We've come a long way since Rambo. Saw-tooth spines, hollow-tube handles and screw-on compass buttcaps have given way to advances in steel recipes and synthetic materials. These four technologically and ergonomically advanced knives marry functionality and versatility. And each of them could very well save your butt some day.
SOG SEAL Pup Elite (Editor's Choice)
The success of a survival knife lies in its usefulness, and the Pup Elite offers a little bit of everything. The thick, well-balanced blade and handle suggests a nostalgic feel, but with all the high-tech aspects of today. Deep, ergonomic finger grooves won’t leave you guessing in the dark which way the steel is facing, and the rifle checkering gives the handle plenty of grip. Serrations, full-spine jimping and an equally versatile nylon sheath make this a favorite. ($120; sogknives.com)
Steel: AUS 8, black TiNi coating;
Overall length: 9.5 in.;
Weight: 5.4 oz.