Best Overall Survival Knife

What is The Best Overall Survival Knife?

Only a brave and well prepped survivalist would dare enter into this discussion, and since I am not one to refuse a challenge, let me give this one, a go.

Let’s start by describing what is a survival knife?

The best overall survival knife should be the most rugged piece of cutting steel that will see you through thick and thin when the SHTF!

This is the knife that you carry on you, at all times, when in a wilderness environment, and it is mostly used when things get serious.

The knife is one of the most useful tools ever invented by human beings. We have been using knives for thousands of years, for daily chores and for defense. We use knives everyday for preparing food and various cutting tasks. A strong, sharp blade is arguably the most important survival tool to have in a wilderness emergency.

Knives were one of the first tools invented by early man. They began as simple cutting tools, but technology has revolutionized the modern knife blade. The first knives were probably sharpened pieces of flint or obsidian.  From these materials, they evolved into bronze, iron, and finally into today’s, sophisticated steels that modern blade-makers use.

Knives come in more shapes and sizes than you can imagine, but the Best Overall Survival Knife must be able to cut and clean game, perform daily tasks around camp, and be part of your powerful self-defense system.

A survival knife is also a bushcraft knife, and must be a practical and capable tool that can benefit your search for food, shelter, fire-building, and all the other necessities that you require in a wilderness situation.

Alone in the wilderness, … this is your most important tool.

This is not the knife that I use for cutting cheese, or picking my teeth, … just an expression. I would have made a toothpick with my everyday general purpose knife.

I’m a big believer in having a backup for all of my essentials and knives are no exception.

What are the qualities of the perfect survival Knife?

These seven features, are in my opinion, what must be included in the perfect knife. Knife makers, throughout the ages, have been trying to make the perfect knife, and never underestimate the creativity, the intelligence, and the resourcefulness, of a dedicated, and persistent human being.

A knife is a thing of beauty to a survivalist. A survivalist is a committed, and intelligent human being that has spends many hours planning and preparing to give himself the best odds possible, in the worst of all situations. They are all dedicated professionals.

A Solid Synthetic Handle

When your eyes first perceive this heavenly-shaped piece of metal and handle material, you have been captured by one of Nature’s ultimate shiny objects. Every grown-up, and every boy and girl, that I know, want to get this piece of shiny metal in their hand, to feel the power and energy it possesses. It’s like the ultimate magic wand, except that it’s more than magic, … this is a real power stick.

To hold this beautiful and impressive object, you must grab it by its handle. As soon as the handle makes contact with your hand, a connection is made to this object of beauty and function.

Immediately, your hand gives a yes or a no to your brain. This is why my perfect knife begins at the handle.

No, … the handle is not more important than the material used in its blade construction, the blade length or thickness, or the fixed, full tang blade. These qualities all blend together, to form the perfect whole, but the best way to hold this tool is by its handle. Now, let’s get to that blade.

A Fixed Blade

You bet your sweet pommel on that one. I will bet my survival on a one-piece, 1/4-inch thick piece of the best grade blade material over a folding blade, every day of the week, including Sundays.

There are many excellent folding blades on the market, BUT, every folding knife has a hinge system of sorts, and that is its weak point. This is the weakest link in the chain, no contest here!

A Blade Length of 6 inches

After this comfortable feeling of the handle in your hand, the attention now turns to the blade. How long is the blade. Too short and too long are just that. A survival knife has to have good blade length and this, for me, is about 6 inches. Remember now, I’m describing the best overall survival knife, and a six-inch blade can perform many small and large tasks. Too short, say 4 inches, does not perform well for larger, more robust work, and too long, let’s say 8 inches, does not perform small tasks well. So 6 inches, it is!

A Blade Thickness of 1/8 to 1/4 inch

The feel of this knife in my hand makes me twist and turn it to get a better command of its powerful energy. A 1/4 inch thick full tang extending the full length of the handle and the first third of the blade, finally tapering towards the point, would be reaching close to ideal for me.

This blade thickness, however, can, and will vary with the design, but this is the thickness range that I prefer, and consider robust enough to qualify as my best overall survival knife.

The Point of the Knife

The point of a knife is the part that pierces the target. Like all other parts of the knife’s design it must be considered here as well. The sharper the point the weaker it is and the easier it will break when subjected to resistance. This is a very important feature for a survival knife. A broken knife point needs no further discussion. You are now left with half a knife.

Clip Point, Drop Point, Sheepsfoot, Tanto, Spear point, Trailing Point, and the Gut Hook, are some of the more common knife points.

Best Overall Survival Knife

My preferred is the drop point. When treated properly, it is the most functional point for most of your needs.



The tanto point is the strongest point, but it does not slice well.

Best Overall Survival Knife

Made of High Carbon Steel

Knife blades are made from a variety of steel materials in an effort to improve sharpness and resistance to staining and rust. Each material brings its best qualities to the final product.

Carbon Steel, which is an alloy of iron and carbon, can be made very sharp, holds its edge well, is easy to sharpen, but is vulnerable to rust and stains.

Stainless Steel is an alloy of iron, a minimum 10.5% chromium by mass , possible nickel, and molybdenum, and a maximum 1.2% of carbon by mass. It does not take as sharp an edge as carbon steel, but it is very resistant to corrosion.

High carbon stainless steel is stainless steel with greater amounts of carbon. This is intended to combine the better attributes of carbon steel and stainless steel. High carbon stainless steel blades do not discolor and stain and they maintain a sharper edge.

A Full Tang

Best Overall Survival Knife

The tang is the part of the blade that extends into the handle. Knives are made with either a partial tang or a full tang.

