When you think about a survival situation, the most important aspects you have to consider are food, shelter, first aid, and safety. There’s one piece of survival gear that helps with all of these, making it the most important of all, and that’s your survival knife.
Finding the best survival knife is the key priority of any prepper or survivalist, and it’s a decision that can not be taken lightly. With this one tool, you’ll be able to prepare shelter, keep you and your loved ones safe, administer first aid, and help prepare food, so it’s a versatile and practical tool indeed.
There are hundreds of different knives on the market all claiming to be the best survival knives, so how do you know which to choose? We’ve compiled this buying guide to show you what features matter when choosing this important tool as well as our recommendations for the best knives on the market currently.
With this reliable accessory in your survival kit, you’ll have taken care of the most important part and have a multipurpose tool that can do it all. A good survival knife will last a lifetime and be durable enough to withstand just about anything, so check out our reviews and top-rated survival knives to know which one you can rely on.
Best Survival Knife
We’ve researched many survival knife reviews to come up with a selection of the best on the market. These knives offer it all including durability, strength, quality, and practicality, so they have everything that you should be looking for when choosing survival gear, and there is a varying price to suit every budget.
Best Survival Knife
Winner: Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife
When it comes to the best of the best, our top recommendation is the Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife from Gerber.
This is the best outdoors knife that would suit a survival situation perfectly, and everything in its design and features is about rugged reliability, including the lifetime warranty on its service.
Gerber has been in the business of making quality knives for decades and when you’re in a survival situation, you want a knife that’s dependable and sharp like this one.
Working alongside Bear Grylls shows that it’s perfectly designed for the outdoors which is where you’ll be using it, so you get double the name recognition and double the quality.
A full tang construction helps give this blade its strength and it’s made with premium grade stainless steel so it’ll never rust or corrode. The length of the blade is 4.8 inches and it has a drop point design perfect for the outdoors. Our top pick for the best full tang survival knife as well, this is one serious blade that will be able to handle any scenario in an emergency situation.
There are a few other cool features added to this knife that puts it into the survival category. You’ll also get a Ferro rod and pull through carbide sharpener so you’ll never be without your trusty blade. Some users have mentioned the Ferro rod is hard to get out of the sheath and takes a bit of work, but this minor flaw aside there’s not much else to complain about.
The rubber handle is what sets this knife apart and makes it user-friendly in any situation. With a texturized and large surface, you’ll be able to grip it easily without any discomfort, and it’s one of the best features that users were thrilled with. The bright orange color might throw some people off, but it certainly helps with visibility which is always a good thing.
As expected, this Gerber blade is one of the more expensive ones on the market so it’s not really the best survival knife for the money. If you’d prefer a more affordable option there are other Gerber blades that offer quality construction, but for those who want the very best, you’ll be happy to spend a little more to get the Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife.
Runner-Up: Schrade SCHF9 Knife
If you’re in the market for the best fixed blade survival knife but don’t want to spend a fortune to get it, you’ll love everything about the SCHF9 Fixed Blade Knife by Schrade.
Schrade has managed to create a seriously sharp and tough knife for around half the price of the top products and it will deliver just as well as the more expensive competition.
The material used to make this blade is 1095 high carbon steel which is pretty durable.
Some might prefer a stainless steel knife but this one can offer just as much in sharpness, dependability, and strength, and it’s a great way to save money from the cost.
The look of the knife is pretty serious and everything down to the ballistic belt sheath will have you feel completely ready for whatever the outdoors will throw at you.
As far as survival knives go this one is pretty big. The overall length is 12.1 inches and the blade itself is 6.4 inches. Customers who didn’t check the measurements before purchase were shocked at the size of it so be prepared to learn how to maneuver a larger than usual knife if you go ahead with this one.
You’ll get a nylon belt sheath to keep your blade protected and stored away neatly ready for action as well as a storage pouch for extras. The knife comes with a ring textured handle for easy grip and it’s made with textured thermoplastic.
This means even when you’re cutting through the toughest of materials or working for long periods you’ll still feel pretty comfortable and without too much discomfort.
One of the best features about this knife in terms of its safety and security is the inclusion of a finger choil, front quillon, and thumb jimping built into the handle. This means even people without a lot of skill using knives won’t experience any slipping and will be able to keep a secure grip on it at all times.
This is an exceptional knife with a few minor details that could do with improving, but for the price, it’s a great deal. The Schrade SCHF9 Fixed Blade Knife ticks all of the boxes for a reliable and rugged survival knife without the huge cost, so it’s a great alternative for people who are looking for quality and affordability in one.
Alternative: Glock Field Knife
In a survival situation, you need to be fully prepared for anything and with tools that could easily be employed by someone in the military.
The Glock Field Knife is a multifunctional army knife made for this very purpose and could easily withstand whatever a survivalist situation might require for its user.
Glock develops all of their knives, tools, and weaponry to be on par with the guidelines put in place by the US military so you get an understanding of the quality you can expect.
With one side a plain edge and the other featuring a saw edge, it’s truly multipurpose and will be able to assist with a wide range of duties when you’re in an emergency situation.
The blade has been crafted with phosphate coated spring steel so it’s guaranteed to never rust or corrode. The material of the blade adds to the overall look of the knife with an all-black design so if you’re someone who likes their tools to look just as good as they feel, this will be on the top of your list.
The sheath is made of black polymer and matches the blade for a uniform look. While it does a great job of securing the blade whenever it’s not in use, it can take some work to get it free. If you’d prefer a knife that comes out quickly and easily because you might want to use it in an emergency, this one feature could turn you off the Glock Field Knife.
According to reviews, the blade wasn’t sharp at all when it arrived on people’s doorsteps so be prepared to do your own sharpening before you consider using it. People have commented that it’s not entirely a high-end blade but it does the job well, so if you don’t want to spend a lot of money but still want something multipurpose and reliable it will be all that’s required.
This knife has been used for everyhitng from first aid to sawing wood for shelter, and thanks to the two sides you can do just about anything with it. The overall length is 11 inches and it weighs around 9lbs when you combine the sheath with it. This heavy-duty feel lends to its strength but for those who want to travel light, you may want to reconsider.
Glock has succeeded in making a knife that would fit right in with military use so you can rest assured it would make a great addition to your survival kit. If you want something affordable and reliable that’s good for many purposes, consider getting the Glock Field Knife to suit your needs.
2nd Alternative: Rambo II Survival Knife
For those who want their survival knife to have a little more personality than most, you might consider investing in the Rambo II Survival Knife.
This officially licensed blade has been designed based off of the famous knife that was used in the Rambo movie series, and it’s far more than just a gimmick, but fully functional as a survival knife as well.
This is a knife for people who care about looks as well as function and there’s no doubt you’ll feel pretty cool using it. Designed from the aviator knife style that was commonly used in World War II, it’s not just about the gimmick of having something from a famous movie, but it’s a knife that’s actually been used in survival situations.
Along with the knife, you’ll also get a bunch of other inclusions that come as a bonus package. They include a fire starter, matches, hook and sinker, and fishing line. As far as complete survival kits go, it certainly isn’t, but they’re entertaining nonetheless to look at and play around with.
The blade on this knife is made from premium stainless steel so it can perform just about anything you need it to in the outdoors. It’s super sharp but dependable and everything from the handle to the tip of the blade is made with the highest of quality. However, customers found that the other pieces that came with the knife, like the sheath and sharpening rod weren’t as good.
The length of the Rambo II Survival Knife is 15.5 inches so it’s quite long compared to others we’ve reviewed. The blade is 10 inches which is long by comparison, but according to the reviews this made it even more multifunctional and a lot easier to maneuver as well.
With a wire cord wrap on the handle, it’s got a good grip so even when you’re working hard with the blade you’ll feel safe and secure from slipping. The Rambo II Survival Knife is by far the most expensive of all that we’ve reviewed and you’re merely paying extra for the licensing and name.
If you have a lot of money to spend to get the very best knife on the market there are definitely better options out there that will cost you even less. For a reliable blade with a cool link to a famous movie, this one will be right up your alley.
3rd Alternative: Morakniv Outdoor Knife
We don’t all have a lot of money to spend making a survival kit, so if your budget is a little lower but you still want a reliable knife in there, the Morakniv Outdoor Knife is a cheaper solution.
