Everyone has seen the cheesy survival knives named after a movie or some special forces group and thought to themselves: hey I bet that’s a beast. Unfortunately, 99 percent of these knives are junk. In general about 75 percent of the knives you see buddies have or on sale at a flea market are junk. Realistically, for a good knife, you will need to shell out around 70 dollars plus.
To start this article off, lets discover what makes a good survival knife. First of all you want a carbon steel blade. Stainless steel blades generally do not perform well in the survival role (chopping wood, heavy duty usage etc) so carbon steel needs to be a priority. Secondly, you want the knife to be full tang, meaning the knife is one solid bit of steel. A lot of cheap knives are hidden tang or rat tail tangs meaning the blade is welded onto some cheesy handle and will break very easily. This is the most popular knife people buy because they think it is just so cool. Although it may look cool or fascinating, it will prove to be no good at being thumped.
The best survival knives around will always be hand made custom knives. The countless hours spent perfecting each and every piece cannot be replicated by any manufacturer and this makes them the best. How ever these are very expensive and not always practical for the every day survivalist. So I will make this list entirely out of production knives that are easily accessible.
To start, the cold steel trailmaster is one heck of a blade. This is a favorite amongst many preppers and survivalists. It has a long 11″ blade with an outstanding kraton handle. The steel is sk-5 meaning it is high carbon and will be resistant to breaking and warping. This blade is extremely thick so it won’t snap easy and it can plow through wood with relative ease. There are many different options for this blade such as leather or kydex sheath, or coated and non coated blades. I prefer the non-coated at it will baton easier due to less resistance on the blade, how ever more maintenance will be needed to keep the blade from rusting and decay. This blade runs about 200 dollars but is well worth the money.
Second on the list is the Kabar heavy bowie. This knife is also very large coming in at 9 inches. It is 1095 high carbon steel, very similar to sk-5 and is near indestructible. The handle on this blade is not as ergonomic, but has better hand curvature. The blade is coated to prevent rust and is very good at batoning. These blades can run around 60-70 dollars depending on the source.
The next blade is the Ontario RTAK II. This is a thinner blade and is more susceptible to snapping, but it has a wider blade and serves better at chopping wood than the other two. The blade is 10 inches long and features an outstanding micarta handle. This will provide an excellent grip when using it heavily. This is again coated to prevent the 1095 high carbon steel from rusting. These will run around 100 dollars.