The Best Survival Knife Guide

The Best Survival Knife Guide

Welcome to the Adventure Strong Survival Knife Guide!

Choosing a good survival or camping knife is an important task. As you probably know, a knife is an important part of the 10 essentials.

Like I mentioned in Episode 2 of the podcast, having a reliable survival knife can multiply the things you’re able to do in the woods – carve tools or weapons, chop wood, skin game, slice food, and defend yourself.

But you may be wondering, what kind of knife do I need? What should I look for when buying a knife?

So, I’ve put together this guide to help you choose the best survival knife for your kit.

I’ve always liked knives, even before I received my very first Swiss Army Knife when I was a kid. I used to practice carving bars of soap at small sticks. Nowadays, knives take on a much more serious role.

Use the following five tips to help you choose the appropriate knife for your needs.

5 Important Survival Knife Features

  1. Fixed Blade: Folding knives are very useful tools, but the things that make them convenient also make them unacceptable as survival knives. Because they are made of two or more pieces there is a higher risk of breakage than with a fixed blade. Most folding knives have short, thin blades in comparison to a top quality survival knife which makes them less durable under heavy use.
  2. Full Tang: With a full tang knife, the steel from the blade continues all the way through the handle. The added metal in the handle allows for better balance and a much more durable knife. Don’t get confused by hollow core survival knives, that convenient compartment for fishing line creates a partial tang knife that is not much better than a folder. A pommel cap on the end of the knife allows you to use the knife as an improvised hammer if required
  3. Comfortable, Non-Slip Grip: Survival knives were never intended to win a beauty contest, and the goal is to have a knife that fits your hand and will not turn in it while you are making kindling or hacking down evergreen boughs to line your shelter. Ensure that your knife flares out a little at the back and has a good finger guard, to help stop your hand from slipping during use. A lanyard hole in the hilt can also be very useful.
  4. Blade Length: Between four and six inches is a very good length for a survival knife. The blade also has to be thick enough to stand up to heavy use which means you are going to be looking for a knife with a blade up to a quarter of an inch in thickness. The extra weight will be handy for chopping and prying.
  5. Blade Material: The final thing to look for is a knife that is easy for you to sharpen. You want good steel that is not too hard, as this can make you blade brittle and difficult to keep an edge. When assessing your edge, look for an angle that you can maintain with a decent stone or steel.

Comparison Guide is sortable by column.
Cost: $ – Under $50, $$ – $51-100, $$$ – $101-150, $$$$ – Over $151
Rating: Amazon user rating

Below the guide, you’ll find knife care tips.

Best Survival Knife Guide

ImageSurvival KnifeBlade / Overall Length (inches)Weight (ounces)Blade MaterialCost & Rating
Benchmade Killian Design7.3" | 12.5"10.1154CM $$$$ | 5.0
KA-BAR7" | 11.875"11.21095$$ | 4.8
Cold Steel Bushman7" | 12.25"10.1SK-5$ | 4.7
Smith & Wesson CKSURG8" | 13.75"14.2440C$ | 4.7
Cold Steel GI Tanto7" | 12"10.61055 $ | 4.6
Schrade SCHF96.4" | 13"15.91095$$ | 4.5
Gerber LMF II4.84" | 10.6"11.4420HC $$ | 4.7
SOG SEAL Pup4.85" | 9"5.4AUS8 $$ | 4.7
Fallkniven F1 3.8" | 8.33"9.9VG10$$$$ | 5.0
Ka-Bar Warthog6.75" | 12.25"16.81085$ | 4.7
Condor Bushlore4.3" | 9.3"12.31075$ | 4.3
Fallkniven A16.3" | 11"12VG10$$$$ | 5.0
Buck Hoodlum10" | 15.5"14.65160$$$ | 4.4
CRKT Razel SS77.25" | 12.25"13.89Cr18MoV$$ | 4.5
Spyderco Temperence 24.875" | 9.75"6.75VG10$$$$ | 5.0
Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate4.8" | 10" 11.27Cr17Mov$ | 4.4
Smith & Wesson CKSUR15.88" | 10.5"7.4440$ | 4.3
Winchester Bowie8.75" | 14.25"14.4420$ | 4.7
Buck 119BR6" | 10.5" 10.5420$$ | 4.8
Kershaw Camp 1010" | 16"1965MN$ | 4.9
Tops Knives BROS014.625" | 9.75"14.41095$$$ | 4.7
Ka-Bar Becker BK25.5" | 10.5"161095$$ | 4.6
Benchmade 162 Sibert4.43" | 9.2"7.72S30V$$$$ | 4.5
SOG SE38-N Force6" | 11.25"10.5AUS8$$$ | 4.6

Knife Care Tips

As an important tool in your arsenal, your knife deserves to be well cared for. Not only because you’ve spent good money on it, but also because you want the knife to perform at its best should you ever need it in a real survival situation. Follow these suggestions for knife care and maintenance.

  1. Be careful with the tip of the blade. It is probably the most fragile part of the knife. Avoid using it for screwing/unscrewing or prying things open.
  2. Clean your knife after use, wash off dirt, grime, and tree sap. Dry thoroughly.
  3. Wipe the blade down with an oiled cloth.
  4. Sharpen the blade on occasion.
  5. Never store the blade or sheath in direct sunlight, to avoid unnecessary damage and aging.
  6. Never store the blade in a leather sheath as this will cause pits to form on the blade.

I hope you’ve found this guide to be helpful. If you have an comments or questions please leave them below or contact me.

Thank you!

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Comments

  1. William says

    Hey Tim,
    This is a pretty sweet guide! I used to have one of those hollow handle knives that you mentioned when I was a kid. We called it a “Rambo” knife and we got it at a flea market. :) Pretty funny to think about how useful (or useless) that knife was. Nowadays, I look for something that fits in my hand well and is made of premium steel. I want the knife to keep its sharp edge during a backpacking trip. What do you carry?
    William

  2. Tim Moon says

    Hi, I carry two knives. One is a pocket knife, a CRKT M-16, that I bought many years ago. My main survival knife is an old hunting knife a friend gave me. I used to have a SOG SEAL Pup but sadly it was stolen. I also had a KA-BAR but I gave that to my buddy.

  3. Paul says

    Hi Tim, you have a great guide in here, congrats!
    It`s my first time on your blog and I really love your adventure quote:
    “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. “

  4. AJ says

    Hey Tim, great guide! Do you have any tips on how to sharpen a knife when you are out in the wild and dont have a sharpening tool with you?

  5. Tim Moon says

    Hi AJ, the easiest thing to do is carry a small sharpening stone. However, a couple of classic ways to sharpen a knife in the field are with a leather belt or a river rock.

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