Best EDC Knife

The Best EDC Knife – How To Pick The Best Knife for Your EDC Kit

Best EDC Knife

Most people agree that an EDC kit isn’t complete without a knife. There are tons of knives out there which can make the experience of finding the right one for you an overwhelming experience but this guide aims to help you find perfect knife for your EDC kit.

A knife is one of those tools that serves many purposes. It can be used to open things, slice food or cordage, for self-defense, to carve wood, to skin game and filet fish, and to accomplish a multitude of other tasks.

Having a good EDC knife will make many every day tasks easier and will give you an advantage in nearly any survival situation.

Best EDC Knife
The Original EDC Knife

Our Picks for Best EDC Knife

Best Overall EDC Knife: Kershaw Tanto Serrated Blur Knife


The Kershaw Tanto Serrated Blur Knife is our favorite choice for an all-purpose EDC knife. This Made in USA knife is built to last and is super sharp right out of the box.

It is extremely well-made and designed with military service, police force, and firefighters in mind. The handle is durable and lightweight, with a great texture to allow for a firm grip. SpeedSafe assisted opening system for smooth, one-handed opening

It’s partially serrated blade gives you added flexibility making it a versatile item in your EDC arsenal.

This is a fantastic knife that will serve its owner for many years to come.

Best Compact EDC Knife: Boker Plus Subcom Pocket Knife


The Boker Plus Subcom Pocket Knife is a little gem that is perfect for people that want their EDC items to be as small and low profile as possible.

It can easily clip onto a belt or even be used as a money clip. This knife is a great choice when concealability and having an unobtrusive EDC arsenal are your priorities.

Boker Knives come with a lifetime warranty.


Best Plus-Sized EDC Knife: Spyderco Endura 4


Even though the Spyderco Endura 4 is at the larger end of the spectrum for EDC knives, it is still quite compact and surprisingly lightweight.

As you’ll see from the customer reviews, this knife has a very loyal EDC user base.

This knife is an excellent choice for EDC if size isn’t your main driving factor.

How To Choose The Best EDC Knife for You

As with looking at a knife for any task there are a few basic qualities you should look at when making your choice.

Fixed vs Folding

This is likely the first decision to make when choosing your EDC knife. Most people opt for a folding knife as they tend to be smaller and can easily fit in a pocket or clip onto a belt.

Any fixed blade knife will need a sheath to cover the blade and would need to be worn on a belt or on a cord as a “neck knife.”

As with many elements of finding a good EDC knife it comes down to preference and what environment you typically find yourself in. If you are in an urban environment a folding EDC knife will be a better option as it will be unobtrusive and lighter to carry. Being discreet is often important in urban areas making a small folding knife a common choice for city dwellers.

If you tend to live in a rural location a fixed blade knife is easier to justify as you may find yourself skinning game and cutting rope more often. Additionally, outside of big cities wearing a fixed blade knife has less of a cultural taboo. Regardless of this many rural EDCers tend to choose a folding knife for their EDC kit due to size and weight advantages of this option.

Size and Weight

A good EDC knife will be able to fit in a pocket and will integrate strong, lightweight materials such as G10 or Micarta. It is important to recognize the “Every Day” aspect of an EDC knife when considering size and weight. No one wants to be carrying around an anchor in their pocket all the time. Choose an EDC pocket knife that is under 5 ounces (~150 grams) and less than 5 inches (~13 cm) in length for an easy, comfortable carry.

Edge Type

There are many types of blade styles available for folding EDC knives designed to fit a multitude of needs. The most 3 commonly available are:

  • Full Ground Edge – This is a blade that has a straight or curved edge. Full ground edge blades are generally better for pushing cuts (shaving, skinning an apple or animal), scraping, precision work, poking, skewering, and stabbing.
  • Full Serration – Serrated blades are generally better at slicing cuts through tough materials such as plastic, wood, rope, leather, or drywall. Serrated knives are generally poor at stabbing in a self-defense context as the serrations tend to get stuck on clothing or bones.
  • Partial Serration – This is a blade that is serrated on the part nearest the handle and a straight ground edge nearest the tip. This type of blade seeks to deliver the advantages of both of the types of blades mentioned above in a single piece for the user making them a popular choice for EDC.
Best EDC Folding Knife
Full Ground Edge Vs Partial Serration

