FYI: Knife Planet is supported by the readers. This means we may include affiliate links in articles and earn a commission at no cost to you if you purchase.
The best survival knife will not only do what you need it to, but it will also withstand everything the outdoors has to throw at it. Whether it is rain, sun, or wind a survival knife can handle it all. A survival knife can do just about anything combat or tactical knife can do, if not more. The major difference will be in the materials used to make them. You will typically find that survival knives are made from the strongest stainless steels. They will usually hold a sharp edge for longer periods of time. The handles will be made from synthetic materials. They simply last longer in the elements than leather or wood, which take much more care and attention.
Adding to that, survival knives will often times have additions to the blade that will come in handy to any outdoorsman. Saw back spines, partially serrated edges, and gut hooks are oftentimes a part of a survival blade. These knives are not called survival knives for just any reason. They are indeed designed for people to rely on for survival. They are perfect for bug out bags, hiking packs, or even for ocean survival. You never know when you will need a reliable knife no matter the terrain.
Having the best outdoor knives as part of your survival plan is not only smart, it really is not an option. Even if you have little to no experience with knives having a survival knife waiting for an emergency situation is imperative for you or your family. Unfortunately, there are so many off-brand survival knives floating around the internet, it is difficult to find a quality brand. If a blade breaks in a time of need there is usually no way of finding another knife. To help you avoid this nightmare of a scenario we have gathered a list of the 5 best survival knives available to you.
Best Survival Knives
1. Smith & Wesson High Carbon Survival Knife – Double-Sided Blade For Efficient Cutting
Smith & Wesson are known for their legacy in firearms. What most people do not know is they also specialize in knife making. With the H.R.T you get a high-quality survival knife with the Smith & Wesson name behind it.
The H.R.T is a full tang fixed blade and stands at 9 inches in overall length. With a blade length of 4.7 inches, you get a perfect balance. The blade edge is omnidirectional, meaning you can cut in any direction because the blade wraps around the knife’s spine as well. Made from high carbon steel the blade is remarkably hard yet easy to sharpen. With a spear point and blood groove, the H.R.T is made to puncture and remove with ease. So, if you find yourself in a survival situation skinning your dinner should be a breeze. To keep the blade protected from the elements it is covered with black epoxy. When you couple the epoxy coating with the stainless steel the H.R.T is essentially rustproof.
The handle is made with a ribbed thermoplastic rubber so you keep the knife under control at all times. With a double-sided handguard, there is no need to worry about your hand slipping onto the blade. You can cut and pierce without that fear in the back of your mind. The H.R.T comes with a leather bootstrap sheath for easy access and storage. This blade encompasses what most would consider the best survival knife. Click here to see the best price.
2. Mossy Oak Survival Knife – 15 in. of Cold Hard Steel
This Bowie Knife is a massive 15 inches in length, with a 10-inch blade. This knife is a monster. With a knife this massive it might be hard to see the practicality within it. Once you get past the sheer size of it you can see its value. This clip point blade is made from 440c stainless steel and is coated with black epoxy. Giving this Bowie Knife the ability to withstand the wettest of weather conditions. The spine is lined with a saw back feature in case you need to cut through some tough materials.
With a rubber handle and double-sided handguard, you can keep this massive chunk of steel in your hands at all times. Lastly, the pommel has a lanyard loop so you can secure this 15-inch knife to your wrist for extra security. A belt loop nylon sheath is also part of the package, which includes a fire starter and a sharpener. These types of items are typically not included. So, rest assured you are getting your money’s worth. This is by far one of the best outdoor knives you can own. Click here to see the best price.
3. Gerber Bear Grylls Folding Sheath Knife – Foldable Survival Knife
This folding blade survival knife is backed with Gerbers 70 years of experience and sealed with Bear Grylls approval as well. It stands at 8.5 inches in total length, with a blade at just over 4 inches. The drop point blade is made of stainless steel. It touts a partially serrated blade edge near the rear and a straight edge leading to the blade point. There are double-sided thumb studs for easy opening. To keep you and your hand safe there is a lock-back feature that keeps the blade in place which can be released by the push of a button. The stainless steel is covered with a cool black coloring with Bear Grylls signature and Gerbers brand stamped on the face of the blade.
The handle is a soft textured rubber grip. With an ergonomic shape, this blade should fit securely in almost anyone’s hands. With black and orange coloring and a lanyard loop, this blade will be difficult to misplace. This Bear Grylls survival knife comes with a military-grade nylon sheath that is both lightweight and mildew resistant. The best survival knife is not always the largest, sometimes a 4-inch blade gets the job done. Click here to see the best price.
4. CIMA High Hardness Full-Tang Outdoor Knife – Textured Handle For a Secure Grip
The Cima 1 survival knife has gained popularity over the past couple of years. Buyers remark at the quality of this budget knife and the reviews seem to be overwhelmingly positive. At a glance, it is easy to see why people are enamored with this knife.
