches
- Sheath: Polyester
- Weight: 7.2 Ounces
- Easy-open for left-handed and right-handed users
- Stable and comfortable in the hand
- Made with high-quality materials
- Portable and lightweight design
- Complaints about loose pocket clip
- A bit bulky for a foldable knife
If you are looking for a full tang survival knife with great functionalities, you should consider the ESEE 6P-B Plain Edge Full Tang Fixed Blade Knife. This knife comes with a razor-sharp blade that can cut almost anything. The blade is made of 1095 high carbon steel and it has a great edge-retention ability. The length of the blade is 6.5 inches and it has a plain cutting edge of 5.7 inches.
This knife has a full tang handle, which is also designed to provide you with a secure and comfortable grip. It also has a lanyard hole in the pommel where you can attach a whistle or tactical rope. For a fixed blade, this tool offers superior balance, thanks to the design of the full tang handle. It allows for even weight distribution, ensuring the knife sits comfortably and well-balanced in your hand.
This multipurpose knife is ideal for a variety of outdoor engagements, such as camping, hunting, fishing, and more. It is also great for self-defense. You can also fit it in a modular system for tactical carry. For safe storage, this unit comes with a molded polymer carry sheath. The sheath is highly durable and it has a removable clip, cord lock, and Paracord. The overall length of this tool is 11.75 inches and it weighs 12 ounces.
If you are looking for a professional field knife with lasting durability, this is the right option for you. It also features an amazing design with a black blade coating. The blade can withstand any use and abuse. With the canvas Micarta handle, you can use this knife even in wet conditions.
- Blade Material: 1095 Carbon Steel
- Blade Length: 6.5 Inches
- Overall Length: 11.75 Inches
- Sheath: Polymer
- Weight: 12 Ounces
- Full tang handle design
- Made with premium quality materials
- Designed to serve you for a very long time
- Ideal for multiple outdoor uses
- Lacks belt loop
- The blade needs frequent cleaning to prevent it from rusting
We have another folding survival knife on our list – the Cold Steel Recon 1 Tactical Knife with G10 Handle. This folding knife is great for self-defense, outdoor applications, and everyday carry. It comes with a 4-inch clip point blade that does a great job of retaining a sharp edge. The blade is made of AUS 8A stainless steel, which has been sub-zero quenched and vacuum heat-treated.
It has a tough finish that is designed to resist rust. You can use this knife to cut through almost any material. Cold Steel held this tool together with strong mechanical fasteners. They also anchored it with a heat-treated spacer. The handle of this tool has G10 laminate scales, which are contoured and scalloped to provide you with a secure, nonslip, and firm grip.
The blade has a black Teflon finish that helps to reduce glare. The knife is very easy to open, thanks to its thumb disc. Both left-handed and right-handed users can open and use it with ease. There is also a very strong pocket clip attached to it. The overall length of this tool is 9-3/8 inches. It is one of the lightest knives on our list, as it weighs only 5.3 ounces.
- Blade Material: Japanese AUS 8A Stainless Steel
- Blade Length: 4 Inches
- Overall Length: 9-3/8 Inches
- Sheath: N/A
- Weight: 5.3 Ounces
- Great for self-defense and everyday carry
- Super-strong stainless steel
- Ideal for left-handed and right-handed users
- Designed to reduce glare, making it safe for use at night
- Does not come with a sheath; you have to purchase it separately
- The belt clip is a bit tight
The Benchmade Bushcrafter 162 Fixed Outdoor Survival Knife is another top recommendation by experts. This robust knife is made in the United States and it is designed for the trail. It comes with a blade that is made from CPM-S30V steel, which has a great edge-holding ability and is durable. It is also very strong and it has a drop point design. In addition to being sharp, durable, and strong, this blade is corrosion-resistant.
When it comes to the handle section, this tool comes with a durable G10 handle. The handle is fiberglass and it can withstand even the harshest weather conditions while keeping moisture out. This is a survival knife that boasts of great stability.
The length of this unit’s blade is 4.4 inches, which is long enough for many tasks. The overall length of the knife is 9.15 inches, which allows for easy and convenient storage. This unit comes with a sheath that is made with genuine leather. The sheath has a D-ring and belt loop for easy carry. It also comes with a LifeSharp service for free, which means the manufacturer will oil, clean, and re-sharpen your knife to a factory razor-sharp edge.
