8 Best Survival Knives of All Time [2020 Review Guide]
Handy as it is, a survival knife could be considered to be one of the most important pieces of the survival gear. With a proper training and a good knife, you can obtain or make whatever you want if you find yourself in a survival scenario. But the biggest problem about this is the fact that it isn’t really easy to find a good survival knife, especially the one that will stay razor sharp and won’t overload the user with some useless gimmicks. This could be especially hard for people who do not have a great knowledge about knives in general.
And that is why we’re here – our team is made up of survival enthusiasts who know a lot about these handy blades – from everyday carry knives to axes and bushcraft knives, we know it all! So, we’ve decided to test out the models that are currently the most popular on the market and see which one of them is the best. Read on and find out!
At a Glance : Top 5 Pick For Best Survival Knives
- Product Of Our Choice: Gerber Strongarm Fixed Blade Survival Knife
- Quality Blade And A Grippy Handle: Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Knife
- Well-Designed And Highly Functional: CDS-survival Mova-58
- Large Ergonomic Patterned Handle: Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade
- Full Tang Design And A Lanyard Hole: Schrade Schf9 Extreme Knife
The Best Survival Knife
Gerber StrongArm - Best Fixed Blade Survival Knife
If you’re a knife enthusiast, then you probably know all about Gerber. If you’re not, this is a company which has been manufacturing high end survival knives for the US military ever since 1968, well-known for their high quality survival blades. Let’s see what their newest knife, the StrongArm, has to offer!
When it comes to overall look and feel, we can certainly say that the StrongArm looks and feels just like a military knife. From the multi-mount sheath to the coyote brown handle, it sports that tough, military look, which just might be the thing that you were looking for. For such a big and thick tactical knife, it is exceptionally light, and we can say that it feels very balanced when it’s in the hand, with the weight falling to the blade’s tip.
Furthermore, the extra grippy feel is guaranteed by the presence of the diamond-pattern rubber on the blade. Also, we have to give praise to the matching guard that’s present on the both sides of the handle, which is there to protect your index finger and give a resting place to your thumb. The blade of this survival knife is made out of 420HC stainless steel and is partially serrated and very sharp which makes it one of the world best survival knife for the money.
During our testing period, the fixed blade performed very well – it sliced and sawed the corrugated cardboard without any issues, and the same could be said about the pull and plunge cuts. Along with the StrongArm knife, you’re also getting the multi-mount sheath, which is a bit complicated for our taste but comes with a very useful instruction manual. The sheath consists of five components, allowing the user to mount it in a variety of different ways – it can be, for example, mounted vertically on the backpack or horizontally on your belt.
All in all, we were very pleased with the look, feel, and the features of this excellent survival knife. It’s no wonder that the members of the US Army are equipped with the Gerber knives – the StrongArm is something that can come in very handy in all sorts of survival situations.
The only thing that we didn’t like about this model is the fact that the multi-mount sheath can be really confusing, especially if you’re a novice in the world of survival knives. Fortunately, there’s an instruction manual to solve this problem, but Gerber should take more care about these things in the future.
Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate All Purpose survival Knife
Who doesn’t know Bear Grylls? This British adventurer is well known about his Man vs. Wild survival show, which certainly inspired many people to become camping enthusiasts. When we combine his name with the famous knife manufacturer, the Gerber, we get a knife that ought to be popular and sell like hotcakes. Is this blade worth considering for purchase?
The fixed blade of this knife is serrated and comes with a full tang, which means that it runs the full length of the whole model, not stopping at the handle. This, of course, means that it’s much harder to break it, adding to the overall durability of the whole model. The blade is 4.8″ long and 1/4″ thick, made out of high carbon stainless steel which is known for its hardness and the good edges. It is also resistant to rust, which is really important if you plan to use it in areas with high moisture in the air. The handle of the Geber Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife has an ergonomic shape and feels very nicely in hand, coming with a double guard and having a sticky rubber grip with the necessary texture. We liked the elements of the orange color that are present on the handle, although some people might find them to be too gimmicky.
The Gerber Bear Grylls knife has a wide range of uses, thanks to the add-ons that come with the sheath and the lanyard. The sheath has a knife sharpener, a fire starter (very nice), as well as the handy little survival guide booklet. The lanyard, on the other hand, has a whistle, which can certainly come in handy if you get lost in the wilderness. Another interesting addition would be the presence of the two holes on the handle, which allow you to lash the knife to a stick and make a spear.
