There are a lot of really good outdoor and survival knives out there on the market today, but it is sometimes hard to look through all of the terrible and low-quality brands to find the ones that you can really trust and rely on.
This list is just in alphabetical order and the position on the list does not represent how trustworthy a knife brand is. Outdoor and survival knife brands that are at the bottom of this list are just as trustworthy as the ones near the top. I just couldn’t make myself pick favorites and rank them based on that. They are all really great knife companies that I trust and rely on regularly.
Obviously, every knife that each of these brands has, and will, produced will not all be trustworthy. I’m just basing them off of brand reputation and how trustworthy the large majority of their knives are.
My personal rating for each brand is not based on how I like the entire brand or how well their knives work, it is based on how well their SURVIVAL and OUTDOOR knives work and are designed. Let me repeat myself, this is my personal rating of how good I think their survival and outdoors knives are.
After a ton of research and years of owning knives, here is a list of the most trustworthy outdoor and survival knife brands that I have found.
Table of Contents
- Best Survival and Outdoor Knife Brands (Listed in Alphabetical Order)
- 1. AKC
- 2. Al Mar
- 3. Battle Horse
- 4. Benchmade
- 5. Boker
- 6. Browning
- 7. Buck Knives
- 8. Chris Reeve
- 9. Cold Steel
- 10. Condor
- 11. CRKT
- 12. Emerson
- 13. EnZO
- 14. ESEE
- 15. Fällkniven
- 16. Gerber
- 17. Helle
- 18. Ka-Bar
- 19. Kershaw
- 20. Medford
- 21. Microtech
- 22. Morakniv
- 23. Ontario Knife Company
- 24. Pro-Tech
- 25. Reate
- 26. Schrade
- 27. Smith and Wesson
- 28. SOG
- 29. Spyderco
- 30. TOPS Knives
- 31. Victorinox Swiss Army
- 32. WE Knife Company
- 33. Zero Tolerance
Best Survival and Outdoor Knife Brands (Listed in Alphabetical Order)
|#||Brand Name and Website||Year Established||Based Out Of||General Price Range||My Personal Rating*|
|2||Al Mar||1979||Tualatin, Oregon, U.S.A.||$$$$||5/10|
|3||Battle Horse||2000||Cambridge, Ohio, U.S.A.||$$$||9/10|
|4||Benchmade||1979||Oregon City, Oregon, U.S.A.||$$$$||10/10|
|6||Browning||1878||Morgan, Utah, U.S.A.||$||6/10|
|7||Buck Knives||1902||Post Falls, Idaho, U.S.A.||$$||7/10|
|8||Chris Reeve||2008||Boise, Idaho, U.S.A.||$$$$$||10/10|
|9||Cold Steel||1980||Ventura, California, U.S.A.||$$||7/10|
|11||CRKT||1994||Tualatin, Oregon, U.S.A.||$$||8/10|
|12||Emerson||1996||Torrance, California, U.S.A.||$$$$||6/10|
|14||ESEE||1997||Idaho Falls, Idaho, U.S.A.||$$$||10/10|
|16||Gerber||1939||Tigard, Oregon, U.S.A.||$$||5/10|
|18||Ka-Bar||1898||Olean, New York, U.S.A.||$$||8/10|
|19||Kershaw||1974||Tualatin, Oregon, U.S.A.||$$||7/10|
|20||Medford||2010||Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A.||$$$$$||9/10|
|21||Microtech||1994||Fletcher, North Carolina, U.S.A.||$$$$$||6/10|
|23||Ontario Knife Company||1889||Franklinville, New York, U.S.A||$$||9/10|
|24||Pro-Tech||1998||Artesia, California, U.S.A.||$$$$||7/10|
|26||Schrade||1904||Ellenville, New York, U.S.A.||$||6/10|
|27||Smith and Wesson||1852||Springfield, Massachusetts,U.S.A.||$||5/10|
|28||SOG||1986||Lynnwood, Washington, U.S.A.||$$||8/10|
|29||Spyderco||1976||Golden, Colorado, U.S.A.||$$$||9/10|
|30||TOPS Knives||1998||Ucon, Idaho,U.S.A.||$$$||8/10|
|31||Victorinox Swiss Army||1884||Ibach-Schwyz, Switzerland||$$||6/10|
|32||WE Knife Company||2000||Yangjiang, Guangdong, China||$$$$||7/10|
|33||Zero Tolerance||2006||Tualatin, Oregon, U.S.A.||$$$$||8/10|
*I am basing my personal ratings of each knife brand on how well I think the large majority of their knives will work for outdoor activities and survival. If I truly didn’t like a brand or think it wouldn’t work for many activities in the outdoors, I wouldn’t have put it on my list for favorite outdoor and survival knives. Just saying…
Based in Italy, Automatic Knives Creations (AKC) is a great company that makes really high quality out the front (OTF) knives, folding knives, and classic Italian stilettos. All of their knives are very unique, high quality, traditional, and just overall very well designed and made.
