Ultimate Survival Knife, any suggestions?

Dec 1, 2000
I need a great knive to use on the trail for a few months. I am going to hike the Appalachian trial and want the best knife money can buy. Any suggestions? I like Strider Knives espically the Seal but I dont know if it would be great to use everyday on the trail.
Welcome to the forums!!!!!!

If I were to be making such a trip, I believe that I would be interested in carrying two knives with me.

The first would be a small fixed blade (maybe a Marble's). This would be dedicated to the daily chores.
*Note- For the smaller (chore) knife I would look for high carbon blade which could easily be resharpened in the field.

The second would be a Bowie (maybe Cold Steel San Mai Trailmaster) of about 9" in length. This would handle would chopping and all other large tasks.
*Note- For the Bowie, I would look for the toughest, thickest, stainless chopper that weighed the least.

These are just my opinions. If I were you, I would post over at the Wilderness & Survival Skills forum. These guys will surely have plenty to say on this subject.

Let us know what you finally decide and maybe you could even provide a report along the way or when you get back.
This would make one hell of a field trial!!

Good luck to you!!!!

--The Raptor--

[This message has been edited by Raptor (edited 12-01-2000).]
A Leatherman Pulse and an Opinel folding saw. If you are backpacking, then lighter is better. Or just a Leatherman Wave. Or just a good, full-featured SAK or SAK multitool. I've hiked hundreds of miles in wilderness areas with nothing more than a good SAK. I don't take big knives backpacking. They weigh too much. Now if you plan on doing primitive camping and bushwacking, that's a whole 'nother story. But if you are planning on being on the Appalachian for a few months, and camping with with modern equipment, then lighter is better. And a multitool or SAK is the most knife/tool for the least weight. If you feel you really need a fixed blade, get a Frost or a puukko or a Grohmann. Very light fixed blades.

Did I say lighter is better?


I get some pleasure from finding a relentlessly peaceful use for a combative looking knife.

[This message has been edited by Hoodoo (edited 12-01-2000).]
Go over to the HI forum. Buy an AK. I think you will like it. It will perform every task you ask of it. And Bill Martino is the nicest man to deal with. Good luck.
I think you should get a Strider MT that has the drop point, since you like Strider so much. Plus you can get a smaller version of the same knife. Maybe a Busse Natural Outlaw or Steel Heart E for a larger knife.

I'd get a smaller knife like a thin skinner, or a knife like a 4" blade that's not too thick suck as a SOG SEAL PUP or Spyderco Moran.

Do it right,or not at all.
To crazy50joe: Welcome to our group! I tend to go a different route on this issue. When you need a big chopper, I think any hardware store axe is the best bet. For a fixed blade knife, I like the handy Aviator, which could double for food preparation. For a folding knife, I think edge holding; on a camp out, you might not be able to sharpen. My wife has a Kershaw Boa of CPM-440V, and she cannot destroy it. Hope this helps.--OKG
A Cold Steel Bushman and a Victorinox Rucksack. A great combination.



Trust no one...
'The best knife money can buy?' YES YES YES!! Here is a man who KNOWS what he wants! Obviously a man of discernment and good taste as well as ample funds; in short, a good deal like...harrumph, well, never mind (But I always like the best myself.)

So, here goes:

<A HREF="http://albums.photopoint.com/j/View?u=306668&a=2279510&p=34513086&Sequence=0&res=high" TARGET=_blank>


Starting with the high tech models, the top knife is a 5" drop point hunter of 3/16" Talonite, linen micarta scales, by Tom Mayo. The knife at the side is the Rob Simonich Cetan, 3" Talonite blade, Ti scales.

The low tech alloy (but high quality craftsmanship and utility) Mad Dogs are under the Tom Mayo knife: a 7" bladed ATAK2; below it a 6" blade Mako old style (notice the spine lacks the abrupt 'flying butress' plunge), then the 6" K2K knife.

Two 5" blades complete the ensemble: a pATAK2 (it has serrations), and a plain pATAK. All the Mad Dogs are 1/4" 01 steel. They are STRONG and DEPENDABLE.

