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Survival Lab Knife Test–The Final Cut

Can your keychain knife hack through rope? Wood? Bone? Didn’t think so. We tested 14 packable blades to find the toughest, most versatile survival tool for hikers.

Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Fine Edge
Power: This bruiser chopped through knots in a cedar log like they were cardboard, and the Rambo-worthy blade set our wood-splitting speed record on a four-inch-thick log: 30 seconds.
Precision: Drilling with the wide tip made an acceptable firebow hole. A thick spine and solid balance enabled smooth two-handed maneuvering for detail work like carving tent stakes.
Verdict: There’s a reason the Ultimate is the best-selling knife in the world. This version has a smooth edge and thicker-than-average blade made with high-carbon stainless steel that hacked wood like an axe. The scary-sharp edge easily filleted a trout after days of heavy use. Bonus: Extras include a whistle, sharpener, and firesteel. Bummer: Bulk and weight.
$62; blade: 4.75 in., 8.5 oz., sheath: 5.3 oz.;

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