The 13 Best Fixed Blade Survival Knives in 2024 – Outdoor and More!

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The core of everyday carry is having the gear you need to be prepared to handle any situation. That’s why a knife appears in many people’s loadouts, including mine. And when a knife is one of the most essential things you carry, a fixed-blade survival knife might be the best choice. These blades are rock-solid, with no folding mechanism that can get in the way or fail in a critical situation. Their one-piece construction means they can take more abuse than a standard everyday carry folding knife, and that’s why fixed blades figure prominently in the outdoors, survival, and tactical parts of our community. 

But even if that isn’t your primary focus, having a fixed-blade survival knife can still be the best option for you. I like that a fixed-blade knife with modern steel that outclasses everything made decades ago in terms of raw performance. Modern materials have also allowed fixed-blade survival knives to become smaller, lighter, and more compact. In some places, a fixed blade might be your only choice for EDC, especially where carrying folding knives is less accepted. As always, research and consult legal experts when and where required.

There’s never been a more EDC-friendly time to consider carrying a fixed-blade knife, and in this guide, we’ll review some of our favorite fixed-blade knives to help you pick out the best for your everyday carry.

THE Best Fixed Blade Survival Knives in 2024

The Best Overall/Best All-Around Knife 🏆: Morakniv Eldris [Buy]
The Best Tactical Fixed Blade Knife: Toor Knives Viper [Buy]
The Best Bushcraft Knife: ESEE-4 [Buy]
The Best Survival Knife for Water: Spyderco Subway [Buy]
The Lightest Fixed Blade Knife: Buck Knives 635 Paklite 2.0 Cape Pro [Buy]

The Best Overall/Best All-Around Knife🏆The Best Tactical Fixed Blade KnifeThe Best Bushcraft KnifeThe Best Survival Knife for WaterThe Lightest Fixed Blade Knife
Morakniv EldrisToor Knives ViperESEE-4Spyderco SubwayBuck Knives 635 Paklite 2.0 Cape Pro
• Very inexpensive
• Scandi grind for ease of maintenance
• Included polymer sheath
• Comes with a firestarter
• Retainer ring ensures total grip control
• Ultem is a hot new option, but also comes in G-10
• Included Kydex Sheath
• Made in the USA
• Tried and true model and design
• 3D contoured G-10/Micarta handle
• Plenty of variations
• Included polymer sheath
• Made in the USA
•True rustproof steel
• Saber grind blade
• Extra-large finger choil
• Included Boltatron sheath
• Lightweight
• Premium S35VN steel not usually seen on fixed blades
• Only 1.59 oz
• Partially skeletonized tang
• Removable Micarta scales
• Included Polyproplene sheath
• On the smaller side which might not suit heavier tasks• Tactical design may not be best for stricter locales• N/A• Sub-3″ blade may not suit heavier tasks• Sub-3″ blade and lighter heft may not suit heavier tasks
Bottom LineBottom LineBottom LineBottom LineBottom Line
Whether you are looking for a handy camping knife or something for everyday carry, the Morakniv Eldris Fixed-Blade Pocket-Size Knife is large enough to be useful but small enough to stay compact.The Toor Knives Viper is a small but mighty tactical fixed blade that’s built to go the distance. From its D2 steel blade to its Ultem handle and black Kydex sheath, it’s designed to last, and the attention to detail is seriously impressive.Smack in the middle of the ESEE lineup, the ESEE-4 strikes a sweet spot for many. It’s not as compact as the ESEE-3 and not as hefty as the ESEE-5, making it a versatile choice.Unlike older knives marketed as truly rust-proof, LC200N has higher maximum hardness and edge retention, making for a sharper blade that will last longer than vintage Spyderco Salt blades.Weighing in at only 1.59 ounces, the Buck Knives 635 Paklite 2.0 Cape Pro is even lighter than some compact folding knives. The primary focus of this compact hunting knife is ultralight hiking and survival. It lets you carry a full-size knife without full-size bulk.
Blade Length:Blade Length:Blade Length:Blade Length:Blade Length:
Blade Steel:Blade Steel:Blade Steel:Blade Steel:Blade Steel:
Recycled Swedish stainless steelD21095 Carbon SteelLC200NS35VN
Handle Materials:Handle Materials:Handle Materials:Handle Materials:Handle Materials:
Our Top Choices for Best Survival Knives

