For a skilled outdoorsman or an expert prepper, nothing can be as important as having a good survival knife. It’s a basic item that should always be included in any survival gear and not one of these guys would ever go out without having this gear on their side.
Survival knives come in many forms and are molded from different materials. And most common types of survival knives are the fixed blade type and the folded variety. But which one is better when used in extreme conditions? Can you always rely on the fixed blade to do most of the general tasks as it is expected to do? Or should you go for the portable version in getting the job done?
Today, we are going to give an in-depth look into these 2 types of knives and determine if whether or not one is really better than the other, or they are both just equal in function.
To better compare the fixed blade from the folding type, we are going to evaluate these knives under these 4 categories: versatility, durability, portability, and cost-effectiveness.
Versatility – Basic survival skill dictates that the fixed blade survival knife is more versatile than the other as most experts agree that you can practically use this gear in most of the survival situations you might encounter. While this is some true in some cases, you still cannot discount the usability of the folding type. For instance, when it comes to carving, slicing small pieces of meat, whittling an object, etc. the folding knife provides better control for these kinds of jobs. This goes without saying that the fixed blade is not entirely versatile as most of would think as it can’t do some tasks that a folding knife would do best.
Durability – Obviously, when we talk of this aspect the fixed type will always come out as the winner. The moving parts of the folding knife sacrificed its contention for being the ‘more durable’ blade as it compromises the strength of the entire knife as a whole. Thus, you cannot use it for chopping wood or other heavy duty work with it. Moreover, the handle casing of the blade needs to be cleaned occasionally or rust will practically lock the blade shut.
And though foldable blades are considered inferior over its fixed counterpart, there is no assurance that a fixed blade will not break over time. But this is mostly due to the fact that some people tend to misuse the survival knife, causing it to become dull or entirely break at some point.
Still, the fixed blade type will always come out on top in this battle.
Portability – When you’re facing a survival situation, you need to carry as much items that you deem to be useful or necessary as you can to endure this situation and come out alive. This is where the foldable blade will excel as it can be easily stored inside your pocket (thus, earning the name “pocket knife”. Fixed blade knives are usually seen beside the waist area as it can be hard to store on other parts of the body. Yeah, you may be able to store it on foot (lower leg area) or the bicep area. But will you be able to pull it out quickly if you’re being attacked by a wild animal? Not really… Other than that, it packs a bit of weight too.
Most survivalist favor the folding blade type as it is compact and very easy to carry. It’s very convenient to bring along that the famous adventurer and survivalist, Bear Grylls often carry a foldable survival knife in most of his survival shows on TV. He even included a couple of foldables in his Bear Grylls survival knife gear through his collaboration with a reputable knife company.
Looking through this assessment, we can safely say that the foldable survival knife is the better knife in terms of portability.
Cost effectiveness – When you talk about the price, well they are practically the same because there are a lot of cheap foldable survival knives you can buy nowadays. The fixed type will always remain as the popular choice for many. So how, can we assess these knives by comparing their prices?
Well, it all boils down to quality. A wise buyer should always buy something that’s worth more than what you’ve paid for. A good deal is always the best deal, so to speak. And don’t be fooled about the cheapness of the product because it’s not always wise to go for the cheaper one.
Don’t compromise any feature of the blade just to save a few bucks. Lastly, go for the best brands being sold in the market today. Not all of their knives are pricey because they also sell decent knives that can accommodate your budget.
So which is the better knife to include in your bug out bag? That’s up to you really. As long as it provides all the basic things you need, then you already have the best in your hands to accompany you in your journey to survival.
About The Author:
Michael Martin is a former Navy Pilot who believes no matter the circumstance, one should always be prepared. Upon entering the civilian world, Michael spent his time traveling the globe and observing different cultures. Growing up in as the son of a serial entrepreneur it was only a matter of time before he took his love of the outdoors and passion for helping others to new heights by founding Bug Out Bag Pro. As a survivalist & entrepreneur, his vision is to help educate and prepare families everywhere with the information, skills and tools to survive any situation they may face!
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14 thoughts on “Fixed Blade Or Folding Survival Knives: Which Is Better?”
After thinking about this topic, I feel you need both. Whether a fixed or a folder, each have their advantages and disadvantages, but with a fixed fighting knife and a folding backup/spare/utility knife, you can’t go wrong. I wouldn’t want to split wood with a folder, like I wouldn’t want to skin and trim a small animal with a large fixed blade. I feel they compliment each other.
You are absolutely right. I am a part time fur trapper and being so it just makes sense
David, would you give us some recommendations on top name brands that you recommend? <y budget will be under 100 Max for either folding or fixed . Thank you!
Senior is absolutely right. After all don’t we usually tell folks that in being prepared, two is one, and one is none?
Of course both have their uses in different situations. I have a TITANIUM folding knife VERY HIGH QUALITY !!! Very handy and good. A friend of mine from thr US Coast Guard gave it to me ! Uzi Ran CANNOT EVER RUST AND KEEPS SHARP !!!
Point well taken, Senior. Two folders are a part of my EDC and my bugouts have fixed blades and multitools. Also, this article makes mention of cheaper knives being more “cost effective”. Up until, I suppose, the cheap knife costs you your life in a tough situation. IMO, quality is far more important than price. Actually, having a cheap knife may be counterproductive by giving one a false sense of security. I was taught this by years of experience in construction. Cheaper tools were rarely cost effective.
