When we think of the best survival knives, we might picture something strapped to the side of Rambo complete with sawback serrations, a hollow handle and a cheesy compass on top. But to any seasoned survival expert, a 13” knife like that is overkill at least. Try sawing down a tree with that sucker!
Survival depends on skills and a knife is a very important tool if it works for the tasks necessary to sustain your life (like shelter building, trap making, fire-kit making, harvesting fish and animals etc). So that’s why for most experts the best survival knives in the field to carry are bushcraft knives (full-tang handle and fixed blades).
Here are five of the best survival knives that will get the job done.
TOPS Dragonfly 4.5
I did a review on the TOPS Dragonfly knife last year and I have to say that I like it even more now as one of the best survival knives around. It is absolutely bulletproof and holds an incredible edge. It’s a bit longer than others and a great pick for a guy with big hands, but don’t let that fool you because it works beautifully for even the finest detail work. One drawback is the non-coated blade (gotta keep it dry) but the payoff is how well it works to spark a ferro rod or a flint.
Photo credit (above): Rich Wright
BRISA EnZo Trapper
Made with true Finnish craftsmanship, the BRISA EnZo trapper is truly a fine knife and a pleasure to use for any bushcraft task. Among the best survival knives, I opted for the D2 steel which some consider to be the best knife steel around (although a bit hard to sharpen and more brittle). The upside is that it holds an edge for ever. Available as a kit or fully assembled, there are several beautiful handle choices and options. This is a knife you’ll want to pass down to your kids.
Photo credit: BRISA
Gerber Gator Premium
At last year’s Outdoor Retailer show, Gerber Gear introduced the biggest makeover of its famed gator knife in 25 years. Its Fixed-Blade Premium is a stout full tang blade with all the strength and durability that the Gator Series hsa been known for over the years. Now it comes with a newly designed rubberized grip for comfortable control that resists slipping even in wet conditions. There was also an upgrade to the steel for one of the best survival knives you’ll find on the market.
Photo credit: LiveOutdoors
At under 40 bucks, the Condor Bushlore could possibly be the best deal around on a very good quality knife. You can’t beat the tried and true 1075 steel and the beautiful sheath. Another good one if you have big hands and just as agile as any knife around. It’s easy to sharpen and holds out pretty well in the weather. I’ve recommended this knife to a bunch of folks and haven’t heard any complaints.
Photo credit: The Bushcraft Store
Mora knives have a cult following that extends to almost every wilderness school around making them among the best survival knives for generations. We had a hundred of them when I taught and if you want to put knives to the test, give them to a group of 7-11-year-olds. Although it’s the only one on my list without a full-tang blade, the Morakniv Bushcraft Carbon Black Tactical can easily perform any task you might have. I Can’t say enough about these knives.
Photo credit: Amazon.com