6 Best Survival Knives That Will Keep You Alive in Any Situation 

Rilor Staff
Update: March 18, 2023
Table of Contents

In any outdoor setting, the best survival knife will let you take care of various tasks and errands. When push comes to shove, this utility may also define your survival. 

A Quick Overview

Regardless of your preferences, it is undeniable that survival knives are essential items for people who want a stress-free outdoor adventure. Even the simplest campers need these knives to do campsite errands, such as cutting rope, branches, and meat. 

But, of course, survival knives are designed to provide protection to their users in times of emergencies. Having them while you are backpacking or hiking in the wilderness simply gives you a sense of confidence that you can carry on once SHTF. Alongside first aid kits, survival whistles, and repair kits, these survival knives will keep you safe throughout your jaunt. 

Now, there are many survival knives on the market today. The process of choosing one can be a bit overwhelming. Hence, our staff from Rilor Wilderness have picked the most qualified knives that should be included in your packing checklist. See them below. 

Best Survival Knives: A Rundown

The following are some of the top-rated survival knives in the market today. These are also among the tested-and-tried utilities used by our staff in the majority of their backcountry expeditions. They are tough, reliable, and sharp. 

Product NameBlade LengthBlade ConstructionWhere To Buy

Benchmade 162 Bushcrafter Knife
4.43 inchesCPM-S30V Stainless SteelREI

Gerber Ultimate Survival Fixed Blade Knife
4.75 inchesStainless SteelREI

Benchmade 533BK-2 Mini Bugout Knife
2.82 inchesCPM-S30V Stainless SteelREI

Aitor 16016 Jungle King I Knife
8 inchesStainless SteelAmazon

ESEE Authentic JUNGLAS Survival Knife
8.38 inchesCarbon SteelAmazon

Smith & Wesson SW3B Fixed Blade Knife
7.8 inchesStainless SteelAmazon

The Best Survival Knife Review

Here, our staff laid out the reasons why they have picked the survival knives that are listed here. We also included their complete technical specifications so that you know what you will be getting. 

1. Benchmade 162 Bushcrafter Knife - Editor’s Pick


Technical Specifications
Blade type
Blade length
Blade material
Handle material
Total length
Straight edge
4.4 inches
Stainless Steel
Resin-soaked fiberglass
7.72 ounces
9 inches
Available (full-grain, buckskin leather sheath)

Benchmade 162 Bushcrafter Knife Review

The Benchmade 162 Bushcrafter Knife is undeniably one of the favorite picks of various bushcrafters. Our staff seems to have a bias on this knife, too. Well, we can't blame them because it is actually good. 

The fixed blade of the knife is made from CPM-S30V steel which is known for its corrosion resistance and edge resistance. It also features a precision drop-point construction for added durability and sharpness. 

Our staff pointed out that its G10 handle is among the reasons why this bushcraft knife is one of the best survival knives in the market. It is lightweight but rugged, thanks to its fiberglass construction. It is impervious to the elements; you can grip it even if your hands are wet. 

Meanwhile, it has a leather sheath with a belt loop for easy carry. The D-ring also lets you access the knife quickly.

Stable and well-balanced blade design
Features a high-strength blade
Moisture-resistant handle
No notable drawbacks

2. Gerber Ultimate Survival Fixed Blade Knife


Technical Specifications
Blade type
Blade length
Blade material
Handle material
Total length
Straight edge / partially serrated
4.75 inches
Stainless Steel
11.02 ounces
10 inches
Available (black nylon belt sheath)

Gerber Ultimate Survival Fixed Blade Knife Review

Our staff picked the Gerber Ultimate Survival Fixed Blade Knife because it is a durable, entry-level survival utility. It is suitable for various outdoor applications and features a highly reliable blade that remains sharp for quite a long time. 

It comes with a rubber grip that is easy to hold. Handling it is never a problem. Furthermore, its partially serrated blade edge so that you can use it for various cutting or slicing applications. 

Notably, it has a military-grade nylon sheath. This sheath, which you can clip to your belt, is ultra tough and protective. At the same time, it has an innovative design as the sheath comes with the following features, such as a fire starter, diamond-blade sharpener, hammer pommel, and even an emergency whistle. 