Opening Mechanism

Knife makers have innovated in many ways to create opening mechanisms to suit any need.  There is a lot of variety out there from assisted open knives to thumb studs and cutouts, to flipping nubs and many, many more. Regardless of what type of opening mechanism you choose for your EDC knife it should have the following qualities:

  • Reliable – You want your knife to open on the first try when you need it.  If you have to cut through a rope to save a life, or fight off a dangerous animal, you can’t call a “time out” to open up your knife.  Make sure you can open it instantly EVERY TIME.
  • One-handed – You never know what circumstance you may need to open your knife in or if you will be holding on to something essential in the other.  Make sure you EDC knife opening mechanism can be operated one handed.
  • Left or Right Hand Opening – Make sure your knife opening mechanism can be utilized with either hand.  Some cheap knives come with a thumb stud only on one side.  Great if you have the option to open your EDC knife with you right hand.  Not so great if you are holding on to something essential with that hand or if it is injured.  Hedge your bets and go with an ambidextrous opening mechanism.
  • Assisted vs Manual Opening – Deciding whether your best EDC knife should have an assisted or manual open will come down to personal choice. It is a nice feature but is illegal in many jurisdictions. To meet the needs of knife owners, knife makers have responded with ever-improving manual opening methods that are lightning fast.

Locking Mechanism

No matter what you choose as the best EDC folding knife for your situation, they all have one thing in common: a rock-solid locking mechanism.  Having an excellent lock on your folding knife will make it nearly on par with a fixed blade knife for reliability.  Some of the better folding knives out there even have a secondary locking mechanism, making it virtually impossible for the blade to close on your hand while in use.  The 3 most common locking mechanisms for EDC folding knives are:

  • Liner Lock
  • Lock Back
  • Lever Lock

Regardless of which of these options you choose to go with make sure it is reliable for your knife.  Many cheap manufacturers will skimp on this feature, endangering their users and making an unreliable tool. A quality knife will have a quality locking mechanism, look for and EDC blade with a secondary option for extra safety.

Grip Style and Material

The grip for your EDC folding knife can be broken into two categories, style and materials. The style is how the knife is designed which will ideally allow it to fit well in your hand and allow for a secure grip in adverse conditions (wet, cold, etc). The materials are what the grip is made of. There are a variety of materials that are commonly used to make the grip of a folding knife, choosing one that suits your purposes is an important step in deciding what the best EDC knife is for you.

EDC Knife Grip Style

A well designed knife will fit easily in your hand.  It should have a concavity for your hand to hold on to, a good sized choil to hold your fingers in place and well thought out jimping on the backside to provide grip for your thumb when in use.

Best EDC Knife

EDC Knife Grip Material

There are a vide variety of materials used to make knife grips, here are some of the most common:

  • G10 – An epoxy and fiberglass resin that is extremely strong and relatively lightweight
  • Micarta – A combination of cloth (generally linen or canvas) and resin.  Also very strong and lightweight
  • Titanium – Extremely strong and lightweight material, nearly impervious to rust.
  • Carbon Fiber – Very light weight material but also very brittle.  Generally more showy and expensive than the other options.
  • Zytel – A lightweight and nearly indestructible plastic.

Best EDC Knife


Knives are one of the many items where you get what you pay for. While there are many good EDC knives out there that can be picked up for less than $50, the BEST EDC knives will generally cost more than this. For something you are going to be carrying with you EVERY DAY, it is worth paying a bit more to choose a high quality EDC knife that will last the test of time.

Additionally, a quality pocket knife is less likely to bind at the hinge or pivot point or have a lock mechanism failure, letting you down when you need it most.

A good knife will take care of its owner, require less maintenance, and if taken care of becomes a hand-me-down for future generations, hopefully with a few good stories to go along with it.

Look at your EDC knife as an investment.

Choosing the Best EDC Knife For YOU

As you can see choosing the best EDC knife to meet your needs is a highly personal choice.

The reward is that once you have looked at the points that we discussed, size, weight, opening mechanism, lock type, grip material and style, and cost you will be able to make a rational decision on the absolute BEST EDC Knife to add to your kit.

