The Best Survival Knives?

By on June 27, 2013
ESEE-5P-VG-2

I have been talking with the guys over at dansdepot.com, and I am glad to have them on board as contributors to Survivallife.com.

Being a big fan of knives, the first question I always ask a fellow survivalist is “what knife do you carry and why?”

Craig responded back, that he carried an ESEE knife and when he started to explain why, I had to cut him short.

What he was telling me was too good, so I asked him to write an article about it.

Check it out and see what he has to say:

Go out and ask any respected survival instructor you have contact with, to provide you a list of their top 5 survival knives.

I doubt seriously there would be only a few (if any at all) that do not have ESEE knives near the top of that list…

ESEE stands for Escuela de Supervivencia (School of Survival), Evasion, Escape and has a rich history that is the backbone of their knives.  These knives were formulated by Jeff Randall after a number of years teaching survival and other tactics in the Peruvian jungle.

Those experiences led Mr. Randall, to put a knife together that he felt comfortable handling the elements of that harsh environment as well as many others.  These knives are sought after by military, law enforcement, and other tacticool users for several reasons.

Since 1997 these knives have been used in jungles, deserts, and the city streets as incredibly useful tool of many an operator’s kit.

The first and obvious reason is that ESEE offers a no questions asked lifetime warranty on all their fixed blade knives that is transferrable.  As their website clearly states, “If you break it, send it back and we will send you another.”

This is a reflection of the business ethics that Mr. Randall and his longtime business partner, Mike Perrin, bring to the table as they run they run the business of making fine knives and survival equipment.

The vast majority of ESEE line of knives are made of 1095 carbon steel which is the workhorse of all of the old school traditionalists in the field of knives.  The 1095 carbon is often cited as the benchmark for quality blades due to its ability to hold a heat treat so that it remains flexible enough to handle the abuse, but strong enough to keep that edge.

Mr. Randall does a fantastic job of listening to his customers and more recently started offering some stainless options to their line of knives.  This only serves to once again show that ESEE is committed to both putting fine, quality blades out there and ones that meet the needs of their customers.

The ESEE line of knives most popular point is a true drop point which makes it incredibly useful tool for most any survival, bushcraft, or junglecraft work.  Their line of knives range from small 3” neck knives,  up to machetes with overall length of well over 20”.  Most of their blades have an incredibly tough powder coat finish with various colors including a very tactical black to, jungle green and others in between.

It should be noted by the user of ESEE knives that 1095 carbon steel will rust, particularly along the edge and any engraving.  With proper care and keeping them oiled, purchasing an ESEE knife will be one you will never regret.  If for some reason you ever would be, ESEE customer service is fantastic.  You will often find Jeff Randall himself cruising the forums and answering questions.

The price tag for an ESEE is completely along the lines of a knife of this caliber.  Some would consider it an investment.  We certainly would to, but one that is worth the money. They have quite an extensive line and we are sure you could find one that will make both your hand and your wallet happy.   A person with the right amount of knowledge and an ESEE knife can do a lot more effective work than a whole group of those who are not knowledgeable and a toolbox full of knives.



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About Craig Caudill

Craig has literally spent a lifetime, practicing and honing self-reliance skills. He feels strongly that teaching beginners is of utmost importance. You can find him online sharing skills at the Dan's Depot blogs and youtube channel as well as offline teaching outdoors skills wherever he is invited through his Nature Reliance School. Just google, "Craig Caudill Survival" you will see what we mean.

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9 Comments

  1. Greetings from Georgia. Thanks for your articles as I have not given too much thought about survival…but I will from now on. Please send me anything that is ‘coming down the pike’ as I look forward learning
    more about living and surviving. I am collecting this data and reviewing it from time to time. Yes, I am a Christian and I can say
    this to you…God bless you and God bless America. KIT=keep in touch,
    Woody Woodyard

  2. Great article guys, and great review Craig! Glad we could start contributing to this great community at Survival Life!

    Ethan -DansDepot.com

  3. Al

    I can personally attest to the quality of ESEE knives. I have two…an Izula II and a Lazur Strike. Both knives are top quality and well worth the money. I have other knives that are good, but the ESEE brand out shines them all. Granted, it is hard to spend up to double the price for a blade, but once you have one in your hand and start using it, then you will know that it is money well sent.

  4. Jenna

    I’d get it just so I can call it my watermelon knife!

  5. Doug

    The best knife is the one in your pocket or on your belt when you need it. Like a firearm, a knife must be with you and not at home in a safe.
    If you were to pick me up and shake me up side down, an old Schrade “Uncle Henry” stockman or a Buck stockman, a large Cold Steel “Voyager”, and a Leatherman “Surge” multi-tool would hit the ground. I’m at home and this morning I was using the two wheeled rough ground string trimmer; This afternoon I plan on riding the tractor.
    Should the wife or one of the daughters require my presents a little better dressed a medium Voyager and smaller Leatherman will make the trip. A Buck “Duke” in its brown sheath will be on my belt (if at all possible).
    Come hunting season The “duke”, or a Buck “Alpha” folder will usually be on the belt, or a Buck “Pathfinder” (with its point reshaped to a drop point). The Stockman will be in my pocket and the Surge will be along too. My pack will have a camillus tool for “unzipping” the deer or elk and there will be a Gerber skinner with its deep belly, and a Pixie from Gerber for Caping.
    A guy can probably get by with a Crescent wrench (wrench adjustible jaw) , but there are better tools.
    Yes, there is a Cold Steel Trailmaster and two Buck General knives around, but, i would rather use a 3/4 axe.
    I love to carve, but for the most part these are specialized tools.
    Retiring after 35 years of teaching , it was amazing the staff members who wanted to borrow a multi-tool or knife: stuck zippers , shoe strings that needed untieing w o cutting, something reshaped for a science project, “My scissors won’t cut this cardboard—.”

  6. Blake

    Thanks for the review Craig! I own an ESEE 4 and love it, a great American company, with American made products, that have a 100% NO questions asked, warranty.

  7. Mack

    These knives are not quality. I make knives and I do not own one and never would one because of the blade steel. 1095 steel is what lawnmower blades are made of and thus the reason for the return policy in case of breakage. Lawnmower blades are very brittle and they will snap if put under any type of moderate pressure. No boys and girls knives are not pry bars but they should be flexible and 1095 is not. Buy what you will but these are some mighty dearly priced mower blades.

    • Matt

      So you don’t own one, and probably never handled one, and yet you still feel you are able to determine that these knives aren’t good?

      Oh and my mower blades are made from 1084 steel.

      You are exactly the type person that shouldn’t be giving advice on subjects like these.

  8. @Matt – I believe Mack is trying to express that these knives may look cool but if the steel isn’t of quality, then the knife is not worth a less flashy knife made of better steel.

    I think he’s just trying to help people understand what makes a good knife – which are the differences you can’t see with the naked eye.

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