In a full tang, the blade is one piece of metal extending into the handle, the full length of the tang can often be visible on the top, bottom, and end of the handle.

This is the strongest and best scenario.

A full tang is a must!

Conclusions and Considerations

These qualities or features of my Best Overall Survival Knife are all widely known and generally accepted in the knife world. When we think of knives, we think of blades. I chose to begin with the handle for this very personal reason.

Over the years, I have owned and used, many different blades in a wide range of designs. Nothing is more frustrating for me, than to hold a beautiful, well designed, and well constructed blade that is attached or connected to a poorly designed and constructed handle. If the handle does not fit well in your hand, this is not good. It prevents proper control of this very useful tool.

I have gotten into many animated discussions over the years about what makes the best overall survival knife. I’m sure that you have as well. I would love to hear your comments, your questions, and your suggestions about your Best Overall Survival Knife.

Be very careful when collecting knives, even though a knife collection is never a bad thing to have. They should be very sharp, they are always expensive, AND someone is making a beautiful one, right now, as you are reading this post!

You can Contact Me by email at this link. Clicking on my links and purchasing from my links may result in small financial benefits for me, and no extra costs for you. Thanks for reading my post!


16 thoughts on “Best Overall Survival Knife”

  1. Hi, your post about the best overall survival knife is very unique, I have never know that knives have different types, this makes the post educating to me, actually I did not own a personal knife apart from the one in my kitchen but am falling in love with the drop point type of  knife, to create awareness for my friend about knife I will be sharing your post on my social media 

    i will be getting one through your link also on your websites.

    • Good Day, Samuel, and thanks for your interest in my post.

      Knives are a fascinating tool that we have been using for millennia. We use them almost everyday, and even in the kitchen. They are one of man’s first inventions.

      Thanks for sharing this with your friends.


  2. Wow, I love all what you have written as the best features to look out for in knives. Like you, I have used so many knives in the past because I love camping and like you said, “A knife is a thing of beauty to a survivalist”. I agree with your features on the best overall survival knives and I’d like to add they though many people think the blade is the most important part, I think the grip is also just as important so a good handle is also essential. Great post.

    • Thanks Henderson.

      Not to detract from the blade’s importance, but like you I find that the handle’s function to the knife, is not always given the attention it deserves. Happy to hear that you camp and spend time in the outdoors.


  3. Knives are so cool. And as you stated, really useful. My grandfather had a lot of survival knives but I just recently moved so I’m going to need one. I live in a forest and go hiking pretty often so I really need one. I’m going to check out the ones you recommend. The Ka-Bar is beautiful. 

    • Hiking is one of the most popular forms of exercising today, Melody. 

      If you have the good fortune of living near a forest, do not pass up this opportunity.

      The Top 10 Survival Items and A Leatherman Wave Review are two links that can help you make an informed choice when you search for things to bring along on your next outing.

      I would love to hear about your hikes.


  4. In my family we do more of traditional hunting and you will agree with me that a survival knife does need to be on the list when going for such, I love the fact that you brought with this post some good survival knifes to choose from while going hunting this year. I could also use this too for camping with friends. cool stuff.

    • These two examples will fill the bill well, Jeremiah.

      We have been using knives for hunting and camping forever. Hunting requires excellent quality blades and these are good tools for that purpose. I’d love to hear about your adventures. Drop me a few lines, about your use of knives, in your traditional hunts. 

      What types of blades do you use, and what points, do they have?

      Big Game Hunting requires big blades.


  5. Post really nice and great topic! I was convinced that a survival knife was worth the other, instead, thanks to Paul, I discover that there are a vast variety of them. the topic has been treated with great detail and although not a skilled Davy Crockett, my next purchase for my excurions will do so by following Paul’s advice well.

    • Thanks, Fabio, for finding value in my post.

      The outdoors is a fine place to relax and rejuvenate. Properly equipped, your experience is safer and more enjoyable.

      Happy Trails.


  6. Hi Paul

    Nice to visit your website. I think you have a lot to offer here. I am a nature lover too. I love camping and spending time in nature. I find it relaxing and just wonderful.

    I think with your years of experience you are gonna give us a lot of information, tips, and recommendation to improve our outdoor living experience. I have bookmarked your blog and I will be looking forward to reading more about this subject.


    • Good Day, Adyns.

      Nice to hear that you spend lots of time in the outdoors.

      It is always a great place to relax and remove ourselves from the daily grind.

      Visit again.


  7. Great to be reminded of how important knives used to be in our lives and still are. I don’t think a day goes by in the modern world either where we don’t use a knife for one thing or another.

    You are right to recommend a fixed blade, especially when cutting through tough materials. There is nothing worse than being in the middle of something and the blade separates from the handle.

    I always thought more of the sharpness of the knife and not so much about the point or tip. But this part is even more important and it is important that it is strong and does not bend.

    • Knives are an important tool that we use just about everyday, Michel.

      Hard to believe that such a simple tool is so useful in our day to day activities.

      A fixed blade is best for a survival knife, but there are also many modern folding knives of excellent quality, for day to day tasks. They also make excellent companions in your EDC bags.

      The point of a knife is often considered with the knife’s purpose.

      Stay safe.


  8. Hello there. Nice stumbling upon this page.  Thank you for the detail on all facets of the knife.  The information was very helpful as I found myself reading the article.  The grip looks a little worrisome to me.  I always am afraid to hold those knives because I would think my hand could slip and cut myself really badly.  However, thank you for the information and the pictures too.

    • Thanks for dropping by, Chris.

      That’s why I began by describing a good handle. Your ability to hold this knife comfortably and securely in your hand is what gives you the confidence in using the tool.


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