survival pocket knives

Survival Pocket Knives – Our Top 10

survival pocket knives

Survival pocket knives can have many uses in a Bug Out Bag, survival kit, or as every day carry items. They are great tools that combine the nearly limitless utility of a knife with compact size and lower weight. Some people may choose to carry a survival pocket knife as a back up to a larger blade while others may choose to keep one as their main knife. Either way, having one can be a great addition to any kit.  Here we will look at a few survival pocket knives and explain what makes one great for your survival situation.

We will examine features, utility, and size, as well as take a closer look at a few that we chose as Our Picks for best in class.

Our Top 10 Survival Pocket Knives

We have created this helpful comparison chart of the best survival pocket knives out there.  Click on the images below to go to the Amazon page for more information on each of these knives.

Smith & Wesson Border Guard 2 Rescue Knife

Gerber E-Z Out Jr Knife

SOG Specialty Knives & Tools Escape Knife
Survival Pocket Knives
Wartech 8" Assisted Open Folding Tactical Survival Pocket Knife

CRKT Graham Folding Razel Knife


GERBER Paraframe II Tanto Knife

Spyderco Tenacious G

Buck Knives Folding Omni Hunter Knife

CRKT Kommer Free Range Hunter
Folding Lockback


What Are Qualities of GREAT Survival Pocket Knives?

When I am researching survival pocket knives to add to my kit I search for the following qualities:

Compact and lightweight

I am most likely going to be carrying my survival pocket knife a lot.  It will be an alternative to carrying one of my larger knives and I will want to maximize the advantages present in this type of knife.  There is no point carrying around a pocket knife that is as heavy and takes up as much space as a fixed blade knife.  Because of this I look for folding survival pocket knives that are made of lighter materials such as strong plastics or have a skeleton design to save weight.  I also will want a knife that is 5 inches or less when folded so I can fit in in a pocket or on a belt.

One handed opening

This is a big one for me, I do not want a knife that I may need to use in a hurry in a survival situation that has a NASA-level of complexity for opening it up.

I want to be able to open the blade one handed with either hand.  The knife making industry has recognized the utility of this type of feature and has attempted to answer it in many ways. There is the large thumb hole present in Spyderco knives that many people like but my favorite is the “Carson Flipper” present on CRKT knives, including my EDC choice of the M-21. This is a nub on the back side of the knife that you press with your index finger that lets the blade pivot around the hinge and snap into place with a satisfying click.  It can be done instantly with either hand.  It is so fast in fact that I have a friend that insists on calling it an “assisted opening”, although there are no springs involved.

Be sure you can open your survival pocket knife with either hand when making your choice, you never know what you may need to hold (or hold off) with your other hand when accessing your tool.

Good locking mechanism

The downfall of cheap folders is that they can fail and close on their owner’s hand at the worst possible time.

A good locking mechanism is essential when selecting a survival tool that you are planning on relying on.  Once again, this need has been addressed in many ways by the knife making industry and there are a lot of options out there.  Most of the better survival pocket knives will have multiple, redundant locking mechanisms that will basically turn your folder into a fixed blade knife while engaged.

Save your hands and make sure you have a reliable, fool-proof locking mechanism in your survival pocket knife.

High quality construction

As with any survival tool spending a little more on quality goes a long way on improving your odds.  Name brand knives from quality manufacturers such as CRKT, Gerber, Spyderco, Buck, and SOG will hold their edge longer, be less likely to have their hinge bind, and stand up to dropping and banging better than the cheap pieces of garbage you see on eBay.  Signs of quality to look for are:

  • Components are screwed or bolted on, not glued together
  • Fluid opening and closing motion of the blade
  • Easy to sharpen, holds an edge well
  • Reliable locking mechanism
  • Ergonomic grip that is comfortable and discourages your hand slipping onto the blade
  • Good quality steel or composite metal, check out a comparison of metal types here.

Survival Pocket Knives

Other Features to Consider For Survival Pocket Knives

Finding a good knife with a simple straight blade is a great start and will be a good, reliable tool to have. My EDC knife is just this and has served me well for many years.  However, if you are interested in tailoring your survival pocket knife to your particular survival situation consider these options that are available from many manufacturers:

Survival Pocket Knife Features for Urban Survival

  • Seatbelt/line cutter – This will let you get out of a vehicle faster if you enter a survival scenario during your commute.  This is frequently incorporated by way of a narrow cutout on the back of the knife that is used when the blade is folded in that lets you slide materials in but is too small to accidentally get your hand or fingers in danger.
  • Glass breaker – This will assist your evacuation from a vehicle or building in an urban survival situation.  Easily shatter the glass and go.
  • Pry tip – This is usually a flat tip (instead of a pointed one) on thicker type blades that allows you to jimmy open doors and containers.  It is a tough trade off to make as you will be sacrificing the survival pocket knife’s ability to stab and poke but may be worth it if this is a secondary knife in your kit.

Survival Pocket Knife Features for Wilderness Survival

  • Partial serration – This gives the benefits of both straight edge and serrated knives if you go for a combo blade.  Serration allows for faster cutting of rope, hide, bone, and wood, all things you may be facing in a wilderness survival scenario.
  • Gut hook – This will speed up your ability to dress wild game that you catch.  Many hunting and fishing knives have this feature but if a survival pocket knife is going to be your go-to blade, including this feature will be useful for wilderness survival.

