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Survival Knife Essentials: Choosing the Best Survival Knife for 2024

Survival Knife Essentials: Choosing the Best Survival Knife for 2024

Posted by HH on 4th Jun 2024

The best survival knife is the one that you have with you but, if you’ve the luxury of time to select a knife, we’ve picked a selection across ten different manufacturers based on different blade shapes and finishes.

Heinnie Haynes’ position as market leader, with more than 28 years of experience and expertise as an online retailer specialising in the sale of top-notch knives, makes us strongly confident that the models we’re recommending certainly fit the title of “Some of the best survival tools around”.

Some of the best survival tools around

These survival knives (presented in no particular order) aren’t all necessarily new for 2024 but they’re all truly excellent. Read our Survival Knife Essentials guide (below) which also features some of these survival knives.

Survival Knife Essentials

A survival knife is an essential tool for any outdoor enthusiast or those involved in bushcraft. It offers versatility and resilience in challenging situations. The best survival knives are robust, reliable and can handle the rigorous demands of the wilderness.

When choosing a survival knife, consider the different types available and their specific features that may be best suited to your needs. For example, fixed-blade knives are known for their strength and reliability, while folding knives offer convenience and portability. The composition of the blade, the design of the handle and the presence of additional features like a serrated edge or an integrated fire starter can all impact a knife's functionality in a survival situation.

Survival knife types and uses

Survival knives are specially-designed blades for outdoor survival situations. Their types and uses can vary widely, depending on the specific needs and skills of the user.

Fixed blade survival knives: A fixed blade knife, like the Gerber Survival Knife, is a solid choice for survival because of its strength and reliability. With no moving parts, this kind of knife can handle demanding tasks like chopping and wood processing without the risk of breaking. The size and design of the blade, including full tang construction, make it an indispensable survival tool.

Folding knives: Folding knives are compact and portable, making them convenient for everyday carry. However, they are generally not as robust as fixed blade knives, which is why our list doesn’t include any folders, and are better suited for lighter tasks, like cutting small kindling or preparing food.

Bushcraft knives: Specifically designed for woodcraft and wilderness survival, knives such as the Joker Nomad Micarta 16.5cm bushcraft and survival knife offer versatility in outdoor activities. Their design focuses on wood preparation, precision cutting and ease of handling, and they are often full tang as well.

Multifunctional survival knives: Some survival knives are equipped with additional features such as a serrated edge or a survival kit containing items like a fire starter and fishing tools. These multifunctional survival knives, like the Fox Parus with Survival Kit, are an all-in-one package for survival needs.

When selecting a survival knife, consider the tasks you will undertake. A hefty fixed blade may be paramount for building shelters and procuring firewood, whereas a lighter, folding knife could be sufficient for day hikes and less demanding challenges. Always choose a knife that’ll perform reliably under the specific conditions you anticipate.

Key features to consider

When choosing a survival knife, the type of blade steel is a critical factor. There are two main types of steel used in knife blades:

  • Stainless steel, which offers excellent corrosion resistance, making it ideal in wet conditions. However, it may not hold an edge as well as other types.
  • Carbon steel, which is known for maintaining a sharp edge longer - perfect for tasks that require precision. It’s not as resistant to rust though, so proper maintenance is key.

The handle of the knife plays a significant role in its performance. A micarta handle is durable, has good grip even when wet, and withstands extreme temperatures, ensuring ergonomic efficiency.

Some survival knives feature innovative materials like Elmax, a high-alloy powder steel known for high wear resistance and notable corrosion resistance, such as in the Fallkniven F1x Elmax Fixed Blade.

Remember, a good knife balances these features to suit your specific needs, whether that be for bushcraft, emergency situations or general outdoor use. Always assess the knife's capabilities against the challenges you anticipate facing in the wild.

Survival knife safety and maintenance

When you're in a survival situation, the integrity of your equipment is crucial for your safety. A survival knife, particularly one with a full tang, signifies strength where the blade extends down the entire length of the handle – offering superior durability.

