When you’re looking for proper folding survival knives, it can be difficult to find one that best fits you. This is why most might try to go with a basic pocket knife, rather than one of the many great folding survival knives available. Most pocket knives will be folding knives too, but the “survival” part is important here. Some knives are made for specific purposes.
When we state that we’re looking for a “survival knife,” that can mean many things for many people. For us, the knife needs to be made with specific materials that hold up well in the weather. Like if you leave it outside under the hot sun, in the snow or rain, it should still work and operate as if it’s new.
Some will say the best survival knives will have a major straight blade with at least a partially serrated section. To be honest, this is quite useful but it is not always needed. As long as your straight blade stays sharp, the extra teeth won’t be as needed. Yet it can be useful for cutting through difficult materials such as some animal hides.
Truly, the best survival knives might also operate as your main tool in a survival or emergency situation. This knife will need to be able to skin animals as well as cut wood and assist in hunting and/or protection. They all need to be lightweight and capable of use within seconds. If your knife can do all of this or fits all the stuff we referenced, it counts as a survival knife.
Let’s dive into five of the best folding survival knives you should check out today.
Petzl Spatha Knife
Best Use: Aquatic
The Petzl Spatha Knife is really impressive. It contains both a smooth and serrated edge, which offers two supportive opportunities for users. It comes in three bright colors, as the design of this knife seems to be for use in aquatic environments. Usually, when knives are in bright colors, it is due to the idea that they’ll be used in the water or around it. Bright colors help them stand out more.
There is even a hole in the harness where you can put a rope or a chain through to keep up with it much easier too. The blade is also easy to access whether you’re wearing gloves or not, which is helpful when you need the knife fast. Of course, a locking system is also in play to ensure the blade stays in place once opened.
The knife is quite durable and the use of stainless steel will allow users to continue using it at all times of the year, and especially around the water. This also means it can handle rain and other elements just fine. If that is not enough, the knife is also very lightweight to a point that you might forget you have it. Therefore, you might want to be sure sometimes.
Kershaw Blur Knife
Best Use: All-Purpose
There is very little to not like about the Kershaw Blur Knife. If there is one thing you can point to that is not exactly great, it would obviously be the price. It is slightly on the expensive side, which might suck. However, one could argue that it might be worth the investment. First off, you’re not just getting a knife here, but you’re also getting the brand, Kershaw.
These guys have been making knives since before most of us have been alive. They are known for their quality and great overall products. The Blur Knife is no exception to this rule. It is technically an assisted-open knife, which is legal in the United States. This is a great knife you can open with one hand, making it easy to get to the blade without working hard to do it.
The blade is S30V stainless steel, which might not be the top of the line but it is certainly a quality steel level. It is rated to be both strong and corrosion-resistant. Users could pick between the standard or serrated blade options, which is helpful. Yet what we love is that Kershaw also made sure to take good care of the handles.
The handle is outfitted with anodized aluminum handles to ensure durability. On top of that, extra traction was added in using Trac-Tec inserts. This gives a non-slip grip, even under wet conditions. That can be a huge asset for all survival situations. Due to the toughness and care that Kershaw put into the overall knife, we feel it is the perfect survival knife.
Helle Bleja Knife
Best Use: Hunting & Carving
The Helle Bleja Knife is capable of multiple uses, but you will likely find that is one heck of an impressive hunting knife. This also means it is good for protection purposes too. The knife is made by the Norwegian brand, Helle, of course. A lot of European brands tend to be avoided by non-Europeans due to the assumption that they do not make great outdoor knives.
Yet that is often just an American belief that is incredibly untrue. In fact, they make brilliant knives that offer many uses. The Scandanavian territory is perfect for testing out blades due to the multiple seasons, especially the grueling winter season. Therefore, a knife has to last there and if it can, you can use it anywhere.
That is where the Bleja Knife comes in. While it is a simple drop-point blade, the actual blade is incredibly sharp as a triple laminated stainless steel blade. The handle is made of birch wood, which also happens to be a naturally great gripping wood. Especially as moisture begins to collect on the handle. The slim nature of the handle allows it to be impressively useful.
It offers more control for carving as well as skinning animals. While this is still a folding survival knife, the great team at Helle also threw in a genuine leather sheath to give you a better way to carry it around. That can come in handy when you’re trying to keep up with the knife.
Swiss Army One-Hand Trekker Knife
Best Use: All-Purpose
Swiss Army knives are usually always helpful, as they are made for all needs. The One-Hand Trekker Knife is no different, as it brings the same tools we all love while still providing a quality blade too. The Trekker has all of the following:
- Bottle Opener
- Large Locking Screwdriver
- Wire Stripper
- Phillips Screwdriver
- Serrated Knife
- Can Opener w/small screwdriver
- Wood Saw
On top of all of this, the Swiss Army team has also included a lifetime warranty. However, it would be good to check out what all this involves. Not all warranties are created equal, of course.
For survival situations, having a Swiss Army Knife could be massively helpful as the knife plus tools are able to give you everything you need. Literally, there is nothing you need in survival that it cannot help with in some way.
Gerber CrossRiver Saltwater Knife
Best Use: Aquatic
Gerber is a great outdoor brand that makes all types of stuff, including great knives. They have even teamed up with people like Bear Grylls in the past to make great survival knives. It seems they learned from this and continue to make top-quality knives that can handle everything. The Crossriver Saltwater Knife is quite impressive and even quite affordable.
We want to first reference the blade. They used 9Cr18MoV stainless steel for it, and it is likely that you might not know what the rating means. The numbers involved in the labeling are important to this as they can be crucial to how well a blade performs. For example, the 8Cr13MoV model contains 0.8% carbon & 13% chromium.
Yet the 9Cr18MoV model contains 0.9% carbon & 18% chromium. Carbon can be very helpful to a blade and allows it to be hard and durable. You want it to be present but never too much, as it would then become brittle. The less than 1% use is great.
Chromium levels can help with hardness but it truly helps most with corrosion resistance & cuts down on damage from wear and tear. Therefore, 18% use of this is terrific to see. Especially for a knife under $50.
Gerber gave us a 3-inch blade, while the handle is 4.5 inches. The handle is engineered for great traction, with raised sections that will channel moisture and give you great gripping. Plus, it is also very easy to clean. Especially since it uses glass-reinforced polypropylene material.
The knife also uses Salt Rx, which is when a knife is optimized to withstand harsh saltwater environments. That is one reason the chromium is so high as these environments can make steel corrode faster. On top of all of this is the blunt safety tip, which makes it much safer to use. Especially on an emergency raft or on any raft for that matter.