The Best Overall/Best All-Around Knife: Morakniv Eldris

The Morakniv Eldris wins my pick for the best overall fixed-blade knife because its size makes it the easiest to carry, and it features solid construction with a rich pedigree that makes it a competent tool you’ll want to use even when your life isn’t on the line. Where most fixed-blade knives are big and bulky, the Morakniv’s 2.3″ blade makes it pocketable, so long as you keep it in its included sheath. But don’t mistake its compact size for lack of ability. Morakniv has a rich history of making some of the best outdoors and bushcrafting blades in Sweden, and the Eldris features Swiss stainless steel with the hallmark Scandi grind that makes for excellent sharpness across the entire edge. The blade’s spine is ground to be compatible with a fire starter, and the ergonomic polymer sheath is easily held with either hand, thanks to its symmetrical shape.

The best thing about Morakniv, though, is the depth of their catalog. If you need a bit of a bigger blade for heavier tasks, there are models like the Garberg with its 4.3″ carbon steel blade that would make for a more robust pick. Our outdoorsy friends over at Field Mag have the Garberg as their choice for the best overall survival knife for bushcraft activities, and we couldn’t agree more.

The Best Tactical Fixed Blade Knife: Toor Knives Viper

You’ll have to train to use the retention finger ring at the back of the knife to fully use the Toor Knives Viper. But that’s something you should consider when carrying a blade for tactical purposes. That hole is designed to let you grip the blade with a finger through the tang itself. This makes it harder for the blade to fall out of your hands in a defensive situation. It also allows for fine manipulation and control over the D2 tool steel blade. The Toor Knives Viper also has a secure Kydex sheath mountable on a belt or webbed gear with the right adapters.

The Best Bushcraft Knife: ESEE-4

Randall’s Adventure created the ESEE-4 and its brethren for their renowned escape and evasion courses for the US Military. Their bulletproof design makes them perfect for outdoors and bushcraft survival activities. You can baton the ESEE-4 through wood blocks and logs to make them more manageable for fire starting. I recommend this blade’s 1095 Carbon Steel version because it stands up well to that kind of abuse compared to the S35VN version. While it is more susceptible to rusting, proper care of the blade will reward you with solid performance.

The Best Survival Knife for Water: Spyderco Subway

The Spyderco Subway‘s standout feature is the use of LC200N stainless steel. This unique stainless steel will truly not rust, no matter what you try to do. But unlike older knives marketed as truly rust-proof, LC200N has higher maximum hardness and edge retention, making for a sharper blade that will last longer than vintage Spyderco Salt blades. The Subway Bowie was also designed by the famous French custom knifemaker Fred Perrin. His designs have an eye towards defensive martial arts use, and the deep index finger cutout in the fiberglass-reinforced nylon handle makes it easy to plunge the Spyderco Subway into any rough material.

The Lightest Fixed Blade Knife: Buck Knives 635 Paklite 2.0 Cape Pro

Weighing in at only 1.59 ounces, the Buck Knives 635 Paklite 2.0 Cape Pro is even lighter than some compact folding knives. The primary focus of this compact hunting knife is ultralight hiking and survival. It lets you carry a full-size knife without full-size bulk. Buck keeps the weight low with a skeletonized tang, but keeps the knife premium by using CPM S35VN steel. I also like that Buck included a canvas Micarta inlay into the blade, giving you enough grip without adding too much weight. Other knives in this ultralight category forgo this, making them lighter on the spec sheet. But for practical use, you’ll have to wrap the skeleton handle with rope or leather, making it heavier and defeating the whole purpose of having an ultralight survival fixed blade knife on hand.

