Best Fixed Blade Survival Knife: A List of the Top 8 Survival Knives

In a survival situation, one of the most useful tools you can have is a good fixed-blade knife. Unfortunately, the market is flooded with thousands of so-called survival knives that are not only useless in a survival situation, but many are just downright dangerous.

While everyone has their opinion on what the best survival knife really is, the truth is, picking a good survival knife will be different for everyone. We all have unique needs, and what feels right in my hand might feel like crap in yours. That being said, I’m going to throw my hat in the ring and share my favorite fixed blade survival knives with you.

USMC KA-BAR

USMC Mark 2 KA-BAR

The USMC KA-BAR is a knife that has withstood the test of time. Originally adopted into use by the United States Marine Corps in 1942 — then known as the 1219C2 combat knife — The USMC Mark 2 Combat knife is probably one of the best-known survival knives on the market.

Although it’s primarily thought of as a combat knife, it was designed to be a multipurpose utility knife that proved especially valuable in jungle environments. To this day it’s still the go-to knife for most Marines.

SOG SEAL Pup Elite

The SOG SEAL Pup Elite Knife

The SOG SEAL Pup Elite is another knife made famous by its reputation among the military. Designed to be used by active duty Navy SEALS, the SEAL Pup Elite has earned its place at the top of the list because it has proven it can hold up during even the toughest of conditions.

It’s one of my favorite knives and something I’ve been carrying for about seven years now. You can read my original review of the knife from 2008.

Tom Brown Tracker Knife

Tom Brown Tracker Knife

The Tom Brown Tracker Knife is one of the more expensive knives in the group, but it’s definitely one that deserves its place on the list because of its durability and usefulness in a wilderness setting.

As you can see from the picture above, the design of this blade sets it apart from most of the other knives on the list. It’s designed to be used in the wilderness, and has three distinct blade sections designed for chopping, carving, and sawing. The unique blade and the long handle make it great for batoning, gutting fish and game, and just about any bushcraft application you can think of.

 The Morakniv Companion

Multiple different Morakniv Companion knives in various colors

When it comes to survival knives, you really do get what you pay for. That being said, if you’re on a budget and looking for something that’s not going to break the bank, The Morakniv Companion is a knife that you can’t afford to pass up. Ranging anywhere from $15 – $30, the Morakniv Companion is one of the only knives at that price point that came anywhere near making the list.

They’re sturdy, durable, and at under $30 you’re not going to find a better knife for that price point.

The Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion

The Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion with a Sheath

The Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion is a fixed-blade knife designed by outdoorsman Ethan Becker. The knife is wide, thick, and can really take a beating. You can use this thing all day as a chopper and never have to worry about it breaking; this knife is a tank.

The ESEE-6 Survival Knife

The ESEE-6 Survival Knife

The ESEE 6 Fixed Blade Knife is an excellent all around knife that can be used in both urban and wilderness settings. It’s made with 1095 carbon steel and comes with removable Micarta handles. The knife can be utilized for everything from batoning, chopping and skinning game in the wild, to traditional utility or self-defense purposes in an urban setting.

The 162 Bushcraft Knife

Closeup of the Blade on the 162 Bushcrafter Knife

The 162 Bushcraft Knife is Benchmade’s first foray into the Bushcraft world. It’s a fixed blade knife that’s a real workhorse. You can really beat the heck out of this knife without worrying about damaging it. Read our full review here.

The CRKT M.A.K.-1

The The CRKT M.A.K.-1

The CRKT M.A.K.-1 is a rescue and rapid entry knife designed by professional firefighter James McGowan.

The knife was designed for rescue workers, police Special Response Teams, and military operators, and is the only dedicated “urban survival” knife on the list. The M.A.K.-1 has two window-breaking tools for smashing building windows or automotive back glass, and an 8mm cutout wrench for disconnecting GM-style side terminal batteries. It also features a blunt chisel pry-bar tip for opening doors and windows and a great knife edge for heavy cutting or hacking.

24 Comments

  1. Don C
    March 24, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    Ka-bar adventurer with sidekick

  2. Lawrence D
    March 25, 2015 at 7:17 am

    Gerber LMF2 should definitely be on that list

  3. Ed
    March 25, 2015 at 8:57 am

    I had a BK2 Campanion for half a Summer, I broke it batoning after 2-3 camping trips. I was so bummed, Ka-Bar wouldn’t even reply to me about a possible replacement… not happy.