While the large majority of the knives made by AKC might not work well for outdoor use or survival, there are a few hidden gems among the mass of OTF knives and stilettos. My favorite is their Speed Hunter line that has some excellent automatic folding knives that work well for slightly less intensive outdoor tasks.
2. Al Mar
Al Mar knives are a great and quality knife company with a rich history. Founded in 1979 and based in Tualatin, Oregon, United States, Al Mar works to produce knives that are well designed and made and that stand up to more expensive, custom-made knives.
While Al Mar typically specializes in tactical and military-style knives, there are many great options for outdoor activities and survival. Such knives as the Al Mar Shiva are great for hunting and outdoor tasks, while the Al Mar S.E.R.E. Operator would be my pick for survival and tactical purposes.
3. Battle Horse
Battle Horse Knives is overall a really reputable and great knife company that makes some of the best knives for bushcraft, survival, and outdoor activities that I have ever seen. All of their knives are custom, well designed, and very well made.
Many of the knives made by Battle Horse Knives might be considered basic by some people, they are designed and made for pure functionality and the simplistic design of their knives aids with this and is also quite aesthetically pleasing. They make some pretty stellar fixed blade knives that are perfect for almost any outdoor task or activity such as the Battle Horse Knives Bushman and the Small Workhorse.
With one of the best reputations in the entire knife industry, Benchmade just continues to make excellent knives that never cease to impress. They basically make any sort of knife you could ever want or need; including tactical, survival, outdoor, hunting, and everyday carry knives.
A lot of Benchmade knife designs are stylistically simplistic and made of super high-quality materials and crazy good craftsmanship. I really can’t pinpoint their best knife for outdoors because there are so many great options, but the Benchmade Bushcrafter 162, Hidden Canyon, Bugout 535 are definitely at the top of my list for outdoor and survival knives.
Boker is a very well known knife brand all over the world that has many sub-brands underneath the main brand, Boker USA, Inc. There are Boker Knives, Boker Arbolito Knives, Cinch Knives by Boker, and a few other knife brands that fall under the canopy of Boker USA, Inc.
There are many really great Boker brand options for survival and outdoor knives. While each of the Boker brands has its own targeted demographic and signature look, most of their knives are simple and yet follow many traditional designs and trends. Some of my favorite Boker knives for survival and outdoor activities are the Boker Plus Spark and the Boker Plus Vox Rold.
While Browning is mainly known for its firearms and other outdoor and sporting goods, they make some pretty good outdoor knives for the price. Based out of Morgan, Utah, Browning has quite a reputation for itself as a quality and trusted brand, and their knives do not disappoint.
Many of the knives that Browning makes are pretty cheap and mainly designed for hunting. But don’t let the price or the large hunting focus fool you, there are some real gems hidden among the noise that can make very good outdoor and survival tools. My favorite Browning knife is the Ignite. It is a very durable and well-made knife that is specialized for making fires and works well if you are outside a lot or in a survival situation.
7. Buck Knives
Founded in 1902 in California and later relocated to Idaho, Buck is a brand known for their quality and well-made knives. However, unlike many other quality knife brands, Buck offers their knives for very reasonable, and often cheap, prices for what you are getting.
Buck knives are very thought through and well designed. The best Buck knife for survival and outdoor activities is by far the Buck Selkirk knife. In my opinion, the Selkirk is the absolute best survival knife for the price. It is just super well designed and made and the proportions of the knife suit the often intensive tasks you face when you are outdoors or using survival skills.
8. Chris Reeve
Chris Reeve knives are super nice and well crafted. That’s really all that I can say. You won’t know just how good they are until you get your hands on one.
But seriously, Chris Reeve knives are very high quality both in materials and craftsmanship. While it is a relatively new company (founded in 2008) Chris Reeve knives has been able to make a huge splash in the industry by making such well-made knives.
