There are so many cheap knives on the market masquerading as great tools.
You might think you’ve found a great knife at a reasonable price, but you’ll soon find out that you’re sorely mistaken.
The best survival knife is hard to come by, although what one person considers to be the best won’t necessarily be viewed as the best by someone else.
The best survival knives come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. They’re loaded with different features, making each of them perfect for specific kinds of use.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that’s certainly the case here.
Before you start your search, you need to ask yourself a few questions about what you’re looking for.
You’ll know which knife will suit all of your criteria when you read its survival knife review.
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- The Best Survival Knife Features
- How Do You Plan To Use Your Survival Knife?
- How Much Should You Spend on a Survival Knife?
- How to Care for Your Survival Knife
- TOP 4 Best Survival Knives Reviews 2023
- Making Your Final Decision
The Best Survival Knife Features
Sometimes, a plain survival knife that comes right out of the box might impress you. There’s not anything wrong with that – especially if you aren’t looking for something fancy.
Most quality survival knife manufacturers like to take things one step further by improving the versatility of the knife.
This means adding special features and bonus tools that will make their survival knives stand out from the rest.
Most survival knives feature a straight blade, sometimes with a drop point.
Longer versions of these blades work fine for the most basic survival tasks, but you’re limited in the things you can do with them.
If you want a survival knife that can truly accomplish anything, look for a blade that’s serrated near the back.
You never know when you’re going to need to saw down some tree limbs to build a shelter. It’s much harder to cut away thicker branches with a straight blade, since the only way you can do that is by hacking until the branch breaks off.
You want that saw edge to allow you to cut with precision. It will work much faster, and you’ll have better control over the size of the tree limbs you wind up taking.
That’s not all serrated blades are good for.
They’ll also come in handy when you’re trying to dress something you’ve hunted in the field, such as a wild hog or a deer.
The edges make it easier to break through bone and cartilage, which are necessary tasks when preparing a meal in the wild.
Many of the best knives for survival come with critical built-in accessories that will help you run your entire campsite.
In most cases, these accessories come in the form of things like fire starters, or fishing equipment that fits into the hollow of the handle. These accessories are easily replaced once they’ve worn down or been used up.
Knives that come with these accessories are especially helpful. They reduce the amount of things you’ll need to bring with you on a survivalist trip while making them easier to carry around.
It’s convenient to have a fire starter on hand wherever you may be, and you never know when you’ll find the perfect spot to fish.
Survival trips are already difficult – choosing a knife that comes with these accessories keeps them from being harder than they need to be.
Nylon sheaths don’t last very long. Every time you pull your knife out of the sheath, the blade will slightly damage the fibers.
This causes the sheath to get weaker, making it more likely to fall apart over time. Nylon sheaths are best for knives that aren’t used very often.
If you want to use your survival knife frequently, you’ll have much better luck with a leather or plastic sheath. These won’t break as easily, and they’re designed for rigorous use.
If the knife you like doesn’t come with one of these more durable sheaths, you can always purchase one separately.
Nylon is fine for a starter, but it’s definitely not the preferred choice of pro survivalists.
How Do You Plan To Use Your Survival Knife?
A lot of people buy survival knives for different reasons. The best survival knife in one scenario may not be a very good survival knife under different circumstances.
It’s important that the knife you decide to purchase is made to handle the things you intend to do with it.
As a Backup Tool
If you are a casual camper or hunter who simply wants to have a survival knife handy in case of emergency, you probably don’t need a knife that can do everything for you.
You’re likely carrying other tools with you, and your survival knife would serve as a supplement to those tools.
If this is what you plan to do, you probably don’t require a whole host of accessories.
They’re a great bonus, but you might be able to make do without them and let your other equipment pick up the slack.
As a Practice Tool
If you’re just learning the art of survival, you probably don’t want to spend a ton of money on a luxurious knife. You need something you can play around with, and you don’t want to be disappointed if it doesn’t live up to your expectations.
