Types of Survival Knives

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Different Kinds of Survival Knives

Boot KnivesBoot Knives for backpacking and survival

Boot knives are small fixed blade knives that are usually carried in a boot. These knives can also be tucked away in a belt or under the pant leg.

Boot knives have also been known to be worn around the neck by means of chain or parachute cord.

The boot knife typically is double edged, about 3-5 inches long.

Boot knives aren’t meant to be your main knife but more of a backup or last resort knife. Hence the smaller blade and secondary carry locations.

Buck Hunting and Survival KnivesBuck Hunting and Survival Knives for bug out bags

Whether you’re on the hunt or in a survival situation, a Buck hunting or survival fixed blade knife can possibly save your life.

Buck fixed blade knives were not intended to kill game, they were intended for skinning the game.

Hunting knives typically have thin blades for high cutting performance.

The Buck Survival knives are more of a general purpose knife.

Their blades are a little thicker than that of the hunting knife for chopping or aid in building a shelter if need be.

So the Buck knife essentially is a multipurpose tool for skinning, chopping, building, or avoiding muggings.

Combat Survival KnivesCombat Survival Knives for EDC

On the battlefield a soldier needs to be prepared for whatever situation may come their way.

An automatic weapon or heavier piece of artillery will be the first choice, but it’s not the only choice for a weapon.

Soldiers in every level of the military carry a knife that can be used either in a combat situation or as a tool for various other activities.

These durable knives, often called combat survival knives, are an integral part of a soldiers equipment.

Whether used as a tool or a weapon, these knives can save lives.

Folding Survival KnivesBest Folding Survival Knives

Sure they aren’t as strong as a good, full fixed blade survival knife, but they do deserve at least a mention here.

In some circumstances it might not always be feasible to carry a large survival knife, but a folding survival knife can certainly be a great alternative.

A folding knife is much smaller and can easily fit in a pocket and they can be purchased for a fairly reasonable price.

Unfortunately, because of the folding mechanism, there is always the chance that they will fail when you need them the most.

Both Ka-Bar and SOG make some pretty good folding survival knives.

Again, with folding knives, you sacrifice durability and reliability for convenience but when it comes down to it, having a knife is better than not having one.

So if you can only carry a folding knife with you, do it.

Military Survival KnivesMilitary Survival Knives for preppersMilitary Survival Knives

A military survival knife is one of the most important tools that any member of the various military branches may carry.

Of course a gun and ammunition is extremely important, but because of the many moving parts in a gun and the possibility of running out of ammo, a knife is the perfect tool.

It won’t suffer from breakdown and does not need any other accessory to make it work. It can be used as a last resort in combat, or a handy tool that has many other uses.

Digging a hole, cutting rope or cord, or even using it in food preparation, a military survival knife can help a soldier survive on the battle field.

As for the U.S. Military, various branches of the military currently carry different knives as standard issue.

For example, the U.S. Marine Corps use a 7″ Ka-Bar knife, which is officially called the USMC fighting knife.

The Navy Seals, an elite, highly trained unit of the U.S. Navy uses a SOG Navy Seal Knife.

During a war, a unit of the military may use different knives, depending on availability.

Rambo Survival KnivesRambo Survival KnivesRambo Survival Knives

Sylvester Stallone played the iconic role of John Rambo in the popular movie series that spanned the 1980’s into the new millenium.

What most people may not realize is that the series was actually based on a novel written by David Morrell in 1972.

In the first movie in the series, First Blood, we become acquainted with former Green Beret, John Rambo, who is played by Sylvester Stallone.

After serving in Vietnam, John Rambo suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and cannot handle living in a civilized society.

After being asked to leave a small town in Washington by the sheriff, John Rambo has flashbacks from his time in Vietnam and sets out to get even.

Following the first movie in the series, a number of other movies are made including; Rambo First Blood Part II, Rambo III, and Rambo, which was made as recently as 2008.

The good news for Rambo fans is that there’s yet another movie in the series currently in pre-production, called Rambo V which started production in 2008.

The bad news for everyone else is that there is another movie in the series currently in pre-production, called Rambo V which started production in 2008.

