For many of us a knife is the ultimate survival tool. The notion of leaving home without one is well, unthinkable. If you’re like me, you probably have a favorite “go to” knife that you regularly carry. But you also have a variety of blades that you use as conditions and circumstances dictate. Swapping out one knife for another is easy, as long as you’re close to your home base.

But what if you’re on the move, with limited resources, and forced to choose your gear very carefully? If you only had room (or carrying capacity) for a few select blades, what would they be? Keeping in mind that the right choices might actually improve your chances for survival, it’s not something you want to take lightly. I looked at this very situation, and after much analysis, debate, and lots of trial and error, I made some very difficult decisions.

The blades I chose needed to be robust, extremely reliable, effective, and multifunctional. I also wanted blades that could last a lifetime, and would not cost a small fortune. Lastly, I wanted to stick with traditional designs that have withstood the test of time, and have proven themselves in the field.

In this article, I take a look at what I consider to be the three must-have survival blades, and examine the benefits of each blade.


The machete is defined as a large, broad blade knife used for cutting, chopping and slashing. The machete has been around for well over 500 years and can be found in numerous variations all around the globe. In much of the world, the machete is used as a tool for daily life and is highly valued for its versatility and durability.

The blade of a machete can be straight or curved, and is typically between 10 and 24 inches long. There are literally hundreds of uses for the machete, and countless variations and designs. A good machete can perform the function of much heavier tools, at a fraction of the weight and size.

For survival, the machete is an amazing tool that can perform a multitude of tasks, including self-defense. It’s light weight, fast, sharp, extremely practical, easy to carry and packs a serious punch.

The TOPS Machete .170 has an overall length of 17.25 inches and a blade length of 10.00 inches making it the perfect size for many survival situations. The full-tang design gives it incredible strength and makes it a solid choice as a general use blade with a highly effective, timeless design.



Three Must-Have Survival Blades (From top to bottom) TIBO Neck knife, .170 Machete, and the Outpost Command.


TIBO comes with a Kydex sheath and neck chain. The Outpost Command and .170 Machete both come with a heavy duty ballistic sheath which includes a pocket for survival supplies, a compass or sharpening tool.



A fixed blade knife is the backbone of any survival kit. The Outpost Command is the bulldog of survival blades, and a very serious piece of heavy-duty gear with a no nonsense (5 ¾- inch blade with an overall length 11 ¼-inches. Designed for military and survival applications, this beast can replace a number of other tools; it’s well-balanced, comfortable to hold, and deadly sharp.

At its core is a full-tang, ¼-inch thick piece of 1095 steel with black traction coating, topped off with black linen Micarta handles for a solid grip even under extreme conditions. Robust construction and materials provide incredible strength, and a blade capable of chopping (batoning), but also suitable for stabbing and slicing. This is easily one of the most robust blades you will ever use.


Outpost Command fixed blade.


TOPS .170 Machete was born to chop and slice, but with some care, it can also be used for fine cutting.


TIBO is well suited for a wide range of survival tasks, and is specifically designed to always have on your person. Whether you use the neck chain, or attach the low-profile Kydex sheath to your belt, the TIBO can always be well within easy reach.




Sometimes you just need a handy, lightweight, practical blade that can do the job without fuss. A neck knife is a small fixed blade knife worn around the neck and sometimes concealed under a shirt. It’s often considered the perfect little tool, since it hangs right in your “work area” and is always at the ready. Used mainly for smaller jobs, it’s likely a blade you’ll use more often than you think.

The TOPS Tibo is a light, highly functional, low profile and easy to carry. At 6.50 inches of overall length, with a 2.75-inch drop point, plain edge blade, the TIBO has the cutting ability of a larger knife, but in a very small package.

The skeletonized handle reduces weight, bulk and provides a solid handhold. For additional grip, you can wrap the handle in 550 paracord. Either way, it’s an amazing little knife. And at only 2.9 ounces with sheath, weight will never be an issue.


Having the right tool when you really need it, is priceless on a whole other level. By definition, most survival situations will be unpredictable, but despite the challenges we must still be comprehensive and flexible enough to address a wide range of circumstances. Taking all of this into account, something as simple as deciding what knives to add to our kit takes on a whole new meaning.

Stay Safe, and Be Prepared.