Best Survival Knives

best survival knives

Best Survival Knives For Anything

The knife is the most important survival tool and is an absolute necessity for survival and everyday carry, as you never know when it will be needed.

A good knife can be used for everyday projects, quick fixes to equipment or vehicles, defense, shelter building, fire starting, hunting, cleaning and preparing food, etc.

A quality knife or set of knives is the most important tool required for survival. There is a wide variety of types of knives out there from the ridiculous Rambo knife to the practical Swiss Army tool.

Here is a list of my top 3 Favorite Best Knives For Survival of All Time, and which ones you should own…

  • Multi Tool
  • Fixed Blade
  • Folding Knife

Best have all 3 on you when sh*t hits the fan, don't you think?

1. Best Multi-Tool Survival Knife

When it comes to survival, a multi-tool knife should be at the top of your list. It's more than just a knife, and it should be a part of your everyday carry.

I personally recommend a quality multi-tool like the Gerber Center Drive Multi Tool With Sheath or Hoffman-Richter Multi-Tool in its carrying case and worn on your belt or a solid folder with a carrying clip that is semi-concealable in any pants pocket.

The choice is up to you and the situation you find yourself in. When I'm in dress clothes as required at times for work, I carry a folder that is thin, not bulky, and has a nice carrying clip due to its slimmer design.

This multi-tool has a lighter weight than the multi-tool I use when I'm wearing more casual clothing.

The way I look at it, it is my first choice for everyday carry due to the wide variety of functions these tools provide. Blades for cutting purposes, pliers, wire cutters, screwdrivers, can openers, and serrated edges to cut limbs can all be used as needed.

Many multi-tools have a clip or loop to give you the option of dummy cording the knife to your carrying case or belt with a paracord or something similar so you don't lose it while traveling cross-country or traversing heavy brush.

The dummy cord saved my knife more than once when the thick brush opened the Velcro or button closure on the carrying case leaving the knife to fall.

This one goes without saying, my favorite of all is the Hoffman-Richter Multi-tool

hoffman-richter-multitool-best-survival-knives

2. Best Fixed Blade Knives For Survival

I also recommend keeping a solid, quality blade knife handy in either your vehicle, home, or workplace.

The fixed blade is larger than the blades on the multi-tool or smaller folder you use for everyday carry and is used in more deliberate situations, like when you are in the field full-time.

Normally, the fixed blade comes with a carrying case or scabbard that you can mount to your belt, gear, or boot. I personally like to have it handy on my hip and within arm's reach at all times.

I recommend purchasing a fixed blade that has the option of carrying a fire starter, such as the Bear Grylls fixed Ultimate Knife blade.

This knife comes with many handy features, including the semi-rigid carrying case/scabbard that has a vertical belt loop and two horizontal loops for attachment to the leg (if you prefer to do so) so the scabbard is not flapping around or getting caught on things.

You can also use the loops to attach the scabbard to a rucksack/backpack or even to attach MOLLE clips to a vest.

My favorite fixed-blade knife is the Hoffman-Richter WOLF fixed-blade knife with a belt sheath holder. You could buy it on Amazon right now and save $80.

When selecting your knife know that you can get a solid, decent, dependable, and quality knife for a relatively inexpensive price. There is no need to spend hundreds of dollars on a knife.

I have purchased cheap knives to see how they work out or when I saw a good-looking knife on sale, but most were not quality and did not last. The most important thing to consider is practicality.

I have found that if you purchase an impractical knife that is too large, too heavy, or not concealable, you will simply not carry it, and you will miss having the most essential survival tool when you need it most.

One example from my personal experience is the Swiss Army Knife. I purchased one that had over 30 tools on it including a toothpick and tweezers and was over 1″ thick and pretty heavy.

The knife did not come with a carrying case and was not practical to be carried in my pants pocket, so I never carried it. So I later purchased a smaller, pared-down model of the Swiss Army Knife and ended up carrying it much more often.

3. Best Tactical Folding Knife For Survival

Tactical Folding Knives come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. My favorite is the heavy and stealthy Hoffman-Richter HR-30 Tactical Folding Knife with a titanium-coated razor Sharp Steel Blade.

The HR-30 uses high-quality 440C Steel, for a perfect balance of edge retention and ease of sharpening. The ultra-tough titanium coating ensures that it will last a lifetime.

Think about the size and weight of the knife; the practicality of carrying it, its dependability; and solid construction. For semi-concealable folding knives think about the ease of opening the knife single-handed, as some folders have assisted opening features that lock open and have a slim profile and a carrying clip.

