Best Survival Knife

There is no shortage of options in choosing a survival knife to become your survival best tool. Everyone has their favorites and different reasons why they would choose one knife over the other. However, it is fair to say that the worth and usefulness of your knife could determine the difference between life and death. That’s why picking the best survival knife is so important. Let’s see together if a knife is really that useful in the wild. Then, we’ll go over a few survival knives that could be great additions to your survival gear.

The Survival knife, your best friend in the wild… and anywhere else!

There are not many tools as useful and versatile as a knife in a survival situation. It is a portable multi-purpose item that can handle tasks which usually require larger and more specialized tools. A knife is both a great tool and a powerful weapon.

But what can you do exactly with a knife in the wild?

Hunting and skinning

Survival knives have unwieldy sizes and girth that make them suitable for hunting and skinning wild animals.

Food might not be the priority in a survival situation (shelter and water are!), but if you have to stay in the wild for more than a few days, food will become important. That’s when hunting and skinning come to play. Using your knife, you can build a spear and make traps. Once you’ve caught your prey, you will need to remove the skin before you can eat it or cook it. Sure, you could use some sharp stone but that’s definitely not the most efficient way… a sharp knife will be easier and faster to use. With one, you can enjoy your food quicker! You will also need a way to cut the meat, either to keep it for later or to make it easier to eat.

Tool making

As said above, you can use your survival knife to make tools and weapons like spears for example.

Making a spear is quite easy, you just have to follow some simple steps :

  1. Use it to split one of the ends on a long, inch – thick branch into four equal parts.
  2. Insert small but strong sticks into the gaps, position the handle of your knife before securing it with cordage.
  3. Your knife will serve as the sharp point of a spear and can be used to snare or stab fish among other small animals in and around water. Such animals can be an easy way to fill your stomach if you’re skilled enough.
spear2

Ready to receive your knife. Can be used like this too.

If you don’t want to put your knife on your spear, you can use it to create a pointy end on a long stick instead. Such a stick can then be used as an effective weapon for self-defense, hunting and fishing.

A Wood Spear

Easy to make survival weapon.

With a survival knife, you can also make fish hooks, snares, tent pegs and a lot of other useful tools!

Wood processing

Place your survival knife against a dead but standing tree using a wood baton and hammer your knife to cut it down. Use the same procedure to cut your new log into smaller sections. Split down the smaller sections into smaller and more usable pieces of firewood. The end result should look like the stuff you buy for use in your fireplace. Such dry firewood will be quite usable during extreme weather conditions.

Digging

Honestly, this isn’t the best move for your survival knife. However, it is an inevitable option if you didn’t bring a shovel with you. You could use it to dig up worms for bait or food, excavate an edible root or dig a hole to poop in.

Shelter building

Finding or building a shelter is your priority if you want to survive. You can survive 3 days without water, 3 weeks without food, but you will die in a few hours due to extreme cold or heat. You will be happy to have a knife when you need to build some roof over your head to protect yourself from the sun. In a cold environment, you should focus on making yourself a warm bed to keep your body from losing its heat to the ground. Cut branches with your knife and find a lot of moss to make yourself a comfy bed.

Hammering

Leave your survival knife in the sheath and use the pommel to hit or break stuff. The pommel refers to the base of the handle. Your knife will make a good hammer to drive a stake or possibly crack a nut.

Self-Defense

Obviously a knife can be used as a defense weapon when your life is endangered by animals or enemies.

 Fire Making

Your survival knife will allow you to get wood for your fire. If you have to, you can also use the back of your knife with a flint to get some sparks and start your fire.

 Signaling

By using the reflection of the sun on your knife, you will be able to communicate with other people over long distance. That’s a good way to signal your distress and get help. By using Morse code, you will also be able to exchange information with other people. Learning Morse code could be a great addition to your panel of survival skills.

What makes a good survival knife

We’ve seen that a knife is useful in a survival situation for many tasks that could mean life or death for you. That’s why choosing the best survival knife is an important step before going out in the wild for fun or being put in a life-threatening situation. Not all knives are created equal and not every knife will make a good survival knife. As they say, you need the right tool for the right job. That implies a strong knife that matches a few essential criteria.

  1. Size
  2. Fixed Blade
  3. Full Tang
  4. One Side Sharp
  5. Strong Handle

1. Size

A survival knife and its blade should be long enough to let you perform the kind of tasks you will encounter in the wild. The perfect size for a survival knife is around 10″ or 25cm.