Choose blade material wisely. Carbon steel is known for its sharp edge and ease of sharpening, while stainless steel knives, like the Condor Mountain Pass Surveyor Knife, resist rust and corrosion, making them practical for damp environments.

Maintaining the condition of your knife ensures its safety and functionality when you need it most. Here's a brief guide on how to care for your survival knife:

Clean your knife regularly

  • Wipe the blade after each use.
  • Use mild soap and water for cleaning; dry thoroughly.

Regular sharpening

  • Maintain the edge with a honing stone.
  • Periodic sharpening prevents the blade from dulling.

Inspect for wear and tear

  • Check for any cracks or damage, especially before expeditions.

Oil the blade

  • For a carbon steel blade, apply a light coat of oil to prevent rust.

Store properly

  • Keep in a dry, safe place.
  • Use a sheath to safeguard the blade and prevent accidents.

Remember, your knife is a trusty companion in the wild. Its overall durability depends on how well you look after it. Handling it with respect and care will extend its life and ensure it’s ready when you are faced with any challenge.

Ideal survival knives for different scenarios

When considering the ideal survival knife for diverse scenarios, it's essential to factor in various environments and uses.

For wilderness exploration, a robust, full-tang knife with a fixed blade ensures reliability. The Mora Bushcraft Orange Survival Knife, with its sturdy construction and grip, is well-suited to such conditions. It provides versatility for tasks from preparing kindling to shelter building.

In the pursuit of remote area exploration, a multi-functional tool such as this is indispensable. The right knife can serve as a vital survival tool, doubling as a hunting knife in the wild. A wilderness adventuring knife should have the following characteristics:

  • Fixed blade for strength and reliability
  • Comfortable handle to ensure a secure grip in all weather conditions
  • High-quality steel such as stainless or carbon steel, for durability and ease of sharpening

For your everyday carry (EDC), compact and lightweight knives are ideal. They merge convenience with functionality, allowing for daily use without burden. Ideal features for EDC knives include:

  • Portability: a compact size that fits comfortably in your pocket
  • Durability: a robust build to handle daily tasks efficiently

For bushcrafters, a specially-designed tool like the Brisa Bigmuk Curly Birch is apt. Its size and shaped handle provide excellent control for precise cuts (an important feature for intricate bushcraft work). Knives with a burl wood handle provide a comfortable grip and add a unique aesthetic.

Notwithstanding the scenario, prioritise a knife that balances functionality, ergonomics and price to best meet your needs.

Key takeaways

  • A survival knife is a crucial multipurpose tool designed for outdoor survival and bushcraft activities.
  • Select a knife that feels right for your grip and suits your specific outdoor activities.
  • Consider key features such as blade type, handle design and added functionalities when selecting a knife.
  • Regular maintenance and understanding knife safety are imperative for the effective use of a survival knife.

Frequently asked questions

Is it permissible to own a survival knife in the UK?

Yes. In the UK, you may own a survival knife and use it in the wilderness for bushcrafting activities. Be aware that carrying a knife in a public place is subject to strict regulations. Blades over 7.62cm require a valid reason for carry, and locking knives are prohibited from being carried in public without good reason.

What features should the best survival knife possess?

Your ideal survival knife should exhibit robust construction with a full tang, a blade length between 10-16 cm, and a sharp, fixed blade. Materials like high carbon steel are preferred for their durable and easy-to-sharpen nature.

How do you effectively use a flint with a survival knife?

To generate sparks with flint and your survival knife, strike the flint at a downward angle against the back edge of your knife, aiming the sparks towards your tinder. Ensure your knife blade is not serrated at this edge for maximum efficiency. It’s far easier to use a firesteel if you want to make sparks. A ferro rod is your friend.

What makes a military survival knife distinct from other types?

Military survival knives are designed for versatility and reliability under harsh conditions, often featuring a double-edged blade, sawback notch and a sturdy handle with a guard. These knives are tailored to meet the rigorous demands of military operations.

The best survival knives: Heinnie Haynes collection

Why not check out our other great blogs For Gear Recommendations And Outdoor Survival Tips