Best Survival Knives 2024

Searching for the ultimate survival knife can be overwhelming; trust me, I know the feeling. Hours slip by as you compare options, yet it feels like you're getting nowhere. After immersing myself in research and hands-on testing, I've uncovered some standout gems that truly deliver.

This article is your roadmap – guiding you through what makes a formidable survival knife to our expert picks for 2024. Ready to discover your perfect match?

Key Takeaways

  • A good survival knife must have a fixed blade with full tang, be made of high carbon steel for durability, and have a solid synthetic handle for reliable grip.
  • The ESEE 6P stands out as the top pick for 2024 because it's strong, versatile in its use, and designed to tackle rugged outdoor tasks effectively.
  • Runner-up KA-BAR Becker BK2 Companion proves itself with tough construction and excellent edge retention, making it ideal for various wilderness activities.
  • Testing survival knives focuses on blade length and thickness, Rockwell Hardness Rating between 58 - 64 HRC, durability against corrosion, and handle material which must offer comfort besides being sturdy.
  • When choosing the right survival knife consider factors like blade shape according to the task at hand, type of steel that balances toughness with rust resistance, handle material that ensures a firm grip under all conditions, ease of use reflecting on ergonomics and sharpness for efficient handling.


Characteristics of a Good Survival Knife

A good survival knife should have a fixed blade and full tang. Its high carbon steel should ensure strength, with an adequate blade length and thickness. The solid synthetic handle provides a secure grip for versatile use in rugged conditions.

Fixed blade, not folding

I always choose a fixed blade knife over a folding one for my outdoor adventures. Fixed blades are much stronger and can handle tougher tasks in the wilderness. They don't have moving parts, which means they're less likely to break when I really need them.

Whether I'm building a shelter, cutting through brush, or preparing food in the wild, my fixed blade knife has got me covered.

My survival knife is like my wilderness partner—it's dependable and ready for anything. The fact that it doesn't fold makes it easy to clean after use, especially when I'm dealing with dirt or sticky sap.

Plus, pulling out a fixed blade from its sheath feels quicker and smoother than fumbling with a folder, especially in emergencies. For any serious bushcraft, hunting, or camping trip, having this kind of reliability by my side gives me real peace of mind.

Full tang

Moving from the simplicity of fixed blades, we shift our focus to another crucial feature: full tang. This design means the metal from the blade runs all the way down through the handle.

It's a big deal because it makes the knife super sturdy and reliable. Imagine trying to pry something open or dig with a knife that's not full tang—you risk breaking it right at the handle where you need strength most.

Full tang knives are crafted from one solid piece of steel, extending their durability and toughness. Yes, they might be heavier, but that weight comes with unbeatable resilience and longevity.

Whether I'm splitting wood or setting up camp, my full tang knife is my go-to tool for heavy-duty tasks without fear of snapping in half. Its solid construction ensures I can rely on it trip after trip, making it an essential part of my survival gear.

High carbon blade steel

High carbon blade steel makes the best knives for survival. It's strong, holds an edge well, and can take a beating without breaking. I learned that steels like 154CM are popular because they mix high carbon with chromium.

This combo means your knife stays sharp longer and doesn't wear down fast.


The secret to a knife’s longevity lies in its blade material - high carbon is king.


This type of steel isn't just tough; it resists wearing down even after lots of use. Whether you're cutting rope or building shelter, a knife with high carbon blade steel won’t let you down.

I especially appreciate how this material ensures my survival gear lasts longer, saving me time and money in the long run.

Blade length and thickness

The ideal survival knife blade length falls between 3.5 and 7 inches, offering versatility for various tasks. A thickness of around 0.165 inches provides durability and precision, ensuring control for finer jobs while being robust enough for demanding tasks like wood processing or shelter building.

Longer knives provide additional utility, such as the Parang and kukri styles with lengths around 13 inches, catering to specific survival tasks.

Transitioning to "Solid synthetic handle..."

Solid synthetic handle

Transitioning from blade characteristics to the handle, a resilient handle material like solid synthetic is crucial for a dependable survival knife. As part of the best survival knives, it's essential to ensure that the durable handle can withstand rugged use and provide a reliable grip.

A quality survival knife is underpinned by its tough and long-lasting handle, making it an indispensable tool for various outdoor situations.

The Best Survival Knives in 2024

Looking for the best survival knives in 2024? Let's check out the top pick: ESEE 6P. Plus, don't miss the runner-up pick: KA-BAR BECKER BK2 COMPANION.

Top pick: ESEE 6P

ESEE 6P is my top pick for the best survival knife in 2024. It's a reliable and practical tool for outdoor adventures, offering durability and versatility. With its 6.35mm thick blade, it excels in cutting, chopping, prying, piercing tasks, making it an essential companion for rugged tasks during camping or outdoor survival situations.

The slightly larger and heavier build of ESEE 6P compared to the ESEE 5P enhances its suitability for demanding outdoor activities. This makes it a dependable choice when you need a sturdy and adaptable survival knife designed to tackle various challenges in the wild.


The KA-BAR Becker BK2 "Companion" impresses with its rugged durability and solid construction. Ethan Becker's design, brought to life by KA-BAR, features a 5.25" blade crafted from tough carbon steel.

This runner-up contender stands out for its full tang and impressive edge retention - making it a reliable wilderness companion suitable for various outdoor tasks like bushcrafting, camping or hunting.

With favorable feedback on its sturdiness and performance, the KA-BAR Becker BK2 "Companion" secures its spot as an all-purpose survival tool in the ever-changing landscape of outdoor gear.

