Best survival knife all purpose IYO?

I’d like to know the current, best IYO (in your opinion) survival knife/tool. I’d like to keep this under $100, and less is good! To me, I’m thinking the Rambo knife is still the best option for everything. I’d like to see any options, pros and cons, best deals, and tell me what you’d depend on for outback living in the wild. Your best finds and prices for the “Rambo” knife are greatly appreciated.



  • Comments (43)

    • 4

      Well, IMO the best survival knife is the one you have with you.  Which means, what do you keep with you every day?  For me, that is my folding Gerber Covert Auto.  This is a knife that stays in my pocket and is used at least twice a day.


      But as for a true survival knife, I do keep a Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Knife standing between the front seats of my truck… along with 3 throwing knives.  It fits my hand really well & I love the grip.  One feature I really like is that it comes with 3 lashing holes that make it super easy to lash to a pole for a spear.  There is a stainless steel pommel at the butt end of the handle that is designed to hammer, pound, break and smash things.  The sheath is plenty good and has a built in diamond sharpening stone.  Also there is a fire starter rod that locks firmly into the bottom of the sheath.  And if interested, it comes with an attached whistle.  If you can find one in stock, they normally are less than $50.


      • 7

        One of my favorite knives is the Gerber Gator. It is the knife that Bear Grylls uses in (I think) the first two seasons of Man vs. Wild.GB6904_1

        I’m sure that the one you mention above Redneck, is based off of him liking this style of knife, and improving on the design.

        I like the Bear Grylls series of knifes and tools. I have a Bear Grylls Parang, and it is nice. Rusts easily, but is nice.


    • 6

      As others say the best survival knife is the one you have when you need it, My Camp knife / Field knife is an AK 47 Bayonet and wirecutter sheath, I hammer the hell out of it in the field, its as strong as they come and quite cheap in surplus stores.

      But the knife I tend to have on me 98% of the time  these days is my CRKT CEO and / or my Ruike P865B

      An EDC Knife CRKT CEO BackupAn EDC Knife Ruike P 865 BTool Knife AK blade

      • 6

        A Mora Companion will do everything you need to do just fine…..

    • 8

      Marrah, Avoid views like “best”, “everything”, “the wild”. The variables just cannot be written away.  If you get displaced from your home to the far reaches of somewhere else … it happend frequently during WWII … “the wild” changed meaning and so did much else.

      However you define “Rambo knife”, would it be with you in 15 hours from now ? Is it an allowed tool in downtown somewhere ? Your existential emergency could be anywhere.

      For me, “the wild”, based on probabilities and forecasts, will be near offshore on my inflatable boat. My knife is an Ontario 10 ” survival machete with a serrated section and chisel tip.  No pointed tools allowed. Serrated section needed because much in amphib environment involves slime-covered nets, lines and ropes. Sheath is nylon; minimizes mildew/mold problem.

      When going to grocery store, I have a small sheath knife. This is an exception to “best”. I have some hand injuries from Army (VA vigoriously disagrees with me) and cannot always open a hinged blade knife.

      By coincidence, this week Gear Junkie had an article on their selection of “best” survival knives.  For educational purposes only … not recommending any of their choices – and none of ’em float ! – glance: at gearjunkie.com/knives/best-survival-knife  The article is dated 9 March.

      Do some overall research, as if your life depended on it,  and when comfort-level reached for selection, return here for discussion.  Only then spend some $.

    • 6

      My All purpose come in two categories……. small carry anywhere flip (folding) Knife and secondly my home defense …..

      The Machete…….of which I have at least one hidden in every room in the house……. and better still …. without moving from my office chair…. this one was in my hand as I read this!


      I like to keep as much distance as possible from an adversary!

      I also agree with Bob…… check out a few knives and one will feel right for you………

    • 4

      Marrah – I have to agree with hikermor, the Morakniv Companion is my go to recommendation for anyone needing a quality and cheap survival knife. For the the incredible price, nothing can beat it. You can get it for like $15, and for $25 you can get the Heavy Duty version.