The EDC knives that we listed above are the ones that generally work well in EDC kits. Here they are again:

Want Even MORE Info On Building Your EDC Kit?

For more EDC related guides, please check out the following articles: How To Make Your EDC List, How To Choose The Best EDC Bag, and Picking The Best EDC Flashlight.

If you are looking for even more information on how to build your ultimate EDC kit you can check out my book, The Every Day Carry Guide. It is a comprehensive manual that will teach you:

  • How to be prepared at all times – no matter where you are
  • How to build your first EDC kit from scratch
  • How to refine an existing kit to make it more effective
  • How to pick the best gear to realistically make you more prepared
  • How to assess threats and risks in your every day life


Your Thoughts?

Do you have an EDC knife that you love? Do you look at any additional qualities when finding the best EDC knife to meet your EDC needs? Please let us know in the comments section below.

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Wartech Knife Review 8″ Assisted Open Folding Tactical Survival Pocket

After mentioning the The Wartech 8″ Assisted Open Folding Tactical Survival Pocket Knife in our article about the best survival pocket knives we have gotten several requests for an in depth Wartech knife review.  We have put this Wartech knife through the paces and come out with some interesting feedback on it as a practical survival tool.

Wartech Knife Review

Wartech Knife Review

The Wartech 8″ Assisted Open Folding Tactical Survival Pocket Knife has an aggressive styling with futuristic metal handle and two tone blade. This tactical folder includes several accessories which you’d expect to clutter the overall appearance, but are nicely low profile including a glass breaker, seatbelt cutter, belt clip, and LED light.  The knife feels nice in the hand and seems to have a better build quality that you would expect for a knife at this price point.  The features that jump out are the smooth assisted opening mechanism and aforementioned LED light, both add a lot overall and are discussed below in detail.

Our Video Review:

Wartech Knife Blade

The Wartech 8″ Folding Tactical’s blade is about 3.75 inches long, with a clip point and partial serration.  Out of the box, this knife has a nice sharp factory edge that cuts effectively thought cordage, nylon and wood, as you would expect from a Wartech knife.  It has a 1065 “Surgical” blade made from plain carbon steel (.65% carbon).  This type of steel has less corrosion resistance and edge retention than stainless steel would but is however very easy to sharpen.  Overall the Wartech 8″ Folding Tactical’s blade is sharp out of the box and will perform well in most cases.  If this particular Wartech knife is used as an everyday work knife it will require maintenance such as sharpening and corrosion protection due to the type of steel employed in its design.

Wartech Knife Opening and Closing Mechanism

Put simply, opening the Wartech 8″ Folding Tactical is sweet.  The assisted opening mechanism causes the blade to fly open at light pressure on the opening lever for very easy ambidextrous, one handed opening. This feature is a real highlight of the Wartech 8″ Tactical’s design and it is worth its low price just for this functionality.  When locked open, the Wartech knife feels solid and stable with very little wiggle between the blade and handle.  The mechanical down side an assisted opening mechanism and stable blade lock is that closing the Wartech 8″ Folding Tactical is tight and takes two hands.  This may be preferred by some users as a two handed close makes it near impossible to accidentally close the knife while in use.

Wartech knife reviews
The integrated seatbelt cutter is an effective line cutter

Wartech Knife Accessories

The Wartech 8″ Assisted Open Folding Tactical Survival Pocket Knife comes equipped with several nice accessories that make it a highly versatile emergency tool.  Most of these features are not found on other knives at this price point, which is a great aspect of this folder.

LED light

The Wartech 8″ Folding Tactical has a side-mounted, articulating LED light.  The light is small and low profile, but bright enough to illuminate your immediate area in a pinch.  The LED can also be folded flat against the handle so the beam is pointing straight down the blade.  This is incredibly useful when cutting in the dark as it aligns the light with whatever you happen to be slicing or piercing.  This is a really nice feature that adds versatility to the Wartech knife.

Seat Belt Cutter

The base of the Wartech 8″ Folding Tactical’s handle includes an inset seatbelt cutter.  I tested it on a thick nylon strap and it was ineffective.  It’s possible that it would work better on an actual seat belt, but if I were trapped by my seatbelt with the Wartech 8″ Folding Tactical in my hand, I would pop open the blade and use that, which was very effective on the nylon strap in tests.  As a side note, the the Wartech 8″ Folding Tactical’s seatbelt cutter will slice through paracord easily, making it useful as a line cutter.