With this survival knife from Gerber, you can tackle different demands on the field. 

Easy to handle
Comes with ergonomic blade sheath
This knife is not a full tang

3. Benchmade 533BK-2 Mini Bugout Knife


Technical Specifications
Blade type
Blade length
Blade material
Handle material
Total length
Straight edge
2.82 inches
CF Elite (glass-filled nylon)
1.5 ounces
6 inches
None (folding knife)

Benchmade 533BK-2 Mini Bugout Knife Review

Believe it or not, not all survival knives have to be long or burly to be effective. A good example is this bugout knife from Benchmade. This utility also features the same blade material as the first Benchmade knife we feature here. It has a nice edge retention and is durable. 

It is also lightweight, which is definitely a must-have for backpackers who want to remain safe. Our staff also love its ambidextrous Grivory handle. It has a textured surface that lets you hold it tightly, even in wet conditions. This handle is made from glass-filled nylon, by the way. 

It doesn't need a sheath, though, as it is a folding knife. Plus, it comes with an axis locking mechanism that prevents accidental unfolding of the knife. This secure handle also includes a lanyard hole that enables different carry options. 

Easy to carry; compact design
Handle is textured for secured grip
Locking mechanism is reliable
Balance is slightly off

4. Aitor 16016 Jungle King I Knife


Technical Specifications
Blade type
Blade length
Blade material
Handle material
Total length
Straight edge / double-cut sawback
8 inches
Black powder-coated stainless steel
Black finish knurled stainless steel handle
2.45 pounds
14.25 inches
Available (OD green hard nylon belt sheath)

Aitor 16016 Jungle King I Knife Review

This time, let's feature some of our favorite full-size survival knives. We are going to start with the Aitor Jungle King I. This particular survival knife is a hand-picked option of many Rilor Wilderness staff because of its exceptionally well-balanced design. 

It also has a premium construction. The materials used on its blade, handle, and guard are geared for durability and weight management. Its stainless clip-point blade has high strength and features a double-cut saw back to address different field tasks. 

Moreover, this knife is quite ergonomic. For instance, it's a stainless guard with lashing holes. Meanwhile, its pommel hides a compass. This knife also arrives with a hard nylon belt sheath. This sheath includes leg ties for added carry option. And that's not the end of its usefulness. The sheath also stores a gut hook blade and skinner. 

This skinner is then equipped with a thumb ridge, lashing holes, and a flathead screwdriver with a can opener. Trust us. This is more than just a survival knife. 

Full-size blade lets you use it on heavy-duty tasks
Multi-functional survival utility
Durable construction
No notable drawbacks

5. ESEE Authentic JUNGLAS Survival Knife


Technical Specifications
Blade type
Blade length
Blade material
Handle material
Total length
Straight edge
8.38 inches
1095 carbon steel with powder coating
Micarta (synthetic)
19.8 ounces
14.5 inches
Available (Kydex sheath with Molle backing)

ESEE Authentic JUNGLAS Survival Knife Review

One of the finest survival knives that you can get today, according to our experts here at Rilor Wilderness, is the JUNGLAS. ESEE is a reputable brand of survival and tactical knives, and they have been in the business for over twenty years already. 

The JUNGLAS is one of their opuses, and right now, it is one of the best bushcraft knives there is. This one has a well-balanced design; its blade is constructed from 1095 carbon steel and treated with powder coating for utmost durability. 

Meanwhile, it comes with a Micarta handle with texturing over its surface. The handle has been contoured to fit the hands of its users. By the way, the handle is removable for replacements. There's also a hammer pommel integrated into this knife that features a lanyard hole. 

Sharpness and edge retention are among the strong points of this knife. It is easy to maneuver and could take on various field errands and survival needs. Its Kydex sheath is well-built and highly secured. 