      While it isn’t the ‘rambo’ knife you are looking for, I think it is one of the best knives you can get for prepping and survival with it’s durable Swedish stainless steel (also available in carbon), scandi grind (which is easy to maintain), lifetime warranty, and many other great features. I love it.

      The Prepared has two great articles that you might want to check out:

    • 5

      I guess we need to have the OP define survival knife.  In one regard, as I and others have stated, any knife you like or possess can be classified as a survival knife.  However for many, a survival knife is one that is more than a blade.  It is a knife, with built in additional features and can be used in multiple ways… such as a hammer, saw, chopping, spear, etc.  The Rambo knife, from what I remember, had a built in compass and most certainly had the size & weight to chop.  That is why I included my Bear Grylls knife, which is multifunctional and has other built in features.

      I’m afraid we have gotten away from survival knives and are listing our favorite blades.  Of course any knife can be used in multiple ways but does that make it a survival knife?

      • 6

        7 Knives Sent to Space

        Redneck, Can the term “survival knife” actually be defined involving specifics ?

        The above link is about “survival knives” for astronauts … includes the Soviet Cosmonaut triangle machete.  These things won’t be accepted as “survival knives” by many others.

        Perhaps the better approach is to ask for what anticipated environment and topography will knife be carried. 

        Must gloves be worn when knife used ?  Is it advantageous for knife to float on seawater ? 

        In Vietnam, some Army came across the USAF-issued aviator survival knife.  The handle was leather … so was the sheath with sharpening stone in sheath pouch, for a jungle environment. 

        For rafts and inflatable boats, the basic rule is to keep pointed tools away from the units.

        Again, it’s realistic to say the term “survival knife” will remain in the dictionary but for advanced-level preparedness, the term is subjective.

        Let’s see what commets follows this.

      • 6

        Agree it is very subjective.  I gave my definition but hope the OP comes back to give theirs.  But surely, a “survival” knife is more than just a blade.

      • 6

        To me the survival knife is that blade you hate going anywhere without it. its an extension of you, its the blade you can rely on to do just about everything you want. Gutting fish, skining bunnies, cutting car seat belts,  whittling wood, diging a splinter out of your thumb, fending off an agressor, sparking a flint, cutting a carboard box open, splicing cordage, signalling a plane, its the edge you reach for instinctively every day, its on your hip or in your pocket and when you dont have it you feel vulnerable.

      • 3

        To me, that is the definition of your everyday carry knife… such as my Covert Auto.  IMO, a survival knife is different.  My survival knife is the Bear Grylls Survival Knife, which is different than my everyday carry.  I don’t keep my survival knife on my person, normally.

      • 6

        So what happens if you get into a survival situation and you do not have your BGSK ?  dont you think that in that role its more of a camp knife ??

      • 8

        As I stated, I always have my Covert Auto on me and 99.999999% of the time, my truck with the “survival” knife is with me.  I keep lots of survival gear near me almost all the time.

      • 3

        Bill, Understand, but what if you’re displaced from your area to some remote, different area …… Think of the forced migrations of WWII …… If you knew/suspected you’d be traveling from the UK to, eg, central Borneo Island or the New Siberian Islands, … and your budget would accomodate most all the merchandise on above The Knife Center link … 

        Any changes to selection for travel ? The cattle cars will be packed and you can carry most anything on you.  No inspections.

      • 6


        Redneck, Just to illustrate the different definitions of “survival knife”, the above link … Knife Center is near here … has a masthead with several categories.  One of them is “multitools”, another is “outdoor/survival” and another “military/LE [Law Enforcement]”. Besides the subjectiveness, there are blends from one category to the next.

        Are not single blade knives stronger than multiple blades ? Could this aspect be a factor in selection.

        Let’s continue. We forum participants are assembled at eg Memphis and we must outfit our group for a trip to central Yukon, Canada.  What will some of the participants recommend getting for a survival knife ?

        We are assembled at eg Memphis … a trip to Yucatan, Mexico. Same question.

        We’ve been invaded and got a large rubber-canvas raft with mast to flee from Key West, Florida to the safety of Cape May, New Jersey. Same question.