As you can see, this knife, with all its additions, can come in very handy in the wilderness. We really liked the presence of a whistle, the survival guide, and the fire starter, while the knife itself has a quality blade and a grippy handle. We don’t think that buying the Gerber Bear Grylls knife can turn out as a mistake.
You can get knives with higher quality blades and handles for this money – but this one comes with its own little survival kit.
CDS-Survival MOVA-58 Stainless Steel survival Knife – built for combat & survival
The MOVA-58 is a well-known model to all knife enthusiasts – pricey but well-designed and highly functional, this would be one of the currently best survival knives that your money can buy. Let’s see how good it really is!
As the name of the knife suggests, its blade is made out of stainless steel – it is corrosion resistant and has a very, very sharp edge. This can, of course, cause unwanted self-inflicted wounds, but the technology with which it was made prevents the fungal and bacterial infections in such cases. The fixed blade is 5.70 inches long, putting it into the category of the medium-sized blades. It proved to be very efficient during our testing period – both the piercing and slicing are easily done with the CDS-Survival MOVA-58. The handle, on the other hand, is made out of the quality cocobolo wood, ensuring a firm grip and feeling very nicely in the hand. It can also withstand all sorts of cracks, splits, and chips, which is always a big plus in our book. The screws on the handle are, fortunately, removable, which means that, if the need arises, you can easily replace the whole thing.
One thing that we really liked here is that the MOVA-58 comes with a very handy sharpener stone, which will give you the comfort of sharpening your own blade in the tent – you won’t need to visit the sharpening specialist. We were also very pleased with the beautiful sheath that comes in the package, made from genuine leather and looking very expensive and elegant. There is also a lifetime warranty for the product, which was something that we definitely expected due to the knife’s higher price.
The CDS-Survival MOVA-58 has many pros – it’s a sharp, multipurpose knife that looks excellent and feels great in hand. We really liked the cocobolo handle, the non-corrosive blade, as well as the elegant sheath and the portable knife sharpener system. The lifetime warranty is another thing that should make you consider this wonderful knife for purchase – it’s the product of our choice and surely deserves a recommendation.
Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor survival Knife – Stainless Steel Blade
Affordable but still quite efficient, the new knife from Morakniv has a stainless steel blade, a grippy handle, and a nice sheath. Let’s take a more in-depth look and see if this knife is worth the money:
The first thing to notice about this knife is definitely the blade – it looks sharp and shiny, and a newbie could certainly think that it belongs to some more expensive model. It is four inches long and has a thickness of 0.1″, and is made out of stainless steel that contains high amounts of carbon. This means that the blade is durable and easy to sharpen, which is pretty nice considering the low price of the whole model.
The sheath is made out of plastic and can be bought in seven different colors – although we don’t think that anyone would like to have a survival knife with a pink sheath. The handle of the Morakniv Companion is also made out of plastic, which is this time a bit sturdier but still contributes to the low weight of the whole model. It has an ergonomic design, and we liked the feeling of holding it in hand.
If you’re looking for a cheap solution to your backpacking adventures, the Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife is a good choice. It has everything that a simple survival knife needs to have, and we have to give it our honest recommendation.
The main problem with this knife is the high-carbon blade that’s not really rust resistant – if you like backpacking in the moist, wet areas, we’d advise you to check out some other survival knives. Also this blade is not quite resistant to rust, and that’s why the package includes a handy sheath.
Schrade SCHF9 Extreme – Perfect Outdoors Knife
If you’re into big survival knives, read on – we’ve decided to test one of the most popular large models on today’s market, the Schrade SCHF9 Extreme. This is a well-made survival knife that has gained a lot of praises from the users and reviewers, so let’s see what is the hype is all about.
One of the best things about the Schrade SCHF9 is certainly its blade – 6.4 inches long and made out of high carbon steel, it has a plain edge, a blunted tip, and a full-flat grind. In our opinion, the full-flat grind is an essential characteristic of every large knife, as it gives a tougher edge and is an excellent self defense tool for chopping. It is 6mm thick at its widest point, making the whole model very hatchet-like, which can certainly help with the wood-chopping deep in the wilderness.
