So don’t ever rush into purchasing a knife without first considering all the variables. This knife was designed to cut through the body of an aircraft, and still be tough enough to handle other tasks after. The Best Knife for Backpacking and Hiking Fallkniven U2: $90 With laminated steel, a dead simple design, and Grilon handles, the U2 is an excellent … 99Boulders owner and editor Alex Beale has used the Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD as his pocket knife and ultralight backpacking knife for nearly two years. Over the last seven years, we've purchased and tested 37+ unique folding knives side by side, with 18 knives in our 2020 review line-up. You should now have a good idea of what you’re looking for the performance and quality you can expect at the different price points. Read on for our full reviews and tips on how to choose the right backpacking knife for your needs. Mini Review: The Classic SD is one of the most popular knives on the trail for good reason. Here’s a must-have outdoor knife for backpackers to have. Q: What Should I Look for in a Best Backpacking Knife? 2. But it was nothing that had us concerned. It was also the least comfortable knife to hold. We did really love the large carabiner hole for clipping the knife to our packs for quick access. The Opinel No8 Stainless Steel Blade Folding Knife. It’s a fantastic all-rounder knife for adventurers and travelers. The Opinel No 8 Folding Knife made it to the top of our best backpacking knives list, because we consider it being the best value for your money. For backpacking, though, we found that its tools weren’t super useful, and we preferred a larger, more capable blade. I focused on features, weight, and price to choose these knifes. The blade still sliced easily through 2 feet of cardboard. A: Take a tapered sharpening rod and work each of the individual serration (the teeth). When I go out backpacking, one tool that I always take with me is the best backpacking knife I have. Lightweight; ... Time to go Backpacking with the best … That’s it for our guide and review! Weight: 1.3 oz Blade Length: 2.2" Tools: 2. This pocket clip has just the right balance between being functional and sturdy. This Swiss Army pocket knife is constructed with stainless steel and encased in polished ABS scales that provide ultimate durability in a sleek and vibrant yellow finish. The Mini Griptilian is a sweet all-around knife with a solid locking mechanism. Links to the best pocket knives we listed in today's pocket knife review video: 1. If you’re in the market for a fixed-blade knife that’s light enough for backpacking, capable in survival situations, and fun to own, this is your knife. Opinel is a French knife that’s become iconic. Seeking the best pocket knife? In our testing, the Leek was the sharpest right out of the box. Throughout our testing, we just never found an instance where we needed the scissors or file and couldn’t just as easily use a knife. You can use it for preparing meals, eating, utility work, and general functionality. With 20 different tools, you’re getting almost unparalleled utility and performance. Review for pocket knife models from Kershaw, Gerber, CRKT, SOG, Spyderco, the James Brand and more. This set offers a plethora of functions, all bundled in two compact bundles. Secured in a nylon sheath, this best backpacking pocket knife option can be stowed safely away when it’s not being used. Reviewed By Jason Rhodes September 7, 2020. While a shorter blade is ideal for tasks such as opening packets, cutting cord and nylon, and chipping wood. From sharp cutting edges and saws to field scissors and screwdrivers, this knife has pretty much everything a backpacker needs. Take your time and get a knife you’ll keep around for ages – good luck! It was also hands down the best in our test at starting a fire with a fire starter. You’re getting a refined and reliable pick for the best backpacking knife. If we were unable to get a spark from the spine of a knife, we used the blade. MSRP: $17 MEASURED WEIGHT (OZ. The Leek was the heaviest knife in our test (not counting the ESEE Izula II, which could be customized for lighter weight). A good full-tang knife (where the steel of the blade extends all the way to the end of the handle) is a simple, virtually indestructible tool, ideal for heavy duty or survival usage. WARNING! Q: How to Sharpen the Serrated Edge of a Blade? ), Backpacking Gear List Spreadsheet (w/ Weight Calculator). Perhaps our favorite feature of this knife is the intelligently designed pocket clip. For the price, this is an incredible knife. In other words, this knife is legit. With folding knives, we prefer knives that can easily strike a spark from their spine while closed for safety reasons. By the end of the reviews, you’ll have a clear picture of what you need and where to find it. Not to be confused with an assisted