You can use this knife for heavy-duty survival purposes and it is ideal for a wide range of outdoor activities. The fixed blade construction provides superior stability when in use. In addition to being highly functional, this knife is good-looking. It weighs 7.7 ounces while the sheath weighs 2.7 ounces. Even with the sheath, this tool is still lightweight, making it easy to walk around with.
- Blade Material: CPM-S30V (58-60 HRC)
- Blade Length: 4.4 Inches
- Overall Length: 9.15 Inches
- Sheath: 100% leather
- Weight: 7.72 Ounces
- High-quality blade and sheath
- Full-tang design for even weight distribution
- Durable, strong drop-point design
- LifeSharp service free of charge
- A bit hard to re-sheath
- Difficult to sharpen with diamond sharpeners
If you are looking for an all-purpose knife that is ideal for heavy-duty use, you should go for the FallKniven A1 Survival Knife. You can use this survival knife for virtually all outdoor applications. It is ideal for fishing, hiking, camping, hunting, and more. It comes with a very strong and long blade that measures 6.29 inches in length.
The manufacturer made the blade with very tough laminated VG10 steel, and they designed it to withstand everyday use and abuse. It has an overall length of 11.02 inches and this makes it ideal for a wide range of applications. This unit features a full-tang design and ergonomic handle. The handle is very strong and it provides more stability when using the knife. You can use this knife to carry out a wide range of tasks from chopping to cutting.
This knife is designed to withstand extreme temperatures, whether cold or hot. It is also resistant to moisture. The blade features an anti-reflective, black Cerakote coating, which offers a tough surface as well. The coating on this knife is not the most durable, as it is likely to fall off sooner than expected. However, for its price, the quality of the knife is great. More durable coatings make knives more expensive.
Besides the coating, this all-around knife comes in really handy in many situations. It is also designed to serve you for a very long time. The knife comes with a Zytel plastic sheath to store the knife safely, but the quality of the sheath could use some improvements.
- Blade Material: Laminated VG-10 Steel
- Blade Length: 6.29 Inches
- Overall Length: 11.02 Inches
- Sheath: Zytel Plastic
- Weight: 11.2 Ounces
- Full-tang design for more stability
- Relatively cheap
- Designed to withstand everyday use and abuse
- Black coating to eliminate reflection
- The coating wears off after some time
- The sheath is of low quality
If you are looking for a portable hunting knife that you can carry along with ease, you should go for the Morakniv Garberg Full Tang Fixed Blade Knife. This is another great option for those that are exploring the wilderness. You can use this knife for a wide range of things, such as hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, and of course, self-defense. This knife features a full-tang design, which helps with even weight distribution and stability.
The blade of this tool is made with carbon steel and it is 4.3 inches long. It is strong enough to handle any weather (whether extremely cold or hot) without the risk of breaking. The top-grade carbon steel blade is also razor-sharp out of the box, and it does a great job of retaining a sharp edge for a very long time. The blade is exceptionally tough, hard, and corrosion-resistant.
This knife is also very comfortable in the hand, thanks to its impact-resistant, tough polyamide handle. The handle is not only comfortable, but it also provides a secure and firm grip. It has a rough texture that prevents slipping, making it ideal for use in wet conditions. This unit also comes with a beautiful leather sheath to store the knife and maintain its sharpness.
The sheath is made with top-quality leather and it can withstand the test of time. This knife has an overall length of 9 inches with a blade thickness of 0.13 inches. It is also lightweight, at just 9.6 ounces. The carbon steel allows you to start your fire with flint and with a fire starter. In addition to maintaining a sharp edge for a long time, this blade is very easy to sharpen when it is dull. It also has more than one sheath options to choose from, with Molle multi-mount system and plastic being the other two options.
- Blade Material: Carbon Steel
- Blade Length: 4.3 Inches
- Overall Length: 9 Inches
- Sheath: 100% leather
- Weight: 9.6 Ounces
- Made with the best quality materials
- Designed to withstand harsh tasks
- Sharp, tough, hard, and corrosion-resistant blade
- Tough handle that provides a secure and comfortable grip
- High-quality leather sheath
- Complaints about uneven edges
- The sheath could use some improvements
The last on our list is the Condor Terrasaur Fixed 4.15-Inch Blade Army Green Poly Handle, and it is one of the best survival knives on the market today. This knife is very cheap, which means you do not have to break a bank to purchase it. It comes razor-sharp out of the box and it is designed to retain that sharpness for a very long time. The knife is durable and it will serve you for a very long period.