When you’re in the exploratory stage, it’s still worth buying a quality knife. You’ll be able to use this knife forever, even if it doesn’t become your sole survival knife.
In order to really put your survival skills to the test, you’ll need a knife you can depend on.
There’s nothing worse than being stuck in the woods with a broken knife and having to head back home before you wanted to.
Practice survival knives are still worth a larger investment. You can always buy a second knife later if you outgrow your practice knife.
When you become a serious survival enthusiast, you’ll want to have several knives anyway. It’s not a waste of money to build a reliable arsenal of tools.
As a Serious Tool
The best survival knives available are always designed to be serious tools. These are knives that don’t need to be supplemented by anything else.
If you were stranded on a desert island, this knife would allow you to do everything you needed to do in order to stay alive.
If you’re looking for a serious tool, don’t skimp on the features. Imagine yourself alone with nothing but this knife.
Can you build a shelter? Can you use it to hunt and prepare meals? Would it be able to protect you from predators? Will it last without falling apart?
You need to be able to answer yes to all of these questions in order to be able to consider your survival knife to be a premium tool designed for serious use.
How Much Should You Spend on a Survival Knife?
What is the best survival knife for the money?
Well, that all depends on the way you interpret the situation.
Usually, with knives and similar tools, the price should reflect how long you’ll be able to use it before you need to replace it.
You might think you found the perfect survival knife for a really great price, but you won’t feel the same way when it breaks in six months and you can’t use it anymore.
When it comes to things like survival knives that require a superior level of craftsmanship, it’s better to spend more for a better quality knife.
It’s better to spend more on one excellent survival knife than it is to spend little on a few that won’t withstand the test of time.
Survival knives tend to be costly, but you’re always going to get what you pay for. It’s not always a good idea to take the thrifty route.
However, it is worth noting that there are survival knives that do live up to their claims without costing you a fortune.
It’s all about finding the right balance between quality and price.
How to Care for Your Survival Knife
Like any tool or weapon, survival knives need to be properly cared for.
Even the best survival knife will become useless if the owner doesn’t take the time to maintain it.
Caring for your survival knife properly doesn’t take a lot of time, and it helps protect your investment. Fortunately, it’s easy to learn proper care and you can do it all at home.
Survival knives need to be regularly sharpened. As soon as they become dull, you’ll want to make sure you tend to that task. Using a dull knife can cause irreversible damage to the blade, and you don’t want to find yourself in that position.
For survival knives with serrated edges, make sure you sharpen those especially. Never try to run serrated knives through a basic slotted knife sharpener, because that’s the fastest way to ruin them.
Taking the right steps to take care of a knife also stands for pocket knives. So make sure to learn the best way to sharpen a pocket knife as well. A don’t forget to take a look at the best knife sharpeners that will help you do the job.
Serrations need to be manually sharpened with a diamond rod.
You’ll also want to frequently clean your survival knife. Dirt, sap, and blood can permanently tarnish the blade, even if it’s been coated with a material that prevents corrosion.
Thoroughly wash your knife when it gets dirty, and allow it to properly dry before putting in back in the sheath.
Sticking a wet knife in the sheath can cause bacteria to grow that will damage the sheath, and sometimes even the blade of the knife.
TOP 4 Best Survival Knives Reviews 2023
Every survival knife review will give you the rundown on what each knife is built to do.
When you’re looking for the best knife for survival, it’s important to take every pro and con into great consideration.
All of these knives deserve your attention, as they’re designed to be some of the best tools available.
The best survival knives will work well in many different applications, and all of these knives are dual-purpose, handy tools.
SE KHK6320 Outdoor Tanto Knife with Fire Starter
This is a small survival knife, and it’s certainly a great value for the price.
It’s inexpensive enough that anyone can purchase it, and it’s useful enough that everyone would want it.
This particular survival knife is rather compact. It’s easy to carry with you, and it comes with a few bonus features.
If you’re new to the world of survival knives, this is one of the best survival knives to help you get started.
If you want a survival knife that can be used for a wide array of purposes, you’ll find that this is a convenient gadget for a lot of outdoor activities.