Window Breaker

The Wartech 8″ Folding Tactical Knife has a pointed, metal glass breaking implement on the base of the handle.  I would trust this to be able to concentrate force into a small enough area to shatter a car window.  This makes the Wartech 8″ Folding Tactical a viable vehicle egress tool.

Belt Clip

The Wartech 8″ Folding Tactical Knife includes a robust belt clip, which may seem like a trivial addition, but adds a lot of versatility and carry options.  The Wartech 8″ Folding Tactical’s clip is firmly attached and suitable for attaching the tool to pocket, belt or web gear.

Wartech Assisted open

Wartech Knife Review Conclusion

The Wartech 8″ Assisted Open Folding Tactical Survival Pocket Knife is a great tool to keep in your car, your bug out bag or anywhere you need a versatile, secondary knife.  It is worth noting that the type of steel used in this particular Wartech knife offers a trade off of ease of sharpening for lower corrosion resistance.  Its many features packed into a compact, ergonomic folder make it best suited as a back up, but for the low price you can buy several and stash them in your workplace, home, garage, vehicle, and bug out bag.

Recommendation: Buy one or more.

View or purchase the item on Amazon: Wartech 8″ Assisted Open Folding Tactical Survival Pocket Knife

Wartech Knife Review


Click HERE to see out list of Top 10 Survival Pocket Knives.

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Best EDC Folding Knife

How to pick the folding best knife for a bug out bag

In the case of an emergency or a natural disaster, you should always be fully prepared and equipped with your very own bug out bag, also known as an emergency preparedness kit. These bags can be purchased online or through certain retailers in prices ranging anywhere from $35 up to $400. But, many safety experts highly recommend that you build your bug out bag from the ground up in order for it to suit your needs. Some of the top items in your kit should include non-perishable food products, a first-aid kit, matches, medical prescriptions, clothes, and a high quality pocket knife, which could be very useful during most emergency situations.

The Best Folding Knife for a Bug Out Bag

Obtaining a quality pocket knife should definitely be right at the top of your to-do list, along with the ultimate first aid kit and a few boxes of matches, when you are creating your custom bug out bag. A pocket knife is a knife with a folding blade that can be carried in an on-the-go fashion. It can also be a crucial piece to successful survival if you are ever thrust into any type of emergency situation. Therefore, it is very important that you conduct your research and have the proper knowledge when it comes to making the right selection for your needs.

Pocket Knife

There are several factors to consider when choosing the correct pocket knife for your kit. The most significant part of a pocket knife is the blade. This is where the action takes place. Therefore, your blade has to be made of the best steel and extremely sharp at all times. There is no point in possessing a knife if the blade is dull because it will be of no value to you or anyone else. Having a quality handle on your piece is also imperative. Water and other moisture elements need to be able to bounce off and not absorb into the knife. Remember, some of the best handles are made of Titanium. Design is also an important to look for when choosing the best pocket knife. You, as the potential owner, should have a special chemistry with your knife. The piece should properly fit into your hand and you should be able to comfortably maintain it with the perfect grip. Picking a single-blade or a multi-blade knife also comes into play when you are making your decision. Most multi-blade knives are used to perform very many tasks and are ideal for hunters and fishermen. But, a knife with a serrated four-inch blade is probably the best choice for your bug out bag.

Cost is another major factor that goes into selecting a great pocket knife that will stand the test of time. We all want to get a great value for our hard earned bucks without having to pay an obscene amount of money. Most pocket knife enthusiasts will tend to spend an average of up to $500 on a special trinket just to admire. But, when purchasing for safety, quality, and reliable use, you probably would have to spend somewhere between $40 and $100. It all adds up that old saying: “You get what you pay for.” Most pocket knives that are priced for under $35 are usually not made with the best material. You should never deny yourself a dependable knife by always looking for the cheapest version. Who would want a knife that would crumble under pressure if caught up in an emergency situation?

