Welcome to the Adventure Strong Survival Knife Guide!
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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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, $$$$ – Over $151
Rating: Amazon user rating
Below the guide, you’ll find knife care tips.
Best Survival Knife Guide
Blade / Overall Length (inches)
Cost & Rating
|Benchmade Killian Design||7.3" | 12.5"||10.1||154CM||$$$$ | 5.0|
|KA-BAR||7" | 11.875"||11.2||1095||$$ | 4.8|
|Cold Steel Bushman||7" | 12.25"||10.1||SK-5||$ | 4.7|
|Smith & Wesson CKSURG||8" | 13.75"||14.2||440C||$ | 4.7|
|Cold Steel GI Tanto||7" | 12"||10.6||1055||$ | 4.6|
|Schrade SCHF9||6.4" | 13"||15.9||1095||$$ | 4.5|
|Gerber LMF II||4.84" | 10.6"||11.4||420HC||$$ | 4.7|
|SOG SEAL Pup||4.85" | 9"||5.4||AUS8||$$ | 4.7|
|Fallkniven F1||3.8" | 8.33"||9.9||VG10||$$$$ | 5.0|
|Ka-Bar Warthog||6.75" | 12.25"||16.8||1085||$ | 4.7|
|Condor Bushlore||4.3" | 9.3"||12.3||1075||$ | 4.3|
|Fallkniven A1||6.3" | 11"||12||VG10||$$$$ | 5.0|
|Buck Hoodlum||10" | 15.5"||14.6||5160||$$$ | 4.4|
|CRKT Razel SS7||7.25" | 12.25"||13.8||9Cr18MoV||$$ | 4.5|
|Spyderco Temperence 2||4.875" | 9.75"||6.75||VG10||$$$$ | 5.0|
|Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate||4.8" | 10"||11.2||7Cr17Mov||$ | 4.4|
|Smith & Wesson CKSUR1||5.88" | 10.5"||7.4||440||$ | 4.3|
|Winchester Bowie||8.75" | 14.25"||14.4||420||$ | 4.7|
|Buck 119BR||6" | 10.5"||10.5||420||$$ | 4.8|
|Kershaw Camp 10||10" | 16"||19||65MN||$ | 4.9|
|Tops Knives BROS01||4.625" | 9.75"||14.4||1095||$$$ | 4.7|
|Ka-Bar Becker BK2||5.5" | 10.5"||16||1095||$$ | 4.6|
|Benchmade 162 Sibert||4.43" | 9.2"||7.72||S30V||$$$$ | 4.5|
|SOG SE38-N Force||6" | 11.25"||10.5||AUS8||$$$ | 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.
- 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.
- Clean your knife after use, wash off dirt, grime, and tree sap. Dry thoroughly.
- Wipe the blade down with an oiled cloth.
- Sharpen the blade on occasion.
- Never store the blade or sheath in direct sunlight, to avoid unnecessary damage and aging.
- 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.