Find Out the Best Survival Knife: Personal Review and Detailed Guide!

I’m an outdoor enthusiast who’s been in some tricky survival situations before and the one thing that has helped me survive and kept me alive is a good survival knife. A lot of people don’t realize that the difference between a normal knife and a survival knife can mean the difference between life and death but since you’re reading this, I count you among the more intelligent and sensible lot who likes to plan ahead!

Everyone will have their own take on what the best survival knife should be like, so I thought of creating this ultimate resource of helping people out through detailed reviews and objective analysis of all the top survival blades in the market.

 

My Personal Review of the Top 5 Survival Knives

 

There are a lot of survival knives out there that can do a decent job. However, I wanted to save my readers the trouble of doing all the research on their own and that’s why I’ve included my personal list of the Top 5 survival Knives along with a detailed review of each one.

This will not only save you hours of research time, but you can be rest assured that these have only been chosen and put on this list after thorough personal testing and discussion with other knife experts. So without further ado, let’s move onto these amazing survival knives.

 

1. Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Companion Fixed Blade Knife

One of the most popular survival blades out there in the market these days is the Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Companion and its popularity can be judged by the fact that this knife’s got over 500 positive reviews on Amazon which means that not only me, but other knife enthusiasts, too, have used this survival knife and appreciated it.

Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Companion Fixed Blade Knife

Click Here to See Pricing, Ratings, and Reviews on Amazon.com

One look at the blade is enough to make your heart yearn for it. It looks pretty solid design wise and it’s build to last grilling outdoors. The knife is pretty long at 10.5 inches (with a blade length of 5.5 inches) which means that there’s plenty of room to cut and chop your way through thick foliage or use it in other survival situations.

I’ve used this knife personally for skinning fresh meat and the 1095 Cro-van steel is perfect for the job. Apart from that, it can also be used for skinning potatoes especially in those times when there’s no meat around.

Another reason why I loved the Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Companion knife is that’s it priced very economically. Considering the quality, durability and craftsmanship of this survival knife, one would expect it to cost over a hundred dollars but that’s the best part about this – you can pick this great survival tool for just around $70!

 

2. Spyderco Bushcraft G-10 PlainEdge Knife with Leather Sheath

If you’re looking for the best survival knife in the market, then another one that fits the bill perfectly according to me is the Spyderco Bushcraft G-10 Plain Edge Knife. This amazing bush-craft knife has been designed by the famous expert Chris Claycombe and is truly one of the best full tang knives in the market right now.

Spyderco Bushcraft G-10 PlainEdge Knife with Leather Sheath

Click Here to See Pricing, Ratings, and Reviews on Amazon.com

While the overall length of the knife is 8.75 inches, the cutting edge of the knife is 3.9 inches. It also has a 0.23 inch blade hole along with a 0.14 inch blade thickness and features a Scandinavian grind. It’s well balanced and the polished micarta is extremely comfortable to hold.

I didn’t face any problems while sharpening this on a whetstone and the sheath works well for holding the blade. Since this is made of carbon steel, I personally apply a touch of oil while using it outdoors as it really helps to prevent any rust formation on the blade.

All in all, this knife truly deserves its place in this list and the best part is that currently, Amazon is offering a huge 48% discount as well on this beauty!

 

3. Benchmade Killian Design Marc Lee Glory Knife with BK1 Coating and FB Sheath

Top on my list of the 5 best survival knives is the Marc Lee Glory Knife that literally takes your breath away in a single look. I got this as a gift from a close friend of mine and ever since that day, this has become a constant companion on every one of my outdoor jungle trips.

Benchmade Killian Design Marc Lee Glory Knife with BK1 Coating and FB Sheath

Click Here to See Pricing, Reviews, and Ratings on Amazon.com

With a blade length of 7.3 inches and an overall length of 12.5 inch, the Marc Lee Glory comes with a BK1 coating and a re-curve blade. This full tang knife has a really sold grip and is scratch resistant while the BK1 coating helps prevent the blade from being corroded when exposed to salt water.

I personally love the balance of this survival knife and can appreciate the amount of hard work that would have gone into making the design and quality top-notch. Also, it’s a great way to honor those American soldiers who lost their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq because this knife was conceived as a tribute to Officer Marc Lee of the US Navy SEAL.

