Stainless steel is great and all — easy to clean, sharpens to a razor edge — but there's nothing quite like ceramic if you really want the edge to last. The Kyocera LTD Ceramic Chef's Knife ($120) keeps its Zirconia 206 ceramic edge ten times longer than steel, so you don't have to sharpen it nearly as often as the typical chef's knife. It has an ergonomic pakkawood handle with a stainless steel bolster and rivet that makes it easier to handle, and more comfortable to use. Hand-crafted by experts in Seki, Japan, this knife won't brown foods with use, and resists corrosion.
A good quality knife is about the most useful tool we can think of, and the SOG Gunny Fixed Blade Knife ($400) is built to the highest standards, making it as reliable as any knife available. These limited edition knives are built from materials made to last, like a high-end Japanese steel blade and a Cocobolo hardwood handle inlayed with stingray hide. Limited to just 1,000 pieces, these knives are carefully crafted down to the last detail, including the clip point blade shape, stainless steel guard, and pommel. Each knife includes a handmade leather sheath, and comes in a beautiful walnut box perfect for storage or display.
Regardless of whether or not you rescue people for a living, sometimes you just want to be prepared for whatever disaster life throws your direction. With the Spyderco Assist Knife ($85), you can quickly cut through just about any material — in case you need to help someone escape from a burning car, or get yourself out of a sticky situation. The nearly-four-inch blade is made from VG-10 steel, and features a blunt tip, and has both a toothed and flat edge. It's made to quickly cut through seat belts, ropes, or pretty much anything else that's holding you back.