A good knife is the most important item you can have for survival. The knife gives you many bushcraft options. So this is definitely one of the items you spend the extra money on. I have tried all sorts of knives overtime and continued to search. I’ve used a cold steel, Kershaw, buck, kabar, SOG, and more. All with varying results. Each one had attributes I liked and I continued to research for a good survival knife. Ultimately I ended up with a Gerber LMF II. Here is what lead me here.
First Fixed Blade vs. Folding – Folding knives are great to have in your pocket and carry one is important. For this I love the Kershaw, better quick open mechanisms, and better blade sharpness retentions. However for a survival knife you want something more rugged that can be pounded like a wedge through a log or tree if needed. For this a folder will break at the hinge, so folders were out.
Fighting knives – A kabar is without a doubt a great fighting knife. The USMC has trusted kabar for a long time. However the blade length makes it a little rough for things like carving which are important with bushcraft. So while my kabar will probably still end up in my bag as a back up it’s not my primary.
The Gerber LMF II – So my first exposure to this knife was a friend of mine who was ex-army and returning from multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is the standard issue knife and he swore by it. I tried to convince myself “nah it’s not worth trying.” Ultimately after a lot of research reviews online I found nothing truly negative to say about it. Only positives and how many preppers and survivalist swear by this knife. So I took a chance and ordered one. I love it! I haven’t had a chance to really put this thing through it’s paces yet and stress test it until it tell cries uncle but from what I have tried I have a feeling that will be hard to do.
So the knife is a more modest 5 inch blade, it’s very sought and you can just tell it will hold it’s own. I love how the base of the knife is a very hard steel bottom designed to be able to smash a window of a car or crack something out. The blade does great at holding it’s sharpness and I have no trouble using this sucker as a wood splitting wedge. The sheath it comes with is great, it has all the straps to hang off your hip or to connect it to a molle vest. I like the knife so much I got one for my wife too for her bug out gear.
The price is definitely right for this knife. They retail around $130 however you can find them for around $70 on amazon. So for a prepper on a budget you will like this knife. Granted there are a lot of good knives out there, and I still would like to try out others but right now this is my choice.
I have my eye on a Diving Sparrow Ranger Bushcraft Knife. It’s a $300 knife that seems to be custom made and comes highly recommended from Sigma 3 Survival Schools. If you have been exposed to these guys you know they have some great experience to share. However right now there are so many items yet unfulfilled in my bug out bag I can’t see dropping that much on a “potentially better” knife.
One word of caution from my searching. As nice as a Bear Grylls Gerber Knife looks with the integrated fire steel. All the reviews say this is a piece of shit knife that breaks. I thought about it just because of the fire steel in the sheath and a way to have redundancy, however not all Gerber knives are equal. So stay away from this one.