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Introduction to outdoor survival knives
Survival knives come in all different shapes and sizes. You have probably heard of many of the outdoor knives such as the bowie knife and the combat knife, but which is the best for when you’re stuck in the wilderness hoping not to get eaten by the local wildlife?!
Let’s first have a look at a few different types of outdoor knife that will take you from hunted to hunter, and the features that distinguish them. We will then conclude with our own BushcraftPro Top 10 survivial knives.
Combat knives are popular with men of the outdoors, but were originally designed for hand-to-hand combat. They were standard issue in the military as so the two terms, military knife and combat knife, generally refer to the same thing.
Combat knives are designed to inflict a damage to an opponent in close-combat and so tend to be relatively small but easy to grip and thrust.
Development of such knives throughout wars has led to their improvement in general utility, and they are now designed to have secondary uses for things like chopping branches and clearing foliage. This means their multi-purpose function?comes in useful as the outdoors can throw a lot of different situations at you. These are essentially?what tactical knives are. Tactical knives began to become more utility focused, and as a result some were manufactured to fold into their grip. Although this was good in terms of space and safety, it received criticism because in hand-to-hand combat the knife would require unfolding, taking up precious time in a fight.
These types of outdoor knives are great for the outdoors?as they have so many uses, making them a valuable part of any bushcraftman’s equipment.
Popularised by James Bowie in the early 1800s after the famous?Sandbar Duel, the bowie knife, also known as the ‘Arkansas toothpick’, was designed for fighting. It was very common in the South, and the bowie knife was used extensively by men in the civil war before weapons like rifles and revolvers led to knife becoming?less valuable in combat.
In general they are larger than combat knives, with blades ranging from 5 – 24 inches. A defining feature is that the blade is double-edged at the point making the knife an effective stabbing weapon. However, along the majority of the length of the blade only one side was sharpened. This?allowed the fighter?to move his hand down the blade as required?making it the?perfect knife for?close-quarter combat.
The Best Fixed Blade Knives
So if we had to pick?the top 10 survival knives, what would they be?
10.?Spyderco Bushcraft G-10
3.9 inch blade made of ?O-1 steel. This means it keeps well?over time but also can be sharpened quickly too. A little bit of oil applied before use allows it to keep even better, especially from rust. The knife is weighted well and?the polished micarta?G-10 handle is very comfortable to grip. 4.6 / 5 on Amazon.com
9. Schrade Extreme SCHF3 Survival
A beautiful 6.4 inch stainless steel black blade. The knife comes with a sheath and wrist lanyard, ideal for moving around in the outdoors without having to worry about losing it. It has great long time performance and continues to perform after rugged use. 4.4 / 5 on Amazon.com
8. Gerber?22-01400?LMF II Survival Knife
4.84 inch blade. Overall knife length?is?10.59 inch. The handle is electrically insulated, and rugged making it easier to grip. The buttcap is also designed to break glass and the sheath has a built-in sharpener. 4.7 / 5 on Amazon.com
7. Cold Steel SRK Survival Knife
6 inch straight blade, with a comfortable and good weighting in the hand. No buttcap however, but the knife excels in value as one of the cheaper one on the market, yet still delivering great quality. 4.4 / 5 on Amazon.com
6. Ka-Bar Becker BK2
The blade is 1095 cro-van steel blade, giving it fantastic strength, measuring 5.5 inches long, taking the knife as a whole to 10.5 inches. The handle is made of a nice Grivory material that provides a good balance and is weighted well in the hand. The sheath keeps the blade sharp. 4.6 / 5 on Amazon.com
5. T010 Tom Brown Tracker
A rather mean looking knife, ?weighing in at ?ounces. The blade is 3.5 inches long and is made out of high carbon steel. The top of the knife acts like an axe and can make small tree felling easy compared to other knives. It holds up to a lot of what mother nature throws at it. A great outdoor knife! 4.6 / 5 on Amazon.com
4. Ka-Bar Becker BK9
A classic example of a bowie knife, the Becker BK9 exhibits a 9 inch straight blade, which is made of 1095 Cro-Van steel. It weighs in at just over 1 pound.?It also has a?Swiss-made Grivory handle.?For extra?strength it is made using glass fiber filled nylon. The knife is just under 15 inches in total. 4.7 / 5 on Amazon.com
3. SOG Seal Team Elite Knife
The SOH has a 7 inch blade constructed from?AUS-8 steel giving it impressive resistance to war. The handle is made using?Glass Re-enforced Nylon (GRN). The knife has proved itself again and again, especially after rigorous use by the army. 4.6 / 5 on Amazon.com
2.?Gerber 22-41121 Prodigy
The fixed-blade?knife weighs 8 ounces. It has a 4.75 inch partially serrated blade?made of?U.S. 420HC stainless steel making it incredibly durable. The knife comes with three straps (one for the leg) and a textured over-molded soft-grip, ensuring a great grip on the knife. The sheath has a friction-release thumb lock?making it secure. 4.8 / 5 on Amazon.com
1. Fallkniven Wilderness Knife
Our top rated knife, with a 3.8 inch straight blade, high quality laminated VG10 steel. It is extremely sharp and remains so for a long time and requires little effort to sharpen after long use.?The handle grips well, even when wet, and is weighted well for easy of use. The knife is a good thickness whilst only weighing 8.4 ounces. Many users claim that it is the best outdoor survival knife they have ever used and is perfect for bushcraft.
4.8 / 5 on Amazon.com
Survival Knives Summary Table
|Name||Blade Length (inches)||Overall Length (inches)||Blade Material||Our Rating / 5||Price|
|Spyderco Bushcraft G-10||3.9||8.75||O-1 Steel||4.6||$$$$|
|Schrade Extreme SCHF3 Survival||6.4||12||400 Series Stainless Steel||4.4||$$|
|Gerber 22-01400 LMF II||4.84||10||420HC Stainless-Steel||4.7||$$$|
|Cold Steel SRK Survival Knife||6||10.75||AUS 8A Stainless-Steel||4.4||$$$|
|Ka-Bar Becker BK2||5.5||10.5||1095 Cro-Van steel||4.6||$$$|
|T010 Tom Brown Tracker||3.5||11.9||1095 Steel||4.6||$$$$|
|Ka-Bar Becker BK9||9||14.75||1095 Cro-Van Steel||4.7||$$$|
|SOG Seal Team Elite Knife||7||12.3||AUS-8 Steel||4.6||$$$|
|Gerber 22-41121 Prodigy||4.75||9.75||U.S. 420HC Stainless Steel||4.8||$$|
|Fallkniven Wilderness Knife||3.8||12.8||Laminated VG10 Steel||4.8||$$$$$|