Choosing The Right Folding Survival Knife For You

Apart from a decent knife being an expensive purchase you need to have the right knife for the job, here at Outdoor Revival we aim to provide you with the information you need to make the right choice, we’ve broken up this article into two, one for Fixed bladed knives which you can read here and one for folding knives, below.

This article from James Madeville will help you to pick the right survival knife for you.

Folding knives

No discussion on survival knives would be complete without considering the folding knife. A folding pocket knife suitable for survival has a folding blade that is fully enclosed when folded/closed and is wider and stronger than a conventional pocket knife. It is possible to get blades that are part serrated.


Knife laws still apply to folding knives and you must make sure of your countries laws before carrying one around with you. The UK and some other European countries have the strictest knife laws, for example, in the UK the knife has to be non–lockable in its open position, the blade has to be no more than 7.62 cm (3 inches) long, and it must only be opened by manually folding out the blade.

Knives that can be flicked open with a thumb stud and spring loaded flick knives are illegal. Even if your folding knife conforms to the law, you still have to have a valid reason for carrying it on your person. The legal argument for not locking the blade in the fixed position is that it then becomes a fixed blade knife — you can make your own mind up on how sensible that law is!



Without doubt, a fixed blade knife makes the best survival knife, but there are advantages of also carrying a folding knife. It makes a good back up knife and because the blade is generally thinner, it can be honed to 20°’s, useful for finer work, filleting, slicing up meat and cutting material that the fixed blade survival knife would struggle with.

It can be more easily concealed on the person if this is a requirement, and is smaller an lighter than a fixed blade knife. A smaller folding knife should be part of anyone’s survival kit. If you honed the edge to 15°’s you could even shave with it.

Just as with fixed blade knives, there are many inferior knives for sale. These are made from inferior steel or alloy – such a blade is next to useless in any survival situation. Always buy a knife made by a good, tried and tested manufacturer who has a reputation to protect.


Top recommended folding knives


The Smith & Wesson 3rd Generation Black Ops M.A.G.I.C. Folder is a superb assisted opening mechanism knife that can take a razor sharp edge. (Not legal in all countries.)


The Gerber L.S.T. folding knife is ideal for packing in a survival tin. (Not legal in all countries.)


This knife designed and made by US knife maker Ken Onion is based on the Tanto blade style making it much stronger than a drop or clip point blade and an excellent survival knife.

Please take the opportunity to read the first article in this series on picking the right Fixed blade survival knife which can be found here : Choosing The Right Fixed Blade Survival Knife For You


Thanks to James Mandeville for this article.  Jame is an ex-Army survival instructor and runs the popular survival website site Survival Expert.

He has many years experience in difficult terrain, notably the Amazon, the African bush and climbing in various mountain regions including the Drakensburg Mountains and the Andes.



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jack-beckett is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival