Regardless of your budget, you need a good survival knife as part of your bug out bag. If you’re like most preppers, you want the best knife you can get for your money – but you also have to consider balancing out how much you can spend on any single item when you’re on a tight budget.
You may want a cheap (inexpensive) knife, but that doesn’t mean you need a cheap (quality) knife.
Most high quality knives easily run $150 and up, with custom options going above and beyond even $500. While that’s nice if you can afford it, chances are you need a few knives around, one for your main bag, another for your get home bag. And they need to perform if the need arises.
When looking at quality knives at an affordable price, we wanted good knives, made by manufacturers with a reputation for great knives. This isn’t the place to find cheap knock offs, we wanted options you could use in the field and be proud of.
We wanted to look at knives that were right in the middle on size. There are much smaller knives (less blade material, less production cost), but they often lacked the minimum amount of blade necessary for a “general use” survival knife. Each of these knives feature a blade 4.1″ to 5.2″ in length which is a great size for a medium knife. While bigger knives were available in the same price range, comparing survival knives to machetes just isn’t a proper apples to apples comparison.
The knives that made the list are all under $50 on Amazon, which should be affordable for any prepper or budding survivalist. While there are a lot of good knives in the $50-100 range, we stuck to a firm $50 limit for this list as we wanted 3 knives that were all within about $17 of each other.
The least expensive of the 3 knives, the Mora Bushcraft is a great first survival knife for a beginning prepper, or the perfect backup knife when paired with a more expensive primary knife. This Mora knife is shorter, and has a thinner blade than other comparable knives. Not to say this knife isn’t of high quality – there are few stories of people managing to break a Mora.
The only major complaint about this particular knife is the rounded spine, which doesn’t seem to take well to use with ferro rod fire starters. I take that complaint minimally, as most starters come with their own striker, and I’d prefer NOT to use my blade if I don’t have to.
The Schrade SCHF10 comes in with our biggest blade at 5.2″ and is all around a good, meaty knife that performs well. The micarta handles is molded well to provide great grip, even in wet conditions. The 1/4″ thick blade makes for a solid knife that can take a beating but is still fairly well balanced and capable of accurate cuts as well as more bruising tasks.
The negatives are this knife’s alleged sharpness from the factory. Having not tested other Schrade knives, we don’t know if that’s just a shipping standard with the company, or just a bad run. That said, you should always sharpen your new knife prior to use anyway – so we think it’s a stupid complaint.
Middle of the pack in overall length, the SOG SEAL Pup knife is another great knife with a proven history of use by special forces operators. It has all the features you’d expect in in a good knife: Good grip, lanyard hole, and quality thick blade.
My only issue with this knife is only because the model looked at under $50 had the partial serrated edge blade. For about $10 more on Amazon, you can move up in knife to a slightly longer blade that is a plain flat blade without serration. I would buy the better model if I had the extra $10, but this list was only looking at the sub-$50 models.
You can’t go wrong with any of the knives mentioned here. They are all high quality knives from manufacturers with a reputation for great knives that will perform. If you’re looking for a secondary knife for your bag or a good, inexpensive knife for a secondary bag – these are the best of the group.
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