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.
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 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
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
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 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 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
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 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.