Stay Sharp: Five Survival Knives to Keep You Alive

Besides fire, having some kind of cutting tool to bring meat and tinder down to size is crucial when in the wild or while camping. We’ve assembled five of our favorite blades suited for a variety of settings from trekking to general practicality.

Barebones Living “Ultimate Tool” – $50

Barebones Living “Ultimate Tool”

Talk about multi-purpose. From the tip of the blade to the end of its bamboo handle (which can be used as a hammer), this knife can tackle almost anything in the garden or on the trail. The heat-treated stainless steel blade has straight and serrated edges, while the base of the metal is molded for bottle opening and cutting twine. The handsome sheath is a big plus too.

Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion – $75

Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion

This lightweight unit will cut through just about anything you need it to. The 1095 cro-van steel blade is built to last and its edge is well defined for tough jobs. The newer generation model has an exposed end on the handle for duties that may require a little more force (such as a light hammer). It’s an American-made product you can feel good about taking outdoors.

Kershaw Thermite – $84

Kershaw Thermite

For more than 40 years, Kershaw has been producing high quality cutlery. The tradition keeps on going with this pocket knife that comes in an excellent pre-faded look called “BlackWash”. The Thermite includes a 3.5 in. blade with a “spanto” tip crafted for piercing and prying. It’s a well-balanced tool perfect for everyday wear and tear.

ESEE 6P-B Plain Edge – $121

ESEE 6P-B Plain Edge

If price isn’t a concern, we suggest you go for this larger knife. The full tang, 1095 high carbon construction offers a distinctive balance and feel unlike many other blades. The handle, built out of high-strength polymer, is specifically molded for an excellent grip, too. The higher price point is worth it; it’s a complete package that can tear through anything asked of it.

Phalanx Tactical Flashlight of Death – $13

Phalanx Tactical Flashlight of Death

Despite the name, this is actually a pretty practical option. Not much larger than a pen, the instrument has a rechargeable flashlight on one side and a 3.5 in. blade on the other. Both pieces can be used separately or screwed together to store neatly in a glove box or backpack. Consider this a nice, discreet piece of protection on an evening run or exploring lands just off the grid.