How to choose Survival knife – full guide

How to choose Survival knife – the full guide

It was a "Rambo" knife with a hollow handle that contained a small fishing kit and accessories.

Rambo Knife

My affair with knives began then and to this day I am “busy”. The movies always feature a very cool survival knife, but does a survival knife really have a place in the real world?

It was a rhetorical question. Yes, of course there is.

According to statistics published by official organizations, the number of global disasters has never been higher in human history. Despite our advances in medicine, technology, transportation and communications, millions of people around the world face natural disasters and their consequences consistently every year. In addition, thousands of people encounter unexpected danger situations, and their survival depends on the experience, knowledge, and resources available at that moment. It is wise to keep resources from the area of survival nearby for any trouble that may come.

One of the most important tools is a quality survival knife. The Survival Knife has made its way to the top of the list of tools in the history of survival. For thousands of years man has relied on some cutting tool for basic survival purposes, such as finding food and water, lighting fires, and building shelter.

Today, in the modern age, this tool is called a "survival knife". Despite this, not all survival knives are created equal.

At work, I was privileged to carry a survival knife daily. At the very least, a survival knife should be accessible. You will surely be surprised at how often you choose to use it, not even in survival situations.

I have never traveled without a survival knife, even on flights, I deposit it in a suitcase, keep it in a dresser in the hotel room and it is always in the glove compartment of my van. I have never been on an adventure without her.

Whether in fishing, backpacking, hunting, sailing, skiing and / or mountaineering, my knife always accompanies me.

At any given time, it is rare to find me more than a few steps away from my knife.

A survival knife is just as it is called, a knife that will help you survive. It is a tool with hundreds of survival-related applications, such as: cutting / deploying, splitting, digging, self-defense, first aid, food preparation, shelter building, lighting fires, hunting weapons, signaling, using a hammer and improvised screwdriver.

When it comes to a "less is more" survival knife, contrary to what is shown in the movies. You will be educated to do so if you adopt a simple and capable survival knife. Functionality will always surpass design. The main goal is performance, and they depend on the characteristics of the knife.

Knife size:

Does size matter? Yes, but when it comes to a survival knife, a bigger one is not necessarily a better one. If the blade is too large, it will come at the expense of tasks that require precision, such as: precise carving and cutting. On the other hand, a blade that is too small will not function properly in tough tasks, such as: splitting and trimming.

Fixed blade:

A knife with a fixed blade is more durable and reliable than a folding knife (pocket knife). Although I like a pocket knife for everyday use, a knife with a fixed blade will always be preferable in survival situations. A connection of any kind is a disadvantage. You will significantly reduce the chance of hitting or losing your main tool if you choose a knife designed in advance for tapping, chopping, splitting and hard cutting.

Fixed blade knife

Full metal structure (Full Tang):

This structure ensures that the blade and knife handle are constructed of a single unit of metal. A knife with a complete metal structure is much more durable than a knife with a structure under parts that can develop "freedom" in the connection between the handle and the blade. In this case, it is difficult and even dangerous to use a knife. Also, a knife with a complete metal structure will break less easily.

Full Tang Knife


It may sound obvious, but I have seen a lot of "survival knives" in my life that just look like knives. The survival knife must also be sharp and maintain its sharpness over time for the purposes of self-defense, hunting, throwing and more. Equally important is that the knife has a sharpened tip that is used for cleaning and preparing food, drilling, preparing equipment and clothing and removing wood chips.

Smooth, single-sided blade:

The survival knife must not be sharpened on both sides (like a dagger). This blade configuration is not required for most tasks, and this can also interfere with the execution of the required tasks. Not only do I recommend a single-sided blade, I also prefer the back of my survival knife to have a right angle (90 degrees). This structure is ideal for lighting a fire with a flint as well as for splitting trees or trunks by fitting the back of the knife. Personally, I use my survival knife to split tree trunks. Whether for splitting a tree, building a shelter, or lighting a fire, a sharp knife on both sides will make the task impossible. I often use the back of the knife as a thumb restraint to add strength and control for carving or delicate work that a sharp knife on both sides would be dangerous to use. The tip of the handle with a survival knife is also used for knocking and crushing. There are types of professional knives whose handle tip is rounded or triangular which is not recommended. I believe in making the most of the knife. Careful design of the characteristics of the knife will extend its list of capabilities.

Knife sharpness

In conclusion:

Only you can decide on the necessary properties of the knife and what properties you can compromise. Beyond that it all comes down to personal preference.

There are many survival knives on the market that include the features we talked about and are still far from resembling each other. There are countless design options that focus on personalizing the product more than survival applications, such as: metal type, handle material, paint or coating, groove, memorization, carrying case, manufacturer and designer, finger guard, blood grooves and more.

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