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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

The Seal Tam Knife     Photo: courtesy, SOG

The Seal Tam Knife

The Seal Tam Knife

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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