Even though it’s durable, the high-carbon steel that the blade is made out of is prone to rust, which mains that you will have to give it some proper maintenance now and then – just keep it dry and oil it regularly. The handle of SCHF9 is ergonomic and offers an excellent grip, while the sheath has a large pocket that provides some extra storage space.
The Schrade SCHF9 is one of the best large survival knives we’ve tested so far – it excels in almost every field, and we have to pay particular praise to its big blade that can even replace a small hatchet.
This survival knife is almost flawless – the only thing that we didn’t like is the fact that the plain edge isn’t at least partially serrated, as the serrations can come in handy in certain situations.
MTech USA MT-086 Series Fixed Blade Knife – Quality Survival Knife
This is where we come to one of the nicest-looking survival knives we’ve seen so far – one would think that the USA MT-086 is much more expensive than it actually is! This affordable model became very popular in the recent months, so let’s see what it has to offer.
You can get this knife in two versions – there are the full-black and the digital camo variants, both of which look pretty nice. We had the black version on the testing and really liked its design and the overall look and feel. The length of the whole model stands at 12.2 inches, with the blade featuring the familiar drop point shape and being made out of 440C stainless steel.
This means that the blade is highly durable, which should be quite important to every serious camping enthusiast. It is 5mm thick at the widest point and also very sharp, and has proven to be efficient during the entire testing period. The handle of MTech USA MT-086 is made out of rubber and has a glass breaker on its butt, as well as the ergonomic design that feels great in hand. The sturdy sheath is made out of nylon and can work really well when combined with a belt loop and a popper fastener.
As you can see, this simple survival knife doesn’t have a lot of gimmicky features and works very well – its blade is sharp and efficiently cut all the materials that we tested it on, and there’s nothing particularly bad to say about its handle and the sheath. It has our recommendation!
The MTech USA MT-086 survival knife isn’t the greatest choice if you’re planning to do some carving with it, as its blade is a bit too thick and you won’t be able to carve any details with it.
MTech USA MT-20-12 Fixed Blade - Best Hunting Survival Knife
This survival hunting knife is quite similar to the previous MTech model that we’ve reviewed – the MT-086, and offers some similar features and capabilities. Let’s see how well it fared on our test!
The shape of this knife might be quite odd to some people, but we found it to look pleasing. The overall length of the model is 10 inches, with the blade taking just a bit more than the half of it. The blade itself looks very good and has a thickness of 3mm, and a serrated edge on the top, which is quite useful in some survival scenarios. The material used for the blade is 440 Stainless Steel, which is something we’re used to and consider it to be an excellent choice for the blade material.
The handle of this survival knife is made out of synthetic materials and has the finger grooves for some additional comfort, as well as the lanyard hole at the back end. There is also a black sheath made out of nylon fiber, and it has a belt clip for easier carrying. We think that the MT-20-12 is an ideal choice for camping, and it could be even used for some serious survival training.
In conclusion, the MTech USA MT-20-12 has a lot to offer for its low price. It is a 10″ long survival blade with an odd but pleasing look, capable of piercing and slicing all sorts of materials. And since it’s so affordable, we don’t think that you can make a mistake by purchasing it.
When you get it out of the box, you will notice that this knife’s blade isn’t particularly sharp, which means that it requires some immediate sharpening or you won’t be able to use it properly.
the Best Survival Knives - A quick Comparison
Those were the best survival knives that are currently on the market – we checked out their features, tested their capabilities, and had a look at their advantages and flaws. All that you have to do now is to compare them and decide which model is the right one for you.
