Buying Guide | Survival Knives

The Best Survival Knives in 2021

After 16 hours of comparing 30 models, we have determined that the Gerber LMF II Infantry is the best survival knife right now. Designed for military use, it is versatile and few can resist it. Its reliability is beyond doubt and its infrared device makes it discreet. However, for occasional campers, we recommend the Gerber Bear Grylls G1516 instead, which is more compact but troubleshoots well.

Best High End Survival Knife
Gerber LMF II Infantry Knife Best Survival Knife
Gerber LMF II Infantry Knife

Versatile, comfortable, reliable and very resistant, this tool intended for professionals is designed by the American special forces. 
It has an infrared system and effectively absorbs electrical charges.

This well-made survival knife is not lacking in sharpness. First useful for American soldiers, today it has become an essential example of versatility and efficiency. He knows how to be discreet as well as resistant and holds out over time. Large and pleasant in the hand, it protects you not only from others but also from the traps of nature.


Best Cheap Survival Knife
Gerber Bear Grylls Scout Knife

Gerber Bear Grylls Scout Knife

This model is ideal for cutting small woods or small objects in a forest environment. 
With its fixed smooth blade and nylon handle, it has a compact size that is very easy to handle for small hands.

This smooth fixed blade knife is quite small but it is useful for carving wood or cutting small things. Made of a nylon handle and a steel blade, it is quite strong for its price. Moreover, it can be used during many activities and is rather easy to handle if one believes its buyers. 

In addition, it comes with a nylon belt clip-on holster and a survival guide.


Cheap Alternative
Morakniv Companion Spark

Easy to handle, it is very practical for troubleshooting during an occasional hiking or camping type outing. 
In addition, its blade is sharp enough to cut small everyday objects.

The Morakniv Companion Spark does not guarantee to cut large objects but its use allows you to be useful during your fishing sessions or your hiking trips. 

Among its strengths, we note its manoeuvrability, its grip and its solidity despite a plastic handle. For its price, it’s hard to beat this model! 


Benchmade – Bushcrafter 162 Fixed Outdoor Survival Knife

This rather bulky fixed blade model is aimed at those who face much more perilous situations. 
Strength and durability are the main axes of a flawless design.

This sharp model demonstrates multiple qualities that justify its place as a high-end alternative. 

If it is bulkier, the brand has not skimped on the quality of materials to ensure its resistance and durability, especially with a well-finished and comfortable handle and a very sharp blade.


ImageProductPrice

Gerber LMF II Infantry Best High End Survival Knife

  • Versatile, comfortable, reliable and very resistant, this tool intended for professionals is designed by the American special forces.
  • It has an infrared system and effectively absorbs electrical charges.
Check on Amazon

Gerber Bear Grylls G1516Best Cheap Survival Knife

  • This model is ideal for cutting small woods or small objects in a forest environment. 
  • With its fixed smooth blade and nylon handle, it has a compact size that is very easy to handle for small hands.
Check on Amazon

Morakniv Companion SparkCheap Alternative

  • Easy to handle, it is very practical for troubleshooting during an occasional hiking or camping type outing. 
  • In addition, its blade is sharp enough to cut small everyday objects.
Price

Benchmade – Bushcrafter 162High-end alternative

  • This rather bulky fixed blade model is aimed at those who face much more perilous situations. 
  • Strength and durability are the main axes of a flawless design.
Price

How did we make our choice?

An essential tool to pack in your backpack or keep handy in your camping tent, the survival knife can be used for multiple tasks. But their mere appearance does not always make it possible to understand what they are really for.

So, to help you in your efforts, we have gathered the important criteria to know about these survival tools: 

