Top 5 Survival Knives

By Tom Claycomb

Survival Knife
Top 5 Survival Knives
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

Idaho –-( I’m not a survivalist per sae. I mean I’ve lived this long and survived but I don’t live off the land for months at a time and sneak in at night and slit the throats of my commie enemies.

But still, it doesn’t take much imagination to be able to envision what you expect in a survival knife.

Since you’ll be doing things that you probably shouldn’t with a knife you’ll want a stout bladed knife. When I say a stout knife you’ll want at least a 1 ½-inch wide blade and fairly thick so it doesn’t snap in half and constructed of hard steel.

You’ll also want to make sure that it has a good handle that is easy to grip. If you’re in a panic situation you don’t want to whip out your knife to cut yourself or your raft loose and due to a slippery handle it squirts out of your hand into the river. You want a firm grip.

One of my buddies had two moose in a raft he was pulling behind the raft that he was in as he floated out on a river in Alaska. He rounded a corner and ran into a brush pile. He had to hurry and cut himself free from the tow raft in order to save their lives.

Everyone has a different sized hand so make sure it fits your hand well before you buy it. What works well for me may not work for you.

You may also end up cutting brush to build a shelter with this knife so you’ll want it to be a little heavier than your everyday hunting knife. A heavier 8-10-inch blade would work well for this task. It may also be called upon to be strapped to a staff and used as a spear for killing hogs or fishing, another reason for it to be stoutly made.

Over the years I’ve grown fond of the hard plastic scabbards on my survival knives. They allow your knife to be readily accessible and yet they still hold it firmly in place until you need it. You can also strap them to your pack for easy access.

Many survival knives will have a compass as well as a sharpening stone on the side of the scabbard. Browning makes a cool one that the handle can be removed with a coin to reveal some basic survival gear.

In the old days no survival knives had a serrated blade, in fact, I don’t even remember ever seeing an outdoor type knife with a serrated edge until the last 10-15 years. Now they are really popular. So with that said it might not hurt to have 1 ¼-inch serration if so desired.

So with the above said, here are my Top Five Knives (in no particular order) that I would feel comfortable carrying in survival type situations:

DIAMOND BLADE Meridian Knife: ( ) . This knife won the 2013 “Best of the Best” Knife Category Award with Field & Stream Magazine.

“ultramodern technology creates blades with strength and edge-holding ability that is certainly unsurpassed, and probably unequaled…not hype, it is for real.” – Field & Stream Magazine, award selection committee.

Says Diamond Blade :” Each knife is given special attention giving you a product as close to custom as possible and ensuring you receive the finest cutting edge in the world.”

DIAMOND BLADE Meridian Knife
DIAMOND BLADE Meridian Knife

PUMA (SGB) XP FOREVER KNIFE: It also has a fire starter with it. PUMA XP Forever Fixed Blade Knife. 4 3/4″ clip-point 440 stainless steel blade; Co-molded, contoured scales; Full-tang construction. 9 1/2″l. overall, 8 ozs.

PUMA XP Forever Fixed Blade Knife
PUMA XP Forever Fixed Blade Knife

Puma Knives Bigcat 12 Clip Black Fixed Blade Knife: ( ) 6.7in Blade, Black G10 w/ Kydex Sheath 6612004. This is a nice heavy duty survival type of knife.

From Puma: “If you are hunting for an amazing looking , extremely reliable knife made using high end blade steels, then you’ll be impressed with the Puma Knives Bigcat 12 Fixed Blade Knife, 6.7in Bladeimage. Founded in 1769, the first rule of Puma was and still is today, first class quality which is found in their hunting, sporting and outdoor knives. For an extremely long time it has been part of the PUMA philosophy to create products worthy of the magic name and the high demand of the city of Solingen. For more than 240 years Knives from the experts at Puma are made with extraordinary quality and workmannship, and the Puma Knives Bigcat 12 Pocket Knife is the direct result of their efforts. This has been achieved through a combination of traditional craftsmannship and the use of highly technological machinery and know how. Puma Knives offer a full line up of various steel types, that have been designed to retain their edges for longer periods of time over knives made using inferior steels. For a great way to make quick work of any cutting assignment , choose the Puma Knives Bigcat 12 Fixed Blade Knife!”

Puma Knives Bigcat 12 Clip Black Fixed Blade Knife
Puma Knives Bigcat 12 Clip Black Fixed Blade Knife

KNIVES OF ALASKA: )  This will not necessarily fit into the one knife scenario but they have some cool kits. I own the Knives Of Alaska Super Pro Knife Pack ( ) with the wood saw which has a hatchet, camp knife, saw knife, caping knife and a small Muskrat skinner knife. This kit was designed to handle a moose when you drop one in an alder thicket. With the hatchet and saw you can cut down brush so you can roll the moose around to properly process it but it’d be a great survival kit as well.

Knives Of Alaska Super Pro Knife Pack
Knives Of Alaska Super Pro Knife Pack:

Pro Tool Industries J. Wayne Fears Survival Knife with Nylon Sheath: This super strong full tang knife is made from powder-coated, easy-to-sharpen 1095 high carbon steel, has a man-size 4 ¾-inch non-slip ergonomically designed G-10 plastic handle, and an all-purpose 5-inch clip blade. The handle is orange in color for easy location.

The knife comes with a tough black nylon sheath, with safety insert.

Pro Tool Industries J. Wayne Fears Survival Knife with Nylon Sheath
Pro Tool Industries J. Wayne Fears Survival Knife with Nylon Sheath:
Tom Claycomb
Tom Claycomb

When you’re looking for your survival knife envision rough conditions and scrambling to stay alive.

You don’t want some dainty thin bladed knife. Choose wisely or the guy who finds your body will laugh when he sees the little letter opening looking knife clenched in your dead fingers.

About Tom Claycomb
Tom Claycomb has been an avid hunter/fisherman throughout his life as well as an outdoors writer with outdoor columns in the magazine Hunt Alaska, Bass Pro Shops, and freelances for numerous magazines.

(To help sharpen or keep sharp, your Survival knife I have an e-article on Amazon Kindle titled KNIFE SHARPENING ( ) for $.99 if you’re having trouble).

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Puma IP – Huntman stag
Dropped from 5 floors onto concrete, chopped logs, cut down trees, holds an edge like no other. Out of the 31 knives I own, it has served me the best, and is still my primary on long walk-abouts through rough and remote areas.


I’ll stick with my Cold Steel SRK. I wouldn’t pay $5 for a knife with a 440C blade.


Cold Steel. Well made, good edges and reasonably priced.


TOPS knives, some of the toughest steel blades on the planet, used by the military as well as hunters.

Jim Holmes

All nice choices, but those puma knives are 440 stainless. Steel way too soft to hold an edge. All the rest are high carbon steel, and is a 500 dollar one. When the rope has to be cut NOW high carbon steel can be counted on to cut consistently, other than a skinning utility knife, I want my knife to be capable of any task I set to without fear of bending or breaking, stainless is just too weak. Becker bk-1 companion is my choice. Runs 50-60 dollars, not 500.


Can I get a link to the Becker bk-1? I can not find it anywhere.

F Riehl, Editor in Chief

Mitch; You should be looking for the Ka-Bar Companion: not the BK1 thats is another knife that is discontinued and now a very expensive collectible.