Our other recommendations

KA-BAR Becker BK2: KA-BAR’s Becker BK2 is a combat survival fixed-blade knife made from the minds who brought you the venerable KA-BAR military-issue bayonet. The Becker BK2 has a more beefy handle and a full tang carbon steel blade designed by custom knifemaker Ethan Becker and made in the United States.

Gerber Terracraft Micarta: Gerber has updated their made-in-the-USA Terracraft with a canvas Micarta, allowing all-weather usage in the rain and slippery conditions. Its thick S30V blade with a 90-degree spine adds to sturdiness and makes it easier to use on Ferro rods to start campfires.

CIVIVI Elementum Fixed Blade: You might have heard of the CIVIVI Elementum folding blade, and this fixed-blade version of the knife takes the ergonomics of the original folder and puts it into a rock-solid full-tang Damascus steel construction. This mini version also has a bead necklace suitable for neck carry with the included custom-fit Kydex sheath.

Tops Knives Mini Tom Brown Tracker: You can’t talk about fixed-blade survival knives without including the TOPS Mini Tom Brown Tracker, with its radical variable geometry knife blade and aggressive saw back. This knife is ready to do everything, from chopping branches, slicing game meat, and sawing through wood in no time.

Benchmade Anonimus: When your everyday survival carry needs are extensive, you’ll need a fixed-blade knife like the Benchmade Anonimus, with an outsized 5″ CPM CRU-WEAR steel forged to withstand extreme use and constant wear before requiring maintenance. This American-made knife also features a textured G-10 handle and an extended blade guard, which helps ensure a safe grip on the blade at all times.

The James Brand Abbey: If you’re looking for something more minimal, the Abbey from The James Brand is a compact, utility-oriented fixed-blade knife with an attractive rosewood inlay and a leather sheath that can be worn around your neck, kept in your pockets or integrated into your keychain with the lanyard hole built into the handle of the blade. 

WE Knife Co. Quark: Some people need a sharp knife to open boxes regularly, and the WE Knife Quark gives you a tiny, concealable, fixed-blade utility blade that integrates into a titanium alloy pendant. Unlike tiny fixed-blade knives in this range, the Quark features premium Böhler M390 stainless steel, which stays sharper for longer.

CRKT Folts Minimalist Cleaver: The cleaver-style blade on the CRKT Folts Minimalist makes it an excellent choice for chopping through rough material. But unlike a large kitchen knife, this is a compact next knife or belt knife you can bring to your daily adventures.

What Should I Look For In a Survival Knife

There are a lot of fixed-blade knives out there, but to pick the best survival knife for your everyday carry, you need to consider some essential factors. First, you need to identify why you are carrying a knife, and this is important because it will help you pick a knife with the proper ergonomics, shape, and materials that will help you get what you need done. If you need a knife to cut through wood and start fires in the bush, you won’t be well-served by a smaller knife more suited for utility tasks at home or in an office.

Fixed Blade

By its very nature, a fixed blade is always ready to work for you once you remove it from its sheath. You don’t need to fumble with an opening mechanism to cut with the blade or manipulate a lock once you’re done. In casual conversation, it might be hard to think of a scenario where this truly matters, but what sets a survival fixed-blade knife apart is the ability to work in those scenarios. Climbers, for example, may only have one hand free to cut a rope when dangling. In an emergency, you may be injured and unable to operate a folding knife. Ease of use and the ability to do quick work becomes essential in those circumstances. Aside from the practicality, the lack of a folding mechanism eliminates a source of potential failure for your everyday carry blade. It can be relied on in any situation, and it can even take abuse that would break even the best folding knives on the market.

Full Tang

The tang of the blade is the rear portion of the blade. A full tang refers to a steel blade with a tang that forms the entire length of the handle. Some full-tang blades have a handle that only consists of the tang itself, saving weight by forgoing the use of handle scales and grips. A full-tang construction means the knife can handle more side-to-side abuse than a half-tang knife. A fixed-blade knife with no tang and only a blade is functionally a disaster waiting to happen because the blade will snap off the handle once you do more than open letters with it at the office.