While Chris Reeve makes a lot of folding and pocket knives, there are some really great blades for outdoor and survival use such as the Nyala and the Pacific. The Pacific, in particular, is a really heavy-duty and well-made knife that can take a beating if it has to.
9. Cold Steel
In 1980, Cold Steel knives started out as a company that strived to make the toughest and sharpest knives out there, and to this day they are completing that mission and striving for even more perfection. All of their knives are just really high quality and they have many options available for hunting, survival, camping, and survival knives.
Cold Steel makes some pretty awesome knives for survival and outdoor uses, and one of my favorites is the Drop Forged Hunter. This knife, as well as many of their outdoor and fixed blade knives, is very well designed and just makes an amazing tool.
While Condor’s parent company, Gebr Weyesberg Company, was founded in 1787, it wasn’t until 2004 before Condor brand knives and tools started being made. Condor makes a really great selection of quality knives and other tools for use in the outdoors. Their knives are just very well made and can make the ultimate survival tool.
My favorite Condor knife for survival and the outdoors is the Swamp Romper. In addition to the cool name, this knife is just an absolute beast when it comes down to quality and functionality. This knife is one of my favorite survival knives because of its build quality and proportions in its design.
Probably one of my favorite knife brands of all time, Columbia River Knife (CRKT) is a really great company that makes some amazing pocket knives as well as outdoor blades. Founded in 1994, CRKT began making amazing knives, and they just haven’t stopped since.
While I really like and admire many of their folding knives and there are many that would work for outdoor tasks, the best outdoor knife by CRKT is probably a fixed blade such as the Mossback. This knife is just really well designed and made and can tackle almost anything you throw at it. CRKT overall is just a really great and reputable company that makes amazing practical and durable knives for any task.
Emerson is a very well respected knife brand that makes some pretty great and impressive knives for almost any use and task that you can possibly imagine. While their selection of survival and outdoor knives is not too extensive, the ones that they do offer are pretty impressive and well worth the cost.
One of the best survival and general outdoor knives that Emerson makes is Government Mule. This knife is just an absolute beast when it comes to hard and intensive tasks. The Mule is just super rugged and durable, while also being comfortable to use and very ergonomic. Overall, Emerson is an impressive knife maker that makes some really quality blades for outdoor use and survival, as well as many other situations and tasks.
While I can’t find a website for EnZo knives, they have definitely earned themselves a reputation as being a very great and quality knife company. Based out of Finland, EnZo knives are not appreciated and recognized all around the world because of their amazingly durable and well-designed knives.
The EnZo Trapper 95 is not only my personal favorite knife that this company makes, but many other survivalists and people that spend time outdoors love it as well. The Trapper is a really great knife for outdoor tasks and survival because it is durable, well designed, and just perfect for almost any task. Basically, all the knives made by EnZo are great and you really can’t go wrong when choosing a knife by this company.
ESEE is a great company and is run by a great group of people. With the clear goal to provide quality and durable gear that actually works, ESEE makes some very practical survival and outdoor knives that are quite possibly the best options out there. All the knives made by ESEE are super practical and yet are still elegant and well designed.
Every survivalist, outdoorsmen, knife enthusiast, and their uncle have their strong opinions of what the best ESEE knife is for survival and the outdoors. The truth is, all of them are pretty darn great. You really can’t go wrong when picking an ESEE knife because they are all just super durable, well designed, and can get the job done. Personally, I prefer the ESEE-3 for outdoor and survival work, but almost any knife by this brand will do a stellar job.
By making some very durable and well-constructed survival knives and knives for other uses, Fällkniven has definitely earned itself a great reputation as a quality knifemaker. Founded in Sweden in 1984, Fällkniven designed many great knives and later began to produce their own blades.
My favorite Fällkniven survival knife is definitely the Fällkniven A1. This knife is just super versatile and well designed and constructed. It works super well for just everyday tasks, outdoor use, and even intensive survival activities. Overall, the A1 and the Fällkniven knife company as a whole is very reliable and just great.
In 1939, Gerber was started in Portland, Oregon. Later, the company moved to Tigard, Oregon and continued to make high-quality outdoor knives and gear. Unlike many companies on this list, Gerber doesn’t place all of their attention on knives and also makes some other great outdoor gear and equipment.
While not all of the “survival” knives that Gerber has made are great, there are many that are actually very well made and designed and can make great tools to get activities done outdoors and do survival tasks. My favorite Gerber knife for survival and outdoor use is the Gerber StrongArm.
