Choosing a Survival Knife

I have a saying that “In a Survival Situation, any knife is the best knife” but that said, if you have the option of choosing a Survival Knife, what knife you have in any survival situation what knife is the best survival knife ? In response I don’t think there is a diffinitive best survival knife.

A Survival Knife can mean many different things to different people, depending on their own personal experiences and skill set ! Ex Military types will probably opt for a more tactical Survival Knife such as the ESEE-5 or BK2 whilst the more non Military Bushcraft types will opt for something like the Morakniv Bushcraft or the Condor CTK232-4.3HC Walnut Handle Bushlore Knife.

Always follow these steps when finding the best survival knife for you:

  • Knife Size
    Choose a Knife that is a good size for you ! The Biggest isn’t always best. Aim for a total knife length of 10 – 12 inches with a Blade Size of 5 – 6 inches. This will give you a good allrounder knife suitable for medium chopping tasks as well as the ability to dress small game.
  • Quality High Carbon Steel
    Avoid Chinese Wonder Steel ! Always choose a blade with a pedigree from a well known manufacturer ! The last thing you want is for your Survival Knife in a Survival Situation. Even if you a working to budget you will still find some dependable blades out there.
  • Good Blade thickness
    A good blade thickness gives your Survival more durability and that added weight needed for chopping.
  • Fixed Blade
    A fixed blade knife is more robust and reliable than a folding knife.
  • Full Tang
    Full tang simply means that the knife is one solid piece of metal with handle pieces pinned one on each side, this makes for the strongest knives.
  • Pointed Tip
    A pointed tip gives you survival more versatility. Not only is the pointed tip best for self defence (against Man or Beast) it is also better for many survival tasks such as drilling, dressing small and fish.
  • Solid Pummel
    A well designed and substantial pommel adds to your list of capabilities.
  • Single Edged Blade with 90 degree spine
    For all Survival tasks, a single edged blade with a nice 90 degree spine is ideal. To Baton through wood or prepare kindling and the 90 degree spine is ideal for throwing a spark using a ferro rod.

Best Survival Knives – Considerations

There are 3 Survival Knives that always seems to be in the Top 10 of most lists of the “Best Survival Knives” and they are there for good reason ! firstly they all meet the all the above criteria ! next they are all within most peoples budgets and lastly they a widely available.


The ESEE-5 Survival Knife was designed By Military SERE Instructors as a “hard use” downed Pilot’s Survival Knife. Thus it is capable of being used as a weapon, processing food or processing wood / shelter building.



The Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Survival Knife is an almost indestructible tank of a knife. The BK2 is one of the few knives to be awarded a very rare 5 stars by Ultimate Survival Tips, so that means its a very capable knife.


Originally designed to free an aircrew from a downed aircraft.

A notable exception !

Though using the above points to finding the Best Survival Knife for you should ensure you don’t go far wrong ! there is 1 notable exception to the above rules that should also be considered – The Morakniv range. Despite all but 1 Morakniv being partial tang designs, the Morakniv is a highly dependable Survival / Bushcraft knife and I personally have the Morakniv Bushcraft Black in my collection and I take it on nearly every camping trip.

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