What survival knife

mgrs

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Your budget I think would actually buy a great set of tools that could get a lot of work done and last long time:

This mora is a bit more than most, but is a lot of more knife than most and comes with a really nice firesteel and OK diamond plate.


Fiskars hatchet. Not pretty but a lot easier to process wood than a mid sized knife or something else not made to do it.




Or a machete if there is not much hardwood around. Something cheap from central/south america with some time put into the blade and handle. Most US-made machetes aren't that great at being machetes....

Of course if a high quality knife that will cost around $100 alone and come with pride in ownership is your goal, there are a lot of great suggestions in this thread. I really liked my Fallkniven F1 but have an esse-3 that works pretty well, too. The esse dulls a lot faster, but it is easier to bring the edge back.
 
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EternalNoob

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I fail to see the utility of the big knife. Folder, 5 inch fixed blade, short machete. The fixed blade larger than 5 inches just kind of seems impractical and the machete seems to chop better.
If you really need to split woodJust build a bigger fire.
A high quality, flat ground, carbon steel bowie with a 10" blade is am amazing tool. It works better than any sawteeth and most axes. But it's not a small knife obviously, so one would carry a backup Swiss Army knife or something similar for light work.

Daniel WInkler makes some fine knives, and some of them are used by elite US military troops, but they're mid sized blades so they're not going to substitute for an axe.

My beef with most folders I've seen in catalogs is twofold: 1. they're stainless, not carbon steel. So they're more likely to either be hard to sharpen and prone to chipping, or they're going to be less prone to hold an edge well. 2. they are mostly saber grind or hollow grind; designs which give less mechanical advantage for cutting. Finally, any small folder is going to be prone to get sprung or damaged if you try to use it like one would a larger knife, i.e. prying.

Like all tools, knives should be picked for the specific uses imagined. If I was in the military and figured I'd be prying open ammo crates or cutting wire I would pick a different tool than if I planned on having to camp or hunt. Buying a too small knife and then trying to make it work like a large one, which the idiotic concept of "batoning" is all about, is, IMHO, foolish.
 

EternalNoob

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If your not going to spend Randall made $$$ I’d just buy a ka bar tanto or big brother
Skip the tanto. Even the old Cold Steel ones were prone to edge chipping and where very hard to resharpen. They're a fighting knife, not a utility knife.

I completely agree with the recommendation of a Kabar. I grew up with one from a surplus store. It was Vietnam issue, all black with the rot resistant grip and leather sheath, and those things are incredibly tough. I took mine to a sharpening shop and had the fine edge replaced with a wide flat grind and that sucker was amazing. Years later I bought one of the new, fancy looking kabars made BY Kabar (the ones with the USMC stamped leather sheaths) and right out of the box it's razor sharp. Still not as good as a properly balanced flat grind bowie, but it's a knife that will last you a lifetime if you don't abuse it, and will last you half a lifetime even if you do.
 

Big Bo

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I was looking at a Shrade and realized it's made in China . So I think ok how about a Buck 120 ? I Ontario is made in N.Y. USA . Looking for a blaxe strong enough to hit on the spine to split wood , hold an edge and relatively capable of sharpening with an Arkansas Stone . I gotta say that the $99 to $149 range is attractive . What do you think ?
ESEE, Becker and Tops make awesome 1095 blades. I have a few that I use. Good knives.
 

pmclaine

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    A high quality, flat ground, carbon steel bowie with a 10" blade is am amazing tool. It works better than any sawteeth and most axes. But it's not a small knife obviously, so one would carry a backup Swiss Army knife or something similar for light work.

    Daniel WInkler makes some fine knives, and some of them are used by elite US military troops, but they're mid sized blades so they're not going to substitute for an axe.

    My beef with most folders I've seen in catalogs is twofold: 1. they're stainless, not carbon steel. So they're more likely to either be hard to sharpen and prone to chipping, or they're going to be less prone to hold an edge well. 2. they are mostly saber grind or hollow grind; designs which give less mechanical advantage for cutting. Finally, any small folder is going to be prone to get sprung or damaged if you try to use it like one would a larger knife, i.e. prying.

