A good survival knife is a cornerstone of every outdoorsman’s tool kit. While folding knives and multi-tools are often more lightweight, compact, and stashable, classic fixed-blade knives still offer the sturdiest, most versatile designs of any blade on the market. The best fixed-blade knives sit near the intersection of utility and survival. Any of these knives below would be a welcome companion were you to find yourself lost in the woods; needing to cut up some cordage to build a shelter, gut a fish, shave some kindling; or fight off a mountain lion. Bring one along whenever you camp, trek, or push for the summit because a solid fixed-blade knife is useful at all times and is precious when you’re in dire straits.
Morakniv has long been a favorite amongst survival experts. Every blade in the iconic Swedish brand’s catalog is versatile, durable, and field-tested. The Morakniv Companion is a military-inspired, all-purpose blade great for everyday use and emergency survival situations. An oversized, high-friction handle and grip make it easy to wield, while the four-inch carbon steel blade maintains its edge after repeated use and abuse. The best part? It’s available for around $20.
Some of the best fixed-blade knives can be large and unwieldy. As the name implies, CRKT’s Minimalist Bowie Neck Knife features a pared-down design that trims the “fat” and bulk off the typical fixed-blade design. The resin-infused handle is form-fitted for a perfect grip, while the high-carbon stainless steel blade is easy to sharpen and holds its edge well. It all slips nicely into the included thermoplastic sheath with multiple mounting options.
It’s no secret that we’re huge fans of Gerber. The brand’s Ultimate Knife is a basic fixed-blade survival knife that’s perfect for all level of outdoorsman. With a 4.75-inch partially serrated drop point blade, it’s designed to tackle a wide range of tasks. The textured rubber handle is easy and comfortable to hold with a non-slip grip for more precise handling. Plus, this version includes a ferrocerium rod that locks into the sheath, so you’re always ready to start a fire in an emergency.
With a long history of designing knives for the U.S. Marine Corps, KA-BAR knows a thing or two about ultra-tough blades. The 1481 TDI features a unique design that’s useful for a variety of niche applications. At barely 5.5 inches in total length, it’s an ultra-compact design that easily wears on a belt (or in your boot if you’re that kind of badass). The curved, serrated 2-5/16” blade features a non-reflective black powder coating attached to a textured Zytel handle. It conceals perfectly, ready to deploy when you need it.
You don’t need to be a Navy SEAL to use SOG’s SEAL Team series of blades. But if, like a SEAL, you spend a lot of time in and around water, this is a good knife to choose. It’s highly resistant to corrosion, and the handle is designed for a secure grip, even with wet hands or underwater. The blade is partially serrated, and there is a sawtooth edge opposite the cutting edge.
If you’re looking for a blade on a budget, Schrade’s SCHF13 is a full tang, drop point, fixed-blade design that provides the cutting confidence you want at a wallet-friendly price. It’s got a heavy handle, which offers great control when the blade is in your hand, and the Kydex belt sheath supplies quick, easy, and safe access.
Buck Knives has a long history as one of the most iconic names in the game. A deft blend of its popular Ranger and classic Vanguard knives, the 113 Ranger Skinner is arguably its most versatile fixed-blade knife. It’s compact, straightforward, and ready to tackle most field tasks. Plus, the beautiful new Crelicam genuine ebony handle and optional laser engraving make this an heirloom-quality, gift-worthy blade.
For some vintage outdoorsy style, the Uncle Henry Golden Spike Knife is a great choice. It features an imitation bone Staglon handle, a gently curved blade, and a leather sheath complete with a sharpening stone. This isn’t an expensive knife, but it is decently well made. The edge dulls faster than most others on the list, but it sharpens quickly, too. For around $25, it’s hard to complain.
Whether you’re out at sea or casting upstream on the river bend, the Bubba Multi-Flex boasts an interchangeable set of full-tang blades that covers every base for any fisherman. The set is equipped with four blade lengths (7-inch tapered flex, 8-inch ultra flex, 9-inch serrated flex, 9-inch stiff) that respectively offer their own filleting prowess and can be easily interchanged with Bubba’s squeeze-and-slide mechanism, magnetized security, and Flex-Change locking system. The complete fixed-blade set is delivered in a spacious and ultra-portable EVA carrying case.
Cold Steel’s Safe Maker II is unlike any other blade on this list. Unlike traditional fixed-blade designs, this push dagger is purely a self-defense tool. It’s a weapon of last resort, designed to be concealed on your hip or in your boot (assassin style), ready to draw in seconds. The 2.3-ounce design is extremely lightweight, while the 3.25-inch is more than sufficient to defend yourself with.
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