  • The type of knife: the hunting knife is a model with a fixed blade of more than 15 cm, quite pointed and sharp. The tactical knife, originally intended for the military, responds to specific situations. Fixed or foldable, its blade is no more than 10 cm. Note that stationary knives are often stronger and stronger than folding knives, but the latter has the advantage of being more compact.
  • The blade: its size varies depending on the type of knife and its use. It can be smooth or partially notched. The clip point has a cut point, a bit like a sabre. The spear point has a symmetrical tip. The tanto is equipped with a point similar to that of a secateurs. The needlepoint is extremely sharp, while the trailing-point has a rising curve at the end of the blade.
  • The length: the longer your blade, the easier it is to cut and split, but the more difficult it is to control it, to make very precise cuts, or to carve wood, for example. An 8 to 12 cm blade is more suitable for precise manoeuvres, small notches. But if you want a good compromise and a versatile blade, go for an average length of 15cm.
  • The steel of the blade: this element will define the durability of your knife, its resistance to wear and to extreme conditions. There are two types of steel: steels which oxidize, and which contain carbon, and stainless steels (more popular). Steels that oxidize are not resistant to corrosion but are stronger, tougher and easier to sharpen. There are also some stainless steels that make the knife very strong, such as AUS-8 or CPM3V Steel.
  • The handle: to avoid any slipping, it should ideally be provided with a non-slip rubber-type coating. The balance between the handle and the blade must be optimal to promote manoeuvrability and give more or less power. The materials used will determine its resistance to cracks, shocks or even extreme conditions. For lower cost and good strength, fibreglass composite materials such as popular G-10 or Zytel are preferred.
  • Ergonomics: we sometimes deplore a lack of ergonomics in the opening and closing of the knives. These two deployment operations must be fluid and not interfere with the reactivity of the object because in an emergency this can have consequences. Automatic locking is generally very popular since it offers better stability. This option is noticeable on folding knives.
  • Additional features: some models are sometimes provided with disguised features. Thus, they offer to change blades and adapt to all situations. In the same way, they can sometimes be transformed into a lance (practical for fishing) or include the window breaker function. Of course, all of this contributes to the overall ergonomics of the knife.
  • Accessories: the case must be of good quality and at all costs avoid friction with the blade so as not to damage it. It often contains a system of fixings allowing it to be placed at the waist, belt, foot, etc. A sharpening stone is used to restore sharpness to the blade while the lighter is useful for starting a fire. If no accessory is provided for sharpening, do not hesitate to consult our dedicated selection.

Starting from around thirty models available on the market, we were quickly able to extract fifteen more particularly interesting ones thanks to the examination of these criteria. 

To decide between the remaining models, we consulted the opinions of users and experts from specialized sales sites, blogs, YouTube channels, etc. This research was carried out on both the English and French speaking sides, for greater completeness.

We were thus able to establish our selection of the 5 best survival knives currently on the market.

Notice

If you are looking for a more compact model, we invite you to consult our article on the best folding knives or the best Swiss knives.


Our Pick: Gerber LMF II Infantry

Best High End Survival Knife
Gerber LMF II Infantry Knife Best Survival Knife

Gerber LMF II Infantry Knife

Versatile, comfortable, reliable and very resistant, this tool intended for professionals is designed by the American special forces. 
It has an infrared system and effectively absorbs electrical charges.

This well-made survival knife is not lacking in sharpness. First useful for American soldiers, today it has become an essential example of versatility and efficiency. He knows how to be discreet as well as resistant and holds out over time. Large and pleasant in the hand, it protects you not only from others but also from the traps of nature.

This fixed blade model was designed by the special forces of the US Army. Such a design therefore requires a certain budget. If its aesthetics do not look at first, we quickly realize that it is a real tool of fighter, even if it is versatile.

If it is not the lightest with its 323g, it is not surprising since it measures 27 cm, placing it as being the largest of this selection.

Its 12.3 cm blade has a thickness of 4.78 mm. She therefore cuts a lot of objects. It is fixed and notched at the same time and is made of Stainless 420HC steel, a material that resists corrosion.

The glass-filled nylon handle won’t slip in your hand or scratch your palm thanks to the TPV material which increases comfort and promotes a good grip. The three holes that turn it into a lance are practical for fishing. 

The pommel is sharp and of good quality while the whole absorbs electrical charges, protecting you from any possible discharge.

The cover is fire resistant and can be attached to the leg, thigh, belt or even a jacket. Its infrared character prevents it from being detected by other individuals.

With all its qualities, we can therefore say that it is an investment that is worth the effort!  


Best Cheap Survival Knife: Gerber Bear Grylls G1516

Best Cheap Survival Knife
Gerber Bear Grylls Scout Knife

Gerber Bear Grylls Scout Knife

This model is ideal for cutting small woods or small objects in a forest environment. 
With its fixed smooth blade and nylon handle, it has a compact size that is very easy to handle for small hands.

This smooth fixed blade knife is quite small but it is useful for carving wood or cutting small things. Made of a nylon handle and a steel blade, it is quite strong for its price. Moreover, it can be used during many activities and is rather easy to handle if one believes its buyers. In addition, it comes with a nylon belt clip-on holster and a survival guide.

With an easily recognizable design, this model has several caps since it can be used as much for small outings in the forest as for canyoning, fishing, hunting or even hiking.

Very compact, it has a total length of 16 cm. Note that this measurement cannot be reduced since it is not collapsible, but this indicates some sturdiness.

Its fixed 8.3 cm blade is more useful for cutting small objects or for performing specific maneuvers. It is made of 7Cr17MoV steel. In addition, it displays a smooth finish and a Drop Point shape. 

The handle is designed with nylon fiber plates. It is comfortable to hold, but users complain about its small handle which is a bit too short for large hands.

The Grylls G15G16 comes with its nylon case. The latter has a hooking system to attach it to pants. In addition, the locking system is very reliable. In addition, the manufacturer provides a survival guide.

