Hiking is a great way to spend time outdoors, get some fresh air and exercise. Depending on what all you are doing while hiking, the difficulty of the hike and the duration will determine if and how you pack your equipment; however, a knife is always called for because you never will miss it until it is not there when you need it.
Just as everyone has a different opinion on which team should win the World Series, everyone has a different opinion on what the best knife to carry hiking is. The primary thing to identify when looking at purchasing a knife for your journey is what your expectations are going to be for the knife and how large is too large.
How To Select A Hiking Knife
This is important as not every hike is created equal. Hiker A, who has a dog and an elementary school child may consider a 3-mile hike through the woods their ideal weekend. Hiker B is a college student whose idea of a good hike is a 12-mile alpine trail with a 5900-foot ascent over 2.5 miles and then a drop of 1300 feet to a lake. These two hikers both enjoy the outdoors, hiking and being active but need very different knives.
Hiker A will probably do this hike in a leisurely 2 hours without any major changes to breathing or excessive fatigue. These trails are usually well groomed and are designed for the casual hiker in mind. This hiker would be looking for something small and easy to carry which they can use to cut through something like a shoelace, deal with splinters, maybe whittle a stick for roasting marshmallows. A classic Swiss Army Knife will do the trick for a casual hike.
Hiker B, on the other hand, requires a much different tool. They would require a knife that, should they get lost or stuck, they could rely on to assist them to survive. They would probably have a fair amount of gear, food, and water, so a larger blade could easily be housed with this without difficulty. This knife would need to be versatile enough to cut wood to start a fire, to assist with food gathering/preparation, and provide a form of protection as well. As you can see, neither is wrong or right, just a difference in needs.
Hiker B is going to want something more robust, such as the Gerber Survival Series.
Tac X Tactical team offer reviews on a range of knives – evidently, some are cheaper than others and would be better suited for a casual hiker.
Benchmade Griptilian Combo Edge
The Benchmade Griptilian Combo Edge is a full-sized folding tactical blade which, despite having a hollow ground edge with a deep belly, utilizes the 154CM stainless steel’s strength to keep an edge which is razor sharp and wears well. These knives carry the same warning any Benchmade knife has in that they come pre-sharpened and are ready to use from the moment you unwrap the box.
This is a larger knife with a 3.5-inch blade, is very light and agile. Not everyone would be comfortable with the Griptilian in their pocket. The scales are a lightweight yet durable plastic over a stainless steel liner which adds the appeal of this knife as it is so light yet the blade does not come into contact with the plastic, and the liner allows for added stability during use.
It is hard to find a drawback on this knife and the only ones I can easily find is the size and the price.
It is a little hard to use as a pocket knife in that it is over 4.5” in length when closed. If you fall in love with this blade you may consider getting the Griptilian Mini which boasts the same quality in a more convenient size. This is also not a gas station quick buy, this knife does cost more than the average folding knife and what you are paying for is a quality blade, made in the USA so that all steps can be inspected to make sure that quality is not taken for granted.
Cold Steel Recon 1
The Cold Steel Recon 1 is the new version of the Recon. Released in 2010, the Recon 1 learned about the drawbacks from its predecessor and worked hard to improve on an already good knife to create a truly great one. It is sleeker, lighter and has a much stronger lock to ensure no fingers get caught accidentally while maintaining a truly affordable price.
Boasting a 4-inch blade and an overall length of 9 ¾ inches, the Recon 1 is not what most people would carry in their pocket. This is a very solid knife which comes at either a clip point or an American tanto shape. The scales are designed to fit easily in your hand and provide an important non-slip grip. The blade is strongly held and is very durable as is the rest of the knife.
The main drawback with this knife is that the black coating on the blade comes off easily with use. Once it is all off, the knife cleans up well and it does not create usage issues. If you are looking for a display case knife you may want to get two, one to use and one to display and at the price, it is not an impossibility.
The CRKT M16 is a versatile knife that is commonly seen by anyone who spends a lot of time in the backcountry. It is versatile and comes in many different sizes but for this review, I have chosen the M16-13ZE.
This blade weighs a mere 3.7 ounces with an overall length of 9.25 inches making this a knife you won’t miss. The bright orange scales make that unlikely as well. The 13ZE option of this knife comes with an AutoLAWKS safety mechanism, a built-in seat belt cutter and a Tungsten carbide window breaker so that in an emergency you are covered.
The one drawback I would point out would be that the steel on this blade is relatively soft and therefore will lose an edge after it has been used. This is not nearly as soft as the AUS4, however, the AUS8 is not a very hard steel, therefore, is easy to sharpen although you may find yourself doing this more often than with some of the harder steels.
Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Ultimate Knife
The Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Knife is a heavy-duty full-tang knife that is large, heavy and definitely a knife that would find many uses for an extended hike or even camping. The blade has a drop point and has the option of being either a fine-edge or half-serrated.
This knife also includes a rope lanyard which has an emergency whistle attached, a diamond blade sharpener, a spark rod included with the sheath and a square striker notch in the butt end of the knife. This knife will provide you with all the tools necessary to create a fire from the feather stick to the spark itself.
The downside to this knife is that it is very heavy and bulky and so it is not something that you would take with you on most hikes without other gear. The other issue is the sheath itself in that the loop to attach it is placed in an awkward location so when it is attached to your belt it has a tendency to rub.
In all this is a well-made knife which has been designed to provide everything you may need in a knife for an emergency situation. Combine this with the price and it is definitely a knife to have a look at.
