What is the Best Steel for a Survival Knife?

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Last Updated on October 14, 2022 by admin_hunter

When you purchase a product you need to consider all the aspects of what you’re buying so that it serves its purpose well. Survival knives are no exception. You want a knife that has an ergonomically designed handle and a blade that doesn’t lose its edge.

But not all survival knives are the same. Cheap variations may be poorly designed and they won’t last long. That’s why it’s important to select a blade that’s made with high quality steel. So what is the best steel for a survival knife? Take a look at the following guide to find out more about blade steel.

What is a Survival Knife?

It’s said that any knife can be a survival knife. But that’s not necessarily true. Although steak knives have sharp edges they won’t serve you well in the wild. Steak knives are designed to cut food and so they’re made with a different kind of material that’s not durable enough for heavy duty use.

A survival knife is built to withstand extreme conditions and its purpose is to cut through most materials such as rope, meat, wood, fruit and packaging such as tin cans. Survival knives are extremely robust and they’re made with dense steel that won’t snap, chip or lose its edge.

You can use a survival knife for a multitude of tasks because they’re designed to be versatile. Let’s take a look at the top three reasons why you need a survival knife.

3 Reasons you Need a Survival Knife

For Military Use

There are special kinds of survival knives manufactured for military use. These knives aid soldiers on the field with various tasks. It can be used as a weapon as well as preparing food in the wild. A survival knife also serves as a tool to build traps and snares.

When You’re Out Camping

A survival knife should always be part of your camping kit because it can help you open cans of food and other packaging. Use a survival knife to cut twigs off a tree to keep a fire going or use the back of the handle to hammer tent pegs into the ground.

Did you know that you could even start a fire with a survival knife? All you need is your knife and a piece of flint. Simply run your blade over the flint to create sparks. The sparks will fall onto your wood to ignite it.

A Survival Knife is a Handy Tool When You’re Out Hunting

Survival knives are exceptionally sharp so it’s the best tool when you’re out hunting. Use a survival knife to skin your kill and prepare the meat. You can also use it to cut up fish that you’ve caught.

What to Consider When Buying a Survival Knife

There are certain features a survival knife must have so that it’s easy to use and makes short work of any task.

When you purchase a survival knife, make sure that it’s a fixed application. Most people buy folding knives because they are compact but they aren’t practical to use in the wild. The folding mechanism won’t be durable enough to withstand intense tasks. So always make sure the knife is fixed in a sturdy handle.

Another feature that’s important to look for is if the knife is full tang. This means that the steel of the blade extends down the handle so the knife is sturdier and there’s no risk of the blade flying off the handle.

Blade Materials for a Survival Knife

There are four common types of steel survival knives are made from:


This is Japanese steel with a higher chromium percentage. AUS-8 steel is resistant to oxidization, it’s durable and its edge is extremely sharp. But this type of steel is difficult to sharpen because of the steel density. Some AUS-8 is heat-treated to make it easier for people to sharpen the blade.


It’s high carbon steel which means it’s not rust-resistant and the surface is susceptible to staining if it’s not maintained regularly. But it’s a common steel knife manufacturers use because it’s durable and has excellent edge retention.


This is also high carbon steel but it’s not as durable as the 1095-HC material although it’s more corrosion resistant. D2 steel is typically used to manufacture folding knives so it’s not suitable for survival applications.


The 154CM steel is a high-end material used to make most American survival knives. It has all the advantages of stainless steel and high carbon materials. It won’t rust, chip, break or corrode and it keeps its edge well. The 154CM steel is easy to sharpen when it loses its edge over time.

What is the Best Steel for a Survival Knife?

The best steel for a survival knife is the 154CM material. This type of steel has the durability of high carbon steel but with the rust-resistance of stainless steel. With the combination of the two, it will require less maintenance and it will serve you well when you’re out in the wild.

If you’re unsure about what blades are made from, look for printed text that will usually state that it’s stainless steel or carbon steel. These are two common survival knife materials.

Out of the two materials carbon steel is still a favored choice because of its durability, its ability to keep a sharp edge for longer and its attractive price tag.

Final Thoughts

Are you thinking about buying a survival knife? Take this guide into consideration so that you purchase a survival knife that will help you with all your heavy-duty tasks and make sure it’s resistant to wear. A quality survival knife will have exceptional blade retention because of the high end steel it’s made from.

Ensure that your survival knife is a fixed unit with either a double or single edge and it must always have a sharp point at the end of the blade. The sharp point will help with carving wood and slicing through most materials.

Buy the right knife and you’ll be prepared for almost any situation!