    Like all tools, knives should be picked for the specific uses imagined. If I was in the military and figured I'd be prying open ammo crates or cutting wire I would pick a different tool than if I planned on having to camp or hunt. Buying a too small knife and then trying to make it work like a large one, which the idiotic concept of "batoning" is all about, is, IMHO, foolish.
    Whats the angst against "batoning".

    You got nice dry wood, presplit, approx 10 inches in length, much safer to put a knife blade on it and whack the spine like a fro axe rather than get a hatchet or an axe and try to balance the piece of wood with one hand while swinging the ax with the other.
     

    Guns&WhiteWater

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    I view knives as tools, but I’ve never had a knife nice enough to be otherwise. My full size black handled fixed blade Ka-Bar has held up to everything including splitting wood, digging deep under roots in the ground to tie off guy-lines, beating tent stakes into rocky earth, and prying shit apart that I wouldn’t trust a cheaper knock off “survival” knife to do. Haven’t broken it yet after 15 or so years. It rides beside me in my truck tucked against the seat and is my trusty companion.

    My wife has the smaller bladed Ka-Bar and it’s handier for most situations. I think Ka-Bars are great for camping and general work. My everyday pocket knife is a small Kershaw. Razor sharp from the factory.
     

    99106

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    A lot of good ones mentioned, I'd strongly recommend visiting a store and handling them. Nothing worse than heavy use of a knife that doesn't feel good in your hand. There's a ton of custom and commercial makers using excellent steels. If you want your mind blown then just go to the rescheduled Blade show in Atlanta in August. I'm sure you can find something there.
     
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    EternalNoob

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    Whats the angst against "batoning".

    You got nice dry wood, presplit, approx 10 inches in length, much safer to put a knife blade on it and whack the spine like a fro axe rather than get a hatchet or an axe and try to balance the piece of wood with one hand while swinging the ax with the other.
    If you have pre cut, pre split, "nice dry wood" why to you have to baton it at all?
     
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    hlee

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    I'm having trouble with the design concept of having the steel proud by a fair bit all along the handle slabs on that Chris Reeves. Doesn't look comfortable to use. That's a hard pass for me.
     

    Remington_Steel

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    That saw top blade, sexy. I like the shape of the handle as a concept... the capsule! But yeah I think I couldn’t use it. It’s beautiful though and for the dude who’s hands it feels good in... it would be lovely.

    I’ve got two of these:


    The handle reminds me of this knife which is very comfortable in my hand.
     
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    gunjunkie45

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    OMG, custom knife makers- as a group- are flakier than custom gun makers.
    Exactly! I seem to recall there was a hide knife many years ago.... I can't recall if that deal went totally sideways or if it was a group rifle build.
     

    hlee

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    Whats the angst against "batoning".

    You got nice dry wood, presplit, approx 10 inches in length, much safer to put a knife blade on it and whack the spine like a fro axe rather than get a hatchet or an axe and try to balance the piece of wood with one hand while swinging the ax with the other.
    Having frequented a knife forum more than I probably should have, I'll take a stab at this. You see, there are three broad groups when it comes to fire making in the blade enthusiast arena.

    First are the nessmuk guys. Never leave home without a double bit hatchet, moose pattern pocket knife, and a thin bladed belt knife. The hatchet makes the fire, the pocket knife cuts the bread, and the belt knife is used to spread peanut butter. You don't need to baton a knife through wood when you have a hatchet...

    The second group are the big chopper boys. They believe a big knife can do anything a hatchet can do, as well as anything a pocket knife can do. A true do all tool, the thicker the spine the better- 1/4" being the minimum and 3/8" not being out of the ordinary. And length? Well, 8" or more, and we're not talking 8" like you tell your wife- 8 REAL inches is the minimum. 10-14" is not unusual, and the heavier the better- its gotta be better than a hatchet, you know. And, if you need a small knife, just choke up on the blade. Never mind the rest, you'll get by just fine caping a mule deer with a 14" bowie knife- that's how our forefathers did it. And splitting wood, no need to baton this behemoth, just hold it a few inches over the log and let gravity do the rest.