opening pocket knife, switchblades/automatic knives have an automatic opener that allows for a quick release of a knife’s blade. We put 9 of the best backpacking knives to the test. You’ll love the sleek profile of the knife and how light it feels in your hands. It didn’t play well with a ferro rod, taking 10 strikes even on the blade to light our tinder. The Opinel No8 is our best value pick, but it doesn’t feel or perform like a budget knife. The activities described on 99boulders.com carry a significant risk of personal injury or death. If you already have (or plan to buy) the Spatha for your climbing gear, it can capably double as a backpacking knife. This frame lock is pressed to the side with the thumb to release the blade. If you want to be covered in almost any situation, this might be the perfect pocket knife for you. Most knives are made from steel, but there are hundreds of varieties out there, each with its own unique characteristics. The flat-ground edge is extremely sharp and easy to maintain. We’ll show what’s important in these knives and the kind of value you should expect. We pushed this little knife into much more heavy-duty use than it was intended for. On everyday hikes, it can open food packets, cut twine, and shave kindling; in a survival situation, it can help you do everything from build a shelter to catch fish. It features an excellent fixed Bowie blade made of the finest 5Cr15Mov steel. The tip lock that holds the knife closed is a nice added safety feature. If you want to learn what to look for in the best backpacking knife… On backcountry trips he mostly uses the blade for opening food packages and the scissors for cutting his nails. The Deejo Wood 37g is a sleek, lightweight, and well-designed knife with an amazing blade. Here’s a fantastic lightweight open-frame design folding pocket knife from Gerber. We’ll also cover what we did and didn’t like about each of them – so that you can build realistic expectations of their real-world performance. Knife Features Locking Blade. It’s still an investment, but if you want to buy one backpacking knife that you can use on every adventure, the Delica 4 is it. For weight-conscious backpackers who recognize that a knife is still an essential part of their kit, or for anyone who wants an ultralight backup knife, the Honeybee is a sweet little piece of gear at a great price. The Victorinox Swiss Army Pocket Knife is the right tool to get you set for anything in the jungle. She has taught English in Taiwan; backpacked through Asia, Europe, and South America; worked as a North American tour guide; mentored at-risk teenagers in Utah’s wilderness; and worked as an outdoor educator for elementary school students. It’s rugged steel that’s pretty easy to maintain and keep sharp. Some Benchmade products need a little sharpening right out of the box, so just keep that in mind. If you are hoping to find the ideal knife for any backpacking situation, there are some things you are going to want to consider when reviewing your options. This knife is made to contain a flip out can opener. Apart from this, the knife’s built-quality is superior and it’s available at a reasonable price. Being able to complete basic tasks like bushcraft and camp chores (or just cooking) to defending myself if needed is an absolute must. It’s designed for wilderness and survival usage and made by Randall’s Adventure and Training, which started as a jungle survival school in the Peruvian Amazon. In general, softer steels will shape easily into a razor sharp edge and will be easier to sharpen, but they tend to be less durable and lose their edge quicker. It’s a camping knife made with a beefy drop point profile, nearly full-bevel, and deeply inset finger relief. It’s naturally non-slip and the broader base of the handle gives you even better control of the blade. We couldn’t find many drawbacks with the Delica 4. You’ll build a clear idea of what it takes to make a great backpacking knife. The blade shape is a drop point design with piercing in mind. Striking the blade itself gave us sparks, but we stopped pretty quickly to prevent damage to the thin blade. Its assisted open is sharp and snappy, and the frame lock felt solid and reliable. Despite its tiny size, it made short work of 2 feet of cardboard in our testing. Pros. On top of that, they put a nice ergonomic bolster on it to separate the handle from the blade. You can pop open wine bottles just as easily as you can cut a wire caught in your motorbike wheel. The sturdy steel will give you a durable blade that will last for long. This 3.5” folding knife is just the right size to give you awesome versatility and functionality without being too bulky or heavy. It’s a capable tool, worthy of adding to your backpacking and camping arsenal. The blade is secured by a Virobloc safety ring which hasn’t been changed in over 100 years. You