7 Best Neck Knives for Survival in 2021

This is our review of the best neck knives for survival.

A neck knife is there for when you find yourself in survival situations that you never knew were coming. These are easily worn at all times and the size makes it so your neck knife is barely ever noticed.

We’ve put together a list of some of the best for you to have handy for any kind of situation. 

This form of carrying a knife dates way back and is still relied upon. Unfortunately, there are a lot of poor quality knives out there that can find their way into your cart due to good advertising.

To help get the best neck knife for your survival, this is the best place to look. 

Quick Summary

Who Needs a Neck Knife

Any time you go out it’s possible to find yourself in a situation where you need a knife.

This can be a survival situation or even for self-defense. In those moments, an easily carried and concealed neck knife is a great resource to have on hand. 

Anyone that is living a lifestyle that finds them needing a knife on hand often can benefit from purchasing a quality neck knife. They stay by your side and are there when you need them, and out of the way when you don’t. 

If you are living in an area where concealed knives can mean trouble, make sure you’re only bringing these without into the woods or on a trip where you may need it.

Otherwise, they can be helpful to carry at all times. 

What to Look for in the Right Neck Knife

If you’re in the market for a neck knife, it’s going to be important to understand these little guys.

There are a lot of similarities between them, but like all other knives, there are also a lot of huge differences.

We’ll take a quick look at each of the most important deciding factors for neck knives before jumping in to all of our top picks. 

Size and Weight

Neck knives are made to be compact, but some still stick with a longer blade depending on the brand and purpose.

If you are wanting something to carry all the time, the larger you go, the more noticeable this will end up being.

If you get something super compact and lightweight, it will be hard to notice it’s even there. 

If this is for an all-time carry, a lightweight knife will be a good idea.

If it’s dedicated to survival gear, a heavier and longer knife might not be a bad option. It will likely be more durable and you’ll be grateful for the slightly larger knife blade. 

Best Use

If you’re buying a neck knife the two most likely reasons are you want something for survival or for self defense. Both of these are great uses of neck knives, but the knife you want will be different depending on the use. 

Survival knives may be a bit longer and have a heavier weight to them for hacking away at wood. Self-defense knives will most likely be more easily concealed and have a better grip. 

Build Quality and Materials

For a good survival knife of any kind you want something that is going to be reliable.

That means it should be durable and low maintenance, so when the moment comes to use it there isn’t a chip or rust on the knife that can render it useless. 

High quality knives from reputable brands are going to be the best choice when your life may depend on it. 


The sheath for a neck knife is incredibly important since the knife lives right next to your neck. You want a sheath that stays on the knife, but is easily removed when you need it most.

You also want something that is durable and won’t break if you were to fall on it. In order to protect yourself, make sure the sheath is of as good of quality as the knife itself. 

Our Picks for the 7 Best Neck Knives for Survival

Best Small-Sized Neck Knives

SOG Instinct Mini

SOG is a well-known name across the board for all types of knives, and they come in with another top-notch product in this category as well.

It’s an incredibly durable and reliable piece of gear that will be there for you when you need it most. 

The blade is stainless steel construction and only weighs 1.4 ounces. The entire knife measures 4.8 inches with a 2 inch blade length.

The full-tang design ensures getting the strength of a 5 inch blade without the size. 

The handle is designed for a good grip and gives a natural feel for such a small knife. All of the parts of this knife make it one of the best out there. 

What I like:

  • The small and compact design is great for around the neck
  • Stainless steel blade holds an edge well
  • Good size for boot or belt as well as around the neck

What I don’t like:

  • SOG’s initial tuning adjustments and high need of maintenance

Spyderco Ark Salt Fixed Blade Knife

This smaller sized fixed blade knife is a great option for those looking for something lightweight but durable.

The Spyderco Ark Salt Fixed Blade Knife features a fiberglass reinforced nylon handle that gives you the grip you need for just about any use. 

Another standout feature of this knife is its weight. This weighs only .96 ounces which is stunning for the strength that it offers. The 2.5 inch steel alloy blade stays true to itself and is incredibly corrosion resistant. 

The only real drawback is the sheath needed for carrying. It weighs more than the knife itself and brings the total carry weight to just over 2 ounces.

It can be a bit bulky for those that wanted something smaller. Otherwise, this is a great quality knife that packs a huge punch in a small package. 

What I like:

  • Lightweight knife design
  • Steel alloy blade paired with fiberglass reinforced nylon handle means high levels of strength
  • Great grip for multiple uses

What I don’t like:

  • Sheath is bulkier than you want on your neck

Best Larger Sized Neck Knives

Kershaw Dune Full Tang Neck Knife

The Kershaw Dune Full Tang Neck Knife is a unique design for those wanting to sport a neck knife. The 3.8 inch, full tang blade is made from 3Cr13 stainless steel for high quality strength and stability without losing an edge.

The molded nylon handle only adds to the strength of this knife, which makes it another great choice to always have on hand. 

