10 of the Best Survival Knives for Outdoor Adventures

A selection of the best blades for outdoor survival

Bear Grylls is just one of the survival experts with a signature series of survival knives to his name. Photo: Gerber

Essential Survival Knives That Could Save your Life

So you’re heading out on an adventure in the wilderness and getting together all the essential survival gear in case you have any problems. Number one on the list? Survival knives. But with so many different options out there, how do you know what are the best survival knives to choose? Whether you’re a outdoor novice or a hardened survivalist like Bear Grylls, having the right knife on you could make all the difference.

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While our outdoor survival guide touches briefly on knives, we thought we’d delve into it in more detail here – and cover the basics while we’re at it. So here are the 10 best survival knives to meet your exploration needs.

What Is A Survival Knife?

One of the Bear Grylls Gerber survival knives lashed to a stick to make a rudimentary hunting spear. Photo: Gerber

A survival knife is a knife designed specially for survival situations. They need to be sturdy, as they’re designed to help you cut through a variety of things that you’d need to build a shelter, light a fire, prepare food and even hunt if necessary.

The best survival knives tend to be around 4-6 inches long, with either straight or serrated blades.

There are many different types of survival knife, but broadly speaking they can be divided into two groups – those with fixed blades and those with folding blades. Whether you opt for a fixed or a folding blade is broadly down to what you want it for.

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Folding blades are obviously easier to carry around but as a rule they’re less well-suited to tasks that put a lot of stress on the knife. There’s always a risk that the blade may fold if the stress gets too much. So while a folding knife may do for ordinary camping trips if you’re going to be cutting through tougher objects, a fixed blade knife is probably preferable.

Here are our recommendations of 10 of the best survival knives on the market – both fixed and folding.

1) Fallkniven A1 Survival Knife

Swedish brand Fallkniven has a great reputation when it comes to making survival knives. Photo: Fallkniven

As far as survival knives go, the Swedish-made Fallkniven A1 Survival is one of – if not the – best in the world. Its strong, durable laminated VG-10 steel blade means its more than capable of handling demanding work like batoning wood.

It’s 11.3 inches long and weighs 12 ounces with no added frills, but it will get the job done.

The Fallkniven A1 doesn’t come cheap but if you ever find yourself stranded out in the wilderness, this is the kind of survival knife you’d want to have on hand.

Price: £175

2) Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Knife

Bear Grylls has endorsed a whole range of survival knives made by Gerber. Photo: Gerber

Bear Grylls has endorsed a whole range of survival knives of various shapes and sizes but the Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife is probably the pick of the bunch. Coming from a real life action-man who knows his stuff, you can guarantee that the quality of these items have been greatly considered for if you really were stuck on a deserted island.

With a 4.8-inch blade the knife measures 10 inches overall and weighs 11.2 ounces. Available with both a fine blade or a serrated/fine split (as in the picture above) the knife is made out of strong, durable high carbon and has a strong grip. The lanyard cord also contains an emergency whistle. Known for their high grade quality, Gerber is one to definitely keep an eye out for. Head on over to the 5 best Bear Grylls survival knives to check out the rest of their arsenal.

Price: £60

3) ESEE 6 Fixed Blade Survival Knife

The EESE 6 Survival Knife is perhaps the ultimate no-frills workhorse. Photo: EESE

ESEE are a well-known brand respected for the high quality of their survival knives, and this is no exception.

With a 6.5 inch blade and an 11.75 inch length overall this blade is perfect for chopping through small branches, batoning wood or skinning animals. It comes very highly recommended.

Price: £80

4) Ka-Bar Mule Folding Survival Knife

While it will never be as strong as a fixed knife, the Ka-Bar Mule is a great option for those looking for a folding survival knife. Photo: Ka-Bar

As it’s name suggests, the Ka-Bar Mule is designed to be a workhorse knife. While it’s got a folding blade, don’t let that fool you into thinking this isn’t tough enough for almost any survival task.

With a blade that’s a fraction under four inches and an ergonomically-designed handle, this is a great all rounder. It’s also relatively cheap, coming in at a fraction under £50.

Price: £46

5) Army & Airforce Issue Survival Knife

The Army & Air Force Issue knife is used extensively by American forces. Photo: Voodoo Tactical

This smart-looking knife features a leather grip, which works well even if your hands are wet, and a carbon steel blade.

Widely used by members of the US military, it’s designed to handle a range of tasks with its serrated edge on one side complementing the fine edge down the other. The cross piece features two holes for lashing to a stick if you needed to make a spear.

Price: £68

6) Crckt M21 Folding Survival Knife

The crckt M21 is a great folding survival knife if you’re looking for something small and portable. Photo: Crckt Knives

This may not be able to handle some of the seriously tough work that, say, the Fallkniven A1 can, but if you’re looking for a small, portable survival knife – one that you could carry around with you the whole time – then the Crkt M21 is a great option.

It weighs three ounces has a three-inch blade and is small enough to open with one hand. The blade also has a dual locking system for extra safety.

Price: £60

7) Gurkha Kukri

The Kukri survival knife is the national weapon of Nepal and used by the Gurkha regiment of the British army. Photo: Cold Steel

At the other end of the spectrum from the small, compact Crkt M21 is the Gurkha Kukri.

Modelled on the traditional machete-like knife used by the Nepalese regiment of the British army, this knife from Cold Steel features a massive 12-inch blade with a curve that makes it perfect for hacking through foliage.

It’s ideal for any survival situation – just don’t try and take it on a plane!

Price: £100

8) Tool Logic SL Pro Survival Knife

The Tool Logic SL Pro is packed with features making it the ultimate survival tool. Photo: Tool Logic

With a 50-50 serrated/fine blade a loud whistle and an LED flashlight that fits neatly into the handle, this compact knife is almost the ultimate survival tool.

If you’re looking for a versatile all-rounder that’s great for general tasks this Tool Logic model is well worth looking at.

Price: £32

9) Rambo First Blood II Survival Knife

The Rambo First Blood II Survival Knife includes neat touches like a compass in the handle. Photo: Knife Warehouse

The Rambo First Blood II Survival knife is based on the one used by Sylvester Stallone’s character in the movie of the same name.

But this isn’t just some Hollywood prop, it’s a serious piece of kit with a serrated edge on one side and a fine one on the other. The knife also features a hollow handle in which there’s an emergency survival kit, a compass mounted on the pommel and screwdriver heads (one phillips, one standard) on the ends of the cross-pieces.

Price: £36

10) Helle Temagami Survival Knife

The Helle Temagami survival knife comes with a genuine leather pouch and is one of the classiest blades on the market. Photo: Helle Knives

Designed by Norwegian firm Helle with input from Les Stroud, star of the massive Survivorman TV show in the Canada, the Temagami is a small, compact knife with a 4 inch fine blade that runs all the way through the handle for extra strength.

Cleverly Helle have thought to hide the bottom part of the blade in the handle so your fingers don’t come into direct contact with steel in cold weather. It might look expensive, but the quality is second to none.

Price: £128

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