It’s a little expensive at around $300 but totally worth the money!

 

4. Tom Brown Tracker #2 Gray Micarta Handle

At #2 on this list of the top 5 survival knives is the Tom Brown Tracker #2 which is literally like a mini-axe in your hands! With this super-sharp blade, I’ve myself cut down a 3 inch wide tree without breaking a sweat so this one does wield some superb power.

Best Survival Knife - Tom Tracker

Click Here to See Pricing, Ratings, and Reviews on the Tom Brown Tracker

The blade is made of high carbon steel and is 3.5 inches in length and comes with a nice Kydex sheath with 2 rotating steel spring clips to keep this beauty in place.

This full tang knife is a true outdoor knife and I’ve personally used it in so many situations like filleting fishes or gutting out game. It’s solid, has just the right balance and throws beautifully! And at just under $200, this one’s an absolute steal.

 

5. ESEE-6 Plain Black Blade with Grey Removable Micarta Handles

 

One of my personal favorites based on the sheer size and quality of the blade is the ESEE-6 Plain Black Blade with Grey Removable Micarta Handles. The overall knife length is around 11.75 inches while the blade length is just about 6.5 inches which makes this one of the largest knifes that I’ve ever used personally.

ESEE-6 Plain Black Blade with Grey Removable Micarta Handles

Click here for Pricing, Ratings, and Reviews on the ESEE-6

However, the bigger length means that the ESEE-6 is very handy when it comes to chopping wood or clearing overhead foliage and one sharp swipe of the blade is enough to do the job. I also like the fact that this weighs just under 12 ounces which for me is just about the right weight of the blade and lends an extra durability factor to it (and also because it’s a 1095 carbon steel blade so the quality and finish is really good)

This one’s priced a little on the higher side for $160; however, you’re ensuring that you not only get an amazing fixed, full tang blade but one that’s been thoroughly tested and appreciated for its quality. And it’s not just me who loves this knife; the ESEE-6 has received a perfect 5 Star rating from other folks at Amazon as well!

 

Honorable Mention: The Original KA-Bar Utility & Fighting Knife

All of the knives above are more modern and have years of use and expertise put into their design.  However, my own first substantial knife purchase was a KA-Bar.  With the clip point, synthetic handle, black blade coating, partial serrations, and kydex sheath, it sure is an impressive looking tool.  Sure it may not be that great at skinning and gutting animals, or maybe the serrations will get destroyed if using it to chop wood, but I am still happy this was my first purchase.

Sure having other, more advanced survival knives now is a good thing.  But my KA-Bar still gets a permanent place in either my EDC bag, emergency trunk get home bag, or my at home go bag (aka bug out bag).

And when I go hiking, it has a prominent place on the outside of my pack.  Since the origin of the KA-Bar name means “Kill A Bear” I figure this is a good one to carry.  Why mess with success?

Of all the survival knives on this site, the KA-Bar has arguably the most storied history.

If you can’t decide on what you want, why not give this one a look.

Click here to see Pricing, Ratings, and Reviews for the KA-Bar

Keep in mind that the leather handle and leather sheath versions look more historic, but require a lot more maintenance.

 

 

What exactly is a Survival Knife?

For all those who love hiking, backpacking, camping or any strenuous outdoor environmental activity, one of the most essential tools that can mean the difference between life and death is a survival knife. Believe me when I say that it’s your best friend and defense in the world in case you get lost in the wilderness (which I have) and can be used in a number of life-saving situations such as building shelter, skinning food, starting fires, digging pits, clearing branches and a whole lot of other things.

Survival knifes are generally of two types: a fixed blade (or called full tang) and a folding knife (also called partial tang). A full tang blade is considered by many experts to be more reliable than a partial tang blade simply because it’s less prone to breaking and allows the user to use the blade safely in extreme pressure. However, a folding knife too has its uses because it’s more affordable than a full tang knife and can be used in a lot of similar situations as well.

