When we talk about survival, we don’t just talk about surviving against the criminals We often perceive survival as self defense against the attackers. 

Yes, self defense also refers to surviving, but survival is a broader aspect. Self defense refers to defending yourself against the attackers or criminals by the means of some weapons. 

However, when considering survival, we have several things in mind. We may need to survive in an emergency situation, such as a car accident, we may need to fight a wild animal to save our lives, we many need to cut the fruits and veggies to prepare food or we may need to build shelter in a forest where there is no assistance from anyone.

In all these circumstances, you need a survival knife that lets you survive.

But, which knife is a survival knife? Of course, we don’t have specific knives labelled as the survival knives. There are many knives that serve in a survival situation. Which of them are the best? Let’s spin the question. 

Which knives can serve as survival knives? Indeed, there are many, but not all of them are ideal in such situations.

But, before we move to exploring these knives, it is necessary to define a survival knife. Generally, a survival knife has to be the one that serves in every survival situation. 

I have mentioned a few scenarios above, such as defending against an attacker or a wild animal, and building shelter by cutting trees and branches etc. 

Keeping in mind these scenarios, we would grade different knives by analyzing how they would serve in these scenarios. So, here we are grading different knives as survival knives:

Folding Knife

Folding knife is also called pocket knife and it is our first pick as a survival knife. It is a knife that works based on a folding mechanism. It is small, lightweight and compact. 

It features a very small blade that can be folded inside the handle. When the blade is folded, it is locked and prevents opening it accidentally. 

When needed to open the blade, you can just push a button or provide some assistance to partially open the blade. This knife is designed for an easy carry as it fits into the pocket. 

The blade is small, but durable, and has the capability to provide precise cuts.

When it comes to survival, folding knife appears as a perfect choice. It is easy to carry and can be utilized in almost every survival situation. The greatest plus of this knife is that it can be your companion during all circumstances. 

For instance, it can be used for cutting the seat belt to set the injured people free after an accident. 

Similarly, it can be used in situations when you need to survive being in a forest or landscape. In short, it is a great survival tool while camping. 

You can cut the branches and bushes to prepare shelter and cut the veggies to prepare food. In addition, it is a useful weapon for defending against the attackers.

When it comes to cutting wood or harder materials or doing great chores, folding knife is not an ideal survival knife. It may not help when you need to make a heavy shelter during snowfall and rain. 

It features a small blade that would not allow you to cut woods. In addition, it may not let your survive against a wild animal. 

If you are confronted by a wild animal in a jungle, you stand no chance because your folding knife does not have the ability to cause injury to the animals. However, it is still an advantageous option because it serves well during most of the scenarios.

Grade: A

Fixed Blade Knife

Fixed Blade knife is considered the most spectacular survival knife due to its immense strength and power. A fixed blade refers to the knife that has a blade fixed an immovable. 

Contrary to the folding knife, it has a blade that can’t be folded, rather fixed into the handle. 

There is a full tang knife which is the most powerful knife with fixed blade. Its blade is prolonged to the end of the handle. Hence, making it the strongest of the knives. 

Most of the knives used for heavy chores and cutting harder materials have fixed blades.

Counting the features of the fixed blade knives, they come up as the most prolific survival knives. The strength of these knives allow you to cut the hardest of the woods. 

If you need to survive during camping, this is your go-through knife. It would let you construct a great shelter for you. 

It would let you prepare food by cutting vegetables and fruits. Similarly, it would come pretty handy for fighting wild animals. Consider if you have no fruits or veggies available, you can survive by using this knife for hunting and skinning. It can be a handy knife for fishing as well. 

Furthermore, it can be used as a self defense weapon against the attackers. It can inflict severe injuries allowing you to fend off the attackers and save your life.

The only thing that makes a fixed blade knife ineffective as a survival knife is because its unavailability in all survival situations. 

Due to its massive size, it is not a knife that you can carry in your pocket, Moreover, it is heavy and has a blade that will make you vulnerable to self-harm. So, this won’t be a knife in an emergency situation. 

But, one thing can be done to ensure an easy carry of the knife. You can put the sheath on to easily carry it in the pocket. However, this would still not lessen the size. 

Anyhow, it would ensure that you stay protected from any injury while carrying the knife in your pocket. Overall, a handy survival knife, considering the features, above all the strength possessed by the blade!

Grade: A

Karambit Knife

Karambit knife is one of the most badass knives available today. However, there is a long history associated with this knife, specifically, to the design of the knife. 

The design of the knife is based on the tiger’s claw as it also has a slight curve at the end. There ae glimpse of this knife used as a survival knife in the past. 

It originated in the Philippines and was used as a key tool in agriculture. However, the history suggests that it was a badass weapon that served in self defense. Women were often equipped with this knife in order to deal with the enemy. 

But what about today? Can it be a great knife for survival in different situations?

Karambit knife is available in both shapes, including folding and fixed blade. So, it can be a good choice in all scenarios. However, you can’t have both of them at the same time. 

I hope you would be preferring to carry one knife rather than two. Let;s consider carrying a folding karambit first. 

This would come in handy in emergency situations. Above all, it would be pretty easy to carry. In the situations like accident, preparing food and cutting small things, it would be a useful knife to have. 

As it was a fighting knife earlier, you can expect it to be useful for self defense against the attackers. However, fighting a wild animal, I don’t think it is that good.

Coming to fixed blade karambit knife, yes, it will be an advantageous knife for dealing with a wild animal. It would serve your survival against the attackers as well. But carrying such a knife would be extremely dangerous. 

