Looking for the best survival knife for chopping wood? Wood batoning is an excellent technique to learn for any outdoorsman. Whether faced with an emergency or just on your latest outdoor adventure, expanding knowledge crucial to your survival will never be a waste of effort. We have listed some of the best knife for cutting wood here.
The mistake most people make is that they assume they can just “cross that bridge when they get there.”
Yet, it’s also essential to know these techniques and really understand how to perform them properly before the situation presents itself.
By doing so, you can save time and abundant reserves of energy you may need you to pull from during subsequent tasks.
Trial and error is not always the best format in which to learn new outdoor skills especially when yours or someone else’s life really depends on your understanding of it, and this certainly applies to chopping wood (batoning).
A simple description of wood batoning is a survival technique in which an individual uses a strong and very sharp knife to split wood using a hard and heavy baton-like object. This is similar to the motion of driving a nail using a hammer.
This is usually done to split wood to create kindling (material necessary for creating fire), produce boards, or even to separate the dry inner layers of wood with a wet exterior.
Best Survival Knives for chopping and Cutting Wood- Top Picks
- Buck 119 Special Fixed Blade Knife
- Condor Radon Survival Knife
- Ka-Bar US Marine Corp Fighting Knife
- Fallkniven A1 Army Survival Knife
- Gerber LMF II Survival Knife
- Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion Survival Knife
- Ontario RTAK-II Serrated Knife
- Ka-Bar 2-1245-1 Black Tanto Knife
8 Best Wilderness Survival Knives for Cutting/Chopping Wood Reviews
Buck 119 Special Fixed Blade Knife
Buck 119 Special Fixed Blade Knife Features:
- Blade length: 6 inches
- Blade material: Satin-finish 420HC stainless steel
- Carrying system: Black leather sheath
- Fixed blade: Yes
- Handle material: Phenolic
- Weight: 7.5 ounces
- Warranty: Lifetime
The Buck 119 Special hunting knife has been a top seller going over 50 years and is Buck Knives most popular fixed blade sheath knife.
The fixed blade is a 6 inch clip blade shape, great for detail work, such as cutting in tight places. It is made from 420 High Carbon Stainless Steel. This knife comes sharp right out of the box.
This is not the knife you want to use to pry things or use for throwing. This knife is great for cutting but it is not a thick blade so there is some bend in the blade.
The overall length of this best knife for cutting wood is 10.5 inches and weighs 7.5 ounces, making it easy to control and very manageable.
The Buck 119 Special has a phenolic handle with a polished aluminum butt and finger guard. It is very comfortable to hold and easy to control.
If you want a camp knife for skinning or cutting wood and bushes this is a great knife to get. It’s like the classic muscle car of knives.
The Buck 119 Special comes with a fitted black leather sheath for convenient storage and transport. The sheath is a nice grade leather and does the job.
You have to be mindful of leather’s ability to retain moisture which could lead to corrosion of the blade. Remember, even stainless steel can rust, given the right conditions.
This Buck 119 Special is definitely an All American Classic Knife still made in America and it comes with Buck Knives 4-Ever unconditional lifetime warranty.
Ka-Bar US Marine Corp Fighting Knife
Ka-Bar US Marine Corp Fighting Knife Details:
- Steel: 1095 Cro-van steel
- Leather Handle: USMC Fighting Knife
- Blade length: 7″ Straight Edge Blade
- Overall length: 11.8 inches
- Sheath: Leather
Ka-Bar has a history of hardcore reliability for everyday chores, as well as lethal efficiency in last-ditch combat uses.
Ka-Bar kept the US Marine Corp Fighting Knife almost identical to the ones carried by soldiers in WWII, Korea and Vietnam.
This Knife is still used by soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan to this day. The blade is made of exceptional 1095 Cro-Van steel. The blade’s shape is remarkably well done.
It has a very sharp point, a sufficient belly to allow slicing or skinning and a long enough straight portion for anything else.
The blade also has enough heft to make thrusting, chopping or slashing feel natural in a combat situation.
The blade will hold a shaving edge, and can be re-sharpened in the field with a little bit of effort.
The blade is 7 inches long with an overall length of 11.8 inches from tip to butt.
The leather-stack handle offers a superior grip, and the balance of the knife is really nice. This comes with a leather sheath.
This Survival Knife always gets 5 stars no matter where you read reviews on it. Although this is an excellent fighting knife which works well in general utility situations, I believe part of its 5 star rating comes from the rich history that you get when you purchase this knife.
Fallkniven A1 Army Survival Knife
Features of the Fallkniven A1 Survival Knife:
- Blade length: 6 1/3 inches
- Overall length: 11 inches
- Steel: Laminated VG-10 Steel
- Handle material: Kraton
- Sheath: Zytel
- Weight: 16.10 ounces
The Fallkniven A1 Survival Knife is a top quality survival knife. The blade is made of high-quality VG-10 steel and is laminated to help protect the blade somewhat.
