By Dante Creed

Special to Outdoor Enthusiast Lifestyle Magazine

A survival knife is just that: a tool on which, under certain circumstances, your life may depend.  My focus in this article is on full-tang (the blade running the full length of the knife to handle’s end), fixed blade knives – your best bet to avoid breakage during extreme use.

Frankly, I’m rather pleased to report that I’ve never found myself in a position where personal survival depended in large measure upon the survival knife that, as an enthusiastic outdoorsman (hiking, camping, mountain climbing, on rare occasion hunting), is always at my side.  But I’ve done my best to cover my bets, so here are my choices for don’t-leave-home-without-one examples.


The Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion, with its 5.25 inch drop point blade and Ultramid handle, is extremely popular – and will good reason.  We’re talking rock-solid construction and high carbon tool steel.  You can hone this baby to the finest edge.

The ergonomics of the grip, combined with its toughness, supports a wide range of uses in camp and in the bush.  And at at plus/minus $70 price point, the Campanion is broadly accessible.

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Two knives in, and already I’m presenting a ringer.  But hear me out: this folding knife must be considered to be appreciated.

It is not hyperbolic to note that the FAMARS SRT Survival in many ways is the ultimate outdoor survival knife. It is equipped with an LED light, magnesium fire starter, glass breaker, razor belt cutter, liner lock, and assisted opening.

This SRT Survival has a hand ground blade, is hand finished, has a razor sharp edge, and is hollow ground.

The World’s Best Survival Knives

Here are the technical details from the FAMARS USA website:


  • Handle Material: 6061 T6 Aluminum
  • Blade Material: 154 CM


  • Closed Length: 5.125″
  • Blade Length: 3.5″
  • Overall Length:  8.625″
  • Weight:  159 grams

The cachet of a FAMARS product is known and appreciated around the world.  It speaks to uncompromised quality of design and construction and a utility – the ability to do the jobs for which it was created – that is hard to match.

You may think of the SRT Survival as a hybrid of a so-called gentleman’s knife and a survival tool.  It comes complete with an exquisite presentation box with an additional outer gift box. This knife also comes with a Certificate of Authenticity, which is registered in the FAMARS historical log book.


Back to more fixed blade knives – the following two with strong military lineages.

The Gerber Strong Arm was designed as a small utility survival knife.

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Blade type: drop point
Overall length: 9.8”
Blade length: 4.8”
Blade material: 420 HC
Rockwell Hardness: unknown
Handle material: Glass Filled Nylon
Sheath material: nylon
Weight: 7.2 oz.

Its 420HC stainless steel blade with ceramic coating resists corrosion and is available with or without serrations.  Given its relatively small size, the Strong Arm is best thought of as a superb utility knife, one with a 5-inch handle of glass-filled nylon under a textured rubber coating that prohibits the absorption of moisture.  The handle also boasts a double finger guard to further improve an already terrific grip.

The Strong Arm is damnably dependable – one you want in the foxhole.

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The name should ring a bell.  What we have in the KA-BAR USMC knife is a fighting instrument that has made its bones – if you’ll excuse the expression – in combat around the world.  But it also serves honorable as a utility knife of the sort you can count on in the most demanding – and threatening – situations.

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Blade type: drop point
Overall length: 11.875”
Blade length: 7”
Rockwell Hardness: 56-58 HRC
Handle material: leather
Sheath material: leather
Blade material: 1095 Cro-Van High Carbon Steel
Weight: 0.7 lb.

What we’re looking at here is a classic Bowie knife design in seven-inch configuration with high carbon tool steel in a black, corrosion resistant coating.  As a survival knife, this is as heavy duty as they come.

True aficionados will appreciate the handle, made from leather discs (sealed to defeat moisture) and with a double finger guard at one end and a steel pommel cap on the other (perfect balance).

I own one of these extraordinary survival tools, and only rarely is it not with me on prolonged camping and hiking excursions.

CDS-Survival MOVA-58 Stainless Steel Survival Knife

I’ve yet to experience a survival knife that feels any better in the hand than the MOVA-58.  Its six inch blade is balanced with a plus/minus four inch cocobolo wood handle.  We’re talking top quality here.

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  • Stainless Steel Molybdenum-Vanadium 58 (MOVA-58) / HRC 56-59
  • Made in Spain. Handmade knife with blade cut by laser
  • Blade Length: 145 mm / 5,70 inches; Overall Length: 275 mm / 10,82 inches; Blade Thickness: 4-3/4″
  • Genuine leather sheath, Sharpener Stone and fire steel (Included)

So … It does the job as well as you could ever require – and it looks and feels great doing it.  The MOVA-58 is a knife to be enjoyed and trusted.

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