I carry a fold – Smith & Wesson S.W.A.T., 3 3/4″ blade – everywhere. Inexpensive, extremely durable, easy to keep sharp. My fixed blade is a knife stamped Solingen Germany – 6″ blade. I’ve had it since I was 15 – that’s over 50 years of service. It’s sharp enough to shave with. It’s been used over 2 combat tours by me and my nephew carried it through 3 tours in Afg. and many many hunting trips – had to replace the stag grips about 20 years ago with custom made grips out of white oak and used Glock grip tape on the slabs. Works great. Both types have their place.
IMHO – with today’s technology I think the point is mute. While history has shown the fixed blade was good enough for 100’s of years, think “KBAR” for example. But with modern we now have folder’s. This allows us to be more mission specific and creates options.
#1(Bush, hunting, Bug Out, War) I carry
(a)Fixed: RAT-7, (b)Folder: Benchmade, (c) Gerber MT
(a) Folder: Benchmade, (b): MT, (c): SAK
#3(when I have to wear a suit)
(a) Spyderco Delica4, (b): MT, (c): SAK
Mora’s are inexpensive and fine bushcraft knives.
My grandfather told me once if you want to know what good tools are, ask a skill tradesman to show you his tools or tool box or belt, you will get a straight answer from them because they live by them.
This one is, It’s both. It was designed by a Navy Seal. You notice the slits in the handle to allow “fluids” to pass through. :o(
(It has 2 types of quick releases, seat belt cutter, and a Window punch)
Nice post Michael! Please write more.
My all time favorite is the same as was President Regan’s, the Randall. I like their No. 1 Fighter and the No. 16 SP1 (http://www.randallknives.com/knives/model-14-attack/) but prefer to make my own sheath. In my opinion, the Randall sheaths can be greatly improved. The primary knife should have a fixed blade of at least 6″ and a 10″ length is not unreasonable. I like my full sized fixed blades thick with either a full tang or full profile tang tapering in thickness toward the end of the hilt (as seen in highest quality custom knives and with the shorter blades this taper creates wonderful balance). A large blade guard will make tying the knife to a stick easier and will protect your fingers. Holes in the grip also make lashing the knife to a stick much easier for those occasions when only a spear will do. In this case, a thick blade with full tang will minimize damage to the knife. Stainless steel has its drawbacks for knife metal but for ease of care in a survival situation, it is hard to surpass in a large working knife. In addition, I like to carry a high quality folder with about a 4″ blade as it gives greater control for small work. I clip a razor blade style knife such as the Gerber
( http://www.amazon.com/Gerber-22-41830-Pocket-Knife-Exchange/dp/B0016KHW2W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422493711&sr=8-1&keywords=razor+blade+style+knives) to my pocket. One can carry easily several extra blades for the Gerber in the EDC and some even have two snap lines. These very sharp and small knives make skinning a pleasure and being even smaller than most folders, provide extra control.
Knives are one of man’s oldest tools and have enduring value. Unlike a firearm, they will never be ’empty.’ Buy the very best, take care of it, and it will have generational value.
Thanks PR. I must admit… I’m extremely impressed with that Randal knife. If I went with a fixed blade it would probably be that one. I looks….very well made also.
I just can’t shut up on knives, swords, and/or flashlights and have long passed junkie status in these categories. NASA raised Col. Grissum’s Friendship 7 capsule in I think 1999, and discovered his astronaut model Randall inside. All it needed after all those decades in salt water was a good cleaning. I dare add Randall knives have probably killed more humans during the 20th century than any other knife (bayonets excluded). Randall makes a first quality commercial knife. If you’re interested, have Rourke forward your email and I would be happy to send a few photos of first quality custom and commercial knives I have collected and carried over the years. Makall of South Africa made a small custom black anodized fighter for me with tapered tang along with sheath made from pig skin (more durable than cowhide), then there is the more rare custom Mantis by Kimball, etc. Back around ’90 one of my Viet Nam era Gerber wasp waists was left in the desert sands. Oh, I’m a knife crazy all right and have the scars to prove it.
Panhandle and I should be required to joining SKAFA (Swords, Knives And Flashlights Anonymous). To me, this was a trick question. On par with, “If you could only carry one bullet…..” Why would anyone only carry one bullet!?! Or, “Which is better, a hammer or a screwdriver?”
Knives should ALWAYS be carried in multiples. You carry depending upon your need and perceived needs. I always carry a small Swiss Victorinox Signature Lite in one pocket, a Swiss Victorinox Camper in another, and a medium sized folding pocket clip knife (usually a Benchmade or Spyderco). Additionally, if I am out in the desert or the woods, I’m usually carry at least one (and sometimes two) larger sheathe knives (often I’ll be carrying a sharpened Cold Steel Special Forces shovel. Chops and cuts like a machette or hatchet when sharpened and I’ve regularly built various shelters over the years).
Knives have very specific purposes. Each one with a specific job. If you live in an area where fishing is a primary food source, you need a fillet knife. Trapping & hunting, you need a skinning knife (often several when hunting large game, or a good sharpening stone and the skill to use it). If your survival plan involves breaking into boxes, cans, and locked doors, a stout fixed blade is going to be needed (NOTE – A stout fixed blade should never be used as a pry bar unless you are intentionally looking to become injured or end up owning a broken knife. However, if your sole prepper plan involves breaking into people’s house and stealing stuff, well I just figure that you’re not too bright to start with).
Remember, especially with knives, One is none. Two is one. One Hundred is a happy individual who attends SKAFA!
Your article is interesting but it doesn’t flow very well. I think that you could greatly benefit from careful editing and re-reading to ensure that the idea that you are trying to get across comes across. Still, thanks for the ideas and opinions in the article.