don’t have to deal with “iffy” linear locks and back-locks that accidentally release half-way through cutting. Overall, this is the best backpacking knife and possibly inexpensive backpacking knife with this kind of performance and ruggedness. You can clip the knife to almost anything and it slides onto a belt with no trouble. If you carry a fire starter (aka ferrocerium rod) backpacking, the ability to strike a spark with your knife will be crucial. The best wilderness knife will allow to do heavy duty work, but will likely cost you more money than a simple pocket knife for light chores like cutting twine or opening packages of food. BEST BUDGET POCKET KNIFE. Stephanie grew up in Pennsylvania and is a life-long adventurer. The more snagging and catching, the duller the knife. They make truly classic and premium pocket knives – and this model lives up to those standards. The handle is crafted from durable and robust Beechwood and shaped in a very ergonomic and intuitive way. It's an engraved quality small pocket knife of 3.5 inches. The knife comes with a handy black sheath that’s well-fitted and robust. The Delica 4 opens and closes smoothly, and its thumb hole makes for easy one-handed opening. There’s a finger ring at the bottom of the handle that lets you slip your pinky or pointer finger into depending on the way you grip the knife. These allow for one-handed closing of the knife. Its blade wasn’t the sharpest right out of the box, but it was the thickest and most durable. We’ve seen this knife on sale at many online retailers. Let’s take a look at the top ten best knives for backpacking. Pros. Let’s jump into the guide! It’s made from 1095HC steel which isn’t super-common and quite easy to sharpen. The sharp edges on its spine struck a spark with little effort and left no wear to the knife itself. They are compact and don’t require the added weight of a sheath. #1 Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife This one earns top marks for blade design, handle design, and color. You’ll need to take decent care of this knife and cleaning can be a nightmare without a good maintenance routine. This lightweight, military-grade sheath is mildew resistant and allows you to carry the knife either horizontally or vertically. This means if you make a purchase after clicking through one, at no extra cost to you we may earn a commission. Some knives are much better at it than others, and some require using the blade which can eventually damage it. Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD. The Classic SD handled cutting thin cordage really well. The open frame helps to keep the knife as light and functional as possible – without losing any grip strength or durability. Kershaw brand is well-known for its quality. It’s better to bring a knife than to not bring a knife, and if you’ve got the space available, a fixed blade will typically be able to take more abuse than a folding knife. You’re getting an incredibly lightweight and versatile pick for the best backpacking knife in this price range. While this locking mechanism is relatively slow, it’s extremely safe and secure. Morakniv Eldris Fixed-Blade Pocket-Sized Knife This is a durable knife that won’t disappoint you. It’s ultra-lightweight and one of the easiest knives to take on a backpacking trip. Check Price on Amazon. When it came to whittling wood and boring holes, the short blade and raised thumb notch made this knife feel easy and intuitive for detail work. While the MSRP is on the high side, it’s frequently on sale for less. We measured the number of strikes it took on a ferrocerium rod to get a ball of dryer lint to ignite. We loved slicing and chopping food with the Opinel. Feel free to go back over any of the knives that interested you. Getting the best backpacking knife is all about getting the perfect knife for you. It’s an exceptionally durable knife with the functionality and versatility of a whole set of knives. After our tests, we couldn’t detect any noticeable change in the sharpness of its blade. It’s far from the easiest knife to hold. This is a knife that can endure some pretty rough treatment and harsh elements. Also Read: Best Utility Knife – for Better Performance and Bigger Savings. It impressed us with how durable it actually was, though. We loved its simplicity. For most people, this tool is an every day object that can be carried with a keychain or a small pocket backpacking knife. If versatility and functionality are important to you, here’s a king in the field. Liner Lock – Similar to a frame lock, here a small metal liner inside the frame holds the blade open. Its 3.35″ blade was the second longest in our test and gave it a lot of cutting power. They’re all incredibly well-suited to the outdoors and give a backpacking adventure on-the-go utility and functionality. You’ve seen 7 knives that should give you a variety of choices