Being out there in the wild sure has its own share of thrills and frills but things can go wrong quickly (really quickly).

At such moments, having the right tools and equipment can come in handy and one of the most important tools has to be a survival knife.

The right survival knife can keep you warm by helping you gather wood, prep food so you don’t die hungry and most of all, help you fight off the dangers of the wild. But not just any knife, only the best ones.

A question we often get asked is should I buy a folding knife or a fixed blade knife? It’s simple, a fixed blade. Why?

Below, we answer that and other burning questions related to survival knives in our list of the best survival knives for 2018 (you don’t want to buy before reading this).

1Benchmade – Bushcrafter 162 Knife


While there isn’t much to fault about the Bushcrafter 162, it’s high price (around $200) can be a turn-off.

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2Ka-Bar BK-22 Becker Companion Fixed Blade


If it’s good for the military, well, it’s sure as hell good for you as well and makes for the ideal mid-range knife.
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3Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife


If you’re on a tight budget, this Gerber fixed blade knife is just what you’re looking for and with Bear Grylls’s name on it, it’s got to be good.
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Benchmade – Bushcrafter 162 Knife

The fixed blade design of the Bushcrafter solves the durability issues fazed with most foldable knives due to the wear and tear of the pivot.

Adding to the durability is the full tang which keeps the blade and the handle attached irrespective of your cutting position (yeah, this baby can cut through chunks wood without breaking off).

The high grade stainless steel build of the blade makes it rust resistant so it can be used in any weather condition.

Also, the blade length of 4.40″ and the blade thickness of 0.164” are just the ideal dimensions for precise cutting, slicing and even to hone your batoning skills.

Giving you the best possible grip are the custom-made depressions on the G-10 handle (so no slip-ups with this one)

Lastly, it comes with a leather sheath. This makes storage easy and it’s rugged, the old-school finish makes it an eye-catching addition.

What we liked

  • The full tang and fixed blade design provide durability
  • Comes with a Lifetime Warranty
  • Leather sheath makes storage easy
  • Blade and sheath are water resistant
  • It’s also highly durable and can even take a few falls and bumps

What we disliked

  • It’s on the expensive side

Bottom Line

While there isn’t much to fault about the Bushcrafter 162, it’s high price (around $200) can be a turn-off. But is it worth it? Yup, especially if you’re damn serious about your knives.

Check it on Amazon →


Ka-Bar BK-22 Becker Companion Fixed Blade

With a carbon stainless steel build, the blade can withstand all sorts of abuse even under extreme weather conditions. Matching that is the Zytel handle which is also rock solid.

Plus, the blade length of 5.25 and the overall length of 10.5” means it’s just right size for all camping tasks and even batoning.

Further, making batoning easy is the full tang of the blade so the blade doesn’t break away (in case you miss your mark) or loses its sharpness making it ideal for first timers.

Also, we really loved the Polyester sheath which comes with straps and buckles that keep the knife in place making carrying it a breeze. Plus, it’s durable build means it stays with you for years.

Like all good things, even the Ka-Bar BK-22 isn’t flawless. The thicker blade makes it difficult to work with the knife for long hours, especially during intricate tasks like skinning etc.

Further adding to that is the handle which lacks a rough texture (so make sure you grip this one well or use gloves).

What we liked

  • Relatively cheaper
  • Excellent blade quality
  • Suited for all chopping/cutting task or batoning
  • Durable and convenient sheath

What we disliked

  • Thicker blade makes delicate tasks difficult
  • Can be slippery when used for long hours (keep the gloves on)

Bottom Line

If it’s good for the military, well, it’s sure as hell good for you as well and makes for the ideal mid-range knife.

Check it on Amazon →


Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife

It’s stand out feature is the carbon stainless steel blade, making it one of the most durable blades on the list (it’s up for any challenge).

With the half serrations and drop you can carve through the toughest of meats, cut through ropes or chip wood with ease while the full tang means throwing it shouldn’t be an issue.

Furthermore, the military grade nylon sheath makes carrying the knife a breeze and protects it from external damage.

The sheath also includes a pommel, a whistle, a fire starter, a blade sharpener and survival guide (so you’re locked and loaded for any emergency).

But there are some negatives too. The serrations turn blunt after a while and sharpening it can be time-consuming (yup, even with the sharpener) making it an ideal backup knife.

Also, the fire starter, pommel and whistle lack durability and will need to be handled with care but considering it will cost you less than $50, it’s sure a bargain.

What we liked

  • Durable Stainless Steel blade
  • Full tang means blade and handle remain attached even when thrown
  • Serrations make cutting, chopping etc. easy
  • Military grade Sheath

What we disliked

  • Serrations turn blunt quickly and will need regular sharpening which isn’t easy
  • Additional accessories lack durability
  • Makes for an ideal backup knife

Bottom Line

If you’re on a tight budget, this Gerber fixed blade knife is just what you’re looking for and with Bear Grylls’s name on it, it’s got to be good.

