Pick a survival or bushcraft knife

A debate that’s old as time itself it seems. How do you pick the best survival knife? What is the best survival knife? According to bushcraft and survival  instructor Dave Canterbury, the best survival knife is the knife you have on you in a survival situation. While I tend to agree with him, in the video below he does outline a few key criteria for selecting a decent survival knife.


Those criteria include:

  1. 5” - 6” blade:
    This allows you to baton a knife while also allowing you to do fine carving for items such as trigger sets.

  2. 90 degree spine:
    Save your knife blade and use the spine to strike your ferrocerium rod.  

  3. 1/8" to 3/16”  spine:
    This is mainly for durability. When batoning you are less likely to break a thicker spine.

  4. 1095 carbon steel:
    Allows you to strike sparks from various pieces of chert such as quartz or flint.

  5. Full tang construction :
    Allows for a more durable knife. Knives that taper into the handle tend to be less durable than knives that are made of one solid piece from end to end.

  6. Be capable of processing game:
    This is crucial at any point rather you hunt or fish. However,  in a survival situation you need your knife to clean and process game with ease so that you can save precious calories.


Picking a decent knife is definitely an investment. However, don’t get caught up with cost. After all, according to Canterbury it doesn’t matter how much a knife costs. What matters are the physical characteristics and capabilities of that knife.

I have followed these general guidelines when picking new knives and I have to say, I have not been disappointed.

You can watch Canterbury’s video below for more information on each of these criteria.


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