depending on your needs. It’s no camp hatchet, but it’ll do in a pinch. Here’s a fantastic value-for-money knife if you want something sleek and compact. Our guide takes you through what to look for and gives you a clear path to getting the best backpacking knife for your needs. This would make an excellent gift for both kids and adults who are interested in the outdoors or are passionate about backpacking. The 410 stainless steel is rugged and the polished silver finish looks fantastic. Also Read: Best Camping Knives – Reviewed and Complete Buyer’s Guide. While we loved its performance and solid feel, it would be hard for us to justify dedicating 3 oz in our pack for it. While it’s not a cheap backpacking knife considering its size, it’s money well-spent. The Opinel uses the unique “Virobloc” safety lock, where a metal ring twists to lock the blade either open or shut. There is no wrong answer as to what works best in the backcountry. The Spyderco Honeybee packs a lot of punch into a tiny package. He’s long since lost the tweezers and toothpick, which he says is easy to do. The Classic SD’s blade is razor sharp. It has a frame locked design to keep the blade safely in place and is super-secure. This shorter blade’s tip is strong and sturdy, giving you plenty of versatility and piercing power. The Honeybee was capable of whittling wood, although it was awkward and hazardous due to the lack of a locking mechanism. A lock that holds the blade in the open position adds stability to the knife and prevents it from slipping closed onto your fingers. Partially serrated blade. The knife is a solid option for ultralight backpackers with minimal needs, he says. The blade’s tip is lowered slightly to bring it closer to the centerline of the knife. Finally, the Deejo Wood 37g won an honorable mention for its beautiful design and high-quality blade. A good knife is one of the most essential backcountry tools you can carry. Its compact size is an advantage, but for a budget backpacking knife, we’d choose the Opinel No8 over the Gerber Paraframe Mini. The classic Opinel No8 is our best value pick and an incredible knife for the price. The handle is easy to remove, leaving you with a barebones knife of only 2.2 oz. We’ve carefully selected 7 knives we feel to address a broad enough set of needs and possible uses. Mini fixed blades, folding, serrated, plain, automatic, flipper, and ball-berring knives. Spyderco Delica Lightweight Folding Knife. It’s friction-held and gives you all the protection you’d need for using this knife outdoors. A longer blade is best for hunting tasks, providing a longer knife stroke. You’ll want to get a sheath made for this knife if possible, as it’s bulky. The ESEE Izula II won the day for heavy-duty and survival usage. We loved the handle’s non-slip textured surface and its ergonomic profile. One blade is all you need, but it has to be the right one. This video is a top 5 list and overview of the best pocket knives for backpacking. It has qualities of cutting ropes and some forms of glass. The best pocket knife for the money will vary from person to person with myriad factors coming into play as we have discussed above. Best Pocket Knives of 2020. Striking the back of the blade with the knife closed eventually produced a spark, but it started to melt the plastic. You’re getting a subtle and natural-looking knife with a non-slip textured Micarta handle. Best of all it is one of the lightest options on our list. While it did show some wear and weaknesses, it was more capable than we expected. The ambidextrous thumb studs aren’t too pronounced – they’re just the right size for a quick one-handed opening and closing. Just so you know, this page contains affiliate links. It didn’t handle whittling or fire starting as well as most of the other knives we tested, nor was it the sharpest or quickest at cutting. Alex’s well-worn Classic SD has a permanent spot on his keychain. The beachwood handle looks simplistic but is surprisingly effective from an ergonomic standpoint. Before anything else, we tested each knife’s sharpness right out of the box. The Leatherman Juice B2 gives you 2 good blade options, straight and serrated, for getting any cutting job done right. The knife feels extremely solid and well made. But it’s incapable of any heavy duty cutting work. The 2.9” blade is legal in many places as an EDC knife. We could cut through a length of cardboard much faster than with some of the sharper knives. (Coincidentally, some hardcore ultralight backpackers intentionally remove the plastic sides to shave a little weight.). Considering what you’re getting for the money, this knife is hard to simply pass over. The best knife for backpacking should be comfortable for use, with a handle that allows for a safe and firm grip. We were stoked to test the Gerber Paraframe Mini. At 2.63” long, the blade is legal to carry as an EDC knife in many states and countries. Though it can hold its own in most backpacking tasks. The company's reputation is the reason that Benchmade knives are sold in stores worldwide. Our all-around top pick is the Spyderco Delica 4 for its perfect balance of compact design and durability. 