Finally, here is again a product from the Gerber brand which shows its superiority within all ranges to offer models suitable for everyone.


A cheap alternative: Morakniv Companion Spark

Cheap Alternative

Morakniv Companion Spark

Easy to handle, it is very practical for troubleshooting during an occasional hiking or camping type outing. 
In addition, its blade is sharp enough to cut small everyday objects.

The Morakniv Companion Spark does not guarantee to cut large objects but its use allows you to be useful during your fishing sessions or your hiking trips. Among its strengths, we note its manoeuvrability, its grip and its solidity despite a plastic handle. For its price, it’s hard to beat this model! 

This lightweight survival tool is solidly designed and offers multiple uses (fishing, hunting, bushcraft, firing, cutting meat, etc.). Its versatility has earned it its effectiveness when hiking. 

Its weight is 102 g and it measures 22.4 cm. It holds a 4 ” long clippoint fixed blade with a thickness of just over 3mm. Its blade is sharp enough to deal with small gashes, but it cannot cut large objects. 

This version incorporates a carbon steel blade while another has a blade made of stainless steel, a material more resistant to humidity and which is not subject to rust. For this second version, maintenance is, therefore, less important. 

The length of the handle is 11.5 cm. It is made of a strong and resistant plastic with a non-slip rubber coating. Its structure promotes good grip and offers good handling.

Regarding the holster, it is not always reliable in that its plastic construction suggests that the knife could pass through. However, its clip is handy for attaching it to the belt.

Finally, this model is presented by Morakniv, a brand recognized for the quality of its knives. This is the flagship model of the brand, which has proven itself and continues to do so since it is the best-selling product from this manufacturer. It succeeds the Clipper range and it exists in two versions of which only the steel qualities differ. 


A High-end alternative: Benchmade Bushcrafter 162

Benchmade – Bushcrafter 162 Fixed Outdoor Survival Knife

This rather bulky fixed blade model is aimed at those who face much more perilous situations. 
Strength and durability are the main axes of a flawless design.

This sharp model demonstrates multiple qualities that justify its place as a high-end alternative. If it is more bulky, the brand has not skimped on the quality of materials to ensure its resistance and durability, especially with a well-finished and comfortable handle and a very sharp blade.

The Benchmade Bushcrafter 162 fixed blade comes in a sober and classic appearance. But beneath his somewhat simplistic physique, he hides a formidable efficiency. 

It was mainly designed for tactical use. The brand has been known since 1988 for this reputation in terms of survival knives. He is moving towards the gesture of cutting before anything else.

In terms of its weight, it is at the top of the curve since it still weighs 318 g for a total length respecting the average (23.2 cm). But the balance between the handle and the blade is well calculated. 

Keep in mind that a fixed blade knife is always more bulky than a folding knife, but it often provides easier maintenance, more strength and more reliability.

The stainless steel used to design the blade, type CPM-S30V, is of high quality, very robust. The latter measures 11.2 cm and is thick, efficient, strong and durable. In addition, it can be improved by sharpening it to make it even smoother and sharper. It is ideal for successfully cutting wood, cardboard, rope, and solid materials. 

The handle benefits from G-10 finishes as well as waterproofing and toughness against mold. We can therefore say that it is intended for outdoor use.

The materials used hold up well in extreme conditions. But as if that wasn’t enough, here we still have a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects. The leather cover is also of good quality.

Very popular in the market, it still requires a considerable budget. We therefore preferred the LMF II Infantry from Gerber which, in our opinion, offers a better quality / price ratio.


Honourable mentions

CRKT M-16 12Z ($69.30 when published): strong, practical, versatile and simple to use, this lightweight model has a sharp, pointed 8 cm blade made of stainless steel. In all, it measures approximately 20 cm. Its rigid handle includes nylon and fibreglass holes. It includes an automatic and efficient locking system and can be attached to a belt. Users stress its good support and its practical opening, but they deplore its general metallic appearance. Moreover, the brand is not the best known on the market.

Jeo-Tec No.31 ($105.95 when published): this tactical knife has a total length of 24cm. Its smooth and fixed stainless steel blade measures 11.5 cm. Designed with a Cocobolo wood handle, it is strong and durable. In general, its finishes are beautiful and we notice its handmade design. With this model, the manufacturer provides a carrying case that attaches to the belt horizontally or vertically. In addition, you have a fire starter. However, it is a bit heavy for some buyers.

Fallkniven A1K ($228.40 when published): This survival knife weighs 305g and features a 6mm thick blade made of VG-10 steel with 420 stainless steel sides. It resists corrosion and absorbs vibrations thanks to Kraton, an efficient material. Its case is compact and discreet and inside, its blade does not rub against the walls. Nevertheless, the rubber of the handle tends to be damaged and its price is quite high.

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