It has a full tang and this knife is razor sharp right out of the box and is easy to maintain its edge.
The blade has a convex grind. If you are not used to sharpening a convex grind, it will take a little practice sharpening.
With a blade length of 6.33 inches, it just feels great for all sorts of jobs. it one of the best survival knife for chopping wood.
The overall length is 11 inches. The blade is 1/4 inch thick so it’s very solid and can take whatever you throw at it be it skinning hogs and deer or chopping/cutting wood.
The A1 weighs in at just over 1 lb and it feels great in your hands. It is well balanced and very durable.
You’ll be blown away by how tough this survival knife is – so tough and heavy duty for its size. You can easily cut through 4 inch branches
The handle is Kraton and provides an awesome grip no matter what the conditions are and that includes wet conditions. Being able to hold a strong grip in all weather conditions makes you safer and more effective when using a survival knife.
This version of the Fallkniven A1 comes with a Zytel sheath but there is a version that comes with a leather sheath.
It is on the expensive side but it is worth every penny. A nice thick, strong steel, a rubberized grip that provides a strong grip in all weather conditions, including rain and a low profile, moisture draining, low profile hardened plastic sheath and no serrations taking up space on the sharp edge of the blade. This is one of the few survival knives that deserves more than 5 stars.
Condor Tool & Knife Rodan Camp Knife
- Handle: High Impact Polypropylene
- Blade Steel: 1075 HIGH CARBON STEEL
- Blade Finish: Epoxy Black Powder Coating
- Blade length: 5.25 inches
- Overall length: 10.5 inches
- Sheath: Leather
- Weight: 9.60 ounces
The Condor Radon is a full tang knife made of 1075 high carbon steel.
The blade is 3/16 inches thick so it can handle some light duty prying and chopping and cutting wood as well as many other common tasks without giving too much flex.
The blade is 5.25 inches long and has a black powder coating which will scratch off slightly with sharpening as time goes on but this is usually the case with any black powder coating on survival knife blades.
The overall length of the Radon is 10.5 inches which makes it very manageable and weighing in at 9.6 ounces means the Condor Radon won’t tire out your hands after a full day’s use.
The 1075 high carbon steel takes a little extra work to sharpen but the payoff is the fact that it will hold it’s edge a bit longer.
Keep in mind that 1075 high carbon steel can rust pretty easily so be sure to wipe the blade down and give it a light coating of oil before putting it away.
The handle on the Condor Radon is made from a high impact polypropylene. The grip you get is decent but be careful when using this knife in wet or slippery conditions.
The handle is pretty hefty which you may find cumbersome if you have smaller hands. The hefty handle usually works better for jobs like chopping wood and not so great on the smaller jobs.
They could improve the design of the handle by adding some knurling but it still provides a decent grip.
The sheath that comes with the Condor Radon Survival Knife is made of good quality leather and the blade fits nicely in to the sheath even though there is no fail safe lock to keep the knife locked in to the sheath. Get this best knife for chopping wood/ batoning wood today.
Gerber LMF II Survival Knife
- Steel: 12C27 stainless steel
- Leather Handle: Kranton
- Blade length: 5 inches
- Overall length: 12 inches
- Sheath: Leather
The Gerber LMF II Survival Knife has a 12C27 stainless steel blade measuring at almost 5 inches long.
The 12C27 steel is stainless steel and comparable to the durability and toughness of a 440A steel. This steel is generally low maintenance, resistant to corrosion and holds an edge well.
The blade has a half serrated edge which is great for cutting through rope and even a seat belt but sort of makes it a pain to sharpen the blade because the serrations are on the sharp edge.
This knife is heavy-duty and weighs in over 1 lb. The overall length is slightly over 12 inches.
The blade holds its edge really well and it is easy to get the blade portion sharp, not including the serrations.
The butt cap comes with a plexiglass punch which can be used to break glass and as well as for use as a hammer to chop wood.
The punch is separated from the push tang blade to allow for shock absorption and prevent electrical shocks, which means you can cut electrical lines without getting electrocuted.
Keep in mind that this is not a full tang. The push tang allows them to insulate the knife from the handle, thus protecting the user from things like electrical shock.
The handle is Kraton which is rubber-like and is also textured to provide a secure grip. The knife is comfortable and don’t become slippery when conditions get wet.
The handle comes with more than one lanyard hole (one on the butt and 2 on the crossguard) which allows you to attach the knife for use as a spear.
The over-sized handle looks a little goofy to me but it is very comfortable and provides a solid grip.
You can use this knife comfortably for heavy-duty jobs for a few hours at a time but anything more and the weight and size of this survival knife will most likely take a toll on your hand and forearm.