Check it on Amazon →


Fallkniven A1 Fine Edge Fixed Blade Knife

The super steel aka VG10 build along with the full tang makes the knife strong enough to cut through blocks of wood with ease without breaking off (even if you used the tip for cutting).

The water resistant nature of the steel prevents rusting or corrosion (so the weather’s not playing spoilsport with this one).

While the blade length of 6.2”is slightly bigger than our preferred size of 4-5 inches, it’s just within the limits of 7 so it doesn’t feel like an axe or sword.

Making it easier to grip the knife in the wettest of conditions is the diamond shaped texture on the handle.

Furthermore, the Kraton build (a polymer that outlasts even rubber) of the handle means it lasts long, really long even under the worst of weathers.

Lastly, the sheath makes carrying the knife easy as it comes with a belt buckle.

On the downsides, the build of the sheath is weak so you’ll need an upgrade soon. Also, the slightly bigger blade dimensions mean it’s not a knife you’d want to practice your batoning skills too often with.

What we liked

  • Comes with a full tang for precise cutting
  • VG10 steel build ensures durability
  • Textured handle provides good grip
  • With the sheath, carrying the knife is easy

What we disliked

  • Sheath build is weak thus won’t last long
  • Larger blade limits batoning ability
  • Pricey

Bottom Line

The Fallkniven A1 is an all-purpose knife on the larger side designed for heavy duty use.

Check it on Amazon →


ESEE 6P Black Fixed Blade Knife

If knives had a design to die for, the ESEE 6P would be amongst the top picks with it’s black and grey finish and while classy looking, it’s backed up with a great build as well.

Making up the blade is the 1095 carbon stainless steel which in tandem with the full tang ensures the knife can chop through hardwood like any pro (it’s one for the big tasks).

Secondly, with the flat grind and drop point, the knife can pierce through the toughest of objects (so time to go batoning). Also, sharpening it takes only minutes.

The handle is made up of linen Micarta which provides the knife with a sophisticated yet rough finish (so it won’t slip away even when the going gets wet).

As for the negatives, while the slightly larger and thicker blade is great for heavy-duty tasks, intricate carving can be difficult.

The sheath comes with fancy frills like the para-cord, belt clip etc. which may not be everybody’s cup of tea (some of us just like sleek and simple, right?).

What we liked

  • 1095 carbon stainless steel build and full Tang offer great durability
  • Easy to sharpen
  • Excellent design and finish
  • Textured handle for good grip

What we disliked

  • Blade length and thickness are slightly bigger limiting batoning
  • For some, carrying the knife can be cumbersome with the multiple cords and clips

Bottom Line

All in all, compared to the 5P, the 6P is lighter, more suited for smaller and heavy-duty tasks equally and thus an excellent buy.

Check it on Amazon →


Gerber StrongArm Fixed Blade Knife

Making up the blade of the Gerber StrongArm is the 420HC Stainless Steel material, one of the most durable stainless steel alloys you’ll come across. It also makes it easy to sharpen the knife.

The blade length is 4.8” and the overall length is just 9.8”. This combined with the full tang of the blade means you can throw the knife around as much as you’d want.

The knife was built keeping in mind survival and combat and the pommel at the end is the ideal example of it as it can break through the toughest of obstacles.

The sheath can be hooked to the belt both vertically and horizontally. Plus, it’s also Molle compatible so you can carry the knife just how you’d want to.

With the rubberized diamond textured handle, gripping the knife even during wet conditions shouldn’t be an issue.

You can get the StrongArm with either a Coyote Brow handle or a full black one. You also have the option of choosing a knife with serrations (so there’s one for everyone).

Gerber has done an amazing job with the StrongArm but it isn’t flawless. In case you opt for the serrated version note, that the serrations blunt out quickly and will need regular sharpening.

There have also been complaints of the coating falling off with regular use but flaws aren’t any worse than other knives in the same price range.

What we liked

  • Built using one of the most durable alloy, the 420HC Stainless steel
  • Can be carried in multiple ways
  • Full tang and blade dimensions make it ideal for batoning
  • Pommel breaks through tough obstacles

What we disliked

  • Serrations on the knife blunt out quickly
  • Black coating tends to fade off with regular use

Bottom Line

With a full tang, 420HC fine edge steel blade and rubberized coyote brown diamond-texture grip, the Strongarm is a knife you can bet your life on.

Check it on Amazon →


Gerber LMF II Survival Knife

Gerber being a reputable brand, it’s no surprise it features again on the list and the LMF II is another of their excellent knives.