2. Fixed Blade

A good survival knife should have a fixed blade. Don’t get me wrong, folding knives are great pocket and tactical knives, but when you’re out nobody knows where, you need the sturdier knife possible. The folding blade makes a knife weaker due to the folding mechanism, that honestly, you won’t need out in the open. A good sheath is all you need for your knife.

folding knife vs fixed blade knife

Fixed blade at the top, folding knife at the bottom..

3. Full Tang

The tang is the part of the blade going inside the handle. In most knives, you will find one of the following type:

  • Partial Tang: The blade won’t go further than half of the handle.
  • Rat-Tail Tang : A reduced part of the blade will go through the entire handle.
  • Full Tang: The blade extends to the total length of the handle.

The following picture will give you a better idea of what it means exactly:

Full Tang vs Rat-Tail Tang vs Partial Tang

Full Tang vs Rat-Tail Tang vs Partial Tang

For a survival knife, we’re interested in the full tang, where most of the knife is the actual blade. Having less parts in your knife make it stronger and less prone to break at the worst moment.

4. Only one side sharp

We’ve seen how a survival knife is a multi-purpose tool that can be used for virtually anything. Some of these tasks involves hammering on your knife with some piece of wood or rock, like when you try to cut trees or branches. If your knife has 2 sharp sides, this kind of task can become impossible. One sharp side actually makes your knife more versatile.

5. Strong Handle

Your knife handle can be a great hammer on its own, if it’s strong enough. That’s why a solid handle is a requirement for a good survival knife.

The 3 Best Survival Knives

Now that you know what you’re looking for in a survival knife, here’s a list of the 3 best survival knives. If one of these interests you, don’t hesitate to checkout the review associated!

1. Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion Fixed Blade Knife Review

 

Ka–Bar Becker BK2 Campanion Fixed Blade Knife

Ka–Bar Becker BK2 Campanion Fixed Blade Knife

 

Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion tops the list of best survival knives. This knife is a combination of ideas from two great minds; Ethan Becker and Ka-Bar. Ka-Bar is built sturdily to handle all hard tasks with ease. Its handles are smooth and comfortable to maintain a longer solid grip.

10.5″

Fixed Blade

Full Tang

One side sharp only

Strong handle made of grivory

2. Gerber 31-000751 Bear Grylls Survival Series Ultimate Knife, Serrated Edge

Gerber 31-000751 Bear Grylls Survival Series Ultimate Knife

Gerber 31-000751 Bear Grylls Survival Series Ultimate Knife

The Bear Grylls Ultimate knife is the result of the association between the famous Bear Grylls and the acclaimed Gerber. This knife has a fine edge, integrated with a fire starter. A sheath sharpener and a lanyard whistle are also incorporated into the design of the knife. Its texturized and ergonomic rubber grip reduces slippage and maximizes comfort. This knife comes with a balanced design that enhances optimum handling.

10″

Fixed Blade

Full Tang

One side sharp only

Strong and comfortable handle

3. Cold Steel 80PGTK GI Tanto 7” Carbon Knife Review

Cold Steel 80PGTK GI Tanto 7" Carbon

Cold Steel 80PGTK GI Tanto 7″ Carbon

This survival is also a great choice, especially if you are on a budget. It is lean and spare but packaged with various practical uses. This knife features a broad 7” blade designed from 1055 Carbon steel. The under-cover of the blade includes a black, rust resistant finish that guarantees adequate protection. New generation models of this knife feature a secure – ex Kydex sheath that is meant to carry the knife around the belt. Getting a G.I. Tanto survival knife is a great lifetime investment worth every penny.

12″

Fixed Blade

Full Tang

One side sharp only

Strong handle

Price Comparison

If you’d like to get one of these survival knife from Amazon, you can use the following links. I also added a few more knives if you want to consider more options before purchasing your knife.


 

How to sharpen a knife

If you want to learn more about sharpening your survival knife, even in the worst places, you can read this article about the best knife sharpening systems.

Conclusion

Survival Knives are the best tools for most survival situations, be it in the wild or in your garden. Picking the best knife for you depends on your needs and your budget. Luckily, there are a lot of good affordable knives like the Cold Steel presented above. You can also find more robust or complete knifes for a higher price.

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