The handle is designed to absorb shock which helps when hacking through branches.
The sheath is low profile and has a lot of option for attaching to a belt or MOLLE vest.
The sheath comes with a built-in carbide knife sharpener so your Gerber Survival Knife will always be sharp when you need it most.
You can get the blade pretty sharp just by sliding it in and out of the sheath a few times, however it doesn’t sharpen the serrations. You’ll have to use something like a diamond sharpener for the serrations.
If you like the fact that its heavy-duty and don’t mind that it weighs over a pound and is slightly over 12 inches long then you should give this knife some serious consideration. Get this best wilderness survival knife for chopping wood today!
Ka-Bar 2-1245-1 Black Tanto Knife
Ka-Bar Black Tanto Knife Specifications:
- Includes knife and sheath
- Weight: 0.72 lbs.
- Blade length: 8″ with an edge angle of 20 degrees.
- Overall length: 12 7/8″
- Steel: 1095 Carbon Steel
- Butt Cap/Guard: Powdered Metal/1095 Carbon; Hollow-Ground: Tanto Shape;
- Handle: Kranton
The Ka-Bar Black Tanto Survival Knife is made of 1095CR-V High Carbon Steel which means this knife sharpens well.
It has a full tang which makes this survival knife very durable and solid. It has a Tanto style blade which is great for piercing.
The blade is 8 inches long and the overall length of this survival knife is 12 7/8 inches long. So there is a whole lot of blade for any job you can throw at it – also best knife for chopping wood.
The blade is partially serrated. However, the serrations on this knife are only a small useful portion (partly because the blade is 8 inches long) of the bottom edge of the blade. The serrations are actually really great at cutting with saw-like teeth.
Tanto style blades are really great for combat functions. The epoxy coating on the blade reduces reflection and helps protect it from corrosion.
The Ka-Bar Black Tanto Knife has a good balance to it which by looking at the blade to handle ratio doesn’t seem like it would, but it is very well-balanced and feels comfortable to use for a long time.
The Kraton-G handle is very comfortable to hold. Kraton-G grips are textured and rubberized so they provide a very secure grip under all conditions. I love rubberized grips the best.
If you actually use your survival knife then you will find yourself working in wet conditions at times. This is where a rubberized grip wins out every time.
The pommel is flat and simple and seems very durable which makes it useful for striking with the bottom of the pommel.
The handle comes with a lanyard hole so you can throw some paracord through there.
The Kydex sheath that this survival knife comes with is one of the best in the business.
Kydex sheaths are tough, hard plastic which grip the knife tightly. They don’t retain moisture like leather or nylon.
They have a ton of mounting options and not just a belt loop hole like some sheaths do. The Kydex sheath has a locking mechanism for holding your survival knife in place.
Ontario RTAK-II Serrated Knife
Features of the Ontario RTAK-II Knife:
- Overall Length: 17 inches
- Blade Length: 10.5 inches
- Weight: 1 lb 6.5 oz
- Blade Material: 1095 Carbon Steel
- Hardness: 54-56 HRC
- Finish: Powder Coat
- Handle Material: Micarta Handle
- Sheath Type: MOLLE Compatible Sheath
The Ontario RTAK-II Serrated Survival Knife is one big knife with an overall length of 17 inches.
The blade is constructed with 1095 High Carbon Steel with a flat blade angle and is 10.5 inches long. The version has a serrated section on the sharp edge of the blade.
Because of the weight and large size, this best survival knife for cutting wood is really great when you need to baton wood.
It’s very durable and takes abuse well. It’s a bit tougher to get a really sharp edge on the blade but once you have a nice sharp edge, it will hold its edge very well.
The handle is designed with Micarta and is very durable. It provides a really good grip even during heavy use.
The balance in this knife is good and it is built well. The sheath it comes with is MOLLE compatible and made of nylon. It has some decent mounting options and it does the job well.
Overall the RTAK-II Survival Knife is a big, heavy-duty survival knife with a very large blade that can be sharpened to a nice edge that will hold well under all kinds of abuse. It’s one of the best knife for chopping wood.
If you want a big, strong and sharp survival knife then you should consider the RTAK-II by Ontario. It will make you feel like a beast when you wield it, although your forearms might feel weak after a day of using it.
Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion Survival Knife: best wilderness survival knife for chopping wood
The Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Fixed Blade Knife specifications
- Handle: Grivory
- Blade Steel: 1095 cro-van steel
- Blade length: 5.5 inches
- Overall length: 10.5 inches
- Sheath: Kydex
- Weight: 1 lb
The Ka-Bar Becker Campanion Survival Knife is a no-nonsense survival knife. The blade is made of durable 1095 cro-van steel which is best for chopping/splitting wood, skinning game, or chopping vegetables for the campfire grill.
This knife has a drop point blade shape and the blade has an angle of 20 degrees which makes it great for a wide variety of tasks.
