Whether it’s going out for a day hike or a full trek of the Appalachian Trail, having a solid knife with you is absolutely essential. After all, there’s no telling what may befall of you on an outdoor adventure, so it’s absolutely better to be safe than sorry. We’ve covered survival gear before, but there are few pieces of outdoor gear more critical than a survival knife.
Knives are essential tools for helping you with all kinds of outdoor tasks including cutting rope, branches, starting fires, and more. They’re also helpful to have as a defensive tool, should it ever come down to it. More than anything else, it’s just a functional tool that will serve you well time and time again as you go hiking and camping.
Hopefully, you’ll never be in a position where you need a survival knife to survive. But should that situation arrive, you’ll be set with one of these seven great picks. Our selections, below.
1. Ontario Knife Company 499 Air Force Survival Knife
Carried by Air Force pilots for decades, this survival knife from the Ontario Knife Company may look retro, but it’s decidedly modern in how helpful it is to have alongside you. The blade itself is five inches long to help you cut and trim anything you may need while the reversed sawtooth side allows for, well, sawing effectively. The leather handle helps to give the knife a good grip, allowing you to use it confidently.
2. SOG SEAL Strike Survival Knife
With its specialized SEAL Strike blade, this survival knife from SOG has been field-tested by the best of America’s military to ensure it’s more than capable for civilian use. With a total length of 9.8 inches, the SEAL Strike is considerable, but not in a bad way. Rather, it feels good in your hand and has a solid weight to it when in use. The titanium nitride coating on the blade itself ensures it won’t break down over time, meaning you can consistently use it without the worry of it failing you. And, of course, there’s a sawtooth edge for really difficult cuts.
3. Gerber Ultimate Survival Knife
This survival knife from Gerber is kind of like a Transformer in the sense that there’s more to it than meets the eye. Sure, you’ve got a dependable blade backed by Gerber (one of the absolute best when it comes to knives) but it also includes a dedicated fire starter, striking edge, sharpener, emergency whistle, and a hammer pommel to give you a fully rounded emergency survival kit. And you can keep it close by with a dedicated wrist loop. Just be sure to keep it in its sheath.
4. Morakniv Companion Survival Knife
While this survival knife from Morakniv looks like a beefy kitchen knife, it packs a lot of power in a small package. The 4.1-inch blade is crafted from stainless steel to hold up to the toughest of challenges, while its coating helps to fight against rust and corrosion as you and it navigate the outdoors together. We particularly enjoy the rubberized grip handle that just feels good in your hand.
5. Buck Knives 119 Special Survival Knife
With its curved “clip point” blade, this survival knife from Buck Knives provides superior strength, edge retention, piercing and detailing work. The pommel of the blade has dedicated palm swells to help you naturally grip and hold the blade while you perform whatever task you may need. The dedicated blade sheath has a button closure to ensure it won’t slip out and can sit right on your waist for ease of access and use. Plus, the 119 Special’s overall design is inherently vintage-inspired, making it feel like something your dad might have carried — while still being handy and ready for today’s world.
6. KA-BAR Marine Corps Survival Knife
Looking to channel your inner Crocodile Dundee? Make sure your knife is this KA-BAR survival knife. Aptly named the Marine Corps knife, its seven-inch blade provides plenty of real estate to accomplish a variety of tasks. The steel itself is made from Cro-van steel, which helps the blade to stay both sharp and durable over extended use. Additionally, there’s a guard a top of the hilt to keep your hand from slipping during use, giving it just an extra step of safety while you’re already working to survive.
7. Gerber Bear Grylls Folding Sheath Survival Knife
Bear Grylls might as well be the name in survival, as his name is just synonymous with the intensity of the outdoors at this point. It also makes him well suited to tackle a survival knife. Developed in partnership with Gerber, this folding health knife has a high carbon stainless steel blade with a drop point that’s well-made for cutting through things such as rope and for smart detailing. Additionally, the textured rubber grip helps to reduce slippage while retaining comfort. When folding out the blade, it will snap into place to securely fasten and can even be opened with one hand. If it’s good enough for Bear, it’ll be good enough for you.