One of the great topics in the survivalist / prepping community is about survival knives. Everyone has an opinion about what kind of knife would be ideal for surviving in a post-SHTF / post-TEOTWAWKI world.
Some of the discussions on knives revolve around real world situations, while a lot of the discussions revolves around unrealistic situations, such as bugging out to the wilderness.
After putting much thought into the SHTF survival knife topic, what if I told you just about everyone was right and just about everyone was wrong? There is no perfect knife for a post collapse society. That is why we should stockpile a variety of knives.
Rambo hollow handle survival knife – No article on survival knives is complete without discussing the grandfather of all survival knives. Let’s go ahead and get that out of the way. The word “survival knife” brings to mind the 1982 movie Rambo when John Rambo used his knife to survive in the wilderness. Shortly after the movie Rambo was released a survival knife craze kicked in. Survival knives were made in all shapes, forms and fashions. Some were good quality but there was a lot of junk on the market. The hollow handled Rambo survival knife was probably the most popular.
Perfect for camping and/or hunting, the Ka-Bar Becker Companion Knife has the strength for splitting kindling, and the sharp edge required for skinning game or chopping onions for the campfire grill. Designed for everyday utility, the knife has a 5.5-inch drop point blade of 1095 cro-van steel, that can puncture and slice with a versatile 20-degree edge angle.
The Grivory handle, meanwhile, provides a balanced grip for any outdoors chore. The fixed blade knife measures 10.5 inches long overall, and is easy to carry with the included glass-filled nylon sheath. Made in the USA, the Companion knife is built tough to handle all your outdoor adventures and carries a limited lifetime warranty against defects in materials and workmanship from Ka-Bar.
Weight: 1 pound
Blade Length: 5.25 inches
Overall Length 10.5 inches
Shape: Drop point
Edge Angle: 20 degrees
Steel: 1095 Cro-Van
Handle Material: Grivory
Stamp: Ka-Bar Becker
Knife Made in USA
Sheath Made in Taiwan
Limited lifetime warranty
A couple of years ago I started looking for a heavy duty camping / backpacking wilderness survival knife.
The purpose of the knife is to have a knife that can be strapped to the outside of a MOLLE or ALICE pack. The knife has to be sturdy enough to clear small brush, chop small limbs, cut tent stakes, clean fish, butcher wild game, or even use the spine of the knife as a hammer.
My current “go to” knife is a Cold Steel Recon Scout. The new knife is not intended to be a replace the Recon Scout, but more along the lines of an alternative. The Recon Scout has a belt loop, but no MOLLE or ALICE attachments. I want a knife that can quickly and easily attach to any of my packs.
Thick spine – so the knife could be used as a wedge for splitting wood. If I wanted to make a fish trap, or fishing spear the knife needed to be thick enough to drive through a piece of wood like a wedge.
One of the drawbacks to having a thick spine, thick knives do not make good skinning or butchering knives.
Curved blade – for a good slicing edge. Regardless of what part of the blade was being used to cut, the blade would have a curve to it. An example of what I was looking for is the ULU Knife used by native Alaskans.
You have $25 to spend, you want to buy a good quality knife, so which one do you buy?
What is the purpose of a $25 survival knife? In my opinion, knives in that price range are disposable. They are the knives that if lost or stolen are not going to be expensive to replace.
From a survivalist point of view, spend $100 on 3 or 4 knives, store them at your Bug Out Location, keep one in a tackle box or use them for hand out knives to friends and family. Someone breaks into your Bug Out Location, steals your knives, you are not out several hundred dollars.
Sheath Belt loop or ALICE / MOLLE attachments
Made from quality steel
Most of the corner stores around here have knifes made in third world countries. Most of the ones I see sell for less then $10. For this purchase we need something that is made from quality steel, will hold a good edge and will be easy to sharpen.
Back around 1983 I bought into the survival knife craze created by Rambo First Blood. My first survival knife had a hollow handle, made of some kind of 440 stainless steel, held an edge like butter, and took an hour to sharpen. That knife was more of a play toy then a real duty knife. The hollow handled knives are a novelty item. If you want a serious knife, steer clear of them.
Related forum thread – Best survival knife for under $50
There are a lot of good knives out on the market, so please do not get offended if your favorite was not listed. Picking a good knife is like picking a good car. With so many options on the market, its easy to overlook some of the better ones.