Best Survival Knife: Your Ultimate Guide to Top Choices in 2024

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Survival knives are an essential tool for any outdoor enthusiast, providing a versatile means of performing a variety of tasks ranging from preparing food to building shelter. The importance of a reliable survival knife becomes apparent when one is facing the unpredictable elements of the wild. A survival knife’s robustness and functionality can make the difference between thriving and merely surviving in challenging conditions. Going beyond the ordinary pocket knife, a survival knife is designed to handle more rigorous duties due to its typically heavier, thicker blade and more durable handle.

Best Survival Knife

When selecting the best survival knife, it’s crucial to consider the blade’s material and design, the knife’s overall size and weight, and its suitability for specific tasks one might encounter in the wilderness. The blade should be made of a high-quality steel that maintains its edge while resisting corrosion and damage. The handle should offer a comfortable, secure grip, even in wet conditions. Additionally, the balance between the blade and handle is important for effective, fatigue-free use.

One critical factor to keep an eye on is the tang, which refers to the continuation of the blade’s material into the handle. A full-tang knife, where the blade material extends through the entire handle, is generally recognized as the most durable option for high-stress activities commonly faced in survival situations. Other features, such as a serrated edge for cutting through tougher materials or a built-in fire starter, can add to the knife’s utility.

With these considerations in mind, we’ve rigorously tested various models to help identify the survival knife that not only meets but exceeds expectations. We understand the need for a knife that won’t fail you in dire situations and have focused our selection on those that demonstrate exceptional durability, versatility, and ergonomic design.

Top Survival Knives for the Outdoors

We’ve meticulously selected the finest survival knives that blend functionality, durability, and reliability for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you need a rugged blade for bushcraft or a versatile tool for emergency situations, our list ensures you have the best options at your fingertips to tackle the wilderness with confidence.

Gerber Ultimate Pro

Gerber Gear Ultimate Survival Knife

We believe the Gerber Ultimate Pro is a top pick for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a reliable tool that tackles a multitude of tasks.


  • The blade offers excellent durability and sharpness for various cutting tasks.
  • The grip provides fantastic control and comfort in different weather conditions.
  • Incorporates useful accessories like a fire starter and whistle for emergency situations.


  • Sharpening the serrated section can be challenging for some.
  • The sheath design might not appeal to all, based on personal preference.
  • Slightly heavier than some might expect, possibly affecting portability.

In our hands, the Gerber Ultimate Pro feels robust, well-suited for rigorous outdoor use. Its sturdy, half-serrated blade slices through materials with ease, something we’ve found incredibly reliable during our excursions. There’s a satisfying heft to it, and even with gloves, the textured rubber grip prevents any slip, granting precise control.

After setting up camp, the usability of this knife shines even brighter. With the included fire starter, we managed to get a flame going quickly, an essential capability in the wild. And after spending hours constructing shelters and preparing kindling, the comfort of the grip is something we greatly appreciated, with no sign of hand fatigue.

What sets this knife apart for us is its versatility. Beyond just cutting, the steel hammer pommel comes in handy for those tasks requiring a bit more impact. The emergency whistle is a welcome addition, giving us peace of mind knowing we have a signalling device if needed. Wrapping up, we cleaned and sheathed the knife with ease, the built-in sharpener keeping its edge ready for the next day’s challenges.

Mossy Oak 15″ Survival Knife

Mossy Oak Survival Knife

In our hands, we found the Mossy Oak 15″ Survival Knife to be a comprehensive tool for outdoor enthusiasts, providing reliability and versatility when it matters most.


  • Impressive blade sharpness for precise cuts
  • Comfortable grip ensuring safe and prolonged use
  • Includes useful accessories like a sharpener and fire starter


  • Larger size may not suit everyone’s portability needs
  • Rubber handle might not withstand extreme conditions as well as other materials
  • Saw back feature may have limited utility for some users

After spending a day in the woods with the Mossy Oak Survival Knife, we appreciated its solid construction and the confidence it instilled with every task tackled. The rubber handle afforded us a firm grip, dampening vibrations and preventing slippage even when our hands got sweaty.

We tested the sharpness on various materials; it moved through ropes and wood as if it were butter. The serrated edge came in handy, sawing small branches with ease. The included sharpener kept the blade in top condition, while the fire starter proved its worth as dusk settled in.

Carrying the knife was painless thanks to its durable sheath. It hooked onto our belt securely, providing quick access when needed. While the knife’s size is a boon for heavy-duty tasks, it does require some consideration for packing and mobility.

We didn’t need to rely on the saw back too often, but its presence is a clear sign that this knife is ready for whatever comes its way. Whether preparing kindling or creating shelter, the knife didn’t just perform—it excelled.