This knife retails for around $20 making it the cheapest on our list by far, but don’t let the low price tag throw you off completely.
With a 127C stainless steel blade from Sweden, it promises to be super sharp and stronger than the competing carbon steel.
As a fixed blade knife it’s pretty sturdy but according to the reviews, it’s not something that you want to put against any materials or jobs that are too tough.
Better used for camping and fishing, it’s still a lot better than the standard knives you find in ready-made survival kits, but it’s not as premium as the best of the best.
This knife is on the smaller side and would be ideal for anyone seeking a compact addition to their prepping kit. The overall length is around 8.6 inches with the blade alone being 4.1 inches so it fits pretty comfortably in your hands. Depending on your preference for size, this might not feel like enough, but it’s a matter of personal opinion.
The Morakniv knife is more suited to camping and general outdoors use but if you were in a jam and needed one in your survival kit that didn’t cost too much it would do just as well. Even though it’s on the cheaper end of the scale, Morakniv still stands behind its quality and they offer a lifetime guarantee that the knife will perform for as long as you need it to.
Unlike others we’ve reviewed, this isn’t a full tang knife so don’t be fooled. It comes to around ¾ of the total knife and handle but is still pretty reliable. Some people prefer a full tang knife for peace of mind about its strength however in this case you’re still getting solid Swedish steel that’s capable of being a worthwhile companion in an emergency.
There are some cheaper features about this knife including the plastic sheath and a handle that could be more comfortable.
But when you’re focused on the overall construction, how versatile it would be in a survival situation, and the strength of the steel, it ticks all of these boxes and more. For a budget-friendly but basic survival knife, the Morakniv Outdoors Knife is a great alternative.
The Essential Features Of A Survival Knife
Determining what is the best survival knife is simply a matter of knowing about their various features and finding the most reliable. A survival knife needs to be sharp, reliable, and durable, but how it achieves that might come down to a matter of personal opinion on what you feel most comfortable with.
Type Of Knife
There are many types of knives you could use for a survival knife, and they refer to the design and shape of the blade. There are drop point, saw or serrated, plain edge, and more, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. A knife that can be multipurpose will be most useful in a survival situation.
The most common choice for a survival knife blade is stainless steel, but this steel comes in huge variances in quality. Usually, the more expensive a knife the better the steel, so this is an easy way to tell if you’re unsure. Some knives are made with carbon steel which can be just as durable but is usually slightly less so than stainless and more prone to corrosion.
The handle material is just as important as the blade because this is where you’ll control the knife from. Rubber is a common choice due to its softer feel and grip, but plastic and some woods are also used. The handle should be texturized to improve grip and there might be various features that help prevent slipping onto the blade.
The weight of a knife can say a lot about its strength, so pay attention. Lighter knives are usually made of cheaper materials and not a full tang construction. However, a heavy duty knife might not always be easy to use or carry. The standard weight for a survival knife is between 7-10lbs depending on materials.
There are two key factors of size to consider when choosing a knife, the blade, and the overall length. The blade should be big enough to handle a manner of tasks that it’s needed for but you don’t want the overall length to be so large that it can’t be sheathed or used safely.
There are a few ways to tell the quality of a knife when looking at it. First, the price range and manufacturer of the knife should be considered. Secondly, there should be a warranty in place and this is a lifetime warranty on better products.
Finally, the reviews from previous customers can point out the best and worst parts of the knife, and the quality of the steel used on the blade is a good indicator.
Although extra features aren’t necessary you might want a knife that can do more to save you from packing additional supplies in your kit. Survival knives sometimes come with extras like blade sharpener, Ferro rods or fire starters, belt fasteners, and tactical sheaths.
The One Tool No Survivalist Should Be Without
No matter what type of survival kit you have or the level of preparation you want to take for an emergency situation, you’ll always find a use for a quality knife. Survival knives are the key ingredient in any prepper’s kit and they can help you make shelter, prepare food, and perform first aid, making them truly multipurpose.
There are plenty of things to consider when choosing a knife that’s going to be dependable in any given situation, but some matters of personal preference will need to be considered. What’s important in a good survival knife is durability, sharpness, and practicality, so as long as you can tick all of these boxes it will make a good addition to your survival kit.