These days it’s become a popular choice to own at least 2-3 good survival knives and even Hollywood is making people aware of this fact. I’m sure a lot of you would be aware of the sitcom “Lost” so you wouldn’t have missed seeing John Locke use those amazing Ka-Bar Full-sized USMC and Master Bowie knives in so many situations.

 

Check out my Detailed Survival Knife Table Below:

Although you’ve already read my review of the top 5 survival knives, I’ve also compiled a huge tabular guide that compares all the top survival blades in the market at the present. This guide will help you make an informed choice of which knife to choose based on your needs and help you determine the best survival knife for you.

Note – You can click on any of the columns to sort the data

Survival KnifeKnife Length
(inch)
Blade Length
(Inch)
Weight
(Ounce)
Blade
Material
Rating
Ka-Bar Becker BK210.55.514.61095 cro-van steel4.6
Tom Brown Tracker #29.53.59.61095 High Carbon Alloy RC-585
Helle Temagami Carbon Steel Knife93.55.4Laminated Stainless Steel4.4
Cold Steel Master Tanto Knife11.569.5VG-1 San MAI III4.7
Fallkniven A1 Survival Knife11.136.3812Laminated VG105
Cold Steel R1 Military Classic11.6379.25VG-1 San Mai III steel4.4
Spyderco Gayle Bradley Folder Knife8.0783.4385.5CPM M44.6
Fallkniven Pilot Survival Knife8.333.88.4Laminated VG105
Benchmade Adamas Sibert8.73.827.7D2 Tool Steel4.9
Spyderco Bushcraft G-10 PlainEdge Knife8.753.97.75O-1 carbon steel4.8
ESEE-4 Plain Edge Blk Blade MOLLE Locks94.067.41095 Carbon Steel - 57 Rc4.7
Ontario Blackbird SK-5 Wilderness Survival Knife1058.4154CM steel4.4
ESEE-5 OD Plain Blade10.885.25161095 Steel - 57 Rc4.9
Buck 65 Hood Punk Knife115.627.45160 Carbon Steel5
ESEE-6 Plain Black Blade11.756.511.81095 Carbon Steel - 57 Rc5
Cold Steel Trail Master14.59.516.7SK-5 high carbon steel4.6
Buck Hood Hoodlum Hunting Knife15.51014.65160 Carbon Steel4.5
ESEE Knives Izula-II6.752.8821095 Steel - 57 Rc5
Cold Steel Pendleton Hunter8.253.55.8VG-1 Stainless Steel4.6
Ka-Bar Mule Field Folder Knife9.06253.757.4AUS 8A Stainless Steel4.9
Kellam Knives Puukko Fixed Blade Knife8.253.756.4carbon steel5
CRKT M16-14SFG Special Forces Folding Knife9.253.8755.98Cr14 stainless steel4.5
Spyderco Bill Moran Knife83.93VG-10 stainless steel5
Helle Fjellkniven Outdoor Knife8.253.944.5Laminated Stainless Steel5
Cold Steel Recon 1 Folder Knife9.3845.3Japanese Aus 8A Stainless4.4
SOG Field Pup8.544AUS8 stainless steel4.5

This table includes both fixed and folding knives and although a lot of experts tend to prefer fixed knives, my personal preference is to have 1-2 folding knives in your kit as well.

Note – I will soon be adding a Price column as well. I didn’t do this till now because prices change frequently based on availability and promotions. But generally speaking, this is the criteria I’ll be following: $ = under $40, $$ = $40 to $100, $$$ = $100 to $200, $$$$ = $200+

 

Want to see some more Survival Knives on this List?

I’m pretty much sure that you would have decided which the best survival knife is for you after going through my list of the top 5 survival knifes and also seeing the detailed chart above.

However, I’m really sure I must have missed at least one great survival knife that’s out there and in case you know of any; please let me know via the comment box below. Also a lot of new survival knives keep coming out in the market so I’ll also be updating the above detailed chart from time to time but in case you want to inform me before that, I’d love to hear from you!  In addition, you can always contact me.

 

{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Will September 19, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Great list buddy..ive used the tom brown tracker and so far its lived up to its promise

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Nathan May 15, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Yeah, great list to buy Survival Knife. Ka-Bar Becker BK2 knife is great.