You may cover it with a leather sheath, but you are still vulnerable to injury due to the curved shape of the blade. 

Also, it would be ineffective for cutting harder materials because it’s blade is intended for slashing actions. So, I believe it is a moderate sort of a survival knife.

Grade: B

Hidden Blade Knives

Hidden blade knives are the small knives constructed these days, typically for self defense. These non-lethal blades are designed for those who are reluctant to carry massive knives. 

They are made specifically for the women who often confront the attackers. They don’t appear like the real knives, rather the small blades are attached to different things. 

For instance, there are neck knives that feature blades on the necklaces. There are boot knives that are kept in the boots. Similarly, there are lipstick knives that look like lipsticks, but have blades attached to them. 

Also, there are pen knives which are indeed pens that additionally include blades. The purpose of these small blades is to keep the knives hidden and use secretly when dealing with an attacker.

Though hidden blades knives are useful when it comes to inflicting injuries to the attackers. These small blades are only capable of inflicting slight injuries just to enable you to escape and save yourself from the attackers. 

We can’t really term them as survival knives because they are simple useless in most survival situations. They may provide some assistance in an accident because that small blade would cut the seat belt and set you free from it. 

Also, it would be useful when you need to survive by eating fruits in a forest. 

But, the blade is too small for heavy cutting tasks. The small blade won’t let you cut ropes and branches to prepare shelter. Also, it isn’t a knife you would prefer in a defense situation in wilderness. 

So, hidden blade knives are just not the knives you would like to have during such scenarios.

Grade: D


Dagger is a kind of knife with a sharper point and two small edges on the blade. Many people consider it another knife, but it has a few exceptions. The knives don’t have a point or tip on the blade. 

On the other hand, a dagger necessarily features a point along with two sharp edges. 

Dagger was earlier a major fighting weapon. It was never a utility blade, rather a weapon that was only utilized in close quarters combat. At times, it was a secondary survival weapon with a sword being the primary weapon. 

As a survival knife, I’m not sure it is too good in all situations.

Dagger can be an extremely advantageous knife to fight a wild animal to save your life. As it has a sharp point, it can penetrate deeply into the body to inflict long term wounds. 

Similarly, it is a convenient blade for fighting an attacker. Its ability to cause severe injuries would let you survive in every self defense situation. Considering other survival situations, dagger is a poor choice.

As dagger is originally a fighting knife, it does not have the ability to accomplish cutting tasks. In most of the survival scenarios, you require cutting actions. 

You simply can’t peel fruits with this knife and can’t cut anything with a blade that just has a point. Of course, it is small and can be carried easily, but seriously, would you prefer a knife that can’t do any cutting tasks?

Grade: C

Butterfly Knife

Butterfly knife is a unique type of knife used commonly these days, specifically for self defense. I consider it an improved or advanced version of a folding knife. 

It’s features are very much similar to a folding knife with just an exception. The blade is this knife is also fold able. 

The blade can be folded and locked, just like a folding knife. However, there are two handles that are enclosed to conceal the blade. When the two handles are closed, the knife is like a stick. 

So, it becomes even more easier to carry this knife. This can be a good companion in different situations.

As a survival knife, butterfly knife is quite medium, not an ideal one. It features a small, concealable blade which is not perfect for heavy-duty cutting tasks. 

Like folding knife, it is good for small cutting tasks, like cutting wires and ropes. Also, it is handy for surviving against the attackers. 

Come to other survival situations, butterfly knife is not a preferable choice. It does not serve in those circumstances when you need to cut wood and branches for developing shelter. 

Similarly, it won’t serve your survival against a wild animal. However, it can be a good travel companion because you can cut veggies and prepare food.

Grade: C


Many people think machete is not a knife, rather a shortsword. And rightly so, it looks like a shortsword, however, it is a type of knife. That’s why we name it machete knife. 

It is a massive knife, typically 3 or 4 times greater than a normal utility knife. Perhaps, the largest knife ever constructed. 

You must have seen such a huge knife in the hands of butchers for cutting and preparing meat. The blade is longer as well as thicker and can do heavy-duty cutting tasks. 

It has the ability to easily cut the hardest of the materials. As a survival knife, machete is a great choice!

The only issue with a machete is that it has a huge size which makes it a difficult weapon to carry. You often don’t find a sheath for you machete as well, further enhancing your carrying problems. 

However, it is a fantastic knife to have in a survival situation. 

It would be better than many knives in all scenarios. An attacker would always fear to come close to you when you have this monstrous knife in your hands. Same goes for the wild animal, so your survival against them is guaranteed.

Machete is good in situations when you have nothing to eat in a wilderness area. It can be a handy fishing tool. Also, it is a fine skinning knife which additionally allows you to cut meat with ease. 

It can also serve in hunting, and if you have nothing to eat, hunt small game to ensure your survival!

Grade: B

The Final Choice!

So, which of these knives in your choice as a survival knife? Yes, it is difficult to make a decision considering the features and benefits offered by all of these knives. 

However, if you ask me, I would go for either folding knives or fixed blade knives. These two come as pretty handy in almost every survival situation. Fixed blade knives, no doubt, are the most powerful ones, but folding knives are highly advantageous because they can be carried anywhere. 

You can’t have your fixed blades with you all the time. So, this poses a slight question mark over these knives. To conclude, these two are the only knives that would be useful in every survival circumstance, and this is why these two are awarded the A Grade. 

However, this is just an opinion, you have every right to disagree. Let us know if you disagree though!