What makes the LMF II so good are the smaller dimensions i.e. a blade length of 4.84, a blade thickness of 0.18 and total weight, a mere 11 ounces.

This teamed with the nylon fire and water resistant sheath, carrying a knife doesn’t get any easier or safer.

Secondly, while just a stainless steel blade, it’s still durable. From cutting thick wooden barks to slicing meat and veggies, nothing breaks this one down. Adding to that is its water resistant nature.

The separation between the tang and the butt cap means it can absorb all kinds of shocks. Yup, even electric shocks (because safety is a priority).

Lastly, apart from the much-needed regular straps and buckles to keep the knife in place, the sheath also comes with a sharpener for on the go access (and it’s super easy to sharpen).

While a great buy, our major concern was the butt cap covering the pommel which in our opinion is best if flat as it makes hammering easy but for a knife less than $100, it’s a small trade-off.

What we liked

  • Perfectly sized and durable blade
  • It’s extremely lightweight
  • Prevents all kinds of shocks
  • Unlike most serrated blades, this one’s easy to sharpen

What we disliked

  • Blade material could have been better
  • Doesn’t come with a flat butt cap making hammering difficult

Bottom Line

Field tested with American troops, the LMF II survival knife was engineered in partnership with our country’s bravest.

Check it on Amazon →


Tops Knives Tom Brown Tracker #3

Here’s one with not just killer features but design as well. Due to the ATS–34 stainless steel build, the knife has an excellent edge retention and is also immune to corrosion.

The unique build of the blade means it comes with a multi-design that features both a slicing and chopping part.

The chopping part is strong enough to chop down smaller trees, branches so you plenty of firewood for a good night’s sleep.

The knife has an overall length of 10.75 inches, a blade length of 5.5 inches and thickness of 0.21 inches (so you can use the knife for pretty much everything and anything).

The grey linen Micarta handle (just like the ESEE 6P) comes with a grainy design which makes gripping the knife easy while providing a traditional feel.

On the downsides, the knife is one of the priciest thus ideal only for the premium buyers with an eye for design.

Also, it’s not the knife for stealth tasks as the removing the Kydex sheath can be noisy (though a very durable one).

Lastly, the slightly bigger, bolder blade design means intricate skinning and slicing can be difficult and will need practice and patience.

What we liked

  • Excellent edge retention
  • ATS-34 Stainless steel build makes knife corrosion free and durable
  • Blade dimensions and full tang make it perfect for almost every job
  • Linen Micarta handle offers an excellent grip under any situation

What we disliked

  • It’s Expensive
  • Slightly heavier
  • Blade design makes skinning a little difficult
  • Sharpening the knife is time-consuming

Bottom Line

The Tom Brown Tracker #3 is a top choice for the Ultimate survival knife, especially with it’s ATS-34 stainless steel blade.

Check it on Amazon →


Schrade SCHF9 Fixed Blade Knife

With the 1095 High Carbon Steel, Schrade has made sure the knife competes well with the top models when it comes to durability.

And with the full tang, blade length of 6.4” and thickness of 0.2” you can cut through all kinds of stuff and even use it for batoning.

The ring texture on the handle sure gives the knife an eye-catching look but also makes it easy to grip even with wet hands

Working with the knife even for long hours will not result in blisters because of the ergonomic design of the handle.

Just like the knife, even the Condura sheath is a durable one and comes with multiple mounting options for easy carrying.

As for the negatives, overall length of the knife is about is 12.1” (just a tad larger than what we’d like).

This also means that the knife is a little on the heavy side but considering its low cost and great features it’s sure to be a popular buy.

What we liked

  • Carbon Steel build offers great durability
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Ring texture prevents slips
  • Plenty of mounting options so carrying the knife is easy

What we disliked

  • Slightly bigger in length means it’s on the heavier side

Bottom Line

The SCHF9 fixed blade from Schrade features a drop point style blade made of 1095 high carbon steel. Full-tang with TPE rubber scales and a lanyard hole.

Check it on Amazon →


SOG Force Fixed Blade SE38-N

Last but not the least comes the SOG Force SE38-N. The AUS-8 stainless steel build of the SOG is pretty good and makes for easy and quick sharpening.

The blade thickness of 0.24” and length of 6” (just about right) along with the full tang means it can withstand all the batoning and chopping just like any of the other picks.

The glass-reinforced nylon handle is ergonomically designed so holding the knife is super comfortable.

Furthermore, the rugged texture makes gripping easy irrespective of the weather conditions and protects hands from blisters or rashes.

The lanyard nylon sheath comes with hooks and loops and thus can be attached to the belt for easy carrying. The Molle attachment offers another good carrying alternative.

While a great option to crack glass, the slightly pointed end of the pommel means you may have trouble breaking through harder barriers.