10 Best Multi Tools (Review) in 2020. A lighter, more practical handle for the Izula II. Back Lock – A piece of metal along the back of the handle holds the knife open. The Gerber Obsidian knife is a great every day carry multi-tool pocket knife. One of the rings is fixed and the other slides into place to securely lock the blade into place. Overall, you’re getting one of the most popular picks for the best backpacking knife for the money. Kershaw Leek Pocket Knife; Gerber Paraframe Mini Knife; Spyderco Delica Lightweight Folding Knife; Opinel Folding Knife; ESEE Knives Izula-II Fixed Knife; Spyderco HoneyBee Folding Knife; Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool; Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Q: What Should I Look for in a Best Backpacking Knife? For lightweight backpackers, the Spyderco Honeybee is a remarkable knife for its size and easily the best ultralight backpacking knife we tested. You’re getting all the corrosion and rust resistance you’d need in a robust outdoor knife. The stainless steel construction is resistant to corrosion and fantastically well-suited to expensive outdoor use. Overall, this is a great pocket knife with an extremely sharp blade. Buy on Amazon Gerber Obsidian Pocket Knife. We’ve had our share of cheap knock-off “Swiss Army Knives,” so when we opened up the real deal, we were absolutely amazed at the quality. If you’re buying a knife specifically for backpacking, we recommend the Opinel or Deejo, which are a similar weight and price point, over the Spatha. The Opinel Carbon Steel Folding Pocket Knife provides an excellent cutting edge which stays dangerously sharp for a good long time. It needs to be able to cut through ropes and possibly have a wire-cutter and a serrated portion on the blade. These days he keeps the Classic SD on his keychain for simple everyday tasks and takes it with him on short backpacking trips. One minor one is that its short blade wasn’t the greatest for slicing food. The lock was also surprisingly difficult and awkward to release. From chopping veggies to whittling wood, we used these knives throughout our backpacking trips and daily lives while performing a series of rigorous tests. It’s a small knife, and we don’t expect it to be as comfortable as knives with a more generous handle, but it never felt stable in our tester’s hands. It wasn’t the sharpest knife in our test, but it more than made up for it with its long blade. COMPACT CARRY. It even held up to some mild batoning (splitting wood) without chipping or wearing the coating. It’s tip-locked when it’s closed and this stops accidental blade opening. All in all, we were impressed. Paper, cardboard, vegetables, cordage, the Deejo made quick work of it all. DO NOT participate in these activities unless you are an expert, have sought or obtained qualified professional instruction or guidance, are knowledgeable about the risks involved, and are willing to assume personal responsibility for all risks associated with these activities. 99Boulders LLC further disclaims any responsibility for injuries or death incurred by any person engaging in these activities. It is released by pressing on the back of the handle. It was one of the sharpest knives right out of the box and sliced through a sheet of paper like butter. This gives you additional piercing power and makes it an excellent choice for outdoor utility. Benchmade is a name synonymous with superiority in the world of knives. Fixed Blade – Although heavier, quality fixed-blade knives can be stronger and more durable than folding knives. This knife is super-easy to carry around and is hardly noticeable in its folded position. Benchmade Mini Griptilian This company makes some of the best pocket knives around. You’ll need resistance to rust, corrosion, and have a handle that’s non-slip and comfortable. This EDC has a thickness of 3" 3 mm steel blade. While this means it might not be as durable, it’s exquisitely sharp. Benchmade Griptilian 551. We brought each knife with us on our camping and backpacking trips, and used them for daily activities for over a month. There’s an opening hole for your finger at the base of the blade to help you get a better grip for heavier duty cutting and slicing. Although it wasn’t super sharp right out of the box, it held up to all of our cutting tests surprisingly well. Harder steels, on the other hand, are more durable but harder to sharpen. This knife combines a light weight of only 2.5 oz with a razor sharp blade and a remarkably comfortable, solid grip. / 4.25 in. He also takes it with him on short