    The last group is the group that is causing all of the fuss. The batoners. This group of people has the audacity to pound on a steel blade with a wooden stick. Never content to use "the right tool for the job" they insist upon using atomically thin blades in their blatant acts of abuse. Buck knives, moras, opinels, nothing escapes their shenanigans. Why carry a hatchet or a 3 lb bowie knife when you can baton a muskrat knife through a 6" log?

    Personally, my "nessmuk trio" consists of a Busse SAR5, a victorinox hiker, and a LMF scout fire steel in a Spec Ops sheath. No hatchet, but the hiker has a saw blade, and if I really need to move some wood, I'll add a Silky Gomboy. Batoning a blade is safer than swinging one when you are cold/wet/tired/etc. And, using a saw is safer than both- and a saw is the only tool that doesn't totally suck for cross-cutting.

    Even when the wood is dry, you need stuff smaller than full rounds to start a fire. Most already know that. Apparently noobs do not...
     

    pmclaine

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    Having frequented a knife forum more than I probably should have, I'll take a stab at this. You see, there are three broad groups when it comes to fire making in the blade enthusiast arena.

    First are the nessmuk guys. Never leave home without a double bit hatchet, moose pattern pocket knife, and a thin bladed belt knife. The hatchet makes the fire, the pocket knife cuts the bread, and the belt knife is used to spread peanut butter. You don't need to baton a knife through wood when you have a hatchet...

    The second group are the big chopper boys. They believe a big knife can do anything a hatchet can do, as well as anything a pocket knife can do. A true do all tool, the thicker the spine the better- 1/4" being the minimum and 3/8" not being out of the ordinary. And length? Well, 8" or more, and we're not talking 8" like you tell your wife- 8 REAL inches is the minimum. 10-14" is not unusual, and the heavier the better- its gotta be better than a hatchet, you know. And, if you need a small knife, just choke up on the blade. Never mind the rest, you'll get by just fine caping a mule deer with a 14" bowie knife- that's how our forefathers did it. And splitting wood, no need to baton this behemoth, just hold it a few inches over the log and let gravity do the rest.

    The last group is the group that is causing all of the fuss. The batoners. This group of people has the audacity to pound on a steel blade with a wooden stick. Never content to use "the right tool for the job" they insist upon using atomically thin blades in their blatant acts of abuse. Buck knives, moras, opinels, nothing escapes their shenanigans. Why carry a hatchet or a 3 lb bowie knife when you can baton a muskrat knife through a 6" log?

    Personally, my "nessmuk trio" consists of a Busse SAR5, a victorinox hiker, and a LMF scout fire steel in a Spec Ops sheath. No hatchet, but the hiker has a saw blade, and if I really need to move some wood, I'll add a Silky Gomboy. Batoning a blade is safer than swinging one when you are cold/wet/tired/etc. And, using a saw is safer than both- and a saw is the only tool that doesn't totally suck for cross-cutting.

    Even when the wood is dry, you need stuff smaller than full rounds to start a fire. Most already know that. Apparently noobs do not...
    I fall into a different category....

    The spine of the Randall Fireman is close to 1/4 inch yet the blade is about 4.5 inch..........call it short but girthy.

    Got a sweet Hults Bruk hatchet and I see it as a fine tool for rough work but I don't want my hands near it. When it comes to choppers I want full size and I may be buying a full length Hults Bruk this week.


    Edit add - Also get a Sven Saw - Knife, Ax, Sven Saw............
     
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    sharfshutz762

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    A bit out of the OPs price range but Winklers a excellent knives.. And his new survival knife with the firesteel and steel wool in the handle is awesome.

    this one.
     

    Remington_Steel

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    I never carry more than two knives. One is always a karambito. Carrying a hatchet has always made me feel like I was carrying too much luxury.

    If you’ve never cut down a tree with a 5inch knife you’re missing out.1232B1CE-722D-41C9-91C9-320BE5EEF224.jpeg
     

    EternalNoob

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    Having frequented a knife forum more than I probably should have, I'll take a stab at this. You see, there are three broad groups when it comes to fire making in the blade enthusiast arena.