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Knife Expert May 15, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Thanks Nathan, Yes the BK2 is an all-around great knife. Do you have one already or are you just looking?

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George September 25, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Verry good information and a nice site!

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Rolland Allya September 26, 2013 at 11:21 am

Excellent list man. I got Ka-Bar Becker and loved it so much.
I’m loving combat knives too and started a review site

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Hicham | Couteau Survie October 3, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Amazing! Finally a place that has all the information I’m looking for in one place…and with honest reviews to back it up. I noticed there are some knives outside of my price range, but there were a few that I could afford – and they’re pretty nice, too.

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Thomas October 5, 2013 at 6:37 am

Very informative site and i loved the way you’ve described each of knives in detail. I was thinking of getting a Cold Steel for myself but now I’m more inclined towards the Ka Bar

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Matt @ Kniferating.com October 19, 2013 at 6:10 am

Just a small nitpick, but all fixed blade knives aren’t full tang knives as you imply. When speaking about knives, full tang means that there is steel sandwiched between all of the handle material whereas partial tang means that the handle material extends beyond the back of the tool without steel in between. This is actually surprisingly common in low end fixed blades as well as some kitchen knives.

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Knife Expert May 12, 2014 at 5:05 am

Hi Matt, Thanks – you’re absolutely right. I haven’t had a non-fulltang fixed blade survival knife or other outdoor knife, but I have definitely had this on kitchen knives. It is common for one of my cheaper kitchen knives to develop a wobble between the blade and handle. Not a sign of quality and actually dangerous. I appreciate you pointing this out.

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Dave October 19, 2013 at 10:06 am

Great list mate! I chose the Ka Bar from your list and its turning out to be one of the best knives I’ve ever used. Works extremely well for skinning

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Pat November 2, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Check out the Bushlore from Condor. It is one of the few not Made in USA I like to use. Condor has a great story about German knifemakers coming to El Salvador to train some folks a few decades ago on how to make a great knife. It comes in wood or micarta handle. I just got mine from Smoky Mountain Knife Works in Tennessee. I had the KaBar Becker in my hands and put it down for the Bushlore just based on price. (Note 1: I do not own any interest or incentive from Condor. 2: I do own the KaBar marine fighting knife…love it. But many say the blade is much too long for “bushcraft”.)

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Tara November 25, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Awesome recommendations here – thank you so much! I’m buying my husband a hunting knife for xmas and needed good recommendations :)

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Knife Expert May 12, 2014 at 5:09 am

Thanks Tara, I appreciate it.
What did you end up buying your husband? Has he had much of a chance to use it yet? What are his thoughts on what he got?

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Chris December 4, 2013 at 9:29 pm

Anyone ever hear of DMO(Dead Moose Ops)? supposedly have the best survival knives out there with enough power to cut through a car trunk..! Let me know if anyone has ever heard or uSed one of their knives. Thanks.

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Michael @ Best Pocket Knife Tips December 5, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Nice compilation of survival knife list and comparison chart!

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Ryan December 17, 2013 at 3:27 am

I had always though Gerber was the go to for knives of all kinds but it appears there are way better brands according to your reviews. Thanks for the info!

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Lyke Daryl Basilio December 17, 2013 at 7:02 am

Thank you for this wonderful article! Now I have an idea on what should I buy for my next mountain climb.

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Waps January 3, 2014 at 3:56 pm

You can also check these affordable survival knives. These are awesome knives with modest pricing.

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Waps January 3, 2014 at 3:53 pm

I really liked your survival knives list. Some of them are quite expensive though.

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Kancur January 14, 2014 at 9:10 pm

great site, thanks for information!

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Jeremy January 16, 2014 at 5:11 am

Man I’ve got two of the Tom Brown Trackers for whenever I go hunting. I find it to be just about the most essential knife in the business. Glad to see if featured on your site.

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Brandon January 26, 2014 at 5:51 am

I wouldn’t brush off a lot of the knives made my Ontario Knife Company, I have the Afghan and I don’t hike without it!

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frank joseph February 2, 2014 at 5:48 am

I have the Tom Brown Tracker knife and since am a hunter, i always find it handy.
Thanks for your detailed review.