Packable design
Blade is durable and corrosion-resistant
Features a removable synthetic handle
Its tip should be thicker

6. Smith & Wesson SW3B Fixed Blade Knife


Technical Specifications
Blade type
Blade length
Blade material
Handle material
Total length
Straight edge / notched spine
7.8 inches
420J2 powder-coated black oxide steel
Deep-grooved nylon fiber with rubber inlay
14.6 ounces
12.8 inches
Available (black scabbard)

Smith & Wesson SW3B Fixed Blade Knife Review

Believe it or not, Smith & Wesson isn't just a popular maker of firearms. They also make tactical knives that are great for survival use. Specifically, its SW3B is one of the top picks of our staff because of the knife's versatility and reliability. 

This tactical knife features a spear-point blade, which is not surprising given that it is inherently designed for tactical purposes. The blade is tough and sharp; its edge retention is also great, and it doesn't require too much sharpening. 

Its notched spine ensures that users will have a better grip when holding the blade's spine. This feature is particularly useful when working with tough objects. The blade even has deep grooves and oversized blood grooves. 

Meanwhile, the blade is attached securely to a textured nylon fiber handle. The package is then completed by a black scabbard that includes a sharpening stone, a large storage pouch, and several wire cutters. 

Suitable for tactical and survival use
Handle has an anti-slip texturing
Ergonomic, effective blade design
Blade is somewhat susceptible to scratches

How To Choose The Best Survival Knife

A survival knife is essential for anyone who enjoys staying outdoors. Whether you are a hiker, a camper, or a hunter, these survival knives should have a place on your checklist. These are must-have tools for off-grid adventurers and those who want to try dispersed camping

But the thing is, there are different survival knives in the market today. Choosing one can be a little tricky, especially if you are presented with various features, prices, and designs. So how can you trim and narrow your options? Here are some guidelines that you need to follow. 

Type Of Knife

Essentially, there are two types of knives out there for outdoor use: fixed and folding. Both of these knives can be used for survival applications. But keep in mind that folding knives are way better for everyday carry purposes. On the other hand, fixed-blade knives are well-balanced and sturdy. Hence, they are more suitable for field tasks. 

If you are looking for a bushcraft or survival knife, you might have to stick with these fixed models. 


Now that you know that you are going to need a fixed knife, you will need to decide how you are going to use them. Some knives are versatile, while others are designed for tactical, bushcraft, survival, and hunting. 

Defining these applications should let you arrive at the ideal knife that you can use. In fact, you can even purchase several of these knives and use each of them on applications where you think they fit. 

Here, you will need to scrutinize the build of the blade and the hafting style used in its construction. Is the blade made from stainless steel or carbon steel? How about its tang (the back part of the blade that extends toward the knife's handle)? Is it skinny, thick, or full?

  • If you are planning to use the knife to split wood, you better have a knife with full tang. A full-tang blade offers more structural durability and strength.
  • Meanwhile, bushcrafting often demands small knives for dealing with various woodworking and camp errands. These knives have rat-tail tangs. 

Don't forget about the geometry of the blade's edge. A convex edge is ideal for heavy-duty work like chopping. Meanwhile, the Nordic grind is suitable for grinding.


All of us have different preferences when it comes to outdoor tools. And just like we have mentioned, not all survival knives are the same. So there are specific knives that excel in a particular environment or situation. Some knives are inherently built for hunting, while others are for fieldwork. But all of these knives can still be considered "survival" tools. 

Regardless of your intended usage, choose a knife that will not disappoint you. This means that it has to be functional, reliable, and durable. While it is cool to pick aesthetically stunning knives, keep in mind that appearance is not the primary consideration in choosing survival tools. 

So if you are going to choose a knife, you better look for the following qualities. 

  • The knife should be easy to sharpen - We have a lot of field sharpeners, but not all knives can be sharpened with a simple whetstone! You might also want to get sharpeners dedicated to survival knives
  • The knife should provide a secure grip - The handle of the knife is an important feature you shouldn't ignore. Aside from being sturdy, it should be able to let you hold it with comfort and security. In this way, you can use the knife whether or not the condition is wet. 
  • Look for a knife that is designed for a particular application - As mentioned, go for a survival knife that fits your requirements. If you are in a forest, you may want to look for a fixed, full-tang knife. If you are in a camp, a simple foldable bushcraft knife might work. 