Helle is an amazing knife company that makes some really great blades for outdoor use and survival skills. This company has a rich and long history and continues to produce really quality and well-made knives. The entire brand is based on very simple, yet great, qualities such as honesty, hard work, and quality.
Helle makes a wide selection of great knives to fit almost any task and need you could come up with. Their blades are very well made and have a custom feel to them that makes using their knives an utter joy. The Helle Trofé is one of their best knives, in my opinion, and can tackle almost any task you throw at it whether it be in the outdoors or not.
One of the most respected and leading knife brands of all time, Ka-Bar has a glowing and long history of making some pretty iconic and well-made knives. Even today, Ka-Bar knives are used all over the world in many different industries and for many different tasks. After being in business for well over a hundred years, Ka-Bar has perfected many knife designs and invented many new ones.
Many Ka-Bar knives are designed for outdoor and intensive use, but one of my favorites for survival and for anything related to outdoors is definitely the KA-BAR Becker BK2 Companion. The BK2 is just a really well designed and made knife that will hold up and is super comfortable to use.
Kershaw is a very well respected and liked brand of knives because of their exceptional craftsmanship and their innovative designs. Founded in 1974 by Pete Kershaw, Kershaw has continued to produce really great knives that many people rely on and trust.
While Kershaw is commonly known for their line of unique folding and flipper knives, they have some pretty great knives for outdoor uses and survival. One of my favorite folding knives for survival is the Kershaw Skyline. This knife is small and compact, while also being able to handle some pretty intensive tasks in the outdoors.
Medford is a lesser-known brand when compared to some of the bigger knife companies, but their knives are top quality and everything is sourced and made in the United States. While Medford knives are on the pricier end of the spectrum, it is often well worth the cost and a knife made by Medford is sure to last a long time.
Medford knives really have a feeling of quality to them and work great in the outdoors because they are so tough and well made. For outdoor tasks and survival, the Medford Theseus is a really solid choice and will be able to handle almost anything that you throw at it.
Famous for their automatic knives and flippers, Microtech is a really great knife brand that makes high quality, well-made knives for many occasions. With a simple, and yet very difficult mission of trying to make the best possible knives, Microtech continues to innovate and push the boundaries of knife design.
For survival and outdoor activities, many of the knives made by Microtech will serve you just fine, but my personal favorite would have to be the Microtech LUDT. Many of their knife designs are very unique, but they are all very well made and can take a pretty big beating if they have to.
Morakniv has been stunning and amazing outdoorsmen and knife enthusiasts alike for a long time with their stunning and well-made knives that are priced very cheaply. The great knives that Morakniv produces didn’t happen overnight, however, since 1891 they have been making knives in Mora, Sweden.
For the amazingly low prices, Morakniv offers some of the best knives for outdoor use and survival. My personal favorite and one that I have carried with me and used in the outdoors for years now is the Morakniv Companion. This little knife is a staple in the outdoor and survival community and you will just not find anything like it for the great price.
23. Ontario Knife Company
Since 1889, Ontario Knife Company (OKC) has been making really high-quality knives for many different uses at affordable prices. While the company has changed and expanded since its origination, OKC has remained a well known and trusted knife brand.
For survival and outdoor purposes and tasks, the Ontario Knife Company Rat-7 is one of the best knives that OKC offers. The design is minimalist and sleek and it is well made and ready for the outdoors. Overall, OKC is a really trustworthy company with a long and rich history of making really great knives.
Pro-Tech is a really great knife company that produces well made and designed knives for many different situations and tasks. Since 1998, Pro-Tech has been making American made knives that are beloved and used by many people in the outdoors, survival, and for just about any other task you can think of.
Pro-Tech offers a wide selection of knives, but my favorite one for outdoor use and survival is the Pro-Tech LG303- Rockeye. This knife is just tough and ready to take on the outdoors and whatever else you put it through. Pro-Tech is overall just a very reliable and well-respected company that makes some really fine knives.
Reate is a really interesting and unique knife company that makes some pretty nice and amazing knives. One of the few companies on this list based in China, Reate is almost the exact opposite of what people expect from knives and tools produced in that country. Reate knives is a high-quality company that works to make well constructed and quality knives using safe and ethical work and business practices.
While Reate mainly focuses on flipper and pocket knives, many of these are sturdy and high quality enough to withstand outdoor and survival use. An example of a great Reate knife for outdoor use is the sturdy Reate Crossroads. Reate is just a really great and trusted knife company and nearly any of their knives will work great for outdoor and survival tasks.