The blade is 5.5 inches long, and the overall length of the knife is 10.5 inches long. As I mentioned above, this is a serious knife.
It weighs a full 1 lb which goes along well with the heft of this survival knife and is 1/4 inch thick, which makes it useful for prying things open without worrying about snapping the blade.
If you want to chop down that small birch tree or cut vegetables for that campfire dinner or even skin the game you killed, then this is the knife for you. It handles all these tasks easily because of its size and shape of the blade.
There are no serrations on this blade which is a bummer but it’s not a deal breaker. Once you use this knife, you’ll want to bring it in to the kitchen because it fits just as comfortably in the kitchen as it does on a hunting trip. It’s a very versatile blade design.
The handle is made from Grivory, and gives you a balanced grip for any camping or hunting task.
The handle has a lanyard hole so you can attach some paracord to it or even better a strike rod so you’ll always be able to start a fire without searching for the matches.
This survival knife includes the Kydex sheath which is tougher than leather and will not retain moisture.
The knife snaps into the sheath without even using the snap on belt and has plenty of lanyard holes which gives you a ton of mounting options. That’s really important if you like to carry your survival knife on your person for easy access.
Although it’s only 10.5 inches in length, this knife is hefty and weighted perfect for heavy-duty jobs. If you want a heavy-duty survival knife that will always complete the job no matter what you throw at it, then this is the best survival knife for you.
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Wood Batoning: Advantage of Using This Technique
When faced with the goal of splitting wood, it is an easier and more practical alternative than chopping.
In addition to these two benefits, batoning usually requires less effort and can accomplish the goal of getting the wood to the right state faster than you would with just using the chopping technique.
It also achieves better results, as the wood can be cut proportionally when batoned rather than if it’s chopped.
People who are not knowledgeable in chopping can still split wood through batoning – chopping requires the person to aim before driving the chopper, or in this case the knife, into the wood. For a novice outdoorsman, it is a difficult skill to master. It is the contrary for batoning. Since most people don’t have the brute strength necessary to split a piece of wood with everyday carry blade, they can accomplish the same result using a batoning technique.
In most cases, you won’t find yourself in survival situations with an axe. Understanding how to baton is far more practical as a survival technique. You’re more likely to be found in an emergency situation with your survival or EDC knife on hand.
Cutting/chopping wet logs with a knife can be more difficult, requiring more energy as compared to chopping.
The smaller the blade, the more challenging it can be to split larger pieces of wood.
You risk breaking or damaging the knife if done improperly.
Don’t Risk Breaking Your Knife While Batoning
The last thing you’ll want to do in an emergency situation is damaging your most important survival tool — The best knife for cutting wood as the ones we have have reviewed in this post.
Breaking or damaging the blade is most likely caused by striking the knife at an angle instead of driving it straight down. It can also be due to using the wrong type of object as a baton to perform the technique.
You should always try to use another piece of wood to strike the knife, as using a rock or other object can chip away or crack the blade.
Using anything stronger than the blade can result in permanent damage such.
Batoning with wood along with making contact in a straight down motion will keep your knife intact.
Full tang or through-tang knives are obviously the best choice because of their durability.
You won’t always have the option of choosing the type of blade to use, but if the opportunity presents itself avoid choosing something with a partial tang embedded in plastic.
You’ll truly be putting the manufacturing to the test.
So How Do You Cut wood with a knife?
Here are a few short steps to start you on your path to adding this essential technique to your arsenal of survival skills using the best wilderness survival knife for chopping wood.
Remember to step out and practice this technique in a controlled environment before taking it on your next trip.
You’ll also want to use one of your less expensive or older knives when practicing so you don’t damage a more expensive blade.
Start by placing the wood you’re going to be baton into a groove on a solid patch of dirt or on an object that can take the force you’re going to be placing on the wood.
Place the knife in the middle of the wood that’s going to be split with the sharp edge facing down. If you want to make the process much easier, find a split or crack in the wood and start there with your knife.
Make sure that the spine of the knife is straight up to avoid hitting it at an angle and risking the integrity of the blade.
Take the second piece of wood which you’ll be using as your baton to strike the center of your knife until it penetrates the wood.
Baton directly onto the blade spine. Always be sure to avoid batoning near the tip of the knife. Strike the part of the blade that is near the center and is less susceptible to breaking.
Adjust the knife every now and then to ensure that you are striking the stronger part of the blade and that the split is proportional.
As much as possible, avoid hitting the handle of the knife. Similar to the tip, it is weaker than the center of the knife blade.
However, you can strike it lightly if you feel that it is going away from the intended alignment.
Wood batoning is only one technique that can be used to create shelter, build a fire, or just split some wood.
Practice and perfect this technique so that one day it can save your life and save your knife from sustaining permanent damage.