While the general consensus is that fixed blades are ideal as survival knives, folding blades are getting a lot more attention these days. Part of it is the ever-improving joint design that sees fewer issues with blade play during heavy use.
The best folding survival knife you can afford may just get you out of more tricky situations than you think. It’s a niche blade that only performs under specific survival and wilderness conditions. Nevertheless, it is an alternative worth considering to the traditionally used fixed blade counterpart.
Check out five of the best folding knives that you can take with you to the wild and take care of business.
Best Folding Survival Knife Reviews
1. Kershaw Clash 1605CKTST Pocket Knife
Kershaw has a long-standing tradition of manufacturing high-quality knives as well as other survival tools. The Clash is a tiny yet reliable tool that’s easy to conceal and rarely fails to deliver under extreme conditions.
The blade is made from 8Cr13MoV stainless steel alloy. It also features a black oxide finish which guarantees minimal buildup and offers additional anti-corrosive protection.
The glass-filled nylon handle is both durable and very easy to handle. It has a higher tensile strength than regular nylon and the texturing gives you a solid grip. Note that the design caters to right-handed users due to the positioning of the pocket clip.
The partially serrated blade makes this a truly multipurpose tool. It has good prying capabilities. However, the overall 3.1” length of the blade makes it difficult to use the knife for serious wood chopping and digging.
On the flip side, although tiny, the knife can be used as a hammer with either the back of the blade or the bottom of the handle, though it is advised to keep the blade exposed when hitting something; it prevents the impact from leading to an accidental release and a potential injury.
The drop point blade, however, is still the main highlight despite the short length. The convex curve gives the blade enough rigidity and also makes it easy to control when cutting or piercing. It’s no surprise that this blade design is one of the most popular for outdoor and indoor knives.
- Quality stainless steel alloy
- Great anti-corrosion resistance
- Light and easy to use
- Assisted opening and built-in flipper
- Short blade
- The grip doesn’t favor lefties
2. SOG Escape FF25-CP Tactical Folding Knife
A survival knife needs to handle various tasks in harsh conditions. This SOG tactical knife is equipped with various features that make it superior to your standard EDC knives.
The Escape FF25-CP has a 3.4” blade that is partially serrated and ready to use for most hunting and crafting applications. It has a black coating and it’s made from a stainless steel alloy that has good anti-corrosion resistance.
Its 4.8” overall closed length makes it easy to carry, which is why it falls under the EDC category. But there are features that make it superior to your garden-variety pocket knives, aside from the blade’s hardness.
The drop point blade design facilitates a strong profile. It also ensures that the tip is robust without needing extra metal reinforcing, unlike a Tanto blade.
The knife stays sharp for a long time and requires little maintenance. The handle is a certified glass breaker and also comes with a line cutter. This all makes the knife really handy in rescue and urban survival situations.
The military-style handle is made from hard-anodized 6061-T6 aluminum, which makes it as sturdy as they come, even more durable than some high-end survival knife handles. A wire stripper is also included in the design for even more utility.
- Line cutter
- Rugged military-style handle
- Razor sharp blade
- Can withstand harsh environments
- Wire cutter
- Slightly expensive
- One-handed lock-back systems are not known for reliability
3. Eafengrow Tactical Folding Knife
A truly multipurpose tool, the Eafengrow Tactical Folding Knife is an affordable alternative for seasoned hunters and avid preppers, as well as the occasional campers and hikers. Its blade hardness and edge retention quality make it a strong contender for the title of the best folding survival knife.
The 3.6” blade is shorter than what most survival knives are equipped with but it’s still long enough to be useful in a variety of situations. Due to the 1.2” width and fine thickness, the blade is good for peeling, slicing, and piercing.
Its use in hunting and crafting applications is quite good. D2 tool steel was used for the blade. Although less durable than carbon steel, this particular alloy is time tested and proven.
The knife is rated 55 HRC for hardness. This puts it in the same category as most professional chefs’ knives, which is not a bad spot to be in for a small folding blade knife. Basic outdoor labor is covered unless you need to do a lot of prying or digging.
The hard plastic G10 handle is slightly textured but doesn’t have any obvious grip-enhancing qualities. Still, the joint seems very solid which adds to the longevity of the knife.
- Good edge retention
- High-quality tool steel alloy
- Longer blade than most folding knives
- Good piercing and slicing capabilities
- Not for heavy duty use
- No anti-corrosion protection
4. Best Buy Damascus1 Buffalo Horn Pocket Knife
If you’re looking for something more luxurious than your standard survival knives, this one has the looks, the materials, and the utility to satisfy your requirements.
The blade is a clip-point blade made from Damascus steel. This doesn’t make it one of the strongest knives of its kind. However, Damascus steel is known for its edge retention properties and for staying sharp a lot longer than your basic steel alloys.
The blade is also hand-forged. This means that the manufacturer can exercise total control over the layers and material concentration. In this model, 276 layers are used which combine 1095 and 15N20 carbon steel as well as nickel layers to improve its durability.
The handle is a work of art, to say the least. You’ll be one of the fanciest survivalists during a zombie apocalypse for sure. It’s also carved for a more secure grip which favors both right and left-handed users.
The blade is however a bit short. It’s just 3” long, which gives it limited utility. The sharpness allows you to cut and chop but not with fine precision due to the thickness of the blade.
- Hand-forged knife
- Quality Damascus steel blade
- Great piercing potential
- Stays sharp a long time
- Ambidextrous handle
- Short blade
- No survival or rescue-specific features
5. Rogue River Tactical USMC Marine Tactical Folding Knife
If there’s a group that knows their way around a tactical knife, it’s the marines. This tactical folding knife is more than just a combat-ready weapon, it’s also a rescue and survival tool worth carrying around in dire situations.
The Tanto blade presents an interesting choice as far as survival knives go. The design makes this a formidable combat knife due to the superior piercing ability. But, because of the extra metal at the tip, the blade is also more durable for heavy-duty work.
The handle is basically your multi-tool. It has a line cutter and a reinforced base which lets you hammer away all day long. The blade release is designed to be ambidextrous but there are better designs on the market.
Note that this is also a spring-assisted folding knife, which is not something every survivalist prefers. That’s because it may require a few tightness adjustments until the response time is optimal.
What works in the favor of this knife more than anything is that it’s licensed USMC Marine Corps gear. It has the EGA logo on the handle and the “The Few The Proud” imprinted on the blade.
Back to the blade for a moment, it’s a 4” blade which meets the minimum requirement for most survivalists. It’s also about as much as you can expect in terms of length from a folding knife. The small serrated portion can act as a reliable wire cutter which gives the knife even more utility.
- Ergonomic handle
- Tanto blade design with reinforced beveled tip
- Wire stripper and line cutter
- Reinforced handle base
- Blade alloy not specified
- Requires occasional tightness adjustments
If you’re sure that you want an easy-to-conceal and -carry knife in survival situations, then getting the best folding survival knife is the only course of action. A folding knife has the advantage of being useful in both urban and wilderness survival scenarios.
Albeit not as durable or capable as a fixed blade full-tang survival knife with a long blade, a good folding knife is still good for basic outdoor labor and most importantly – it lets you do intricate work line fine carvings, wire stripping, line cutting, and anything else of the sorts with swift precision. They’re also popular as backup knives.
All the knives on this list were picked for their superior reliability compared to others in their class. Each one has its pros and cons but then again, many situations require a specific set of features from a survival knife.