Blade Material

The blade of knives can be made from different materials. But in this context, what we can recommend are blades made from stainless steel and carbon steel. Both of these materials can handle different applications and environments. 

A lot of bushcrafters and survivalists prefer high-carbon steel blades because they are durable and offer great edge-retention. But these features can also be found on stainless steel blades. 

Avoid These Two Types Of Handles

Now, we will take a little different route here. Most of the time, we always remind people what to look for when it comes to choosing a particular gear. But this time, allow us to tell you what to avoid when it comes to choosing survival knives. Specifically, we are talking about the handle. 

There are two types of handles that should cause you to turn down a knife: hollow handles and those that have poor grip. 

Hollow handles are quite cool because the space inside them lets you store small essentials and accessories. But because of this design, these knives suffer from a major problem: they don't have a tang anymore. Therefore, the handle and the blade are entirely made from different materials. And if you are aiming for heavy-duty use, this architecture is not entirely suitable for that.

Meanwhile, you should also avoid those handles that have poor grip design. You don't want the knife to slide away from your hands while you are using it. That could cause potential accidents, not to mention the fact that it could get annoying. At the same time, the handle should be comfortable to hold. 

Ways To Use The Best Survival Knife

A survival knife is more than just fending off enemies and threats. At its core, a survival knife should be utilized for fishing or hunting food. But at the same time, it is usable in different types of field tasks. And among these tasks could increase your survival if you are stuck in an emergency or pressing situation

Here are the uses of a survival knife:

  • First aid - A survival knife can treat wounds or injuries. However, you can use it for cutting bandages. With the proper sterilization and hygiene, these knives can also be used to drain blisters.
  • Food gathering and processing - From skinning games to slicing and cutting vegetables, a survival knife is definitely an indispensable tool. Without a knife, you won't be able to process and eat all your gathered food. 
  • Splitting wood and branches - Ideally, hatchets and axes are the primary tools for splitting or cutting wood. However, the correct survival knife can do these tasks. Specifically, you should pick a large knife with a full-tang, flat-edge blade design. Learn the skill of batoning so that you can maximize the utility that survival knives offer.

Here’s a basic batoning tutorial:

  • Hammer - Don't think that the blade of the knife is the only useful component that it has. Its handle, for instance, can be used as a hammer. You can use it to pound poles and stakes. 
  • Manufacturing tools - A survival knife is a nice tool to have, given that it enables you to manufacture rudimentary tools. For example, you can turn wooden poles into spears with these survival knives. You can also use these knives for crafting fire bows and drills. Carving other items, such as tripos, bowls, and spoons, are actually possible. 
  • Fire making - The best survival knives are extremely valuable for gathering materials for building a fire. You can use them to flay ribbons out of the inner barks of woods. These wooden ribbons will serve as the tinder for your campfire.

Here’s a video on how to do this task:

  • Building shelter - Furthermore, you can use survival knives as a means to build shelters--if you have no other choice but to build one. You can use them to create the limbs of a makeshift shelter. You can utilize them for notching the limbs before binding them together. 
  • Protection and hunting - As mentioned, survival knives are used as a weapon. They can deal with both four-legged and two-legged threats. Hunting food is possible if you have a reliable knife. You can even attach the knife to a pole to create a spear that you can use for fishing. 

Final Thoughts

Here's a summary of what you should look for in the best survival knives:

  • Choose a knife with a full-tang blade for maximum strength and durability.
  • Consider the blade material, such as high-carbon stainless steel or ceramic, for its sharpness and resistance to rust and corrosion.
  • Opt for a blade size that can handle a variety of tasks, from chopping wood to preparing food.
  • Look for features like a comfortable grip, a serrated edge for sawing, and a sheath for safe and easy storage.
  • Remember to maintain and sharpen your knife regularly to ensure its longevity and effectiveness in survival situations.

Overall, these survival knives can help you conquer any demands in the field. Whether you need to hunt food, gather fire materials, or build shelters, these knives can actually help you. Just make sure that you pick a good tool in the first place so that you don't feel dull when you are already in the wild. And the picks we listed here are easily among the top survival knives right from the get-go.

Other readings you may enjoy
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram