You never quite know when you’ll be in a situation where you need access to a knife. With that in mind, carrying round a cheap survival knife definitely can’t be a bad idea. They’re designed to protect you in a rural environment and also act as a useful tool on a day to day basis. With that in mind, we’ve put together our guide to the best cheap survival knives.
Even if you’ve only got $50 or less to spend on a survival knife, there’s plenty of great options out there. This article will detail those knives and some other information that you need to know about survival knives.
Things to look for in a good survival knife
Before we take a look at our comprehensive top 5 survival knives that you can pick up for under $50, its worth first taking into consideration some things you should look for in a good survival knife. One of those things is a good blade size. When it comes to the size of your knife, you’d be forgiven for thinking that bigger is better. However, that isn’t always the case. If you have a blade that’s too big, you won’t be able to use it effectively for intricate tasks, like carving precision snare sets.
Many survival experts will also recommend that you choose a knife that uses a fixed blade. Whilst a folding knife will do the job, you’re likely to get a much more effective cut with your knife if it uses a fixed blade. At the same time, always look for a survival knife that is described as “full tang”. If you haven’t come across survival knives before, this indicates that both the knife and handle are constructed from one piece of metal. Because of this, you’re going to get a more substantial product that generally lasts longer and feels great.
Why should you buy a survival knife?
When buying a good survival knife, many users have a number of misconceptions around what the knife is actually for. This likely stems from what you’ve seen in films, TV shows or video games. Contrary to popular belief, survival knives are not designed for killing animals. They’re instead designed as a useful multipurpose tool that can replace some of the other outdoor tools that you might have to carry around when surviving in the wild.
Coincidently, that’s also the exact reason why you should buy a survival knife. You never quite know when you’re going to get stuck out in the wild, so it’s pretty impossible to carry round a complete set of survival tools. However, a good survival knife can replace all of those tools. It allows you to cut meat and prepare it for eating, as well as cutting the wood for your fire. You can also use your knife for preparing intricate traps and other things that you might need whilst surviving in the wild. If there’s one good tool to ensure your survival out in the wild, it’s a survival knife. They bring together a range of different features and functions to create a tool that does one job when you’re trying to survive.
Other factors to take into consideration when buying a survival knife
If you feel that a good survival knife is a tool that will come in useful for you, there’s a few more factors that you’ll want to take into consideration when buying a survival knife. The blade material is one of the biggest of those factors. When it comes to survival knives, there’s a couple of key options to choose from and they’re stainless steel or carbon. There’s a lot of debate within the survival community as to which of the two is better and you’ll likely gain your own preference. However, generally speaking, stainless steel knives tend to last longer because of how durable and strong they are. However, they are said to lose their edge much faster than a good carbon knife does.
At the same time, there’s a number of different handle materials available that you can choose from. You’ll find that some handles are hard rubber, whilst others use a softer polymer material. Which one you choose will largely depend on your personal preference and ultimately how much money you have to spend. However, we’d always recommend that you stay away from hollow handles. Hollow handles don’t tend to use “full tang” construction, which as we’ve already mentioned is a must in a good survival knife.
Top 5 Best Survival Knives for under $50
Now that you’ve taken all of the above into consideration, it’s time to take a closer look at our top 5 cheap survival knives for under $50. All of these options are a fantastic choice and well worth your consideration, so read our reviews carefully.
Amazon Jungle Survival Knife with Sheath
The name of the first survival knife on our list certainly suggests that it’s designed for use within the Amazon jungle. From our experience with the knife, we can definitely vouch for that. It features a heavy, rugged saw back blade design that you can tell is built with survival in mind. There’s also two sides to the blade, meaning you’ll be able to use one side for cutting down wood to build a campfire, whilst the other side can be used to cleanly prepare your meat. What’s more, actual blade itself is clearly designed to be durable, built with stainless steel.
For just over $16, we’re especially fond of the extra features that K Exclusive have chosen to throw in with this survival knife. For example, the knife’s handle is designed with a built in compass. This means that you can keep your survival knife in your hands at all times and still have quick and easy access to a compass. You’ll also find a complementary leather sheath included with the knife, providing a perfect place to put your knife away for storage when you’re not using it, whilst saving some money at the same time.
Coleman Survival Knife with Extras
We’ve already mentioned that most survival knives act as the perfect survival multi-tool when you’re out in the wild. However, we’d definitely say that this knife features the most comprehensive range of extras you’ll find within any survival knife on the market. The handle includes a match, fishing thread, needle, rubber band and compass. Obviously, that’s not everything you’ll need in order to survive out in the wild, but it should provide you with a good start. It’s also nice to know that you’ll have easy access to all of those utensils when you need them most.
It’s not all about the added extras though. This knife is a fantastic little product in its own right. The Coleman survival knife features a nicely sized 4.3” blade with an overall length of 8.3”. You can clearly see that Coleman have designed this survival knife with both functionality and comfort in mind and we certainly appreciate it for that. If you’re looking for a handy place to store your knife when not in use, you’ll find the included nylon sheath to be especially useful. However, it’s not up to the same quality as some of the leather sheaths we’ve seen, so you may wish to invest in an alternative.
SE Outdoor Tanto Knife with Fire Starter
The third survival knife on our list is also one of the cheapest that we’ve reviewed. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the knife compromises on quality. It features an aforementioned full tang fixed blade, which as we’ve already mentioned is a feature that you’d only expect from some of the best survival knives on the market. This is coupled with a black stainless steel tanto blade, designed to provide a number of uses when you’re out in the wild. That being said, it’s also a pretty big knife at 7-inch, so you’ll need to consider whether you need the extra size.
Unlimited Wares Heavy Duty Military Tactical Survival Knife
Just one look at this knife from Unlimited Wares and you can tell that it’s a product designed for military use. However, that doesn’t mean that the knife won’t be well suited to your needs too. With a very sharp knife edge on a 7” stainless steel blade, you’ll find an incredibly comprehensive option with this knife and one that any military person would be happy to use in a survival environment. For less than $14, it’s a hard option to argue with.
TAC Force TF-705 Assisted Opening Tactical Folding Knife
The last survival knife on our list is from TAC Force and is a little different to the other knives we’ve featured in this article. That’s largely because the knife is a folding option. You might think that this folding functionality means that it’ll take you longer to get your knife out and use it. However, the knife’s assisted opening means that it can be flicked out with the click of a button. Perfect if you need a compact option when it comes to your survival knife.
Considering the price of most of the survival knives featured on this list, you’d be daft not to pick one up, especially if you’re frequently in a survival environment. They’re not just a survival knife, they’re the perfect multi-tool.