        I’m starving now and will open a coconut on the raft.

      • 9

        Hey, I get it.  It is a vague classification that is overused thanks to marketing.  Obviously any knife, or stick for that matter, can help you survive.  But I’ll stick to my definitions where normally there is a difference between a standard blade & a “survival” knife.  To me a “survival” knife has something extra or special about it.

        Kinda like the word tactical.  Once again, overused by marketers.

      • 5

        Redneck, The marketing people do exploit the term for their sales. Yet, what we are actually discussing is a topic within Emergency Management. Basically, … much omitted due to this not being the best medium for discussion … there are 2 categories of events: “Notice Events” and “No Notice Events”.

        Preparedness aspects allows one to think what is best for their anticipated situation, peril, location, etc. Here we are dealing with a notice event.  A hurricane is the famous example. We know they’re in formation and will follow the usual route.

        The no notice events also factors into our situation.  Who the heck knows what can happen ?!  The sinkhole swallows the car. Is there a readily available knife to address this ? 

        It’s about the same with word “tactical”.  Of course the marketing folks exploit this for their accounts receivables. It does work ! Still, the word has specific meanings within specific matters. Insurance companies, courts (think of police officers) and military get involved with this word.

        For a drive from here to Arlington / Washington, D.C. there is no way south of Polaris that I’d carry an Ontario 10″ survival machete. 

        The posed question of thread really requires asking the basic specifics of planned – for preparedness.

    • 4

      I sleep with a Browning 4518 identical to this one but different sheath


      and a vintage Jin 440 Japanese Steel identical to this photo. I like the grip.


    • 4

      You buy a 6 inch fixed blade with a wooden handle and the store calls it a Bowie Knife or Camp Knife.

      You buy the same knife parkerised or annodised its a military or marine knife

      You buy the same knife with ornamental handle and its a western or collectors knife.

      You buy the same knife painted black and or rubberised grips and it gets called a Survival knife.

      🙂 🙂 🙂

      • 4

        I just call them “Nite All” my sleep aid. 😉

      • 7

        Bill, speaking of plastic and rubber ……

        358 Rescue & Survival Knife – Titanium

        The word “corrosion” gets my attention.

        Note the link’s narrative “basic survival tool”.

      • 5

        Just checked knife Center’s offerings of survival knives.  You can spend anywhere from $14 to over $400 to acquire a survival knife.   Frankly I don’t intend to ever spend $100 on any knife, whatever.

        It is certainly true that the knife you have on you will be your survival implement.  This means that I will probably go into a survival situation with a Skeletool CX which suits me fine.  A multitool gives expanded capabilities over any knife.  I might be carrying a Wave + and that would work as well, just a bit heavier and bulkier.

        The Light my Fire Mora knife that finds a permanent place in my pack would also be handy since it gives me convenient fire making capability which i have employed numerous times.

        Ingenuity + versatile tools and gear = survival.  No letter grades, just pass or fail

      • 7

        Hikermor, When the knife purchase order is by and for a group funded off of a public sector appropriation, these costs are irrelevant. Otherwise, $400 items wouldn’t be showing up.

        Not always; If going on the tour of the offshore windmills – This is a “notice event”; something to plan for – the knife selection could be different than the usual selection.

        A multi-tool is not good for chipping ice.  A small, thick machete is ideal within the discussed knife family.

      • 2

        What is good for chipping ice is an ice pick, an item which can e fairly easily improvised.  Actually a multitool with a #1 philips bit could probably do a fairly decent job of chipping ice – versatility.  Thank you for thee prompt – i’ll have to try out my Skeletool the next time I need to chip ice.

        I am puzzled – honestly, I don’t understand the first two paragraphs of your post.  Where did pubic sector appropriations and offshore windmills come from?

      • 6

        Hikermor, Some items with high prices such as the knife you saw and eg EMT scissors that cost ~ $ 100, are typically priced for governmental or governmental funded NGO sales.  The governments; city, county, state, Feds, fund the purchases. 