I recommend  I recommend you consider the color of the folder and the carrying clip as I like to carry mine concealed or semi-concealed where only the clip can be seen from the outside by other people, so I chose black as it blends in with most of my earth tone wardrobe.

Some people choose to overtly carry the knife so others clearly know they have it as a deterrent, though I do not agree with that thinking.

Remember if others can observe the knife they now know where your weapon is and can eliminate or counter that threat or even just take it from you. I carry my folder where it is not normally observed and therefore not easily taken from me.

On a final note, as a red-blooded patriotic American, I wish everything was made in the U.S. as it is the best quality in the world hands-down.

However, doing this is not always practical so try to buy the best-quality knives you can. I know that Buck Knives is one of the prominent American companies that sell American-made knives.

Though they do have some foreign-made products, they proudly report making most of their products here in the U.S.

Go to the Survival Life Store to shop for some of our favorite knives on the market. Shop here.

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Editor's Note: This article was originally published in January 14, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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24 Responses to :
Best Survival Knives

  1. Irish-7 says:

    I’ve had a Huntsman Swiss Army Knife in my pocket since 1976. Not the same blade, but that particular model. I always felt that this knife was the best compromise between size and function. The Champion model has more tools, attachments and capabilities. But, it is so big that you have to wear it on your belt. I started wearing a multitool around 1990, when the first Leatherman reached the market. I have used this handy gadget, switched to a Gerber and then to a Schrade Tough Tool. There was a serious flaw in the design of the early Gerbers! The handles came completely together, setting the user up for some pinched skin and broken blood vessels. Anyway, I just recently added a fixed blade to my EDC. I bought a neck knife from BUDK for about 3 bucks. I do keep a Schrade (SCH-F9?) Survival Knife on my webgear in my SUV. One of the priorities that I held in picking a blade for decades has been having a saw. Can’t go wrong with that capability!

  2. Richard W Mc Kenney says:

    Do you know how to contact the manufacturer of Fixed-blade knife with a conical shaped, hollow handle to convert to a spear head. They were made about 5 years ago, but I can’t remember the name of the catalogue

    1. Jason miles says:

      I think cold steel made a hollow handle knife like you describe. In my youth I had an old bayonet with a hollow handle which I mounted on a spear type handle. When the handle breaks off your in for a treat trying to drill out the wood.

    2. anthony says:

      they are called the cold steel bushman. they are still being made even today

    3. Harold says:

      Cold Steel made that item. Personally I carry a Cold Steel Recon 1 and have for years. It’s one bad folder. Never had one better.

  3. Butch Brodeur says:

    I carry at any givin’ time at least 3 knives on me! A Swiss Army in my pocket, a multi tool on my belt, and a one handed assisted open folder in my strong arm pocket that also has a window breaker and seat belt cutter on it! When hunting I also carry a medium sized fixed blade in a belt sheath usually of the Marine Fighting design!
    I call the multi my “American Express Card” I’m never leave home without it!

    1. Irish-7 says:

      I have similar habits, a Huntsman Swiss Army Knife in my pocket, Schrade Tough Tool on my belt and Schrade SCHF1 fixed blade in a Get Home Bag with my vehicle. I was wearing a small fixed blade around my neck, but took it off for driving. I was worried that air bag deployment may drive the knife into my midsection.

  4. Jayson says:

    Gerber is owned my Fiskars and are almost all made in China. Good knives if you only got $20 to spend. Otherwise buy a Kershaw, Emerson or CRKT. I own about 20 different knives from Victorinox Swiss Army knives, Kershaws, Gerbers, and MTech. If you have the money buy a Ken onion or Chris reeves knife. I carry a Ken onion shallot daily. As well as my other favorite my Kershaw Junk Yard Dog.

    1. Lauren J says:

      Good to know. Thanks for those recommendations, Jayson.

    2. Dan K says:

      I carry a ken onion kershaw blackwash leek every single day i agree with this man!

    3. Larry says:

      I’m an Eagle Scout (1988) and have had a Kershaw Ken Onion Scallion in my pocket every day for about 5 years. Wouldn’t trade it for another. Even bought 2 more for when my 2 boys get old enough for them.

