Creek Stewart tells Art of Manliness how to choose a survival knife.


Creek Stewart’s go-to survival knife is an Ontario Blackbird SK-5. He explains the criteria he used to choose it in a post at Art of Manliness

I have been interviewed as an “expert” on a couple of occasions (here, here) in roundtable discussions about survival knives. I am not sure I deserve such a lofty descriptor, but I definitely consider Creek Stewart to be be on the list of folks who can be considered as such.

For those who do not know Creek, he is the proprietor of Willow Haven Outdoors survival school and star of several television programs about wilderness survival. His Facebook page is a daily dose of cool ideas for prepping, survival, and homesteading advice. Between the Willow Haven website and FB page, Creek has written and shared an astronomical amount of content, almost all of it among the best out there.

There is a difference between being good at something and being able to teach it. Some of the best fishermen I know make lousy guides. Same way for any highly developed skill. On his TV shows, Creek really puts an emphasis on the teaching, and this has shown through on his “How to choose the perfect survival knife” article for Art of Manliness.

What I like about Creek’ list is that he does an excellent job of explaining his reasoning behind each of the 6 design features that he looks for. One can learn much more from the thought process used to reach the conclusions, then from simply looking at a list of bullet points. I not only agree with Creek’s points, but his thought processes as well.

Having just bashed bullet points, I am going to give you Creek’s 6 design criteria that he looks for in a survival knife anyway. I am not however going to give you his reasoning. Check out the article for that. Feel free to fisk either his list or his reasoning in the comments below.

  • 5-6″ blade
  • Fixed blade
  • Full tang
  • Sharp, pointy tip
  • Single-edge with flat spine
  • Solid pommel


Editor’s note: When I look for content I do a “past 24 hours” search filter. Sometimes older articles wiggle their way in for whatever reason (corrected typo Google crawls as updated content, etc). Such is the case with this one. I didn’t realize the article was 5 years old until I was already partway into my write-up. Since the advice is timeless, I kept going.




  1. I_Like_Pie says:

    Great video. That would be a Fallkniven for me.

    The only thing missing that would make it perfect is a hollow handle that can hold a compass, some gum, a sewing kit, a toothpick, fishing line, and a pencil sharpener. Could also fill with whiskey.

    Add a bandanna and the only thing you would have to worry about is a small town deputy sheriff that resembles a mid 30’s Brian Dennehy.

  2. Skyler says:

    I worry when someone tells me they have identified the “perfect” features for any tool.

    1. cmeat says:

      and then they marry you.

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Creek Stewart tells Art of Manliness how to choose a survival knife.

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