The 8.46-inch full tang fixed blade just looks like a solid piece of cutlery. The black drop point blade has a straight edge with some jimping on the spine. The edge itself is silver, while the face and the sine of the blade is a dark black. With the Cima 1’s blade being polished and electroplated it is rust-resistant and oxidation resistant.
Typically budget knives have a synthetic rubber or plastic for a handle, not the Cima 1. This handle is made with textured micarta handles. Micarta is made from layering fabrics and forming them with a thermosetting plastic. This type of handle not only looks unique it offers optimal grip and control as well. The full tang skeleton extends past the pommel allowing for any crushing you may need to do.
Cima 1 also comes with a molded plastic sheath that can be clipped to your pocket or pants. Do not let the budget price fool you. The Cima one is the best survival knife for the price. Click here to see the best price.
5. Maxam 12-piece Survival Knife Set – All Metal Build With Survivalist Design
To start, the main draw to this package has got to be the 14-inch survival knife. The blade measures in at just over 7 inches in length. The all silver clip point blade has a serrated spine and straight edge. Made from high strength stainless steel, this blade can cut through just about anything. The handle is pretty interesting. It may not be the prettiest thing to look at but looks can be deceiving. Constructed from zinc alloy, the handle is hollow. Now, this is not to save money on materials. The hollow handle is designed to hold survival gear, some of which are included with this set. As far as grip, the handle is one solid piece with some diamond texture added for grip.
Remember how we said this is a set? Well, that is a bit of an understatement, not only do you get a sheath for your knife, but you get a load of other stuff as well. You get a skeleton knife, fishing lines, rope, and many other additions. This set is one of the best outdoor knives sets your money can buy. Click here to see the best price.
How To Get The Best Survival Knife
The best survival knife could mean something different from person to person. What one person is looking for in a knife is usually different from the next. This is the main reason why there are so many different knives to choose one, they each have their own character. So, we hope you found a knife you were looking for in our list of 5 survival knives. If you are still on the fence, or new to knives, we will go over some features to look out for in a survival knife. We will cover everything from the size, tang, and the pommel and a few other basics.
The size of a survival knife can vary greatly, and when you take into account folding survival knives you get an understanding of why. That said, the optimal size of a survival knife will be dependent on what the user is looking for in a knife. Just like a scotch cannot be a scotch if it was not made in Scotland, a survival knife does have its limitations. The optimal size for a survival knife is 4 to 8-inch blade length. Anything more or less then they will be classified as another type of knife. The main reason for this comes down to weight and space. In a survival situation, the weight you carry on your back should be as minimal as possible. The less weight the fewer calories and energy you will burn throughout the day. Calories are the most important things to maintain besides hydration in a survival situation. Also, the space a knife uses is valuable as well. A huge 18- inch Bowie Knife is unrealistic in survival mode.
With a moderate or small knife, you will be more limited in your capabilities. The benefit of a smaller knife is its small size and lightweight. Meeting somewhere in the middle is the best advice we can give. Finding the best survival knife is hard enough, now you know what the best size is as well.
Fixed Blade or Folded
When it comes to deciding between a fixed blade and a folding knife, there are a few things to consider. Each type of knife has advantages and disadvantages. To start, fixed blades are typically a more solid build, especially if it is full tang. But we will cover that later. Fixed blades are also larger, and a lot of times you will find a job that calls for the best survival knife. Sometimes the best survival knife is a large fixed blade. Not every job calls for a small knife, sometimes you need brute strength.
As for foldable survival knives, they will generally take up less space, to the point where some could fit in your pocket. And since they have moving parts, folding knives are more prone to breaking over time. All in all, foldable survival knives are just more convenient to carry in a survival situation. Although a lanyard or belt loop sheath is recommended.
Choosing between a fixed blade or a folding knife will come down what you are looking for in a knife. If it is size and strength go with a fixed blade. If you are looking for a smaller frame go buy a folding knife. Either way, there are plenty of great knives in both categories.
The tang of a knife refers to the relation between the blade and the handle. A full tang knife is essentially one solid piece. The blade and handle sections are connected. The only additional parts are the handle covers. That is typically made from wood or synthetic materials. Full tang knives are the strongest type of knife you can buy. There are no welds to break or screws to fall out.
A partial tang is when the knife and handle are two separate pieces. A small portion of the blade will extend into the handle. While these knives are not as strong as a full tang knife, they are still capable of knives.
Most survival knives will have a pointed tip. It does not matter if it is a spear point, clip point, or drop point, they each have a somewhat pointed tip. They all meet directly in front of the knife at a fine point. These are all great knives for piercing and cutting. There are some blade tips that are not pointed like the talon and sheep hoof blades. About 90 percent of knives have a pointed tip, the ones that do not are specialized tools. Most if not all survival knives will have a pointed tip.