S&W Extreme Ops Knife

Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops Folding Knife Black

We found the Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops Knife to be a solid choice for anyone requiring a reliable everyday carry.


  • Quick one-handed opening
  • Secure liner lock prevents accidental closure
  • Serrated portion on the blade for versatility


  • Aluminum handle may be slippery when wet
  • Pocket clip might be too stiff for some
  • Serrations could complicate sharpening

When we took the Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops Knife out for a test, its one-handed flip opening impressed us with its ease and efficiency, readying the knife for action in a flash. The comfort of the aluminum handle paired with the security of the liner lock made cutting tasks feel controlled and safe.

The knife’s pocket clip provided a snug fit to our gear, ensuring the knife was accessible yet securely stowed away. As we went about our day-to-day tasks, the combination of straight and serrated blade edges was a welcome feature, handling everything from slicing open boxes to cutting cord with finesse.

While rain wasn’t an issue during our time with the Extreme Ops Knife, we anticipate that the smooth aluminum handle might not offer the best grip in wet conditions. And for those who prefer a highly flexible pocket clip, adjusting to the rigidity of this one might take a little time. Not to mention, those new to maintaining a serrated edge could face a learning curve.

ALBATROSS Survival Knife

ALBATROSS Survival Knife

If you’re seeking a comprehensive survival tool, this knife merits your attention; its versatility is impressive.


  • Integrated tools provide exceptional versatility for various survival scenarios
  • Compact design makes it highly portable and suitable for everyday carry
  • Knife feels solid in hand, reassuring in quality and build


  • Flashlight brightness is adequate for close range but not suitable for long distances
  • Fire starter requires practice to use effectively, not for those seeking instant results
  • Blade may need regular sharpening to maintain its edge, depending on use frequency

We recently took the ALBATROSS Survival Knife into the field, keen to examine its practicality. Upon unfolding the 3.5-inch blade, we noted its sharpness and the smooth operation of its mechanism. The heft of the knife felt balanced and the aluminum handle provided a confident grip. We could perform various tasks with ease, from slicing through rope to opening bottles.

During dusk, the LED light proved modestly handy. While not the beacon we’d prefer in complete darkness, it sufficed to find items dropped at our campsite. The light’s detachable design was a thoughtful touch, enabling us to pinpoint light where we needed.

We also tested the emergency features under controlled conditions. The seatbelt cutter and glass breaker add an extra layer of security to this tool, perfect for those who want to be prepared for any car-related emergencies.

In conclusion, the ALBATROSS 6-in-1 Survival Knife offers a robust range of features that can stand up against the unexpected elements of the wild or daily inconveniences. Though it may not be a specialist in any one task, its jack-of-all-trades skill set makes it a valuable companion for adventurers and safety-conscious individuals alike.

Morakniv Garberg Survival Knife

Morakniv Garberg Survival Knife

If you’re venturing into the wild, the Morakniv Garberg is the dependable companion to ensure your resilience in the elements.


  • Remarkably durable, having weathered numerous expeditions unscathed.
  • The fire starter and diamond sharpener embedded in the sheath offer exceptional convenience.
  • Its full tang provides a sense of security when tackling rigorous tasks.


  • The heft of this tool might be more than some would prefer for longer treks.
  • High carbon steel requires meticulous care to prevent rust.
  • Pricier compared to some alternatives, potentially excluding budget-minded adventurers.

Unlike many knives that talk a tough game, the Morakniv Garberg lives up to the hype. We’ve noticed its carbon steel blade remains razor-sharp even after rigorous use — a testament to its outstanding Sandvik steel. In the wilderness, reliability is key, and this knife has proven itself to be a reliable tool time and again.

Comfort in the hand is critical, especially when you’re using it for extended periods. The Morakniv Garberg feels balanced and secure, something we’ve found quite comforting when whittling kindling or preparing food at the campsite. The integrated functions are not just mere add-ons; they greatly enhance our overall survival readiness.

We cannot emphasize enough the resilience of this blade. Bushcraft enthusiasts will appreciate the sturdy full tang as they split wood or craft shelters. However, adequate blade care is a priority — after each trip, we ensure that it remains dry and oiled to prevent any corrosion. For those seeking a long-term investment in their outdoor adventures, the Morakniv Garberg is a splendid choice.



We recommend the ODENWOLF W-SCANDI knife for outdoor enthusiasts who demand durability and precision in their gear.


  • Handles outdoor tasks with competent ease.
  • Firm grip and balanced weight provide control.
  • Sheath design ensures safety and accessibility.


  • Blade may require routine sharpening.
  • The balance might not suit all users.
  • D2 steel, while durable, may not be for everyone.