With many different brands out there on the market, it can be difficult to know which one to pick and why, especially if you are a pocket knife novice. There are a number of trusted brands that you should consider to ensure that you make the right choice. The Benchmade is a very trusted brand and the Benchmade Mini Griptilian is a model that is currently in high demand. It is great to use everyday while going about your daily tasks because of its lightweight ability. Another popular brand on the market is Buck. The Buck 110 is great for a heavier duty job. It has a longer blade that is contrived from a rust-resistant steel. And finally, the Spyderco Tenacious is popular with collectors and also great for tactical use. Plus, it possesses a smooth small blade that gets the job done. Most owners would say that it offers a great product for a reasonable price at right under fifty bucks.

Spyderco TenaciousBuck 110Benchmade Griptillian

The pocket knife is a very useful tool that can be extremely helpful in many emergency situations. It has been proven that having the right pocket knife at the right time can definitely be a life saver. So, when preparing your emergency bug out bag, do not let one of the most important items slip your mind. Make sure you pack your pocket knife.

About the Author

This article was written by James Petzke. James runs Knife Den, a site that is dedicated to providing top notch reviews and information about knives of all kinds.

Are you ready to build your bug out bag list?  Try our free tool using this button:

Bug Out Bag Interactive Packing List

Your Thoughts?

Do you have a go to knife for your bug out list?  Are there any features that you see as must have for a bug out knife?  Please let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks.  If you thought this article was helpful please Like, +1, or Tweet it using the social media buttons at the top of the page, thanks!

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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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Multi Purpose Survival Tools

Top 10 Multi Purpose Survival Tools for Your Bug Out Bag

Multi Purpose Survival Tools

Here at The Bug Out Bag Guide we strive to build the best survival kit using a philosophy of practicality and efficiency. An excellent way of practicing this mindset is to utilize multi purpose survival gear to meet the needs of our Bug Out Plan. Multi purpose survival gear items improve our survival kit in multiple ways:

  1. Save Space – Why bring 3 items when you can use 1 do do the same jobs? Consolidating items to save space will free up room in your Bug Out Bag to carry other useful survival tools or more food and water.
  2. Save Weight – We have covered at length the perils of weighing yourself down with everything plus the kitchen sink, and have even built a tool for you to check your own Bug Out Bag’s weight. Reducing the number of items you carry will pay increasing dividends the longer you have to travel.
  3. Increase Simplicity / Reduce Clutter – The more items you pack the harder it will be to find what you need. Stick to the essentials – Pack less and improvise more for an efficient survival kit.
Multi Purpose Survival Tools
The Original Multi Purpose Survival Tool

Our Picks for Multi Purpose Survival Tools

We have researched long and hard and compiled a list of the best multi purpose survival tools below. For most categories, there are a great many options of items to consider while building your best survival kit. We have made a recommendation of the best we could find where applicable for those who do not have the time or inclination to search on their own based on utility, size, and weight. However as always, you need to choose the best items for YOUR survival scenario.

Survival Hatchet

These come in many flavors but most of them will do the jobs of a hatchet (obviously), pry tool, shovel, and wrench. We should look for any opportunity to remove high weight to volume ratio items such as steel tools to build the best survival kit, so being able to leave behind any of these is a good step. For more info check out our in depth reviews of the BEST survival tomahawks here.

Survival Whistle

These are generally quite cheap and are cover a lot of the basics. Most survival whistles combine a compass, dry container with the whistle and some even have a fire starting flint within.


Anything with both the words “multi” and “tool” in it is worth having a look at. There are a great many options for multitools – focus on weight and practicality when looking. Are you going to really NEED the one with the allen key and corkscrew? Stick to the basics of a straight blade, saw, and can opener (like this one here) and add what few other options you see fit. Some bonus items that are rarely thought about are a magnifying glass and USB stick. These come on some multitools and can be used to start fires and store important family records, respectively. If you want to learn more about choosing the right multitool for survival, you can check out our article here.


There is so much you can do with a tarp, it is a multitool all in itself. Besides the obvious of keeping gear dry and being used as a shelter, they can also be used for signaling and be easily turned into a stretcher to carry injured party members.

Plastic Bags

It is good to have a few of these as they have many, many uses and are very light and small. Plastic bags can be used to carry water, keep clothes and fire starting kits dry, store food, and organize small items.