Throughout the movie series, John Rambo is often seen carrying a large survival knife.

In the earlier movies, Rambo used a large, hollow handle survival knife, with a serrated edge.

After the movies were made, it created a large demand for knives of this type and they were often called Rambo Knives when the popularity of the movie increased.

As the movie plot progressed, John Rambo lost his knife and had to fashion one out of a truck leaf spring.

This resulted in a fixed blade knife that resembled a machete. These types of knives are often referred to as Rambo IV Knives.

Survival Knife Kit with Sheathultimate knife based survival kit

This type of knife is an essential tool when out in the wilderness hunting, fishing, or camping.

One never knows when disaster will strike and you’re stuck on your own.

A survival knife kit with sheath has many benefits.

Many of these types of knives have a compass, matches with striking pad, fish hooks with leader, wire ring saw, and a sharpening stone all in a hollowed out handle with screw on cap.

The survival knife kit with sheath can be a life saver if faced one on one in the wilderness.

The downside to these knives is that, because of their design and lack of full tang, they aren’t as reliable as other survival knives. Again, you sacrifice convenience for durability.

But that decision could easily save your life.

Tactical KnivesTactical Knives for survival bug out bagTactical Knives

A high quality tactical knife is a very important part of a soldier’s arsenal. A tactical knife must work as a tool and also as a weapon.

When selecting one of these knives, quality is a must. You don’t want to be in a life or death situation only to have your knife break.

There are several kinds of materials that the blades and handles are constructed from.

So take into consideration how much abuse your knife may take, and also how often you want to sharpen the knife.

Tactical knives come with several blade edge configurations, such as a serrated edge, double edge, straight edge, and also different combinations of the three.

Tactical survival knives may not be the most exciting to look at like a Rambo knife but they are built to last.

Tanto KnivesTanto tactical survival knife

The tanto knife’s history can be traced back to Japan. The tanto knife, also known as a Japanese short sword, resembles the Samurai sword.

Cold Steel popularized the tanto knife style back in the 80’s. Cold Steel has been producing the highest quality tanto knives ever since. These knives are very popular among knife collectors.

So what makes the tanto knife so popular among collectors and users?

Like drop point knives, bowie knives, and daggers, the tanto knife has thin points. Great for stabbing, slicing, slashing, and cutting, these knives are as strong as they look.

Even with much repeated use it’s very difficult to damage the knife tip. The tanto knife has a reinforced end, making the blade extremely strong.

So if you’re searching for a knife for everyday use or are a knife collector, the tanto knife will satisfy whichever need you have.

The Ultimate Survival Knife

Whether on an intended trip in the wilderness or forced into a survival situation due to unforeseen circumstances, having the ultimate survival knife is important.

While many knives are “good”, only few can be called the “ultimate survival knife“.

So what are the characteristics of the Ultimate Survival Knife? There are many different views on this.

Some things to look at would be a full tang blade and fairly thick steel.

A serrated edge may or may not be necessary, but remember that they are harder to sharpen.

Others go with more delicate blades like the Mora knives that can easily be sharpened and are lighter and more maneuverable.

It may be tempting to buy a knife stuffed full of all kinds of survival gear in the handle, but many of these knives are cheaply built. Some are good quality, but many are not.

Like we mentioned before, you sacrifice durability for convenience so it all depends on what you’re already prepared for (EDC gear, bug out bag, knife based survival kit) and what environment you’re going to be in (yes, we know you won’t always know what the emergency will be.

But if you live in Florida, you probably don’t need to pack a parka).

3 thoughts on “Types of Survival Knives”

  1. Thank you for the article explaining the differences.

    I would like to add a knife to my kit – Which knife/type would you personally recommend adding to your bug out bag as an all purpose knife?


    • Hey Trevor, it really depends on your budget.

      For a smaller budget, I really like the Morakniv Bushcraft. I have it on my BOB and it’s sharper than the creases in a Navy uniform. It also includes a fire starter.

      If you have a larger budget, the ESEE 6 is friggin’ bulletproof. We wrote a review on it and absolutely loved it.


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