How Many Knives Should You Pack in Your Bug Out Bag?

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Perhaps more than any other emergency preparedness tool, you want to have a knife ready to help save your life.

With a knife you can secure food, fire, and shelter, all vital if you need to survive in the wilderness for any serious length of time.

But if you have only one blade then that knife is a single point of failure.

If it breaks or gets misplaced then you just lost your most important tool.

This is why you should keep several knives in your bugout bag in addition to your every day carry knife.

So, how many knives should you stick in that bag?

More than you’d think but less than you’d find in that weird store at the mall.

To figure out how many knives you want to prep, let’s look at what types of knives you need.

What Type of Knives Should You Keep in Your Bug Out Bag?

And EDC knife is, typically, a jack-of-all-trades knife, good at many things but not perfect for any one task.

Well, your bugout bag lets you carry those specialized knifes without worry!

At the very least, you want to get a great survival knife and keep it in your BOB.

But don’t end there.

What other sort of tasks will you have to face in your neck of the woods?

Most of the United States, for example, will benefit from the addition of a machete for clearing foliage for trails and campsites and as a decent weapon[1].

Filet knives are great when you know you’ll be able to secure a source of fish.

A backup survival knife is a good addition because Mother Nature may not be kind to your favorite blade.

And a small, folding pocket knife such as the Victorinox Huntsman will help cover any use cases you may have missed.

Plus, it’ll let you whittle wood, which can stave off boredom.

Plan on hunting for venison and leather? A skinning knife would be a good addition.

And a self-defense knife may be a good addition, just in case.

Think about where you’ll be bugging out to and use that to decide what types of knives you’ll want there.

How many different knives to carry in bug out bag

How Many Knives Should You Pack in Your Bug Out Bag?

Based upon the above information, my recommendation would be these three knives:

  1. A larger survival knife
  2. A specialized utility knife
  3. A small, versatile, multi-bladed folding knife

Three knives plus your EDC blade will cover most situations without having to suffer from much compromise.

However, unlike ammunition, knives are rather light.

This is one of those cases where you can over prepare without much downside.

Chuck another knife or two into your bugout bag. They may come in handy.

Heck, if you have a spare knife, this lets you upgrade one of them into a knife spear!


Bug out bags let you adequately prepare for emergencies.

This lets you get ready with the right knives for the jobs you’ll have to handle, rather than having to settle for one knife that does everything poorly.

My recommendation is to at least carry a survival knife that’s larger than your EDC knife.

Add a Swiss Army Knife and you have most situations covered.

I would also add a machete and a utility blade such as a skinner or filet knife.

More knives are often great for backup, but don’t feel like you need to leave other gear out of your bugout bag once you have the basics covered.

People have survived for long periods of time with a single blade. Even a fur trapper might have carried but a single knife (though they would trade for more!)[2].

Just make sure to make space for the tools you need to sharpen your knives in the wilderness!



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