The Ultimate Guide To Finding The Best Neck Knife For You
Before sheaths and folding blades, our ancestors had to come up clever ways to carry a blade.
Back then carrying a sharp blade without getting stabbed was a real trick.
One clever and timeless solution to this ancient problem was the neck knife.
By tying some cord around their blade’s handle they could wear it around their necks.
A safe bladed weapon close at hand.
It’s both a simple and brilliant.
Few survival tools can double as a functional tool and fashion accessory at once.
The neck knife being one of them.
But the variety of neck knives today is staggering and seemingly unending. Unfortunately, not all neck knives are created equal.
Some neck knives are great while others simply suck.
Searching for the right neck knife can be a tedious and frustrating process.
How do you pick a great one from such a large number of options?
Well, that’s exactly why we wrote this guide. In this article we’ll be covering the following topics:
- What Is The Neck Knife
- Brief Neck Knife History
- Top Reasons To Wear A Neck Knife
- What Makes A Neck Knife Good
- The Best Neck Knives
- Best Neck Knife Uses
What Is A Neck Knife
Quite simply, any tactical knife you wear around your neck is technically a neck knife.
Since you carry a neck knife on your person, they also fall into the category of EDC knives. Neck knives are incredibly versatile in form, shape, and application.
Some are big; some are small, some are fixed blade survival knives, some are everyday folders. Heck, some are made more for fashion while others are purely functional.
- Curved Blades
- Tanto Blades
- Combat Knives
- Multi-Tool Knives
- Serrated Blades
- Drop Point Blades
- You Name It
There are also short neck knife blades, long blades, thick blades, thin blades, etc. But no matter, all neck knives have one thing in common, they’re hung from a cord or chain around your neck.
Neck Knife History
So who exactly invented the neck knife? Sadly, that’s something we will never know. It’s one of those small historical facts lost forever.
Regardless, things have come a long way since those first, primitive neck knife. But the technology and the idea behind it have not changed.
No matter how high-tech and fancy the blade gets, the basic idea of the neck knife remains the same.
Many people carry a neck knife to this day, some tens of thousands of years after the invention was conceived. Because anything that remains popular this long has got something going for it.
It’s an accessory that can save your life. And when it does, you’re going to thank the mystery caveman who invented it.
Top Reasons To Wear A Neck Knife
This could be a very long list – because when it comes to neck knives, there’s a lot to love. But, for the sake of brevity, I’ll try and limit this conversation to just the most significant advantages.
Always With You
This is the best reason to carry a neck knife.
And likely the main reason our ancestors invented them in the first place.
Quick Easy Access
When it’s hanging around your neck, it is always within easy reach. You cannot lose it; you cannot leave it somewhere, you won’t accidentally drop it.
The neck knife is always within arms reach, ready to be slipped out of its sheath and used. Ready for survival, self-defense, or any purpose you run into.
Can Intimidate Threats
If a threat sees you’re carrying a blade around your neck they know immediately you’re armed.
Most people are less likely to confront someone who’s visibly outfitted with a dangerous weapon.
Can Attract Attention
Neck knives are badass – plain and simple. No matter if you’re a woman or a man if you are wearing a neck knife it sends a clear message:
- I am armed.
- I am dangerous.
- Ready to survive no matter what.
Wear your neck knife out and about, if you want some added attention (good and bad).
Or keep it hidden if attention is not your thing.
Exclusive Bonus: Download The Ultimate Survival Gear Checklist and review all the critical items every serious survivalist should own.
What Makes A Good Neck Knife – Good
There are a few key characteristics of a good, functional neck knife. No matter how it’s shaped, how large it is, or who makes it, if it has the following qualities it’ll serve you well.
Any neck knife that breaks as soon as you use it is not going to cut it for survival.
That’s why you choose one be made from high-quality materials, to resist wear tear and lots of abuse.
There are a lot of cheapo-neck knives out there that are more of a necklace than a functional, usable knife.
