Question of the Day: Survival Knife Recommendations?

Image courtesy of David C. Andersen

Recently, Clay was asked about his important considerations for a survival knife. He, along with the other experts, gave some excellent answers on what to look for, but steered clear of specific model recommendations.

So, in the spirit of my previous post on “Go-To Knife Recommendations,” I now ask you, what are your go to recommendations for a survival knife? I nominate the Fällkniven F1, and not just because it is the official survival knife of the Swedish Air Force. See my reasoning, after the jump.

The base model uses laminated VG10 steel and higher end models are constructed with 3G. Both excellent choices in blade steel. They are convex ground–excellent for an outdoors blade and easy to maintain with the right tools. Construction is robust, with a full tang and an exposed pommel to facilitate crushing or hammering, and the blade stock is thick enough to stand up to abuse.

The rubber overmolded handle does have its downsides. Obviously, hot spots will be more of an issue than with a smooth, hard handle material. On the upside, it covers the tang which provides extra protection for your hands in cold environments. They are also a boon in wet or muddy conditions such as canoeing/kayaking/rafting, fishing, or plain old rain.

The length of the blade is about the bare minimum for a survival knife, squeaking in under 4 inches. This means you can still carry it in places with 4″ blade length limits.

The Fällkniven F1 may not be the best for every situation, but if you only plan on owning one survival knife, it has a combination of characteristics that make it a strong contender.

What are your recommendations?


  1. RobertH says:

    This was my choice as well so I guess we agree. I feel you can’t beat the F1 and it’s laminated steel at this price. Beware of imitation F1’s on the market. I hear they are out there. I personally don’t like to rely on a knife to process fire wood so I’d rather carry a shorter blade. However, this knife can do that job if you need it.

    Cons: short blade length makes some jobs more difficult, lanyard hole is awkward if you actually use it, bad sheath.

    Pros: quality steel, price, compact design, better at processing game than larger survival knives.

  2. Jay says:

    I’m quite fond of my L.T. Wright Genesis for outdoors use.

  3. tom says:

    Falkniven s1 is also a lovely knife. Same compromises as f1 but great composite blade steel, convex grind.

    Also, the Ontario sk-5 blackbird. Simple, stout, cm-154.

    1. I like the SK-5 as well and have recommended it in the past. Great all around blade shape and looks like a tactical/modern Kephart.

  4. Tom says:

    Benchmade Fixed Griptillian.

  5. kap says:

    Air force K-Bar is acceptable, or the Navy mark-3, if around salt water! stainless steel blade with a non leather handle will not corrode as fast! A Vietnam Hatchet or a Kukri does my heavy duty requirements!
    If one knife had too be chosen it would be an Old Hickory butcher knife ! can sharpen with a rock if necessary, does animal carcass manipulation easily and house hold duties as well! plus cost is less so you can buy a bunch!

  6. Zach says:

    So for my bug-out kits I use the Morakniv Companion, which is a dead-simple fixed blade knife of good quality for a ridiculous price. Specifically this model:

    Bright orange just so it’s easy to spot if you drop it.

    1. Don in PA says:

      +1 for this model

  7. For me, I want my survival knife to be relatively replaceable. I don’t want to spend $100 on something that I go fishing and camping with to lose and never see again. I currently own a Utica Adirondack Hunting knife and Utica Catskill hunting knife. Like them both alot, USA made around $40 bucks and solid fixed blade multiuse knives.

  8. ChuckN says:

    An Ontario RAT 5″ or 7″ in D2 steel. They take forever
    to sharpen but the knife are comfortable to hold,
    substantial enough for heavy/extreme use, an the D2
    make them nigh indestructible.

  9. cmeat says:

    the kukhri i brought back from bhaktapur handles most canoe trip chores. my brothers ka- bar/ decker kukhri is splendid also. they both leave a need for something smaller though.
    the knives mentioned here in the comments all impress me as outstanding values. and their blade designs seems ideal for all around use. i’ve given my $15 (from my pops forty years ago…)102 woodsman to my son- i never really got the clip point blade though.
    so while the f1 and similar represent the best utility for one knife, i would go a bit lighter (mora companion for $9 and change- crazy value) and supplement my whack- a- saplin’.

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Question of the Day: Survival Knife Recommendations?

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