    [edit: lol, I "chopped" some content ;)]

    Personally, my "nessmuk trio" consists of a Busse SAR5, a victorinox hiker, and a LMF scout fire steel in a Spec Ops sheath. No hatchet, but the hiker has a saw blade, and if I really need to move some wood, I'll add a Silky Gomboy. Batoning a blade is safer than swinging one when you are cold/wet/tired/etc. And, using a saw is safer than both- and a saw is the only tool that doesn't totally suck for cross-cutting.

    Even when the wood is dry, you need stuff smaller than full rounds to start a fire. Most already know that. Apparently noobs do not...
    That was a well written and (IMHO) quite accurate summary of the situation. I'll only add a couple things:

    Tools should be selected based on anticipated use. If I knew I was going into the wild to be self sufficient for a long time, and would have to do 18th century woodcraft, I would certainly pick different tools than if I was going on a 2 week backpacking trip, hauling my own food and hammock camping. My"angst against batoning" is simply that it doesn't seem to make that kind of intelligent choice but rather contrives various "what if" scenarios to justify knife abuse :)

    I have a plethora of knives. Quite a few Randalls, bowies from various custom makers, a number of folders, and even a near useless but very cool looking Jack Crain original hollow handled bowie as seen in the movies Commando and Predator. But my daily carry these years, in a large urban area, is simply a light, flat, 2 blade swiss army knife. It's for utility only, not for fighting or, haha, batoning. I hate to carry a lot of extra weight in my pocket, and I've lost a few heavier pocket knives while commuting on public transit where the heavy knife would silently slide out of my front pocket and down the side of the seat never to be seen again.

    When I used to go backpacking I'd take the more complex Swiss Army knife that included a pair of scissors, because trying to cut a Moleskin bandage with the larger 8" bowie I also carried, sucked :)

    In my car trunk, again an urban area in California, I carry a 10" bowie which I have used to cut down a small tree (so I know it works), and, a 36" Halligan bar, which could be useful in an auto rescue situation, but also would be very useful in a post-earthquake environment. Different tools for different situations/environments.
     
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    Davo308

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    Terava jaripukko. They're not much to look at, but they perform well above their price point.
    They're the glock of knives.

    Agreed and they come in several lengths. They are inexpensive so I don't mind being rough on them.

    And now the Skrama comes in multiple sizes as well.

     

    Yerman

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    Anyone have an Abraham & Moses Goodman knife? Heard about them on a Podcast a while ago and been thinking about one ever since. If I remember right, it’s founded by Bill Geissele and his son.

     

    pmclaine

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    If you have pre cut, pre split, "nice dry wood" why to you have to baton it at all?

    Kindling.

    My "pre cut, pre split, "nice dry wood" tends to be pretty damp from sitting in the uncovered log rack next to the chimenea.

    This KaBar - EK model did the kindling duties on this day. The false edge on the clip is so sharp though it does a job on the baton.

    1588939046477.png

    Im not a total Neanderthal sometimes the hatchet comes out......

    1588939218883.png

    Really though the knife produced kindling shims are a lot finer, better burning , more safely made than the hatchet shims.....that a factor of operator skill.

    "Ewwww, Ill be abusing my knife if I hit it with a stick" is an indication you need to buy a better knife.
     

    pmclaine

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    From Survive! regarding their folders......seems they are still promising "Its just around the corner"....

    Hi Phil,

    The F1 will not be available for ordering for at least a few months. I will add you to our list of people to contact when they are available.

    Thank you,

    Ellie
     

    sharfshutz762

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    Anyone have an Abraham & Moses Goodman knife? Heard about them on a Podcast a while ago and been thinking about one ever since. If I remember right, it’s founded by Bill Geissele and his son.

    I have one and its a really good knife. He uses a pretty advanced steel and differential heat treatment and the coating is super tough.
     

    EternalNoob

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    For that style of knife find a Philipino that will craft you one out of an old leaf spring.

    Those JEST instructors at Subic would cut through bamboo stands like they were wielding a light saber.
    Filipinos have a long history with blades of all kinds :) Finding a good cultural blade is the way to go, I agree, because they've already worked out what works over centuries of use, with the caveat that they know how to use their knives in the environment they were designed for.

