Home Gear Plain Edge or Serrated Edge for a Survival Knife?

Plain Edge or Serrated Edge for a Survival Knife?

There seems to be 2 very different schools of thought when it comes to knives. One side favors the plain edge for their knifes. The other side swears by the serrated edge. Which is better, Plain Edge or Serrated Edge for a Survival Knife?

Plain Edge or Serrated Edge for a Survival Knife?

Is there a place for a serrated edge, as your main knife, in a time of survival?


Plain Edge for your main survival knife

For a camping knife or a wilderness survival knife, you need a plain edge on your “main” knife.

There are some good reasons for this:

  • Ease of sharpening: In the wild, you’ll likely have minimal sharpening equipment with you. A plain edge can be sharpened with a single stone (a dual-grit stone). A serrated edge requires more specific equipment.
  • Cutting: a plain edge slices, where serrations are designed to tear. In my experience, in the woods and forests there’s very few things that need to be torn instead of slices or chopped.
  • Durability: Have you ever tried to baton wood with a serrated knife? You’ll end up with fewer teeth in your serrations. The serrations on the blade protrude, like tiny teeth and therefore will catch, bind and break much easier.

Serrated Edge for your other knives

Is there a place for a serrated edge in a time of survival?


Serrated blades work much better for cutting things, such as rope (even when wet) and tough fabric (such as seat belts or backpack straps). They also tend to work really well when cutting woody stemmed plants.

There may come a time where you’ll need to rip through something very quickly. This would be especially true if you had to free someone who was trapped by a seat belt or rope.

This is the time, where serrated edges really shine.

Am I anti-serration?

Heck No! Not at all!

I have many blades that are serrated. Many of my EDC knives, such as my, Swiss Army Trekker and SOG Seal Pup are serrated or partially serrated. I carry that Trekker with me, everywhere I go, and if I’m not sure what I’ll run into, the SOG Seal Pup, is likely on my belt.

If I’m heading to the woods to go camping, shoot videos or to live forever, then it’s my non-serrated, Ka-Bar Becker BK7 or my Becker BK2 Campanion every time!

I believe you should have a serrated edge knife in your backpack or emergency kit and that you should carry a partially serrated or serrated blade for EDC; because you never know what you’ll encounter. In EDC you want to cover all your bases. but for your main Survival Knife, the plain edge has the upper hand for long term wilderness survival situations.


  1. I prefer completely straight edges for just about everything. Anything that I’ve ran into where it seems easier to saw though the material with a serrated edge, can be overcome by batoning or push cutting with some weight behind it

    The only thing I can think of where this wouldn’t work is if, a really thick this rope is suspended, and you need to cut though it while it’s in the hanging position.

  2. When in a backpacking mode I prefer a combo of plain edge fixed blade like a Mora Companion MG / HD or Bushcraft Black because of their light weight and a small partly serrated folder like a Gerber LST or CRKT Drifter . Works for me .

  3. To solve this I took the blade out of a break off utility knife and replaced the blade with a hacksaw blade. It is small light and perfect.

  4. My K-bar served me well in Vietnam and while I lost that blade when I returned, I’ve replaced it with a new version of the same. I use it cutting almost everything including splitting wood for kindling and firewood. I wish I had a smaller version to carry in my EDC case.


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