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Matt February 7, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Thanks for the info, I really liked this article. Nice job man.

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Knife Expert June 19, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Thanks Matt, I’m glad that it helped

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Daniel February 9, 2014 at 5:25 am

The ESEE-6 is a fantastic knife. Surely one of the best. Good review. Keep on the good work.

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Ed February 12, 2014 at 5:00 pm

What do you think about the Morakniv bushcraft survival black knife? Looks great to me plus it has an all weather fire start built into the sheath.

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thé noir March 19, 2014 at 1:34 pm

I like the Tom Brown Tracker knife

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Knife Expert June 19, 2014 at 4:49 pm

Thanks, have you purchased it yet? I hope it is treating you well.

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Frank April 5, 2014 at 12:07 pm

In my opinion Cold Steel makes some of the best knives around. The steel they use to manufacture their knives is very durable and is trustworthy even under intense use. Anyway, great collection!

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Knife Expert June 19, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Thanks Frank, they sure do. I’ve seriously got my eye on the Cold Steel Recon Scout knife. The price is right and the specs are right on the mark.
Do you have any favorites?

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John T April 11, 2014 at 11:45 pm

Hey great list of knives! Another great entry level knife for people is the bear grylls survival knife. Lightweight, but still very durable.

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Knife Expert May 9, 2014 at 9:56 pm

Hi John, thanks – glad you found the information to be helpful.
Do you have the Bear Grylls Survival Knife at home yourself?
I did do a detailed review of it earlier: http://bestsurvivalknifereview.com/the-most-detailed-bear-grylls-knife-review

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Knife Expert June 19, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Thanks for the note John. I’m more convinced about the Bear Grylls survival knife now that I borrowed on from my buddy for a while. I will be doing some detailed reviews of it soon and adding to my YouTube channel.
At first I shied away from the Grylls series simply because I was skeptical if it was any good (due to the heavy marketing and plastering Bear’s face all over it). But I am thoroughly convinced it is a great beginners knife to use in practising bushcraft and learning survival skills.

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Dianne April 16, 2014 at 2:14 am

Hey, awesome guide. Thks for sharing all this info and the useful comparative chart. Will come back for sure! Regards, Dianne

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Knife Expert May 7, 2014 at 7:11 am

Thanks Dianne, I appreciate the comment.
Was there a specific type of knife you are looking for or just being inspired?
Let me know if there’s a blade that has caught your eye but you need more info – I’m always glad to help.

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chandra April 24, 2014 at 6:17 pm

Ka-Bar Becker BK2 looks good.

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Knife Expert May 7, 2014 at 7:08 am

It sure does Chandra. Definitely a great knife.
Did you find all the info you needed on it?

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Jim Stratakos May 14, 2014 at 10:56 pm

Great selection of survival knives! It’s nice to hear good comments about the Tom Brown Tracker after it was trashed by one of the so called web “experts.” I have a Tom Brown Tracker and think its great. I also have the Essee 5 and think it’s excellent also. Regards, Jim

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Knife Expert June 19, 2014 at 4:39 pm

Thanks Jim for the comment. You certainly have a couple of great tools in your collection there.
I’m curious how/if you choose between the two when you are packing your bags for camping, hiking, or just spending time out in the bush.
Or are you like me and ask yourself “Why choose?” and just carry both? I’ve certainly been know to have a few blades on me when I’m out in the mountains…

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Alex May 15, 2014 at 11:55 am

Thanks for the detailed comparison. I’m looking for a new knife for my hiking and treks this summer. I’m thinking the Becker BK2 is a good one for me.

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FixedBladeKnives June 16, 2014 at 7:06 am

You did a great job putting together all this information in an easy to follow format for every survival fanatic. We’ve tested out some of the knives you mentioned in this guide too. You can find reviews of some of the knives we tested on our website, and some will be added in the near future. Keep up the good work!

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Knife Expert June 19, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Thank you. Do you have a personal favorite survival knife? Something that you carry with you out in the bush?
Would love to hear about it.

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James August 15, 2014 at 5:51 pm

Great choice in the Ka-Bar Becker blade, it is a top quality survival knife. It is one of the ones that I most highly recommend for sure. Great job putting this guide together!

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