So be wary when you’re buying – read reviews, and test the blade yourself, send it back if it doesn’t meet expectations.
Also, if you want a neck knife for survival, then look for one that’s got a thicker blade so you can use it for abusive tasks such as batoning.
Because neck knives come in different shapes, sizes and styles, some end up being unwieldy.
A neck knife that’s a full tang oversized ka-bar hunting blade is going to be both bulky and heavy. You can count on that getting in your way more than it helps you out.
Fortunately, most neck knife designs have taken this into account. Most neck knives are lightweight and do not burden the wearer.
That’s the neck knife you want. One that’s so lightweight and compact you hardly notice it’s there, but it IS there ready and waiting.
Compact Tight Sheath
The sheath is as important as the knife itself.
You want a neck knife sheath that keeps the knife safely tucked away, secure in the sheath. You want the knife to fit snug but not too snug.
If it’s too loose the knife could slip out of the sheath all on its own – not good. But if it’s too tight, then it may become difficult to pull it free.
You also want the sheath to leave a minimum imprint. That way you can wear it under your shirt and keep it hidden out of view.
The bottom line is a neck knife is only as good as the sheath it comes with.
Durability and functionality are first, but after that, you want one that looks cool, right?.
These things are basically necklaces. Yeah, that’s not their primary function, but it plays a role in your purchase decision.
Which means you need to like how looks when wearing it. Thankfully, there are a lot of really bad ass looking neck knives.
The Best Neck Knives
We’ve sifted through hundreds of neck knives out there and came up with this list. It’s a list of the best, most functional, effective, and popular neck knives on the market today.
This is our favorite neck knife and the one we’ve highlighted in the main image at the top of this post.
It’s our favorite because it’s the perfect size (not too big not too small), its full tang, it’s thicker than most neck knife blades and it’s got an excellent sheath.
A full tang blade is key for survival, unlike pocket knives.
Pocket knives have major weak points on their folding joints. These joints eventually break from hard use… making them useless in a crisis.
Just like a full-sized fixed blade, The Survival Neck Knife doesn’t have structural weak points. It’s made from one, solid piece of cold-forged steel. This full tang runs from tip to tail and will not break.
The Survival Neck Knife’s blade is also much thicker.
On average, The Survival Neck Knife’s blade is 3-4x thicker than a standard pocket knife.
Most pocket knife blades are extra thin to make them lighter.
Saving weight at the expense of strength isn’t going to do a lick of good in a crisis.
Fortunately, at 4mm thick, The Survival Neck Knife’s blade is thick enough for batoning wood, skinning large game, use as a pry bar… and more.
This neck knife’s sheath is made for survival.
The sheath on Survival Neck Knife comes complete with built-in survival tools:
- Built-in compass and signaling mirror: Built into the case is a detachable compass, and on the reverse is a handy signal mirror.
- Complete with sharpening stones: No need to buy an extra knife sharpener. On one side of the sheath is a built-in sharpening rod that will easily turn a dull blade into a razor sharp edge.
- Will start a fire: The other rod on the sheath is a magnesium fire-starter. Scrape the rear of the blade against the rod and a shower of 5,400° sparks will start a roaring fire.
For survival, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better neck knife at this incredible price point.
Here’s a video review of Survival Frog’s Neck Knife:
This super-lightweight (1.75 ozs) minimalist neck knife come with a finely honed stainless steel blade.
The handle also functions as both a slotted screwdriver and mini-crowbar.
It comes with a breakable neck chain, and it snaps securely into its black nylon sheath.
This deep bellied clip point bowie style blade is just 2.125” long but it looks sort of like the classic hunting knives made famous in the American West.
It comes with a custom glass-filled nylon sheath with a positive detent to lock the blade in place.
That way you’ll be confident it won’t slip out.
CRKT includes a paracord loop for wearing this knife around your neck.
This is a full tang; fixed blade survival neck knife is made of 440 stainless steel, matte black, and double-edged.
It comes with a grippy nylon filled injection mold handle which makes it easy to keep ahold of during use.
The knife is 6.5 inches in length (the blade by itself is 2.75 inches) and comes with a nylon sheath and a breakable neck chain.
This wicked looking blade is ideal for combat purposes.
In fact, it’s difficult to find uses for a karambit blade like this one, besides inflicting wounds.
This style of blade originated in Indonesia centuries ago. Today it is one of the most deadly (and frightening looking) blades legally available to carry.
This one is 7.5 inches long overall and comes with a sheath and a length of neck cord to secure it around your neck.
Designed for survival, this single-sided blade is versatile and lightweight.
Supplied with a neck lanyard and a self-locking Zytel sheath.
This knife is 5.25 inches in length (with a 2.5-inch blade) and comes with a lifetime warranty against defect or damage.
One of the smallest, lightest weight options, this compact blade is only 5.75 inches long (with a 2-inch blade).
Named for its hawk beak shaped blade. This deadly little knife is useful for self-defense, outdoor, and survival situations.
It has an ergonomically designed handle to fit in your hand, and at only 2.8 ounces you’ll hardly notice holding it.
The blade may be small, but it has both a serrated edge and a curved hawkbit straight edge.
This blade is professionally heat treated which involves heating, freezing, and reheating, making the blade extremely tough with excellent edge retention.
The Tonife Squirrel features a G10 (lightweight, tough, corruption and extreme temperature resistant material) handle over its full steel tang.
It also comes with a Kydex Sheath that comes with a tough as nails ball and chain for wearing around your neck.
The Gerber Ghoststrike has a compact, skeletal 420HC steel frame, and blade.
It comes with a black ceramic coating for minimal reflection + corrosion resistance.
The handle is a diamond texture rubber which provides superior grip.
Includes a modular sheath system that can be worn horizontally or vertically making it a great neck knife (or even a boot or belt knife).
Exclusive Bonus: Download The Ultimate Survival Gear Checklist and review all the critical items every serious survivalist should own.
Best Neck Knife Uses
If you are thinking about buying a neck knife, this is a perfectly understandable question to ask. When would this knife actually become useful?
Well, there are a lot of answers to that question, and each one depends heavily on the circumstances. But we will go over a few of the important ones (and maybe a few of the more obscure uses).
Naturally, it can come in handy if someone tries to attack you. A typical response for anyone wearing a neck knife would be to whip that bad boy out and stab.
Self-defense is the main reason many people carry neck knives. They offer a fast, easy, small, stealthy, incognito weapon at hand.
This is a big reason why neck knives are excellent accessories for females traveling or walking solo late at night.
When you’re in the wild hunting animals (or even just hanging out) having a neck knife at the ready is handy.
Whether you’re field dressing a kill, preparing food, or carving tools, neck knives are at the ready.
When shit hits the fan, you’re going to want to be as armed as possible. Carrying a blade around your neck is one more place to keep a weapon at the ready.
You never know if or when we’ll all be caught off guard in an end-of-the-world scenario. So wearing a neck knife makes sure you’re never unarmed when that happens.
When out on the water, casting flies and catching fish, you’ll want something to gut or fillet your catch.
Yes, a good fillet knife is better, but when you’re camping or surviving, you might not have one of those with you. So in that case, good thing you have that trusty knife around your neck.
Maybe you need to carve an arrow shaft or whittle a makeshift survival whistle out of wood.
Whatever crafty purpose you need a knife for, your trusty neck knife is going to be there to help you achieve it.
The Final Word
Most people get so hung up on keeping pocket knives in their pockets. Carrying a fixed blade knife on their belts, or dirks in their boots. But they overlook the advantages of carrying a knife around their neck.
It’s one of the handiest places you can keep a small badass survival knife.
And with modern knife technology, there are tons of options for any survivalist.
Once you start wearing a neck knife, you’ll never stop. The benefits are too great and significant.
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