Since 1904, Schrade has been making knives for many different uses and tasks at an affordable price. Originally, Schrade proudly made their knives in the United States, but later moved to produce their blades in China and Taiwan. This production location move, unfortunately, reduced the quality of their knives.
While the knives made by Schrade today are not as good as they once were, many of their knives are still excellent and perform very well. For outdoor and survival use, the Schrade SCHF36 Frontier is a really great option. This knife is an absolute beast and is able to take on the hardships and intensive situations that commonly occur in survival and the outdoors.
27. Smith and Wesson
Famous for making a wide variety of tools and gear, Smith and Wesson make some pretty great knives for outdoor and survival use. With an amazing balance between well-made knives and knives that are affordable, Smith and Wesson is a great option.
While Smith and Wesson make a wide variety of different blades, my favorite for outdoor tasks and survival is the Smith & Wesson CKSUR1. This Bowie-style knife is an amazing and durable tool that is built to last and survive harsh conditions and use. Overall, Smith and Wesson are a very reputable company that has been providing quality knives, tools, and gear for many years.
With a wide variety of outdoor tools and knives, Studies and Observations Group (SOG) is a great company that is trusted by many people because of its continual output of quality and functional products. All of their knives are just super rugged and durable as well as being well made and very high quality.
While many of the knives made by SOG are combat and tactical style, many of their blades lend themselves nicely to outdoor and survival activities as well. The best SOG knife for outdoor use and survival, in my humble opinion, is the SOG SEAL Pup. SOG is just a great and very well respected knife company that makes some pretty amazing blades for outdoor purposes.
Spyderco is one of the most trusted and recognizable knife brands out there because of its signature folding knives with a thumb hole in the blade. Since 1976, Spyderco has been hard at work making really innovative and quality knives that have earned them a loyal following of people that just love their knives.
While the main focus of Spyderco seems to be on their famous folding and pocket knives, there are many options for outdoor and survival knives made by the brand. One of the best for this purpose is the Spyderco Enuff. This knife has a fixed blade and carries many traits of Spyderco’s very recognizable folding knives and is just the perfect tool for outdoor and survival activities.
30. TOPS Knives
With an emphasis on practicality and the use of their knives as effective tools, TOPS has been making amazing knives since 1998. They continually work with professionals and experts in fields that use knives so that they can make blades that are as useful and practical as possible. Over the years, TOPS knives have gained a lot of respect and trust in the knife industry because of their quality and well-made knives.
Many TOPS knife designs are very unique and some might even seem crazy, but there are many blades that work exceptionally well for outdoor and survival use. A great outdoor and generally good knife from the company is the TOPS Brakimo. This knife is a really great knife for survival and for being outdoors and is well made and durable.
31. Victorinox Swiss Army
Victorinox Swiss Army is a very well known and trusted company in the knife industry and people all over the world use their amazing blades. Famous for making the original Swiss Army Knife, Victorinox is just an overall great knife company that makes well designed and expertly crafted knives and tools.
While Victorinox is very well known for its Swiss Army Knives, its lesser-known fixed blade knives are great for any activity outdoors or for survival. In my opinion, the Victorinox Swiss Army Outdoor Master is one of this companies’ best knives for survival and the outdoors.
32. WE Knife Company
Based in China, WE Knife Company is an unusual company that makes very high quality and nice knives in a place that is populated with cheap manufacturing. With many amazing folding knife options and a couple of fixed blade models, WE Knife Company is a well respected and recognized company that makes very quality and well crafter blades.
While almost any knife made by WE Knife Company is well made enough to endure the difficulties of outdoor and survival use, their selection of fixed blade knives is where it really gets good. WE Knife Company makes some great fixed blade knives such as the Vindex and Stonefish.
33. Zero Tolerance
With a mission to make really great and durable knives. Zero Tolerance has gained a band of loyal followers of their well designed and practical knives. Zero Tolerance has made many knives since their start in 2006, and continue to make high-quality knives that meet the needs of knife enthusiasts, first responders, and military alike.
Zero Tolerance makes many knives that would work well in the outdoors and for survival, but one of the best is the Zero Tolerance 0350TS. With its memorable zebra-striped blade and functional design, this knife is just perfect for outdoor and survival activities. Overall, Zero Tolerance is a very well trusted and known brand that makes some really awesome knives.