  5. Left Coast Chuck says:

    For fixed blade knives I like surplus bayonets that one can pick up at a gun show for very little money. I am not talking about collectibles, but bayonets from one of the iron curtain countries or South America. They usually have good steel in them and are made for fighting. The sturdy blade can be used for lots of cutting and if damaged can be restored with a stone. If lost, no big deal. They usually have a large knob on the end that can be used for hammering. A bayonet on an O3A3 or Mauser 98 makes a formidable weapon when you are out of cartridges. I have made a dangerous stiletto out of an SKS bayonet. I changed the point from the screwdriver point to a needle point. It is a shortened “Emily”, the old Lebel bayonet which the Germans hated. In the days before antibiotics, getting stabbed with Emily meant you were probably going to die quite painfully from blood poisoning from the deep puncture wound Emily bestowed.

    1. Lauren J says:

      That’s a great piece of information, Chuck. They sound perfect for a survival situation.

  6. Jason says:

    I have the BG knife mentioned in this article and also the Gerber LMF II which is a far superior knife, larger in size but also includes a glass breaker and strap cutter.
    It is currently my fixed blade of choice. No flint stick but I have numerous already in my kits so no great loss, same goes with the whistle. Another bonus of the LMF II is that it has a carbide sharpener as opposed to the diamond plate which is a pain to use and I have the ceramic rods for finishing off the edges if needed.

    I almost always carry a Leatherman Sidekick and also an Excalibur 3 blade Stockman as my EDC’s.

    Currently have my eye on a tracker knife similar to the TOPS brand which with the larger blade design, allows for a stronger chopping action as well as general purpose duties as well.

  7. Al says:

    Good article but personally I wouldn’t be lashing my knife to a branch to make a spear. Now not only do you not have a knife in case you need it, but thanks to Murphy you could end up losing it. I’d rather just sharpen the branch to a point and use that as a spear.

  8. Andon Ancluin says:

    I own, carry, and use many knives, and no matter what I always have some sort of blade on me. Currently my every day carry knives: I have a Leatherman super tool. I have both the new model amd the older model, but the new one, even though it is a little larger and heavier, has the rounded grip, so much nicer than the painful grip of the older model. I also carry in pocket a Leatherman style. It has a good pair of scissors, outside opening blade and file, and the best pair of tweezers I’ve ever used. Also clipped in a back pocket I have a Kershaw G+G Hawk. It has a great razor sharp blade, and a fold out bit driver and four interchangeable bits. I use these more than the screwdrivers on my Leatherman. And I also open carry (the way to make it legal here) various fixed blades that I rotate out depending on where I’m going that day, or what I’m wearing. But my favorite fixed blade is a Randall Made Knife. They are hand made in Florida, and was the original design for the Vietnam fighters. That one doesn’t leave my side at all if I am out in the woods. I have the bear grills knife described above, but having a few more quality blades, I wasn’t all that impressed with it. And I ended up giving it to my son. I figured it would be a good first survival knife for him. And he loves it, so it worked out well anyways.

  9. Richard says:

    I like the Leatherman wave best of the multi-tools. I have one on my belt at all times, and usually a Pro Tech TR4 in the pocket. When I’m out in the sticks I add a Chris Reeve Pacific (in a leather sheath…the web sheath that comes with it is not comfortable for me). My go-bag has a SOG tomahawk in a framing-hammer type loop on the side, so I can grab the whole thing on the way out the door, along with a loaded tac-vest and my M4. Similar equipment rides in my vehicle. I sure hope the poop never hits the fan so hard that it comes to that, but it’s there if I need it.

  10. I completely agree that knife is the most important survival tool. Almost all the bug out kits contain the knife. Here in your article you have recommended many knives such as swiss army and American army knives and even you have recommended two swiss army knives. I have read or heard that U.S. army knives are best. Please let me know that which one is perfect for the survival in mountains.

  11. tom says:

    I used to love the Gerber gator. Had two but could never keep an edge on them. I switched to an assisted open CRKT and also carry a Case Russlock in my pocket. Fixed blade I keep a RAT 3 in my pack and also my outdoor must – the trusty tomahawk. I just found this site. Would like to say hello to all. Thanks

  12. Pat Davis says:

    How am I supposed to get your big knife the switchblade that’s legal when I can’t get through on the phone I cannot find it on your website.

  13. Mike says:

    Great piece. I don’t carry a multitool as much as I should, but I do keep one in the car. I generally find that my Para Military 2 gets me through most tasks, and my Ka-Bar and BK get me through the hunting and camping trips. Thanks for promoting American products as well.

  14. Wilford Vangordan says:

    Great Hoffman-Richter ad.

  15. Thanks for this insightful post!

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