    I have a pair of Gurka Kukris; bought very inexpensively ($40 each or something like that) from a guywho imported a bunch from the maker who supplies the Gurkas. I've seen crappy tourist Kukris and these are NOT those. Despite being 7/16" thick across the spine these are reasonably light because there's a semi-flat grind taper forged in. The edges are very sharp.
     

    EternalNoob

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    I use a Randall Model 1-8 in stainless. Serves me well.
    Like all Randalls that is a beautiful knife. But it's stainless, and the useless sawteeth just have you paying more to make the blade weaker. But if you enjoy it then that's all that matters. I still lust after a Randall Model 18 hollow handled knife...just because :)
     

    hlee

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    Saw backed knives- not for deforestation. But, can be effectively employed to notch wood for traps and other bushcrafting tasks. Know your use case...
     
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    EternalNoob

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    Saw backed knives- not for deforestation. But, can be effectively employed to notch wood for traps and other bushcrafting tasks. Know your use case...
    I've not built any snares, but books and videos on the subject have never shown me a case where I would need anything that couldn't be notched with the edge of a blade. And, with respect, if we're going to come up with extreme examples to justify my point or your point with regard to sawteeth, I'll just add that there's that story about a British trooper in the Falklands who stabbed an enemy with a sawtoothed blade and couldn't get his knife back out because the sawteeth acted like a ratchet and locked between the ribs.

    Bill Bagwell, himself obviously biased towards big bowies, wrote articles about sawtoothed blades which did a good job of showing why they're sort of pointless. Also, I believe the first sawback knife was the Randall Model 18, and if memory serves, it was requested by a soldier in Vietnam to allow him to tear through the exterior skin of crashed Huey choppers. Tear, not cut, and sheet metal, not wood.

    [deleted reference to serrated edges, not relevant]
     
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    Remington_Steel

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    I’ve found great use with the ability to quickly notch wood and bone. I’ve great fondness for tops knives notchers. They’re not saws.
     

    strikeeagle1

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    Any love for HK ?
    From the load-out room.
    Made in the USA. Check.
    Well balanced in the hand. Holds an edge. Check squared.
    Believe it to be strong enough to be baton-ed (sp?) on the spine. Check.
    I think it is at the upper end of OP's $100-150 budget. Check.
    SOCOM style with metal blade sheath. Check.
    I mostly prefer Spyderco ceramic stones, but sheath will hold Arkansas stone for OP. Check.
    And for the ladies, HK accessories readily available. Check mate.

    IMG_5472 copy.jpgIMG_5473 copy.jpgIMG_5468 copy.jpg
     
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    strikeeagle1

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    My 2 cents on blade serrations. IF one thinks they are really going to be in need of cutting small / medium vegetation limbs / branches then carry a tool for the
    task; don't assign a task to knife for which it generally is not well designed. I haven't seen any comments about using a serrated saw for hand-hand combat or dressing out game. I like the compact Bahco folding saw which is packed alongside other purpose-specific inventory.

    Bahco saw copy.jpgBahco Laplander.png
     
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    Bama Fan

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    Like all Randalls that is a beautiful knife. But it's stainless, and the useless sawteeth just have you paying more to make the blade weaker. But if you enjoy it then that's all that matters. I still lust after a Randall Model 18 hollow handled knife...just because :)
    I have two more that are carbon steel but I don't plan on using either one because one is from 1960 and the other has nickle silver fittings and was never intended to be used. The one I use works for me and that is all that matters.
     
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    rrroadster

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    Gerber Strongarm

    Made in USA.
    Gerber's heat treated 420HC is outstanding.
    It comes with multi-role useable sheath system.
    Full tang construction
    Comes in black or fde overmolded handle.
    Available in straight or serrated edge.
    Shop and you should be able to get in the $50ish range.
    They've beat the crap out of one on utube.

    Strongarm.jpg
     
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    Remington_Steel

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    I have no experience with HK. Looks solid though.

    420 is used in marine/sea blades a lot. It’s good stuff. Highly corrosion resistant. That’s a good kit. Great price.

    BG94, is that a jalapeño on that lower blade of yours? That’s beautiful btw.
     
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    mcm308

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