Other notable contenders

After exploring the top picks, let's delve into other notable contenders:


  1. Gerber StrongArm: Its full tang construction and versatile blade shape make it ideal for various outdoor tasks.
  2. Fallkniven A1 Pro: Crafted with laminated cobalt steel, this knife offers exceptional strength and edge retention.
  3. Benchmade Bushcrafter 162: With a premium blade and ergonomic handle, it's designed to excel in wilderness survival scenarios.
  4. Spyderco Bushcraft G-10: This knife boasts a reliable Scandinavian grind and a tough stainless steel blade for bushcraft needs.
  5. Ontario Knife Company Blackbird SK-5: Known for its high-quality steel and robust build, this knife is favored by outdoor enthusiasts.
  6. Cold Steel SRK: Featuring a rugged design and durable VG-1 steel blade, it's built to withstand tough survival situations.


These contenders bring unique features and quality craftsmanship to the realm of outdoor knives.

How We Tested the Best Survival Knives

We tested the best survival knives based on specific criteria and through rigorous testing methods. Our testing ensured that the knives met our standards for durability, versatility, and performance in various outdoor scenarios.

Criteria for selection

When choosing the best survival knives, I considered several crucial criteria. Here's what you need to look for:


  1. Blade Length and Thickness: Opt for a blade length that suits your needs, and a thickness that provides durability without sacrificing functionality.
  2. Rockwell Hardness Rating: Look for a rating between 58-64 HRC to ensure your knife can handle tough tasks.
  3. Durability and Corrosion Resistance: It's essential that your knife can withstand harsh conditions while being resistant to corrosion.
  4. Full Tang: A strong, full tang knife ensures that the blade extends fully through the handle, providing strength and stability.
  5. Handle Material: Consider the material of the handle carefully; it should be solid and comfortable in hand.
  6. Blade Design and Sheath: Choose a design suited to your specific needs, along with a practical sheath for safe carrying.


These factors are vital in selecting the best survival knife to meet your individual preferences and requirements.

Testing methods

When determining the best survival knives, testing methods play a crucial role in evaluating their performance and reliability. Here's how we tested the best survival knives:


  1. Evaluation Methods: Knives were tested using real-world scenarios to assess their performance and reliability in survival situations.
  2. Performance Assessment: Each knife was evaluated based on its cutting ability, edge retention, and overall durability.
  3. Reliability Testing: Knives underwent rigorous tests to determine their ability to withstand harsh conditions and maintain functionality.
  4. Scoring Criteria: After each test, knives were scored based on specific attributes, with a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent).
  5. Suitability Determination: The testing process aimed to determine the suitability of each knife for various survival situations, including outdoor activities and emergency preparedness.


These evaluation methods helped us identify the top 10 best survival knives in the world and provide comprehensive recommendations for consumers seeking reliable tools for survival.

Buyer's Guide: How to Choose the Right Survival Knife

Need help choosing the best survival knife? Discover how blade shape, steel type, handle material, ease of use, and legal considerations impact your choice. Explore our buyer's guide for expert insights into selecting the perfect survival tool!

Blade shape

The blade shape of a survival knife plays a crucial role in its versatility. Different blade shapes offer unique advantages for specific tasks, such as piercing, slicing, or chopping.

For example, drop point blades are excellent all-around choices for various cutting needs, while tanto blades excel at piercing and stabbing tasks. Understanding the intended use of the knife will help in selecting the most suitable blade shape.

Knife steel

Choosing the right knife steel is crucial for a survival knife. Two common types are carbon and stainless steel. Carbon steel is tough, but not as rust-resistant as stainless steel.

Important factors when considering blade material include durability, rust resistance, and overall performance in various conditions.

When it comes to selecting a survival knife, understanding the qualities of different steels helps ensure you make an informed decision. Now let's move on to handle materials for your ideal survival knife.

Handle material

Moving from discussing the knife steel to exploring handle material, we transition to another crucial aspect of a survival knife. The choice of handle material is vital for a secure and comfortable grip in all conditions.

Modern synthetic materials such as Kraton, Micarta, G-10, and GRN/FRN offer lightweight durability and excellent grip even when wet. These materials are top choices for ensuring a reliable and long-lasting handle for survival knives.

Notably, wood and bone handles have their unique appeal but may require more maintenance compared to modern synthetics.

I have found that the use of these synthetic materials ensures durability and reliability in various conditions while also providing an excellent level of comfort for extended usage periods.

Ease of use

When choosing a survival knife, the ease of use is crucial for quick and efficient handling in any situation. A comfortable handle with good ergonomics ensures a secure grip, while the blade's sharpness facilitates effortless cutting and slicing tasks.

Additionally, one-handed opening capability offers convenience during emergencies or when multitasking. Thus, prioritizing these features enhances the practicality and versatility of the survival knife.

The handle ergonomics are vital for a secure grip, ensuring safety and preventing hand fatigue during prolonged use – an essential consideration that correlates directly with ease of use.

Legal considerations

When selecting a survival knife, it's crucial to be aware of legal restrictions and blade regulations in your area. Make sure to understand the knife laws, carry laws, and any legal limitations related to blade length.

Complying with these legal requirements is essential for ensuring that you can responsibly use and carry your survival knife. Keep these factors in mind as you explore the best options available.



After putting these knives to the test, I believe the ESEE 6P is definitely a top choice due to its reliability and practicality. Designed for various survival tasks, it's an all-rounder at a reasonable price.

GearJunkie has carefully curated these picks to ensure you get the best wilderness companion in 2024. So, whether it's fire building or shelter crafting – don't overlook having the right tool by your side!

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