Survival Pocket Knives

Photo credit: – scott feldstein Flickr

Our Picks for Best Survival Pocket Knives

Any of the survival pocket knives listed above would make a great addition to any survival kit as either a primary or backup blade. However, Our Pick for best in class goes to the Smith & Wesson Border Guard 2 Rescue Knife for best urban survival knife and the CRKT Kommer Free Range Hunter Folding Lockback for best wilderness survival knife.  They both combine the essential features that we discussed for their respective survival scenarios with a great basic blade and very high quality.


Although there are a great many survival pocket knives on the market, you can see here that it is not hard to find the best one for your survival situation.  Be sure to consider essential features such as size & weight, ease of opening, quality, reliability, and tailor any special features to your survival scenario.  If you want to learn more about basic survival skills check out our post.  If you are ready to build your Bug Out Bag list, click here to use our free tool.

Your Thoughts?

Have you used any on the survival pocket knives that we examined here?  Are there any features that you look for when researching survival pocket knives?  Please let us know using the Comments Section below, thanks!

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premade bug out bags

The Best Premade Bug Out Bags

premade bug out bags

A premade bug out bag can be a good option for someone who wants to prepare for the unforeseen but does not have the time or knowledge to piece one together item by item.

Premade bug out bags can also be used as a foundation to build upon by replacing or adding items that suit your local geography, climate, and personal needs.

In this guide, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of premade bug out bags.

We’ll also take a look at some of the best premade bug out bags that are currently available for sale on the market.

If you’d like to build a custom bug out bag from the ground up, refer to our bug out bag list for a comprehensive look at what to pack.

Things to Consider when Choosing a Premade Bug Out Bag

  • Does it include all the bug out bag essentials?
  • How many additional items will I need to tailor it for urban survival or wilderness survival?
  • Am I paying for items that I do not need?
  • Is this for my home or to be stored in my car?
  • Will it be easy to carry over long distances?
  • Do the quality of the bag itself and the included gear meet my expectations?
  • Is the bug out bag designed to cover the number of people I require?

Here are the pros and cons of going for a premade bug out bag:

The Pros of a Premade Bug Out Bag

  • Convenience – Premade bug out bags are an “off the shelf” solution that requires minimal time or effort.
  • Expertise – The creators of these bags have usually put some serious thought into what survival tools and supplies they decide to include.
  • Basic needs covered – Most premade bug out bags are at least adequate for basic survival, making them a good starting point.

The Cons of a Premade Bug Out Bag

  • One Size Fits All – Buying a premade bug out bag is a one size fits all solution that isn’t a good choice if you are the type of person that wants to build their bag from the ground up.
  • Unnecessary items – Depending on what is included in the premade bug out bag, you may be paying for some survival supplies that you don’t need or want.

The Best All-Around Premade Bug Out Bag

After reviewing dozens of premade bug out bags, our favorite is the Emergency Zone Bug Out Bag Emergency Disaster Kit for Two.

This premade bug out bag is packed with all the essentials survival items that you would need in an emergency. The quality of both the bag itself and its contents are among the best we have seen while remaining very reasonably priced. The black, discrete backpack is meant to look like an ordinary backpack to help you blend. Inside the kit, you will find supplies that will help you meet the basic needs of 2 people for up to 72 hours or 1 person for 144 hours

The backpack has plenty of extra room for adding personal items such as extra clothing and for customizing the kit further by packing additional survival items.

Also included is a 50-page Emergency Preparedness Guidebook that will help you prepare for any disaster.

This kit was obviously designed by true survivalists. It is an effective ready-to-go option to ensure that you are prepared for an emergency evacuation.

If you are looking for a bug out bag to keep in your home, your car, or at work for bugging out in an emergency, this bug out bag is the kit for you!

Our Pick: The Emergency Zone Bug Out Bag Emergency Disaster Kit for Two

Buy It Now

The Best High-End Premade Survival Bug Out Bag

HINT: we created one!

We co-developed, along with the guys at Ready To Go Survival, a bug out bag that is geared specifically for urban survival.

We call it The Ultimate Urban Survival Kit (TUUSK).

We tested dozens of items to see what would be best suited to help us survive an urban disaster. We tested all the gear in real-world conditions in the heart of New York City and are confident that the final TUUSK loadout is ideal for surviving in an urban emergency scenario.

If you live in a city, with the TUUSK, you’ll never get caught unprepared: Learn more about the TUUSK

NEW: Personalized Survival Kit Service

Don’t want to build your bug out bag yourself?

No problem.

Have a team of Preparedness Specialists outline all the essentials you and your family will need given your group size, age, location, survival concerns, and other key factors. We’ve teamed up with the incredible team at Ready To Go Survival to offer you their personalized survival kit service.

Ready To Go Survival has been in business since 2013 crafting high-end comprehensive premade survival kits. They have been featured in the New York Times, Fox News, The Daily Beast, Drudge Report, and the HBO series High Maintenance for the unique service they provide.

By filling out their 3-minute survival assessment questionnaire, they will get back to you with a custom survival package outline tailored to your specific needs. They have a team of Preparedness Specialists standing by to outline all the essentials you and your family will need given your group size, age, location, survival concerns, and other key factors.

Click HERE to learn more about the Ready To Go Survival Personalized Survival Kit Service.

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