The blade of this tool is made with 1075 high carbon, which is durable and very easy to sharpen also. The length of the blade is 4.15 inches and it is ideal for a wide range of applications. Being a fixed blade knife, it is still portable. The overall length of the knife is 8.83 inches, and it can fit in anywhere.
You can use this knife even with a wet hand, thanks to its high impact polypropylene handle. The handle has some ridges on it to promote a firm and secure grip. It also comes with a high impact polypropylene sheath that you can use to store the knife safely when not in use.
The knife is ideal for various outdoor activities including hunting, Bushcrafting, adventures, fishing, camping, and many more. The goal of this manufacturer is to provide you with a highly functional, durable, and useful knife at an affordable rate. The handle of this knife is almost indestructible, thanks to its build quality and material. The entire unit weighs only 9.59 ounces.
- Blade Material: 1075 High Carbon
- Blade Length: 4.15 Inches
- Overall Length: 8.83 Inches
- Sheath: Polypropylene
- Weight: 9.59 Ounces
- Provides comfortable and secure grips
- High-quality blade material
- Retains a sharp edge
- Simple and portable design
- It looks cheap
What to Look For In a Best Fixed Blade Survival Knife
When buying a survival knife, one of the first and most important things you need to consider is the material used to make the blade. There are different blade materials out there and not all of them are made equal. You should always go for a knife that is made with super-strong steel. It should be made with high-quality material that can withstand the test of time. All the survival knives on this guide are made from high-grade stainless steel such as high carbon steel, titanium facing, Cro-Van steel, and more. These materials are not only sharp but also highly durable. They also retain a sharp edge for a very long time.
The Design of the Knife
You also need to consider the design of the blade and knife before buying. Many outdoor professionals prefer using full-tang, fixed blade knives over foldable knives. However, this guide comprises both kinds of knives, allowing you to pick an option that best suits your style and needs. A full-tang knife has its blade through the handle solidly. This makes the knife more stable, strong, and durable. It helps with even weight distribution also. Other knife types include rat tail and partial tang. You will also find most survival knives with a clip point, spear point, and drop point blade designs.
The handle of the knife is also an important factor to consider. Without a proper grip, you will not be able to hold the knife very well. Knife handles are made with a wide range of materials, and you want to opt for one that is highly durable. The handle should be ergonomically designed and slip-resistant, allowing for use even in wet conditions.
Blade Thickness and Length
The thickness of a blade is important to prevent it from bending and for strength. However, if you want to use the knife for tasks such as skinning an animal, you should keep the width of the blade thin. Your target should be survival knives with a thickness between 0.17 inches and 0.25 inches. You should not ignore the length of the blade also. You should avoid very long blades, as they might be difficult to carry around. The knife should not be too short either, as shorter blades have limitations. Aim for knives with a blade length between 3.5 inches to 7 inches.
Why Are Gerber Survival Knives Popular?
Gerber is one of the most popular knife-manufacturing brands in the world. This brand is well-known for making some of the best survival knives on the market today. The survival knives of this brand are very popular because they are reliable, strong, and made in the United States of America. You can use their survival knives for hiking, backpacking, survival situations, fishing, camping, emergencies, self-defense, and more. They are also highly durable and made with high-quality materials that will serve you for a very long time. Their survival knives also come with a lifetime limited warranty in North America and a 25-year limited warranty outside of North America.
How to Use a Survival Knife
The use of a survival knife is dependent on the situation. However, some of the first things you might want to use it for include starting a fire, bandaging wounds, and building a shelter. A survival knife is very useful and you can use it for different tasks. You can use it to thread and gauze; collecting kindling, tinder, and firewood; starting a fire; or making a shelter and lashing down a windproof material with the right rope length. It comes in handy in many situations.
How to Sharpen a Survival Knife
In a survival situation, a dull knife is useless. As such, it is very important to keep your survival knife sharp and close to the peak condition as possible. There are many knife sharpening tools out there, and you need the proper tool to keep your blade in cutting shape always.
After choosing the right stone to use, softly brush the knife across the stone. Glide the blade up and down the stone. You are doing it right if this process feels like a circular motion. Continue with this process until the blade starts to become sharper. The cutting power of the blade will start increasing after about 12 rotations. If you are doing it very well, burrs and metal shavings will start accumulating around the edges of the blade. You should wipe them off and continue. While doing this, make sure the fine side of the stone is upward.
Those are some of the best survival knives on the market. We carefully selected these knives for you and they are ideal for all-around situations. They are multipurpose knives that you can use to handle a wide range of outdoor applications. With the numerous options on this list, finding your next survival knife should no longer be an issue.