        For a planned excursion – that is, a “notice event” … something you can plan for … such as invited to tour an offshore electric generating windmill farm, allows one to consider the garments to wear and one’s loadout. Some knives usually used might not be the best choice for a helo flight to the windmills, if thinking of the need for a survival knife. The same scenerio would occur if going out to the windmills in an inflatable boat. What is usually carried might not be the best survival knife for this scenerio.

        If you are evacuating a dwelling or vehicle during a disaster and your route is blocked by a barbed wire fence that’s iced up, it’s best to chip away the ice before placing the bolt cutters on first strand of wire – or the Kalashnokov bayonete w/ shealth wire cutter Bill showed us nearby here. An ice pick – which I do not carry – or a SOG assisted blade multitool is not the best tool to chip ice during an emergency.  A heavy blade of a sheath knife or machete does work as per my experience.

      • 2

        Heavens!  I would merely kick the barbed wire strand with my booted foot and send the ice flying.  In my experience, the usual barbed wire fence, in any condition, is a trivial obstacle, hardly needing any bolt cutters.

        About the wide disparity of prices for survival knives – there were quite a few at 200 bucks, at least three at 300 plus, so somebody must be fond of bling.

        I have to tell you that I spent more than 40 years in US government service and I have ordered quite a few items over the years.  Budgets are not infinite and results are expected – your job depends on tangible results.  Hence you do what rational people everywhere do – you look for the best deal, evaluating quality vs cost.  I have never seen a 400 dollar knife used by me or my colleagues, either privately or agency purchased.

        When taking helicopter flights, either to offshore islands or elsewhere, I don’t ever recall debating the kind of knife I should carry for the flight.  It has been either a SAK or a leatherman usually – probably a perfect illustration of the knife you have on you is your survival knife.

        Just be sure it has a decent edge…….

      • 4

        Hikermor, The fences around here are sophisticated, high quality and maintained.

        USG budgets recently changed. For example, the Special Operations organizations of the military do not always get appropriations from the direct DOD budget.  The new program called “OCO” – Overseas Contingency Operations, allows for wide latitude in procurements. Other arrangements like the military’s are present in other organizations.

        On the web will not discuss whethe USG budgets are infinite or not.

        I’m retired from the oil industry. A 200 to 400$ load of knives can be a better buy than 20 dollar knives – IF – delivery is faster.  It depends on the variables. I’ve chartered aircraft without a full load of cargo. To us, speed was more valuable than unit costs.

      • 7

        hikermor – There are ice conditions where the ice is so thick, including on the barbed wire strands, that you could kick all day with your booted foot and get nowhere.

        Also, as one who has helped install barbed wire fences, it is worth noting that there is some serious torque on those strands of wire and you might want to be careful cutting them.

        I would listen to Bob’s experience. It might help round out your experience. That is how we can all learn together.

      • 3

        Well, if a glacier is forming on the barbed wire fence, i would grab something big and heavy and start swinging away.  This is  s survival situation, right?

        It strikes me that this thread has wandered away from the original subject.  in the real world, you will survive with the knife (and other resources) that are at hand.  Whoever stated that, pretty well summarized the conversation.

        One last note – a $400 knife isn’t even a good beginning – when I last looked, their top price for a blade was $8,000.  

        Over and out….

      • 4

        Bob – The concept of individual scenario is a stumbling block for many.

        You are doing an admirable job with much patience at attempting to teach this to others.

      • 8

        Thank you, Ubique.

        I don’t know if it’s patience of just fatigue from some COVID varient.

        The web will never replace a fixer-upper club house in the Canadian Rockies or a place we can rehab in the Dutch Caribbean. One sentence of discussion in person is the real way to get into all this stuff.

        I am now in the mood for a brew in a green or brown bottle.

      • 4

        Bob – Hoping it is patience. I’ve lost track of how many variants are out there now.

        Aahhh, the choices: crisp mountain air or the water, sun and north east trade winds of the the Dutch Caribbean.

        We need a “salon” – a haven for intelligent discourse! A place to draw down the moon with wit and wisdom.