Blade Material

Like the best folding knives, the best fixed-blade survival knives are only as good as the steel used to make the blade. But you will notice that survival knives favor tool and carbon steels for their performance, wear resistance, and maximum hardness. That’s because some of the hardest powdered metallurgy steels favored in folding knives are too stiff and too rigid for some of the abuse that fixed-blade survival knives are expected to withstand. One key example of this is with the venerable ESEE-4 on this list: due to popular demand, an S35VN stainless steel version was released, but users started to find that this blade version would chip and break when being roughly batoned through wood. While this kind of abuse would be hard on any knife, the regular version of the ESEE-4 features 1095 Carbon Steel, which is a bit more flexible where it matters, letting it stand up to rough use instead of cracking or chipping.

Using tool and carbon steels means that some survival fixed blade knives are more susceptible to rusting or corrosion, but they also tend to feature additional finishes like DLC and Cerakoting to help stave that off. Regular maintenance and oiling are the order of the day to prevent long-term issues. And if that’s too much work for your needs, there are always stainless steel fixed-blade survival knives that may suit your needs better.

Blade Design

The shape of the blade on a fixed-blade survival knife helps determine the kinds of everyday carry tasks that are easily accomplished with it in hand. Well-defined points make it easy to pierce through rough material. Flat sections of a blade are better for chopping. Curved sections are made for slicing. Some knives focus on a particular aspect, and others try to give you the best of all worlds. If you’re wondering why the TOPS Knives Mini Tom Brown Tracker looks so different from the other blades on this list, it integrates all the features needed to give you an excellent all-around survival-ready performance when the going gets tough. Fixed-blade survival knives also have a few other considerations you should consider. You might opt for a saw back at the top of the blade if you regularly go through rough material and wood. Top jimping near the blade handle allows for greater control and precise cutting when required.

Blade Length

On a fixed-blade survival knife, the blade length determines the portability (and concealability) of a knife on your person. At the extremes, a large blade is more suited for outdoor cutting and clearing brush, for example, whereas a smaller blade is better suited for smaller utility tasks that won’t bat an eye in an office or work environment. Larger and heavier knives may be too big for you to want to EDC, and their weight balance might be favored towards swinging rather than more considered slicing or chopping. But if you pick a knife with too small of a blade, you might be unable to get everything you need done. That’s why I recommend that if you start in the world of fixed-blade survival knives, you stay within a sweet spot of 3 to 5″.

Blade Thickness

The thickness of a blade matters more for fixed-blade survival knives than folding knives, which generally attempt to go for as thin as possible. That’s because you don’t regularly have to chop wood with a folding knife. A thicker blade lends more durability to the blade, making it less likely to fail, mainly if you frequently use your knife like a pry tool against better judgment. A thicker blade makes it more comfortable to use on fire-starting rods because there’s more steel to scrape against the ferrous material to cause sparks that can light your prepared kindling better than if you had a thinner knife.

Handle Material

The most basic handle on a survival fixed-blade knife is a skeletonized tang that forms the blade from pommel to tip. This reduces weight considerably but also makes for a skinny blade that might be uncomfortable. The lack of handle scales or grip surfaces makes using it riskier from personal experience in wet conditions. That’s why many people with skeletonized blades learn how to use paracord or leather to weave a handle scale. It’s more than just a decorative flourish: adding that makes the knife more straightforward to use. Some skeletonized handle knives feature small inlays or portions of the tang that have grip surfaces, giving you a better hold on the knife without modifying the knife before use. Others have handle scales like their folding knife brethren, with materials like glass-reinforced nylon, G-10, and canvas Micarta being popular choices. Some more dress-oriented fixed-blade knives have precious metal or stone inlays. More traditional and modern gents fixed blade knives go with wood inlays and bronze or brass bolsters. These add a touch of class to your EDC, but they don’t offer as much grip as more aggressive tactical handle scales and inlays. Wood inlays and handle scales, in particular, don’t stand up to immersion in water well because the wood soaks in the excess water and then cracks over time, ruining your knife’s handle.