The sheath on this knife is fantastic. It is molded to the blade and uses lanyard security to snap the knife in place, but still lets you have quick and easy access to the knife when needed.

There’s very little chance of this sheath slipping off when you’re wearing the knife. 

Overall, this is 7 inches of beautifully crafted steel that works well as a neck knife or on your belt. If you’re not too worried about concealment, this is it. 

What I like:

  • High quality stainless steel will hold an edge
  • Sheath gives great security
  • Grip feels right in hand

What I don’t like:

  • A bit lengthy for those wanting to conceal the knife

CRKT Minimalist Bowie Neck Knife 

This carbon stainless steel blade makes a great choice for a strong blade to keep on your neck. The CRKT Minimalist is made for every possible use with every blade you can imagine in a compact size. There’s a wide variety of options to increase versatility and is worth buying almost each blade. 

This carbon stainless steel blade makes a great choice for a strong blade to keep on your neck. The CRKT Minimalist is made for every possible use with every blade you can imagine in a compact size.

There’s a wide variety of options to increase versatility and is worth buying almost each blade. 

The ergonomic curves in the handle ensures that you have a great grip on this knife for any hand size.

The Bowie sports a 2.125 inch blade length with a 6.75 inch total length. That makes it one of the longer knives, but there are other options for a shorter knife from CRKT. 

At 1.6 ounces this is going to barely be noticed when you’re carrying it around and stays concealed easily. We think this is a great overall option for neck knives. 

What I like:

  • Blade sharpens easily and holds an edge well
  • Comes in all varieties of blade styles and designs
  • Grooves in handles are great for grip

What I don’t like:

  • Grooves are made for larger hands

Best Minimalist Neck Knives

Ka-Bar BK11 Becker Necker

The Ka-Bar BK11 Becker Necker isn’t a knife to take lightly. 1095 CroVan carbon steel is hard to beat when you’re talking about a quality build. It’s so strong, easy to sharpen, and holds an edge forever.

The 3.25 inch blade makes this one highly versatile but also still compact enough to easily conceal. 

Ka-Bar is one of the most reputable names in the industry and it’s hard to go wrong with any of their products. The sheath is just as high of quality as the knife.

It is made from injection-molded glass-filled black plastic to give a rigid sheath that won’t ever drop your knife. 

What I like:

  • 1095 CroVan Carbon Steel is the top tier of quality
  • Concealable length but highly versatile
  • Reputable name
  • Great quality sheath

What I don’t like:

  • Not as small as most other neck knives

Esee James Gibson Pinch Fixed Neck Knife

The Esee James Gibson Pinch Fixed Neck Knife is aptly named for its best use, to be there when you need it in a pinch. This one isn’t much more than a beautifully crafted blade with a full tang.

The blade is only 1.3 inches and the total length is a mere 3.4 inches. 

This will sit on your neck easily without ever being noticed by you or anyone else. I like the sheath that comes along with this knife as well for its unique design.

It uses a magnetic design to safely fasten the blade in without dropping. 

The Esee James is a great compact knife, it just needs to be well maintained to avoid rust. If you want something that will sit waiting for you then you may want to look at a different material. 

What I like:

  • Magnetic sheath is secure
  • Small blade and minimalistic design
  • Affordable price tag

What I don’t like:

  • A lot of maintenance is required to make sure it doesn’t rust

Best on a Budget

Survival Frog Survival Knife

The Survival Frog Survival Knife is the cheap option that surprises you with its quality.

It’s 5.5 inches overall with a 2.9 inch blade, but the sheath also features a navigational compass, a signal mirror, fire starter, and a knife sharpener. With all of the different features, it still packs down really nicely. 

None of these tools are going to be of the highest quality available, but it makes for a great gift to your kids or buddies that are into survival.

It would be a great addition to a bug-out bag in addition to another higher quality knife. That being said, there’s no reason not to spend a little bit of money and get yourself one of these do-it-all knives. 

What I like:

  • Loads of features included on the sheath
  • Affordable price for a decent quality blade

What I don’t like:

  • The features included aren’t of the best quality

Useful Tips & Resources

If you’re looking to get the perfect neck knife for yourself, it’s worth trying to get a feel on each knife before buying it.

Take a trip to your local knife shop and see what they have in stock to know how it feels around your neck.

It’s also a good idea to dive into further research in other sources, especially the manufacturer’s site.

The biggest resource, however, is application. Try these knives out in the situations that you want to use them in.

For survival, plan a trip where you go out with limited materials and see what you can do and how the knife handles each scenario.

Don’t let your neck knife just sit there. They are meant to be used, so go out and use them. 

Final Words

Neck knives are a great resource to have on you at all times.

They can really come in handy when you find yourself in a tricky situation, and don’t add a lot to your carry weight.

I believe that a quality neck knife is not only a great addition to your gear system, but a great addition to all of your different go-bags.

There’s one for every moment and it’s always better to have one ready than to be without. 

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