Also, the straps help keep the knife perfectly in place but getting it out of them can be a cumbersome especially when in a hurry (a minor drawback of an otherwise excellent product).

What we liked

  • Ergonomically designed handled
  • Blade dimensions are just about perfect for every task
  • Rugged texture provides a good grip
  • Low weight and sheath loops make carrying the knife easy

What we disliked

  • Can’t pommel through hard obstacles
  • Offers less durability than top models
  • Removing the sheath can be slow

Bottom Line

The first thing that is obvious about the Force is how stout it is. The thick blade and minimal grind profiles maximize the strength of the blade.

Check it on Amazon →


The Ultimate Survival Knife Buying Guide

Here’s a list of things we categorized our top picks on. A knife with these features is sure to be your best friend during any camping trip.

The Blade Type

We understand the allure of a folding knife. We love them too but only for everyday kitchen tasks or as a backup knife. For survival tasks, fixed blades knives are the real deal (ones for when the shit gets serious).

The pivot of a folding knife is prone to malfunctioning or breakage which means it’s not suited for survival tasks like chopping, pommelling etc. Apart from that, contrary to popular belief, accessing a fixed blade knife is easier.

With folding knives, especially the cheap ones, the thumb stud may give way making locking and opening difficult.

On the other hand, fixed blade knives come with a sheath which can be removed within seconds and last for years (remember, it’s safety first in the wilderness).

Preferably, go for a full tang

The difference between a full tang and a partial tang lies in the length of the blade. In case of a full tang, the blade extends till the end of the handle whereas with a partial tang it’s only half the length of the handle.

This added extension is what makes full tang knife so durable and also more suited for batoning, pommelling and other rigorous activities of the outdoors. With partial tangs, the blade is most likely to break off.

The blades in partial tang knives also loosen up with regular usage resulting in it falling off, whereas with a full tang, even if the blade comes off (which it usually doesn’t) you can just tie up with a rope or cord and voila, it works just perfectly.

But the benefits of the full tang blade come at a higher cost and slightly more weight.

Carbon steel over others

Be it knives, road bikes etc. carbon steel is often the most recommended material. Ever wondered why? That’s because apart from being highly durable, it’s also lighter (just the features a survival knife should have).

Yup, it may cost you a couple of extra bucks but if you’re a hardcore trekker and need a knife with a blade that can handle abuse, carbon steel is often the way to go.

Don’t get us wrong, like carbon steel, even stainless still performs well and is also water resistant but who doesn’t want that tad bit extra strength and durability, right?

Knives made of 1095 Carbon steel are often the best survival knives not just because of durability but also the ease of sharpening them. As for stainless steel, the AUS–8, 440C or 420HC alloys knives are our top recommendations.

Avoid cheaper Chinese made blades. Though claimed to be water-resistant and durable, they often break off and you may start noticing corrosion within a few months.

Blade dimensions

Just like its material, the dimensions of the blade are important too. After all, you don’t want end with a machete, right? So here’s what we recommend.

Blade and knife length

When it comes to blade length, anything between the range of 4-6.5 inches is ideal. A smaller blade, and you’ll end up with something close to a pocket knife.

Anything longer and chopping wood, carving meat etc. can be difficult (let’s not even talk about batoning).

The perfect length for a survival knife, in total, is around 10-12 inches. Knives within this range can accomplish most tasks and are easy to carry as they can be clipped or hooked to your pants or simply thrown into the bag.

Blade thickness

Like the length, the thickness of the blade has to be balanced as well. The thicker the blade the more it’s going to weigh you down. Also, thicker blades aren’t suited for intricate slicing and dicing.

Similarly, a blade too thin means it won’t be able to withstand the pommelling and chopping of woods needed to survive when out in the wild.

Secondly, thinner blades may also bend with regular use. So what is the idea thickness? According to experts, anything between 0.15 to 0.25 inches makes for the ideal thickness.

The Handle

To support every strong blade a durable handle is a must (after all, it takes as much a beating). But durability alone won’t cut it. It’s also got to provide the perfect grip even during rains or sweaty weather and has to be equally strong.

And if like us, durability, strength and perfect grip is a priority to you as well, look for knives with a Kraton grip.

Kraton is a synthetic rubber polymer and its water resistant nature and ability to stand the test of time make it ideal survival material. Apart from that, even Micarta, G-10 or the material often sold by brands such as Zytel are ideal too.

Lastly, a textured or scaled handle is sure to provide a better grip plus it’s always sportier and classy looking (now, who doesn’t love that?).

Conclusion

Like we mentioned before, a good survival knife is sure to be your ideal mate when things go wrong out in the wild but choosing the right knife isn’t easy and can be time consuming.

So we have narrowed down the search to the 10 top survival knives that fit your budget and needs. In case of any question do drop us a comment below, we’d be happy to help.

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