The pommel sits at the butt of the knife and they can serve a few different purposes. Pommels can serve as decoration adding a sense of artistry to their knife. With a survival knife, a piece of art is not what you need. A pommel can also have a lanyard loop so you can strap it to your wrist for added security during use or around your neck so you will not misplace it. Lastly, a pommel can serve as a hammer. Some pommels are blunt and hard, making them perfect for smashing nuts or tent stakes. Some can operate as both hammers and lanyards.
The handle is just as important as the blade of the knife. It will be in constant contact with you as you use your knife. Knife handles can be made from various different types of materials, anything from wood all the way to canvas can be used to make a handle. For a survival knife, you will want a synthetic material that can withstand the harsh elements of the outdoors. Materials like wood and leather can deteriorate over time, especially in wet and humid climates.
What is the best survival knife in the world?
Well, that is a tough question. Of course, you will want a knife from a reputable brand. But past that, the best survival knife in the world is the one that suits you best. If you are better with a fixed blade knife, maybe the Smith and Wesson high carbon survival knife is the best for you. Or maybe a foldable survival knife is best. It will ultimately be up to you to decide. Lastly, a knife that you can rely on 100 percent of the time will be the best survival knife. The design and size do not matter at that point.
What makes a good survival knife?
A good survival knife is one that works when you need it to. It will sit comfortably in your hands, it will not slip or slide in your hands. The blade edge will stay sharp even after many uses. A good survival knife will have you thinking about the task at hand, not the tool you use to complete it.
What is the best steel for a survival knife?
The best steel for a survival knife will need to be capable of withstanding not only the jobs you use it but the elements as well. You will want steel that has great blade retention, it needs to be hard and tough. That said you also want steel that can be worked with and sharpen. 1095 high carbon will give you all of these qualities and more.
Is the Buck 119 a good survival knife?
The Buck 119 is a great fixed blade survival knife. Buck is a world-renowned knife maker, and the 119 design has been around for decades, you cannot go wrong with a Buck Knife.
What is the best survival knife on the market?
The best survival knife on the market is the number one knife on our list, the Smith & Wesson high carbon survival knife. With a blade that wraps around all the way up the spine, omnidirectional cutting, and sturdy handle, it is by far the best outdoor knives on the market.
What is the best knife ever made?
The best knife ever made has to be the Ka-Bar USMC survival knife. With over 70 years of use, the knife is still used in the armed forces today. It is a testament to the knife’s perfect design.
Best Selling Survival Knives
- ✅ Knife Dimension: Overall Length: 15 inch; Blade Length: 10 inch; Thickness: 5/32 inch (3.8 mm); Weight: 16.8 oz
- ✅ Razor Sharp Clip Point Blade: Made of 440C stainless steel for excellent hardness, improved edge retention and rust resistance.Clip Point Blade features saw back, black anodize, ideal for camping expeditions or survival training
- ✅MULTI-FUNCTION：Knife, LED Light(It uses 4 batteries, size LR621), SeatBelt Cutter, Glass Breaker, Magnesium Fire Starter, Bottle Opener.
- ✅POCKET SIZE: The knife is designed to fit perfectly into your palm. Weighs only 5.5 OZ, allowing you to avoid the hassle of carrying a big knife, while enjoying all the benefits.
- DIMENSIONS: 12 inch (30.48 cm) overall length with a blade length of 7 inches (17.78 cm) and a weight of 12.64 ounces
- DURABLE: Blade is made of reliable 8Cr13MoV High Carbon Stainless Steel with a black, rubberized polymer handle
- THE FINEST MILITARY SURVIVAL KNIFE SET: Maxam's 12-piece Survival Knife Set gives outdoor sportsmen, adventure enthusiasts, campers, hikers, hunters and survivalists the raw physical power to handle any cutting task imaginable!
- DYNAMIC CUTTING CAPABILITY: Measuring 14" in total length with a 7 3/4"-long 1/8"-thick blade, our primary hunting knife features a hollow zinc alloy survival-tool capsule handle—and our second 7"-skeleton knife has a 1 1/2" blade with a gutting hook.
- ▶️ 12.75 INCH TACTICAL FIXED BLADE KNIFE - A MUST HAVE knife for emergencies. The knife is designed to fit perfectly into your palm. A solid grip is necessary. It's safer and good to know the knife in your hand is ready for the task. This emergency tool is produced with "ease of use" in mind and all of our knives are designed as EDC knives. This means your tool is always easy to access when you need it. It also has the added benefit of being used as a light duty hammer if required.
- ▶️ RAZOR SHARP FULL EDGE COMBAT BLADE - Each blade is professionally heat treated to balance hardness and toughness, increasing blade durability and capabilities. A harder knife blade can perform better than a softer blade. Toughness is the ability to resist chipping, cracking or breaking. Using a very hard blade without toughness, such as a blade made from glass, will be very easy to break. This is why balancing hardness and toughness is so important and why we heat treat every single blade