After putting this knife through its paces on a weekend bushcraft trip, we’ve got to say, the ODENWOLF W-SCANDI doesn’t disappoint. Its exceptional hardness makes it a fitting choice for anyone serious about outdoor survival. The finely crafted edge held up well when whittling fire-starters and skinning game, displaying impressive wear resistance.

The tactical sheath complements the W-SCANDI knife not just in looks but in functionality. It hooked securely onto our belts and gave us quick access to the knife when we needed it. There’s a reassuring click when the knife is nestled inside, ensuring it stays put even when we’re on the move.

Our time with the ODENWOLF knife in the great outdoors was telling. It proved to be a reliable partner that withstood diverse weather conditions and a variety of tasks. Whether it was preparing kindling or carving notches for traps, the knife’s full tang gave it a sturdy, dependable feel.

The brand’s commitment to German quality standards is evident in the knife’s performance. It’s a solid choice for camping, hiking, or hunting. However, to maintain its razor-sharp edge, sharpening with the recommended angle is necessary. Overall, the ODENWOLF W-SCANDI is a competent survival knife that we trust to have by our side on any adventure.

Holtzman’s Bushcraft Classic

Holtzman's Gorilla Survival Knife

We found this knife to be an essential companion for any outdoor adventure, offering reliability and precision.


  • Exceptional edge retention on the high carbon blade
  • Ergonomic G10 handle ensures a secure grip in any condition
  • Durable Kydex sheath with versatile carrying options


  • High carbon steel requires more maintenance to prevent corrosion
  • May be too hefty for those preferring a lightweight knife
  • Advanced features might be unnecessary for casual outdoor enthusiasts

Carving through kindling, slicing through cordage, and prepping camp meals: it all seemed effortless with our Holtzman’s Bushcraft Classic in hand. The full tang construction gave it a sturdy and balanced feel, convincing us it could withstand demanding tasks.

During a downpour, our grip remained slip-proof thanks to the G10 handle. In terms of carry and accessibility, the Kydex sheath’s Tek Lok attachment clips onto a belt with ease, proving its worth on long treks.

Continual exposure to the elements can be tough on any knife, but the 1095 carbon steel blade held up well. However, after each outing, a bit of oil and a soft cloth were necessary to ensure the blade stayed free of rust—a small task compared to the knife’s overall performance.

BLADEBOLT Hunting Knife

BLADEBOLT Hunting Knife

We think the BLADEBOLT Hunting Knife is a top-notch choice for any outdoors enthusiast in need of a reliable cutting tool.


  • Exceptional strength and edge retention from the Damascus steel blade.
  • Comfortable and secure grip provided by the ergonomic wooden handle.
  • Comes complete with a leather sheath and sharpener for maintenance.


  • The gap between the blade and guard may gather debris.
  • Lacks an integrated sharpener in the sheath for on-the-go sharpening.
  • Full tang is questionable, raising potential durability concerns.

Out in the wild, the quality of your gear can make a world of difference. We’ve recently had our hands on the BLADEBOLT Hunting Knife, and it’s certainly built to impress. The heavy-duty Damascus steel blade is a remarkable piece of craftsmanship that retains its sharpness through tough jobs.

There’s nothing quite like the confidence in handling a knife that feels like an extension of your hand. The two-finger grip on this knife is not merely comfortable; it makes detailed work feel effortless. Whether we’re preparing kindling or dressing game, it feels luxurious yet utterly practical.

Practicality extends to carrying this knife as well. Encased in its tough leather sheath, our BLADEBOLT traveled with us without a hitch. The sharpener was a welcome touch, ensuring the edge remained as keen as when we first unfolded it from the box. Though, we did miss having a place for the sharpening steel to attach directly to the sheath.

Maxam Survival Knife

Maxam 12-Piece Survival Knife Set

We believe outdoor enthusiasts will find the Maxam 12-Piece Survival Knife Set a comprehensive choice for wilderness readiness.


  • Impressive array of included survival tools
  • Sturdy build of the main knife instills confidence in handling
  • Versatility in use, ideal for a variety of outdoor situations


  • Hollow handle may not suit all preferences
  • Additional tools may be considered basic by seasoned survivalists
  • The sheath could be improved for better accessibility

Stepping out into the wild with the Maxam 12-Piece Survival Knife Set strapped to our side immediately gives a boost of confidence, knowing we’re prepared for a multitude of scenarios. Its alloy steel blade is robust, handling cutting tasks with ease, signaling reliability that is paramount in survival situations.

The excitement in discovering the multifunctionality of this set can’t be understated. The hollow handle stores critical tools that could make the difference in unpredictable conditions.

However, the heft and bulk take getting used to, and while the handle conceals useful items, it does add a bit of imbalance that we noticed when making precise cuts. This isn’t a dealbreaker but something to consider based on individual preferences for knife handling.