    • Rob b
      April 2, 2016 at 10:42 pm

      I’ve never heard of anyone breaking a bk2. I own one and have abused it to no end. I’m calling bullshit

  4. Rob
    March 25, 2015 at 11:05 am

    I’ve been collecting knives my whole life, and my favorite one of the whole bunch is a Boy Scout fixed blade knife and leather sheath that I picked up at a garage sale for a dollar in the seventies.

  5. Rob
    March 25, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    German steel Bowie

  6. Mark Tsunokai
    March 25, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    Daniel Winkler II Utility Knife.

  7. Nick Toni
    March 26, 2015 at 8:32 am

    schrade schf37 total beast, tough as nails, can do anything expensive blades can do and more!!!!

  8. Terry Collins
    March 26, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    You missed my “Go To” survival knife too- Cold Steel Bushman- I like the newwer Bowie style blade ones, but the old traditional ones are good too. I’ve run over mine with a truck- popped the tire, but didn’t harm the knife.

  9. joel
    March 28, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    Spivy Saver Tooth, great knife…

  10. big Wilie
    April 3, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    Cold Steel SRK.
    GOTTA HAVE IT.

  11. Ned
    April 17, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    Timber Wolf Full Tang Atomic Steel Stonewash Tanto With Sheath. Tough as rail spike and flies throws well.

  12. Marcus Sanchez
    August 1, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Benchmade nimravus. I’ve carried one for years. Sharpest fixie I’ve ever owned. Minimal bulk very low profile and tough as nails. Backed up with a ZT0300. Not a fixed blade but might as well be.

  13. Celt
    August 1, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    check out the new Shrade knives,

  14. Scott B
    August 2, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    Check out Scar Blades. Amazing handmade very high quality knives. I own 4 and am proud of each one. Also made right here in the Rocky Mountains.

  15. mike
    September 18, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    I always heard there was a difference between combat and survival knives. The K-bars and Seal pups fitting more into the combat class, they are nice knives but aren’t really meant for batoning wood, or chopping trees. I have a Seal pup and a Schrade SCHF9 love the 1/4″ spine on Schrade heavy duty for manual labor duties. I know K-bars and Seal pups can baton wood but the design of the tips on their blades is the main difference their are meant to be stabbed into something not beaten through it. At least that is how it was explained to me, and I could be wrong.

  16. Old Man
    January 22, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    These are all good knives but for a combat/survival knife I will not buy anything (anymore) that doesn’t have good metal “hand guards” that prevent hands slipping onto the blade. When your hands get wet from blood or water, or anything.. your hands will tend to slip, slip into the blade, this should not be a cosmetic feature.

  17. FLAPrepper1
    May 23, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    I’ll take my Condor Bushlore.

  18. Bilge Pump McCoy
    June 24, 2016 at 4:49 am

    I happen to own several of the knives listed in this article. But the one I am most amazed by is the Morakniv. I think I paid about $20 for mine and it has been my go-to knife for many of my rafting adventures. It’s not the knife I would pick for real hard use but its fantastic for filleting fish and general all around camp chores. If you don’t have one you are really missing out on a great knife.

  19. church
    November 23, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    K-bar this ,,sog that,,, Kershaw there ,, buck here,……the truth be told I have all this blades in my pack…..but know this being an old timer to living in a hard cold cruel word there is no one best knife….a good blade is just a tool there is no one blade that dose it all you have to carry several blades large an small ….the proper tool for the job …I’ve learned this the hard way time spent in the field ….hands on…and I use my little 4 in. buck 3 bladed pocket knife more than any of the others…

  20. Wolf
    December 1, 2016 at 1:22 am

    A very good knife is missing: Fällkniven A1 Survival Knife

  21. Lando
    January 1, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    Great choice with the Mak 1

  22. John
    January 11, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Ka-Bar and Seal Pup are good knives, but not optimal for wilderness survival. The points are a bit weak for some bushcraft tasks.

    Tracker has some good points, but the saw back is a problem. The odds are it won’t saw all that well, and it makes it difficult to baton.

    The next 4 are really good choices.

    The last is very poor for wilderness survival, and although it does have utility for some urban tasks, it is very poor for defense, a key factor in urban survival.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*