One critical note: if your knife features tool or carbon steel, you may want to consider removing the handle scales if they are easily removed to clean and oil the tang of the blade. While you might do a good job keeping your knife dry after use and oiling the blade itself, sometimes water can seep in between the handle scale and the steel tang, leaving it damp and causing unseen rust and corrosion at one of the most essential structural points of your fixed-blade survival knife. This is easier to accomplish on fixed-blade knives with handle scales and inlays secured by screws and fasteners. If your blade is sunk into a handle with friction or heat in the factory, you will need specialized equipment and skill to get the job done. In some cases, performing this maintenance will require the replacement of the handle itself, so keep that in mind.

Lanyard Hole

Many fixed-blade survival knives, especially the more compact knives designed for pocket or neck knife carry, come with a lanyard hole at the back of the handle. This lets you retrieve the knife from your pockets quicker than finding the handle. One neat trick is to braid a thick enough lanyard out of paracord, rope, or leather that can extend the handle to give you more surface area to grip when the situation requires. Another use of the lanyard hole is to add as a secure anchor when attaching the knife to a pole when creating a spear for fishing. Adding a rope directly through the blade’s center immobilizes and prevents it from sliding out under pressure.


Because a fixed-blade survival knife cannot be folded into the handle, it has to be held in a sheath to prevent damage to it (and to yourself) when it’s not in use. A sheath is typically made of sturdy material that a blade can’t cut through easily. Traditional sheaths are made out of stitched leather or carved wood and bone fashioned into the shape of the blade. More modern sheaths feature synthetic materials like Kydex, which are formed precisely to the shape of the blade, ensuring the knife stays in the sheath until you want to draw it. While the basic sheath protects the blade when not in use, the ones that are more useful for everyday carry use allow you to attach the blade in its sheath to your belt, your gear, or on a necklace worn on your neck. That makes the quality of the sheath as crucial as the quality of the blade and its design. A poorly designed sheath has the knife fall out when you don’t expect it, causing damage or injury and losing your knife at best. And sheaths that are too tight might make it challenging to draw in a hurry when you need it, leading to unfortunate results.

Best Fixed Blade Survival Knife FAQs

What is the best survival knife to have?

The best survival knife to have is a fixed blade compact enough to bring daily but with the right design and materials that make it something you can rely on in critical situations. We recommend the Morakniv Eldris because of its compact and lightweight size and its highly capable Sandvik stainless steel sharpened to a precise Scandi grind.

What is the best fixed-blade fighting knife?

The best fixed-blade fighting knife is one that you’ve trained with so that you can depend on your skills more than the blade itself to do the job. We recommend the Toor Knives Viper for its unique spear-shaped design and retention ring, making it a knife you can use defensively if the situation calls for it.

What knives do survival experts use?

Survival experts use fixed-blade survival knives with 1095 Carbon Steel, thick blades, and durable construction that work well for cutting, slicing, and preparing game after hunting and starting fires when needed. The ESEE-4 is high on the list for survival experts, with a tried and tested design that has stood the test of time.

What is the best size blade for a survival knife?

I recommend a knife between 3″ to 5″ in length as a good “Goldilocks” space between being too small to do critical tasks and too large that it becomes too heavy and unwieldy to use. If you need a larger blade for bush clearing and survival, you can choose something larger instead.

How we picked

Decades of experience and deep connections in the everyday carry industry give us a unique viewpoint on the market to inform our product recommendations. We have the depth of information for thousands of products that have come before and an extensive eye on the market to see what’s new and trending for each piece of gear. The result is a buying guide that we feel is informative and useful for EDCers of every trade, industry, and budget.

What is Everyday Carry?

Everyday Carry is both the concept of what people carry in their pockets and the process of picking out gear that thoughtfully considers what one wants or needs in their daily life. It encompasses everything from style to preparedness to utility, meaning an entire industry full of valuable tools and essentials to choose from.

Why you should trust us

Our team has decades of combined experience in all aspects of everyday men’s essentials, from wallets to pens to bags and everything in between, and we know where to find great gear ideas that you may not come across at your local stores or when shopping online. Our expertise in the industry and familiarity with design, materials, and usability help you make more informed choices when it comes to picking up your next piece of gear.

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