Gear Guy

The Seal Tam Knife     Photo: courtesy, SOG

Q:

What's the best survival knife?

I am planning to participate in a knife-only survival course in the summer. What is the best survival knife on the market? Thank you in advance for your guidance.
Juan
Moreno Valley, CA

A:I like it! That's actually a great skillset. Most of us carry some sort of knife, but I know that I probably tap only a tiny fraction of its potential use. I get a kick out of watching Bear Grylls (Man vs. Wild) devise shelters and spears and various survival items with his knife—even using it as a sort of axe by pounding the back of the blade with a stone or heavy stick to give it more punch.

Anyway, this isn't the place for a multi-tool knife. I don't even think you want a hinged knife, since the hinge simply introduces a bit of mechanical complexity that could fail. You want a really tough fixed-blade knife.

A good example is the SOG Seal Team Knife ($161). It is the official knife of the U.S. Navy Seals, but that is neither here nor there. What matters is that it has a tough seven-inch blade, a little bit of serration toward the base of the blade, and a rugged reinforced handle. You can cut, slash, pound, carve, and shave with this knife.

I also like the Knives of Alaska-brand Magnum Hunter knives. Probably the Magnum Alaskan SureGrip ($165), which has a class drop-point blade finished with a non-glare ceramic peening, a rubberized handle for grip, and a cowhide sheath.

Or, take a look at the Gerber LMF II knife ($108), which also has military cred—Gerber says it worked with the military to design this as an effective survival tool. I'm sold! It has a super-tough partially serrated blade; a fat, easy-to-grip handle, and a butt cap specifically designed to pound things. Plus it looks really cool in all black.

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