What is the best survival knife to have if I could only buy one?
From our Survival Expert: Jeremy Spence
When it comes to knives, the blade metal alloy, temper, thickness and shape are the most critical things. I prefer carbon steel because I can use it to start a fire in ways that are not possible with stainless steel knives. There are 4 basic knife shapes which would be very hard to explain in this post but they are the V shape flat grind, the standard half flat, half V shape and the Scandi grind shape. It all depends on what type of cutting you are doing to what type of shape works best.
But if I had to choose only one knife it would probably be an Ontario RAT-7 made in Franklinville, New York, USA which is about $85 on amazon.com. Ontario is my favorite knife manufacturer. They use good blade steel and make blades for use by the special forces. I personally use an Ontario Spec Plus knife for shelter building and log splitting. You can purchase the Spec Plus 2nd Generation version on amazon for $56.
Another good knife would be the Becker BK-7 or BK-9 by Ka-Bar, also American made and around $80.
I personally use a Habilis Bushtool made in Dalton Georgia that, at $200, is twice as expensive as a standard Ontario but it is hand made. I will one day buy a Habilis SRT (self reliance tool) for around $230. I also use a Old Hickory kitchen knife which is excellent steel for carving spears and starting fires, just not quite thick enough for chopping down trees and this knife can be had for less than $11 on amazon.
Another option is a Morakniv, made in Sweden, which is kinda on the small side but great for carving spears and splitting small wood down to kindling, it comes with a Scandi grind shape and is also good for cleaning fish and small game but a little too small to be the only knife you have but makes an excellent companion knife and costs between $13 and $16. I have a Mora companion knife I got for $16 on amazon.