Hope this helps. Walt
But WAIT; you wouldn't go on the trail with just one MATCH, would you? You definitely need two KNIVES (at least); a folder is a must! Check these out:

<A HREF="http://albums.photopoint.com/j/View?u=306668&a=2279510&p=32892329&Sequence=0&res=high" TARGET=_blank>


From the top: a BM AFCK in M2HSS; an A T Barr (inventor of the spine whack test) ATS-34 drop point; a Rogard treated first model Sebenza with ATS-34 steel blade from Les Robertson; small and large Sebenzas (new model) BG-42 blades. An Ernie Emerson CQC7 and then a CQC6 custom. A Kit Carson #18 slim Stellite (R) folder with 4 1/4" blade and carbon fiber scales (entire knife weighs only 3 oz.!); both sides of a Kit Carson #18 folder with Talonite (r) blade and Ti scales. At right, a first edition Gerber Covert folder (good left handed knife).

Take your pick; any of them will probably do well, but I would pick the c-fiber Carson if weight really counted and sheer strength were not as important. The AFCK gets the nod if you think you might lose the knife. The 'Benzas if you regard durability as paramount (although none of these knives are flimsy). The Carson Talonite (r)/Ti folders are built like tanks. Mercedes Benz tanks.
Tanks that are absolutely corrosion proof, short of strong mineral acids.

Hope this helps,

[This message has been edited by Walt Welch (edited 12-01-2000).]
Here is my two cents worth:
Small fixed blade: Bob Dozier
A folder: Spyderco makes lots of great blades.
Last but not least, a small Finish blade tucked away in the pack in case of emergency.
Ya I know it seems like a lot, but hen again I'm a knife nut

"sharks and dogs" he muttered, "sharks and dogs...."

[This message has been edited by DHall (edited 12-02-2000).]
Big knife - Livesay RTAK
Medium knife - Livesay ICU or US Marshall
Small knife - Simonich Cetan

Many others exist. Those pop to my mind quickly at 1:00am.
When are you going to start? Spring in GA?
That's my dream, to thru-hike the AT. Something about the AT-just feels special when you're on it, even though it looks like any old trail most of the time.
Guys, keep in mind, there'll be no bushwhacking, and only small fires, if any involved. This is a TRAIL after all. Everyday cutting chores, and food prep will make up most of the knife duties, and many people only take a folder.
I'd still take a good medium-sized fixed blade (4-6"), and a good folder + a multi-tool.
Were I to leave tomorrow, I'd take my Busse #5, my BM AFCK or a 710, and a Leatherman tool (any of the full size ones). Should be plenty. The Busse probably wouldn't see much use, but I'd take it along so it could be part of the adventure.
Good luck!
If you start in early spring, and hit Nantahala during Spring Splash, I'm the short, muscular guy in a Gramicci shirt and a funky Patagonia hat (that should narrow it down to half the people there!).
Check out www.bussecombat.com for some awesome fixed blades.

[This message has been edited by OwenM (edited 12-02-2000).]
I'm thinking lightweight and stainless.
take a leatherman micra, a buck minilite, and a case fixed blade. maybe not the best money can buy, but they will do the job.



[This message has been edited by amalgam (edited 12-02-2000).]
If you exclude HEAVY overkill knives, the choice becomes easier. It is a trail after all, not the Amazon. If you start out with too much bulk, you will just end up throwing it away or mailing it home.

That said: for a large knife (if you must have one) a Becker Magnum Camp (BK-5 I think it is) is a good place to start. Good design and a fairly low price so it won't hurt much if you toss it away going up a long steep incline.

What I would take:
A Large Carson Model 4 => ~$400

A Mid-size full tang Talonite/Stellite knife in the 5 inch range along the lines of the good Doctors Tom Mayo knife or a stretched Allen Blade MEUK => Allen Blade in the $300 range

If hard wood, logs, were a concern, I would carry a small hatchet before a large knife.

Finally, a small Victornox/Wegner (2 blades and and at most the 4 other tools of choice), not a monster toolbox model. A small Spyderco would also work in the "Swiss Army Knive" role.

