When it comes to must have survival gear, a survival knife is an essential piece every outdoor enthusiast should own. Even if you never venture into the wilderness, there is always the possibility you may need a survival knife. A car accident may leave you stranded far from civilization, you never know what could happen and it's always smart to be prepared.
The survival knife is perhaps the best survival tool you could own, they are portable and can be taken almost anywhere, or stored anywhere. You can keep them in you car, or in a bug out bag, and they could one day be the difference between life and death.
Survival knives are not only used in situations where survival is at stake. You can use them for other everyday needs, like for carving, or cutting meat and other hobbies. Of course the camping, hunting or hiking enthusiast has an even greater need for a survival knife.
Below are a variety of options so that you can find the best survival knife for your lifestyle.
For anyone who plans to spend a great deal of time outdoors and needs a knife that can take a beating, the KA-BAR Becker 22 is a solid choice.
KA-BAR was actually the company who created the original Marine Corps Combat Knife in 1942, so you know this knife can survive the elements. If you are a hunter, this survival knife will be able to skin game as well as cut bones. It is also strong enough to cut kindling and has an almost indestructible handle made of Zyetl.
The sheath is made of a glass-reinforced nylon, which is a unique and durable option. It’s a smaller knife, and has a weightier feel to it, giving you the feeling of having real power in your hands. This knife is simple but sturdy, and will not let you down.
Perhaps the best part of this knife is the price, coming in at much lower than similar quality survival knives on the market.
The Buck 119BR Special Fixed Blade is a beautiful knife that is made with quality craftsmanship.
The handle is made of Cocobolo wood, and the knife comes with a leather sheath for storage. This would be a good survival knife for someone who wants to do detailed work such as carving, cutting and piercing. But who also needs a knife that can also handle larger work such as chopping.
If looks are important to you, this knife might be the perfect choice. It's sleek and attractive, with a curved wood handle and an intriguing design.
Don’t let the stylish design fool you, this knife can certainly take a beating and withstand anything you throw at it.
ESEE’s 6P is a survival knife that you may have come across if you have been doing your own research.
The handle of this knife is made of Micarta, which is extremely strong and durable, and the blade is made of 6 ½ inches of carbon steel.
This means the knife is easily able to handle large tasks such as cutting or chopping wood. The handle is also removable, and the knife comes with a sheath made of polymer, which is nice for people who are not fans of leather sheaths.
If you take good care of this knife, you can be sure that it will not rust or stain, even with repeated everyday use. It is also light for its size, which makes it easy to handle and carry around. ESEE also happens to be one of the most well-known brands when it comes to knives, so you know you are getting a quality survival knife from a reputable company.
The Falkniven A1 Survival Knife probably has the strongest blade of all knives mentioned here. It's blade steel is made of a proprietary blend of metals, including carbon, cobalt, and chromium.
During testing it was able to withstand five hundred pounds of stress, making it a high quality survival knife.
The best feature of this knife is the ergonomic grip. This not only decreases the chances of your grip slipping causing you to injure yourself, but also makes for a comfortable and easy to hold grip.
Comfort is key when it comes to choosing a survival knife. Some jobs call for repeated motions, and an ergonomically pleasing knife will prevent your grip hand from tiring out.
This knife is a bit more expensive than the other knives, but its extreme durability makes it a long term investment. The A1 is well worth the up-front cost, as you will never have to buy another survival knife again.
Gerber’s toughest knife is the LMFII, which has been used in action by the military. This knife has proven to be able to handle even the toughest materials.
This is a knife that could save your life in a survival situation, but can also handle everyday tasks where a typical knife just won’t do.
Another interesting feature about this knife is that the handle can actually handle an electric shock. So if you might need to do any work around electricity, this might be the survival knife for you.
This versatile knife can move from cutting through rope to cutting through bone, making it the perfect all-around knife.
SURVIVAL KNIFE BASICS
Let's take a look at some important survival knife basics you should be aware of before you decide which is the best survival knife for you.
What is a Full Tang?
Generally I like pocket knives, I use them most often for everyday carry uses. However, for the job of a survival knife, I'll always choose carry a full tang fixed blade knife.
The Tang is referring to the portion of the blade that runs the full length of the knife handle. So basically the knife is one big hunk of solid steel sandwiched in between the handle scales.
This type of knife is a huge benefit and can be used in a variety of menacing ways. If I need to split a piece of wood, no way I'm using my folders for this job (called Batoning). I'm not that cruel.
However, I can beat the crap out of a full tang knife and it'll live to see another day.
The full tang design provides incredible strength, and is why the best survival knives on the market today, are always full tang knives.
What kind of handle material should you get?
The handles on survival knives will vary, and is determined by user preference. Handle materials can be hardened rubber, wood, bone, aluminum, polymer or even metal. Some knife makers often wrap the metal handled knives with cord, which can be used for other survival situations.
Couple things to consider with handle materials, any knife that has a hollow handle, for storing supplies, is one to avoid. While this idea sounds convenient, this tells you that the knife is definitely not a full tang knife and will be weak.
Also, in the unfortunate event you lose the knife, any of its stored contents will be gone also, like a flint, or your only rolled up map to civilization.
Another knife to avoid is the compass knife, believe me, this compass is not worth much. These are considered novelty knives and generally will be junk anyhow. Not to mention in the event you would need to use the knife for a hammer, you have a cheap compass in the way. Do yourself a favor and keep a separate compass.
Make sure the handle has a nice ergonomic feel for comfort, and a good texture for grip and you should be good to go.
Which blade material is best?
Survival knives generally come in two types of steel, stainless steel and carbon steel. Both are equally good, but there are some differences.
Stainless steel is pretty much indestructible, it can take a beating and will not rust. The downside is that stainless blades will lose an edge faster that carbon blades.
Carbon Steel is a popular choice for rough use knives. Carbon steel is much tougher and much more durable, and easier to sharpen than stainless steel. However, carbon steel lacks the chromium content of stainless steel, making them susceptible to corrosion.
When you decide you need a survival knife, a few things should be considered. Make sure the knife you decide to buy has a full tang, that is perhaps the most important aspect of the knife if you ask me.
No gimmicks, survival knives with a built in compass and all that jazz are nothing more than novelty knives. Don't waste your time with them.
Truly, any of the above survival knife reviews could make a huge difference between life and death if you were ever in that situation. Perhaps the most important piece of information to take away from this article is the fact that you need to have a survival knife in the first place.
That being said, I have listed some of the best survival knives out there to help you make an educated decision about what type of knife you choose to buy.
Do you have a favorite survival knife? Let me know in the comments.