- Comes with a miniature fire starter that’s perfect for the average campsite. A fisherman or a hiker will appreciate this little convenience.
- The handle of the blade is wrapped in cording, which serves as the grip. If you found yourself in a situation where you needed cording, you can unravel it and use it.
- The knife is full tang, so you’ll never need to worry about the handle coming loose or snapping off.
- Blade is only 3 inches long and doesn’t feature any serrated edges.
- Included sheath is nylon, so it won’t last forever.
Amazon Jungle Survival Knife with Sheath
This survival knife might seem a little gimmicky on the surface, but you’ll come to appreciate those gimmicks.
It packs as many accessories as possible into one portable tool, and they’re all accessories you’ll find useful when you’re out in the world.
They’re easy to replenish when you run out, which gives the added bonus of making this knife simple to maintain.
- Matches, a striking surface, a safety pin, emergency fishing equipment, and even some basic first aid supplies are stored directly in the handle of the knife. All you need to do is twist it off to access everything that’s stored safely inside.
- The end of the handle features a compass that can help you navigate your way through the forest.
- Knife features a full saw back, making it perfect for helping you cut down thicker trees.
- Comes with a full leather sheath. You’ll never need to replace it if you maintain it properly.
- Blade is 10 inches, so you can use it for almost anything.
- Knife is not full tang, since the handle is used as a storage device.
- Doesn’t include a fire starter, so you need to make sure you’re restocking the matches after you use them.
Tactical Bowie Survival Hunting Knife
This is nothing but a knife, but that might be exactly what you’re looking for.
If the idea of bells and whistles doesn’t excite you and you just want a knife that will get the job done, this one is certainly up to the challenge.
The blade is on the larger size, coming it at about 6 inches. It’s designed with an ergonomic textured grip that will help you hold on, even in wet weather or slippery conditions.
- Knife has a full saw back that’s perfect for sawing through wood or hacking away at brush.
- Blade comes to a fine drop point, making it ideal for cleaning fish or preparing something you’ve hunted.
- Comes with a safe and durable plastic sheath.
- Knife is not full tang, so you’ll need to be careful when you’re using it. It’s unwise to throw it at logs or use it for tossing – always go directly to your target.
TOPS Tahoma Field Survival Knife
This is a knife for the survivalist who doesn’t mess around. It’s made from premium stock, and it can cut through absolutely anything.
This isn’t a knife for someone who wants to mimic things they’ve seen on survival TV shows, but rather for the enthusiast who places a lot of emphasis on the quality of their tools.
The blade itself is forged from 1095 high carbon steel, which is one of the best available materials for knife craftsmanship.
- The blade itself is about 7 and a half inches in length, where the handle is 5 inches. This provides perfect balance in the hand, making it easy to handle rough tasks.
- Blade is 3/16 of an inch thick. It won’t bend, chip, or break. You can use this to clean a deer and build a shelter immediately afterwards, and you’ll never need to worry about how well it’s going to hold up.
- Handle is coated in canvas micarta. It provides ergonomic support and a well-textured surface for superior grip.
- Does not feature a saw back or any serrated edges.
- This knife doesn’t come with accessories.
Making Your Final Decision
The best survival knife won’t be the same for everyone.
You can probably tell that every survival knife review showcases a lot of different advantages and disadvantages.
Knowing how you’re going to use the knife and understanding how to properly maintain it accounts for a lot when deciding which survival knife you should purchase.
If you’re having a hard time making up your mind, make sure you take as much time as you need to think about it.
A durable knife is a must-have in survival situations, just like a backpacking water filter can turn out to be.
So you deserve to get the perfect knife the first time.
If you like several, it may not hurt to buy a few.
You may not know until you try a knife which one will work intuitively for you. There’s nothing wrong with becoming a collector.
And if you are serious about survival and going into the wild, you might also want to take a look at some of the best backpacking knives we have reviewed. While taking care of everything you might encounter in the wild, you could also be interested in the best camping hammocks.