Survival Knife

We covered Survival Knives generally in our Bug Out Bag Essentials post but they are so useful it is worth re-hashing here. Generally you are better off getting a solid, full tang knife from a trusted knifemaker such as Ontario, Camillus, Becker, or Gerber. Stay away from hollow handled survival knives if at all possible. The small amount of storage space will not make up for the overall inferior build quality. For more information on choosing a good knife for any outdoors situation, check out our comprehensive guide by CLICKING HERE.

Duct Tape

Good old duct tape, where would the world be without it? Duct Tape can be used as an emergency bandage, to secure a splint, to reinforce or repair waterproofing, as a rope replacement for shelter building, and taped over sore spots to prevent blisters.


A bandana can be moistened and tied around the neck to help keep you cool, be used to filter water, will protect you from the sun, be used as a bandage, be utilized to tie on a splint, or be a replacement for rope in tasks such as shelter building.


This is a small, strong cord that can be used in shelter building, ascending or descending inclines, as a clothes line, to fasten a splint, or to build a snare. Read out article about paracord uses and storage here.

Sanitary Pads/Tampons

These are often overlooked but are highly versatile. In addition to its intended use, a sanitary pad can be used as a bandage, it can be shredded and used as tinder, and it can be used to filter sediment from water.

BONUS: Your Brain

I know this is a list of the Top 10 Multi Purpose Survival Tools but this is really worth mentioning. Your own brain is the most valuable multi purpose survival tool that you have. Your mind contains the willpower to persevere in a dire survival scenario, and as importantly, the ability to improvise and modify your Bug Out Plan to overcome unforeseen problems. Rely on your own thinking before any of these other tools we mentioned, it will get you out of most sticky situation.

Top 10 Multi Purpose Survival Tools

We have build the table below to help you consider multi purpose survival tools when planning your bug out bag list. You will see in there Our Picks for the best items that meet our basic survival needs. If you click on the image for any of these, you will open up a window to where you can conduct further research on this item or others like it to see what best meets your needs.

 Multi Use ItemOur PickItems it can replaceUses
1Survival HatchetOntario SP16 Spax Tool
Hatchet, Pry bar, ShovelCut, Pry, Break glass, Punch holes, Open/close fire hydrants and gas mains, Open manholes, Self defense
25 in 1 whistleSE - Whistle - 5-in-1
Fierstarter, compass, waterproof container, matches, lighter, signal mirrorSignalling, navigation, firestarting, dry container
3MultitoolLeatherman Sidekick Multi Tool

knife, saw, can openerCut Wood, Clean animals, Harvest plants, Slice rope, Shelter building, Self devense
4Plastic BagsWhatever is in your kitchen pantryDry Bag, Fire starting kit containerBackup water container, Dry bag, Store food, Organize small bits of gear
5Survival KnifeGerber LMF II Infantry Knife

Camp saw, hatchet, can be used for nearly any bushcraft task.Food gathering, First aid, Shelter Building, Navigation, Fire starting, Self defense
6Duct Tape3M Utility Duct Tape
Rope, BandagesEmergency bandage, Repair waterproofing, Shelter building, Prevent blisters
7BandanaHead for Survival Triangular Bandana
Triangle Bandage, HatEmergency Rope, Wet it and tie around your neck to keep cool, Sun Protection, Arm sling, Compression bandage, Filter sediment from water
8ParacordArmy Universe Nylon Military Paracord

Rope, some first aid itemsShelter building, Climbing/descending, grapelling hook, Tie on a splint, Build a snare
9TarpHeavy Duty Tarp
Emergency Shelter, Signal MirrorKeep items dry, Keep you off the ground when sleeping, Made into a stretcher, Used as shelter, Used for signaling
10Sanitary Pads/TamponsWhatever is already in your hygiene kitBandages, TinderFirst Aid for bleeding, Start fires, Emergency water filter, Femenine hygiene


There are many multi purpose survival tools that can be utilized to save space and weight in your Bug Out Bag. Carefully consider the pluses and minuses of each when building your Bug Out Plan and Bug Out Bag Contents List in order to build the best survival kit for YOUR survival scenario.

Your Thoughts

If you thought this post was helpful, please Like, +1, or Share it using the social media buttons at the top of the page! What do you think of these multi purpose survival tools? Is there an additional use for any of them that you know of? Is there any other survival gear that you would recommend? Please let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!

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