      • 8

        hikermor, You could use your multitool with #1 philips bit if a) you were attempting to chip more than superficial ice and b) you had no intention of relying on that #1 philips bit to functions properly again i.e. damage the bit.

      • 5

        correction “weren’t attempting to chip more than superficial ice”

    • 6

      I have a few knives, from Old Timers and Tree brand jack knives, Buck folder, some cute little flat ones to put in a pair of slacks—don’t have the slacks any more but I kept the knives.

      I really like the assisted, one hand opening knives. I carry a SOG Flash with the opening lock removed. It has a clip that puts it right at the top of my pocket. It is half serrated. I have a SOG Twitch also. I think they were each less than $100. and surprisingly sturdy for being so thin and light.

      • 5

        Pops, the knives illustrated above (not my photos but best rendering possible) were gifts. One from my Dad and the other a deceased friend.

        My Dad skinned a lot of deer with that Browning. The Jin works for arthritic hand grip.

        I look after my tools and keep them sharp and clean. I also have my paternal grandmother’s pearl handled jack knive that is very old. It also works very well.

        I like the idea of assisted, one hand opening knives. I’m putting a couple of those on my urgent items list. 

        Thank you for mentioning those types of knives.

    • 7


      Hi Marrah, there is a very good (and funny!) knife channel on YouTube that shows you many (survival) knife options, from cheap to very expensive. Check it out! I have learned a lot from this channel.

    • 1

      well i bought from Survival Damascus knife from and i use that on daily basis it was worth to have good knife made from wallnut handle and blade of real damascus.

    • 2

      This site has great articles on “the best survival knife” that covers the gamut – folders up to Rambo-style knives.  There’s a lot of considerations, not the least of which is local laws.  I have a BK2, Morakniv, multitools, and folders. 

      The BK2 is a bonafide tacticool beast.  It can easily baton petrified wood, dig a trench through solid granite, and stop a charging bear just by pulling it out of the sheath.  Unfortunately it’s not something you would want to carry on you.  It’s heavy, and folks at Applebee’s may take issue with you cutting your steak with it.

      The Morakniv Companion is inexpensive and looks it, but it is pretty much indestructable.  I’ve used it to do pretty much everything from cutting cord, making kindling, starting fire with a ferro rod, food prep (make sure you use food-grade mineral oil on carbon-steel blades), etc.  It’s light enough to carry all day, but it’s still not something I’d want hanging off my belt in the conference room during a team meeting.

      Multitools are jack-of-all-trades.  Thousand and one uses.  You can fix stuff that you broke trying to fix stuff.  The pliers come in handy.  Still a bit heavy, so it’s going to sit in a belt sheath.  The tools are nice in a pinch, but I’ve also destroyed many a screw head with the screwdrivers.  The scissors are nice but sharpening them is just, well, forget it.

      Folders are just that: a folding knife.  Again, depending on where you live, you may not be able to walk around with anything more than a 3″ non-locking blade.  It’ll be light, easily carried, generally easy to sharpen, and can do 90% of what you need to do in a survival situation.  I’ve carried a folder since I started wearing pants with pockets.

      Personally, my go-to “survival knife” is a Swiss Army Tinker knife.  It’s light, sharp out of the box and easy to keep it that way, has the basic tools like can opener, slot and phillips head screwdrivers, etc.  The toothpick is a game-changer, trust me.  I can pretty much carry it any where except on a plane, so it’s always available.  It does 90% of the things that you would do in normal life and at least 75% of the things you would do in a survival situation.  And for $25 you can easily afford a couple of them – one to keep on you, one to put in your go-bag.

      • 1

        You can discard the toothpick and replace it with a tiny ferro rod.

    • 2

      Every vehicle and most of my outdoor jackets have a SAK permanently in the pocket or glove compartment. I always carry one on my belt. My reasoning for the SAK being a good survival knife is that I can always have one with me and it is uniquely versatile.

      Please take note, I don’t claim that it’s the best survival knife. That would very much depend on your environment and what you wanted from a knife.

    • 1

      best bang for buck was that gerber one. strongarm i think? obviously there’s better out there but for such a cheap price it was a no brainer