We appreciate the compass and sharpening stone, proving the set’s worth, yet we found ourselves wishing the quality of these accessories matched the knife’s ruggedness. If optimization of every single tool isn’t a dealbreaker for you, this knife still stands as a solid pick.

The Maxam Survival Knife Set carves its place as the go-to gear for those stepping into survival adventures. It’s a faithful companion that helps shift focus from survival anxiety to embracing the thrill of the great outdoors.

NedFoss Survival Companion

NedFoss Tactical Survival Knife

We’ve found the NedFoss Survival Companion to be a reliable ally in the wilderness, striking a solid balance between durability and functionality.


  • Offers a secure, non-slip grip making it reliable in various conditions.
  • The stonewashed tanto blade is not only aesthetically pleasing but also effective in hiding use-related scratches.
  • Comes with a versatile kydex sheath that enhances portability and access.


  • The handle may feel bulky to those with smaller hands.
  • It’s a heavier knife, which may not be ideal for those looking to minimize carry weight.
  • The included fire starter quality may not match up to the knife’s standards.

In our expeditions, the robustness and balance of the NedFoss Survival Companion were immediately noticeable. Its 440C stainless steel blade passed our rigorous testing, slicing through different materials without losing its edge. The secure grip afforded by the G10 handle made maneuvers easy, even in wet conditions.

We appreciated the practical design touches, including the lanyard hole and glass breaker on the handle’s end. These features underscore the knife’s utility in various survival scenarios. Moreover, the stonewashed finish on the spine and the black G10 handle gives it an appealing, understated look that’s both stylish and functional.

While out in the field, the value of a good sheath became evident. The kydex sheath provided with this knife allowed for quick draw and stowing, keeping the blade safely tucked away during arduous treks. Despite the knife’s heft, it never felt like a burden, owing to the thoughtful distribution of its weight and the secure sheath attachment that kept it in place.

Buying Guide

When selecting a survival knife, it’s crucial to consider several features that will ensure the knife is reliable in various survival situations.

Blade Material

We should prioritize high-quality steel for durability and ease of sharpening. Common blade materials include:

  • Stainless Steel: Resistant to rust, easy to maintain.
  • Carbon Steel: Holds an edge well, but more prone to rust.

Blade Design

The blade shape affects its practicality in different scenarios. We look for:

  • Straight Edge: For clean cuts and carving.
  • Serrated Edge: Useful for sawing through tougher materials.

Handle Ergonomics

Comfort and grip are vital. We seek handles with:

  • Non-slip texture.
  • Ergonomic shape for prolonged use.

Knife Size

Size matters for portability and utility.

Blade LengthIdeal Use
Under 4″Precision tasks
4″ – 6″Most versatile
Over 6″Heavy-duty tasks

Tang Construction

We prefer a full tang design where the blade extends into the handle, providing strength and stability.

Additional Features

We consider:

  • Pommel: A flat or rounded pommel allows for hammering.
  • Lanyard Hole: Useful for securing the knife.
  • Sheath: Protects the blade and ensures safety.

We ensure these features align with our needs, offering a balance between functionality and ease of carry.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we answer some of the most common queries regarding the selection and features of survival knives, providing you with essential information to make an informed choice.

What features are essential in a high-quality survival knife?

A high-quality survival knife boasts a full tang for strength, a comfortable non-slip handle, and a robust blade made from high-carbon stainless steel or other durable materials. Its design should prioritize reliability and versatility in a variety of situations.

How do I choose a survival knife that fits my budget without compromising on quality?

To select a survival knife that balances cost and quality, look for reputable brands that offer a warranty, and read reviews for performance feedback. Prioritize essential features over extra accessories that may inflate the price.

Why do military personnel prefer particular types of survival knives?

Military personnel often favor survival knives with a rugged design, dependable construction, and features that have practical applications in the field, such as a serrated edge for cutting tougher materials or a coated blade for corrosion resistance.

What advantages do fixed-blade knives offer over folding knives in survival situations?

Fixed-blade knives provide superior durability and strength, which is crucial in survival situations. They’re less likely to break under heavy use and are typically easier to clean, reducing the risk of malfunction or contamination.

How does a fire starter enhance a survival knife’s functionality?

A fire starter, such as a ferrocerium rod included with a survival knife, offers the ability to ignite tinder and make a fire for warmth, cooking, or signaling, thereby increasing the knife’s utility as a survival tool.

What characteristics distinguish a bushcraft knife from a traditional survival knife?

Bushcraft knives are specifically designed for woodcrafting and wilderness skills, featuring a fine, sharp edge for detailed work and control. Traditional survival knives are more versatile, rugged, and often include additional survival features such as a fire starter or a built-in sharpener.