Product Of Our Choice
Gerber Strongarm Fixed Blade
- Made out of 420HC stainless steel
- Partially serrated and very sharp blade
- Diamond-pattern rubber grip
Sharp And Practical Tool
Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate
- Full tang, serrated blade
- Made out of high carbon stainless steel
- Includes a knife sharpener, a fire starter, and a survival guide booklet
For Combat & Survival
- Made out of stainless steel
- The handle is made out of the quality cocobolo wood
- Comes with a very handy sharpener stone
Stainless Steel Blade
Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade
- Blade contains high amounts of carbon
- The sheath is made out of plastic and can be bought in seven different colors
- Has an ergonomic design
Perfect Survival Tool
Schrade Schf9 Extreme Knife
- Made out of high carbon steel
- Excellent tool for chopping
- The handle offers an excellent grip
Quality Survival Knife
MTech USA MT-086 Series
- Made out of 440C stainless steel
- The handle is made out of rubber and has a glass breaker on its butt
- The sturdy sheath is made out of nylon
Military Fixed Blade Survival
9″ Navy SEALs Tactical Combat Bowie
- Has a blade made out of stainless steel
- Has a serrated edge on the top
- Includes a nice nylon-made sheath
For Survival Training
MTech USA MT-20-12 Fixed Blade
- Made out of 440 Stainless Steel
- The handle has the finger grooves for some additional comfort
- Has a belt clip for easier carrying
When you’re backpacking, camping, or when you find yourself in a survival situation, a good survival knife is the most valuable possession that you can have by your side. This item could mean the difference between food and hunger, shelter and exposure, or even between life and death. But, how to choose a survival knife that suits your needs the best? Here are some factors to consider when choosing one:
Things To Consider When Purchasing A Survival Knife
Even though the pocket knife, with a folding mechanism, can be much easier to carry around on a daily basis, a sharp knife that has a fixed blade is much more convenient in all sorts of emergency survival situations. Remember that all folding knives consist of two pieces which are joined by a hinge, which means that chances of breaking them are a lot bigger than with the knives that have fixed blades. The fixed blades knives are just much more convenient tools to have around.
It’s crucial to choose a model that has the right size for both you and your situation. If you purchase a knife that’s too large and heavy, it will get in your way, be cumbersome for everyday carry, and even slow you down. On the other hand, the knives that are too small will probably be very inconvenient for the demanding tasks, such as batoning or chopping pieces of wood. In our opinion, the best size of a survival knife is around 10 inches in the overall length.
The term “tang” is there to describe how far your blade extends into the knife’s handle. You should know that the partial tangs are much weaker than the full tangs, as they can cause the blade part to become loose and break off. The full tang, on the other hand, will let you exert a bigger force on the material, and will also make the knife more balanced. We would definitely advise you to, if possible, purchase a survival knife that has a full tang.
The Blade Material
Most of the modern survival knives are made from either stainless steel or carbon steel. The carbon steel is stronger, which makes blades made out of it more suitable for cutting and chopping wood, but it’s also prone to rust. The stainless steel, on the other hand, is rust resistant but isn’t as tough as the carbon steel and it can be more difficult to sharpen it. Both materials have their advantages and flaws – choose the one that suits your needs the best.
In our opinion, the straight (plain) edge is a much better choice than the serrated edge, and for a number of reasons – it’s much better for carving and batoning, it’s easier to sharpen, and can be more versatile than the serrated edge. Even though the knife with a serrated edge can be quite convenient for operations such as rope cutting, we think that the straight edge can serve the user better. Some knives, of course, come with the blades that are only partially serrated, but such knives usually don’t have enough serration to be really useful, and they only reduce the amount of the plain edge that’s available to the user.
If you’re, for example, doing some wood carving, you will use your thumb as the leverage against the blade’s back edge, while the sharp edge will be the one doing the carving. This is quite difficult to do with a knife whose blade is serrated, as the part of the blade that’s serrated and close to the handle isn’t good for carving.
A modern survival knife is a must-have item for everyone who likes backpacking – it’s just necessary to have one in certain emergency situations. We have tried to cover as many of the currently popular models as possible, bringing you information about their functions, design, perks and flaws. We hope that you’ll find a blade that suits your budget and the needs the best, but we can also safely say that you won’t make a big mistake by purchasing any of the models that we’ve reviewed.
In our opinion, the best survival knife that the money can buy is definitely the Gerber StrongArm Fixed Blade Knife. It’s expensive, yes, but it has everything that a proper survival knife should have – a sharp blade, a quality handle, and an excellent sheath. Some of our other favorites would be the Mova 58 Stainless steel knife, the Schrade SCHF9, and even the popular Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife. All of these models are almost flawless and could mean the difference between the life and death if you find yourself in an unpleasant situation deep in the wilderness.
Choose a model that you like the most, and your next backpacking adventure will be a lot easier to handle!