Finally, take the tools you will actually need and use! A nice heavy monster bowie and camp knife may be great on weekend retreat at the national park or grand pa's farm but, will get old fast. If you want extra weight build up your legs, add some rocks to your pack so you can chuck them when you get tired.

Again, you're not in the Amazon so, buy tools appropriate for your trail, not some distant jungle, forest, etc.

Stay Sharp and have fun!
I would go with THREE knives! For starters, you'll never appreciate how handy a small pocket knife could be, as long as it is strong, can be easily sharpened, and it hefty enough. I usually use my REKAT Pioneer II out on the trail. ATS34 is nice, and the lock NEVER fails. I also usually carry a relatively small fixed blade. I setup a neck-rig for my Nimravus Cub by Benchmade. Again, the ATS34 sharpens nice enough. My only gripe here is that the knife is not full tang. When I feel the need for strength, I will bring my Aviator by Chris Reeves instead. One tough chunk-o-metal!!! I generally have these pieces easily accessible-either around my neck, or over my clothing on an exterior pack-strap.

As far as the large piece is concerned, I have carried something as simple as the BUSHMAN by ColdSteel, and I have been lucky enough to play with a friends BUSSE out and about. This past fall though, I LOVED my BECKER KNIFE AND TOOL (BK&T) BRUTE. It is big, heavy, and sharp. I used it for EVERYTHING! I had it mounted on my leg for a while, but it grew uncomfortable. So, I strapped it up to my pack, backwards, upside down. All I needed to do was reach my right-hand back by my right butt-check, and there was the thick, comfortable handle. A flip of the thumb snap, and a good tug, and the knife, (I CALL HIM CLYDE) fell free in reverse grip, ready for action.


BUSSE Battle Mistress in "E" config.

Busse Basic #3 with neck sheath

Chris Reeve Sebenza

Now that would make for a HELL of a hiking trip!

Steve in NYC
I think some people are missing the point of having a big blade. While I haven't hiked the Appalachian Trail, I have seen it on tv.
( That should be enough to explode Jeff Randall's armchair quarterback meter) If you step off of the trail, you aren't on the New Jersey Turnpike, but rather, you are in some pretty remote country. If you are hiking the thing from beginning to end, you are also bound to be on stretches where there isn't anybody else. Therefore, I put forth that there is a possibility that you could get lost and end up bein' up the proverbial creek. The chance might be small, but I am one who always likes to plan for worst case scenario...and nothing will save your bacon like a big chopper. (I'm not trying to start the never ending big vs little knife controversy.) If it were me, I would have my Newt Livesay/Jeff Randall inspired 10" RTAK, the Camillus/Becker 5" Campanion, and my Gerber multi-tool.
The Dream Team? Busse E Battle Mistress, a 3" Talonite drop point, (see Walt's post for suggestions) or Jeff Randall's new Laserstrike (sp) or Newt's Air Assault, or another INFI Busse in the 3-5" range, and lastly, the new Gerber multi-tool or a Leatherman Wave.
Oh, and Walt, quit posting those D*A*M*N pictures! If I see them one more time, I'm going to have to slit my wrists...and then try out as the stunt double for the next Grinch movie because I will be so green with envy that my wife and kids won't hang out with me anymore...and since you are retired, who's going to stitch me up?

Jim McCullough
...and another thing, I wouldn't care one bit that I was in a National Forest, National Monument, or the Washington Memorial for that matter, I would cut, burn, or destroy anything I needed to if I was in a survival situation. Just thought I needed to add one more run on sentence.

Jim McCullough
Okay, one more thing, and then I will shut up for one or two minutes- I would also like to have a Sebenza or Kit's #4 on my Dream Team.
Chris Reeve Project 1 or 2
Leatherman Supertool
Victorinox Rucksak
Large Sebenza

You could drop a few ounces by going with a CR Shadow IV or Mountaineer II, a LM Supertool and a super-lightweight pocket knife.

You won't necesarily be trail blazing but you will need a heavier knife for fire, camp and potential defense, a small, sharp pocket knife to serve as a small, sharp pocketknife and some type of multi-tool.

When are you going and from where will you depart? Let us know how you make out.
And the correct answer is.

CRK Sebenza and Project I.

Did I win something?

RICK - Left Handers Unite