Types of Survival Knives

Choosing the right type of knife can be a difficult decision to make. These days you are a few clicks away from buying one of many different types of knives made all around the world. It can be a bit overwhelming. And carrying a knife with you can be extremely important whether you use it for self-defense, hunting and more. It’s important to be informed when you make a decision about what knife to buy. It’s also important to keep in mind what your purpose is when buying a knife. If EDC (Every Day Carry) is a goal, then some of these knifes are a far better idea than others.  


In this post, we will discuss the different types of survival knives you can choose from to help you determine which is right for you. We will also talk about what bowie and kukri knives are, since they get a lot of attention from those in the prepping community and survival enthusiasts. 

Boot Knives

As the name implies, a boot knife is a small blade knife which is intended to be carried in a boot. They can also be carried around your waist tucked in a belt, underneath your pant leg, or around your neck hanging by a chain/cord.


A boot knife is typically designed to be about 3 to 5 inches long. They are often used only in emergencies, and are a good idea for EDC. In other words, they shouldn’t be your first knife, but rather as a backup for critical situations only.

Buck Knives

Buck Hunting Knives, or Buck Knives for short, are intended to be used for hunting. They can also prove to be useful in survival situations as well. Despite the fact that it is meant to be used for hunting, it is not the type of knife that is primarily used for killing your prey. Instead, it is normally used for skinning or field dressing an animal.


A buck knife is designed to have thicker blades than common hunting knives and sizing up to 8.5 inches. A quality buck knife is a durable multipurpose knife which is perfect to get a number of jobs done without getting worn out. 

Combat Knives

The combat knife is an extremely durable knife which is meant to be used in a battlefield or any combat situation. Armed forces of nearly every level own this type of knife, as it is extremely convenient for numerous situations in different places in which they are deployed. 


Typically, a combat knife is made of stainless steel coated in black oxide and comes with sharpening stones. They are useful in survival situations because they are made to be durable enough for combat. 

Folding Knives

A folding knife is a small type of knife that is a great alternative if you think that carrying a large knife is not convenient. It is extremely easy to carry and is a good idea for EDC, since it can easily slip inside a pocket.


With its folding mechanism, they can’t be 100% as durable as other knives. But technology has come a long way and folding knives are practically as durable as standard knives. 

Tactical Knives

A tactical knife is a well-rounded knife that works effectively as a weapon or for personal use. If you are not compromising quality when buying one, a tactical knife will be durable enough to withstand nearly any any cutting job without losing its sharpness. They may not look quite as enticing as the other types of knives, but they are built to serve their purpose for a long period of time.


It is available in different designs such as straight, double-edged, serrated and more. A tactical knife is made of stainless steel coated in black oxide and sizing around 8 inches (including the handle).

Tanto Knives

The tanto knife, sharing the name with a Japanese short sword, is modeled after the katana but smaller. They are nearly full-fledged swords, which are highly effective for stabbing, slashing and slicing. They were originally designed to pierce through armors or anything compact. If you buy a quality Tanto they’re extremely durable and can take some serious wear and tear without losing an edge.


A tanto knife can size over 12 inches long (including its sheath). This type of knife is very popular among knife collectors, but it is still quite functional.

Throwing Knives

Needless to say, throwing knife is intended to be thrown at a target. With enough practice, you can use throwing knives to hunt animals at range. They are precisely weighted so that they can be thrown effectively—remember that adding any weight like a wrap on its handle may affect its trajectory negatively.


Throwing knifes are available in many sizes and have been used by many cultures. Using throwing knives takes some skill, though. Therefore we recommended that you practice the proper throw at a safe target for a while before using throwing knives for any other purpose. 

Ka-Bar Knives

Ka-Bar knives are the name for the knives exclusively issued to US marines. Its handle is made of hard leather giving you a tight grip and its blade is designed single-edged.


Luckily the design has trickled down to the civilian market and you can buy a similar knife yourself. These knives are made to do the toughest jobs and a good one is made of quality material. These knives are known for their durability.

What is a Bowie Knife?

Historically, the bowie knife is named after Jim Bowie who was notably known for his knife-fighting skills which were discovered in a duel that later led to a fight called “The Sandbar Fight”. Bowie’s prowess with lethal blades immediately captured the public attention after the incident as he was using a big knife when it all went down.


Today, a bowie knife is intended to be used as a self-defense weapon or for heavy duty tasks. Nonetheless, it can also be used for hunting. As a matter of fact, some hunters or outdoorsmen prefer using bowie knives over hunting knives as a tool to skin or butcher their prey due to the quality, size, and shape of the blade. 


Here are the important qualities you must look for in a bowie knife:


The Blade – When you are looking for a quality bowie knife or any other type of knife, the blade is the first part that you inspect. For a bowie knife, choose the ones which are made of carbon or stainless steel, those two will speak for themselves in terms of the sharpness of the blade and they have the ability to retain their razor edge.


The Length – Typically, a bowie knife is at least 6 inches long. Thus, if you are looking at bowie knives as your main weapon, you should purchase the ones of the size or longer.


The Weight – Typically, a bowie knife is pretty heavy since it is intended to be used for tough labor work such as cutting wood, rope, and more. But its weight is perfectly adequate for carrying and it will not drag you down when you travel on foot.


The Tang – The tang is often overlooked as an important part of a knife. It creates balance for the user to be able to use a knife properly. The tang is the blade continuing as a thinner piece of metal inside the handle. A tang is a sign of quality, and a “full tang” means that from the blade to the end of the handle there is a single piece of metal. Thus, you should make sure that your bowie knife is full tang. Quality pays for itself in the long run.


The Handle – Moreover, to be able to use Bowie knives or other types of knives effectively, you also should take into consideration its handle. Look for the ones that can give you a good grip and feel comfortable in your hand at the same time.


The Sheath – Lastly, you would want a sheath to carry your Bowie knife easily without occupying either hand. You should purchase the ones with a sheath made of leather or synthetic. We lean toward leather due to its durability, but synthetic materials have come a long way in comparison and can be super durable in their own right.

What is a Kukri Knife?

A Kukri or khukuri knife originated from the Indian subcontinent and is the religious weapon of the Gurkhas. It goes further back as the choice of weapon of the Kiratis in the 7th century BC. The Gurkhas and the kukri knife rose to fame during WWI and WWII and The Gurka War. Those days it was well-known as “The Gurkha Knife”. 


A kukri knife is a type of machete with a unique curved blade. However, unlike common machetes, a kukri knife has a thicker, heavier blade—preferably made of high-quality steel material. When using one, you may need some time to practice using a kukri knife and get used to its shape and design.


Here are the important qualities you must look for in a kukri knife:


The Design – The Kukri is a historical knife, and if you plan on using a knife as your main tool for self-defense or hunting, you may want to lean towards newer designs. 


The Blade – Choosing the blade of your kukri knife is extremely important as it will determine if you will be able to use the knife effectively. As we have mentioned before, you may need to practice and gain experience before using it in life-threatening scenarios. Thus, you must look for a kind of blade in which you think that is practical, usually durable steel material.


The Handle – Typically, the handle of all kukri knives available out there is quite small. If you have bigger hands, you might find it difficult to hold it comfortably. Thus, you should find a kukri knife with a handle that is bigger than its traditional size if you intend on using one regularly, in order for you to keep a tight grip and be able to weild it properly.

Learning Curve

As you can see, choosing from these different types of knives to help you in a survival situation is no simple task. Your knife is a tool that you’ll turn to in life-or-death situation. So think hard about your needs and compare designs to make the best choice.


You do not have to choose what looks the best, but rather choose the knife that you think you can use properly. We do recommend you have at least two knives in your bug out bag or INCH bag, the first as your main knife and second as your backup.