Victorinox Swiss Army Adventurer
Swiss Army Knife, it is a name that speaks quality and is known in most households and has bee
n around for many years. The Adventurer Pocket Knife is no exception to this. This is a large 3 ½ inch blade housed in a tiny and compact set of scales which also hide a can opener, bottle opener, large screwdriver, wire stripper, reamer with sewing eye, a Phillips screwdriver, tweezers, toothpick and a key ring.
This is a tool that, despite its size and weight of a mere 2.8 ounces, can handle most situations you may throw at it. Whether there is a need for cutting branches or dealing with a sliver, this knife can handle it.
The one thing about this knife is that it is rather large if you are more familiar with the Tinker or Classic sized Swiss Army Knives; however, as it is less than 5 inches when fully folded it is not unreasonable for this knife to be pocketed for both the longer and shorter walks through the woods.
Best Camping Knife Review
Everyone who camps knows a knife is an essential tool to have with you. It has multiple uses in the woods and one may actually save your life, although hop, fully you will never be in such a situation! I will be reviewing several knives used for camping. You can find all of them on Amazon.com and I will include price range and ratings.
About Camping Knives
There are many different types of knives out there and not everybody is looking for the same thing in a knife. More expensive isn’t necessarily the best quality. Camping knives can have a single or double-sided blade and some even have a serrated edge to use as a saw.
These are knives with a hinge where the blade meets the handle and the blade can fold back into the handle. Also known as an army knife, these knives are good if you plan on keeping it in your pocket, bag, or don’t have a sheath to cover the blade.
Sometimes these knives also have other tools included such as a corkscrew, screwdriver, flashlight and/or file. This is good if you have need of multiple tools but can’t have the bulk of carrying that much. It will also decrease the size of the knife blade to make room for the other tools.
Sheath/Fixed Blade knives
These are knives in a fixed position and they have a sheath (case) covering the blade to protect it. This sheath is usually soft and made of canvas, nylon or leather but can be hard and made of plastic or metal. They are usually worn on the belt with a clip. These knives more commonly have a part of the blade serrated or the spine partially serrated.
Often times, Sheath knives are used as a survival knife, whereas a folding knife will get more work as every day carry knife.
Camping Knife Sets
You can purchase a knife set as well if you need different sizes. These could come in handy to get into small spaces or to save time when cutting larger items. You can also buy folding knives that have a cutlery set in it, so you have a fork, spoon, and knife in one piece.
Camping Knife Uses
Common uses for a knife when camping will be cutting rope to tie down your tent or food up and out of reach of animals. Cutting sticks for kindling or sharpening them for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows (yum!). Cleaning and filleting fish. Possible defense from wild animals that you may come across. Don’t worry animals are more afraid of you!
Choosing a Camping Knife
The knife you pick will depend on what you need it for the most. You could go for the simple sheath knife which would be best if you don’t have many uses for it. If you are the kind of camper who likes to go for hikes you might consider a folding knife so you can keep it in your pocket.
Caring for your Camping Knife
It is best to have a way of sharpening your knife be it a whetstone or a handheld knife sharpener. These tend to have two angled stones forming a “V” that you pull the blade in between multiple times. It is very important to keep your camping knife sharp, it could save your life. Most knife blades are rust proof but it is best to keep the knife dry and in a safe place.
The Best Knife For Camping Reviewed
Tac Force TF-705 Series Assisted Opening Folding Knife 4.5-inches Closed
Good quality knife, solid but lightweight and well balanced. Very sharp right out of the packaging. Multiple tools include a can opener and a glass breaker, also the blade is half serrated. Has a removable pocket clip to keep it on your belt or pocket but also fits nicely in your pocket.
Folding mechanism can be stiff but will loosen with time. Paint has a tendency to chip. The screws tend to loosen with time, the best solution is to add a few drops of Locktite to keep your knife from falling apart. Multiple colors available for the handle if you prefer a brighter knife.
Survivor Outdoor Fixed Blade Knife with Fire Starter
Will need to be sharpened as it comes a little bit dull but holds an edge once sharpened. The grip can be an uncomfortable suggestion of re-wrapping it in some cord. Lightweight, very sturdy and of good quality steel so once sharp it will hold its edge.
Has a sharp, fixed blade with the spine serrated? The handle is wrapped to give it grip. Includes a fire starter and sheath to cover when not in use. Good price and overall a sturdy looking knife. Scratches and nicks from dropping shouldn’t show on the bare metal finish. Would be nice if the handle wrappings were in a brighter color to make the knife easy to see in an emergency.Comes with an unlined nylon sheath means the blade tends to cut through the bottom. The included fire starter is a great bonus and works well. Solid knife made with one piece of steel means it can’t fall apart and is lightweight.
Gerber 31-000752 Bear Grylls Survival Series Folding Sheath Knife
Gerber – Solid yet lightweight knife with no play in the blade. Folding mechanism is very easy to use even one handed. Has a rubber grip that works great if hands are wet. Very sharp blade and keeps its edge. Has bright orange highlights on the handle, which makes it easy to find. Includes a nylon sheath that is mildew resistant.
Has a serrated section on half of the blade for sawing. Compact and fits nicely in the included belt holder. not suitable for pockets, it’s just a little too bulky. Overall a good multipurpose knife.
Smith and Wesson CKSUR1 Bullseye Search and Rescue Fixed Blade Knife
Good size knife, not too bulky. It comes very sharp and holds its edge. Scratches tend to show easily on the dark finish. Has a comfortable, rubber non-slip grip. Includes a lined nylon sheath to cover and protect the blade as well as a small whetstone for sharpening. Sheath is of high quality with an extra pocket for the whetstone and a removable clip to attach it to your belt. Knife and sheath have a limited lifetime warranty separately. The pommel is flat and can even be used as a hammer.