backpacking trips as an ultralight backpacking knife. For travelers and backpackers, this is a complete set of tools that will come in … ): 1.6 oz. It was able to strike a spark on a ferro rod, though not easily and with noticeable wear to the back of its blade. We think its design, style, and weight make the Leek better suited to everyday carry than the backcountry. The Petzl Spatha is our top pick in our guide to the best climbing knives, so we wanted to see how this lightweight, affordable knife held up to backpacking tests. However, cutting or carving wood, chopping veggies, and most other camp tasks were awkward at best. JUMP TO: OPINEL NO. You’re getting 12C27 stainless steel and all its resistance to corrosion and rusting. It’s resistant to rusting and doesn’t chip or break easily. The opening and closing action is swift and can be done one-handed with a little practice. This, combined with how lightweight the knife is, makes it exceptionally effortless to handle and work with. Kershaw Blur Folding Knife is one of the best pocket knives available in the market. The handle is slick, and combined with the minuscule size, it requires a careful grip. Its exceptional feature set coupled with superb engineering makes it one of the best … The blade is held in its open position by a frame lock that’s extremely secure and reliable. This type of lock can be very stable, but it requires two hands to close the knife. Those are minor shortcomings for a knife that is lightweight, compact, functional, and beautifully designed. Our goal is to get you ready and prepared to make an informed buying decision to get the best possible value for your money – and a knife that gets you where you want to go. It’s a very simple and minimalistic knife with a lanyard hole for fixing it to a belt or bag. It excelled at slicing through…well, pretty much anything. There’s nothing worse than having a knife that keeps slipping out of place when you’re backpacking. It’s incredibly easy to clean the knife with a minimalistic and rugged profile. The Tactical Knife & Pocket Knife Sharpener Set is an amazingly affordable choice in Best Backpacking Knife options. A: The knife needs to be pretty versatile. There are some variations from the same company Readyman, particularly for lock picking, first aid, and fishing tools. From her current base camp in Salt Lake City, Utah, Stephanie spends most of her free time backpacking, hiking, climbing, and exploring the mountains and deserts of the American West. We did manage to get a fire started. A simple paracord wrap made it even better. In our cardboard cutting test, we were basically ripping the cardboard rather than cutting it. 6 PROS: Very affordable, very lightweight, secure collar lock, comfortable handle, inconspicuous CONS: Not as sharp as some, slower two-handed open (nail nick and collar lock), no pocket clip BOTTOM LINE: The Opinel No. Our experts test each knife while exploring backcountry terrain throughout the United States, preparing food, camping, mountain climbing, and more. The best and smallest pocket knives for clean backcountry cutting. If you like having different colors to choose from, here’s a great selection. Keep the strokes smooth and try to use the whole length of the tapered rod to get the best results. You’ll need a strong tip for piercing and a sharp edge with decent edge retention for quick cutting and slicing. In our paper test, it did more tearing than cutting. The slick handle also wasn’t the best for tougher tasks that require a precise, stable grip. The MSRP is a little steep, but we’ve regularly seen the Izula on sale. With a little experience and practice, you’ll learn how to care and handle this knife at its best. Most people overlook ergonomics when buying a knife. For example, the Opinel No8 uses a small ring of metal to block the blade from closing, and the Kershaw Leek uses a tip slider to hold the blade closed. When it came to anything beyond basic slicing, though, it just didn’t hold up. I prefer folding knives for backpacking as they’re more compact and easy to carry. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Compared to the other knives in our test, it’s just…decent. The Classic SD could also be called a multi-tool. 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Use it for less sale for less than its retail price and well-designed knife with premium performance, work! And functional as possible – without losing any grip strength or durability a budget knife some. Reviews and tips on how to sharpen it to called a multi-tool and is of the most popular picks the... Considering what you need, but there are some variations from the spine of a whole set knives! Is that its short blade wasn ’ t feel or perform like a budget knife makes for easy opening... All you need, but it more than made up for it with him on backpacking. Cost to you we may earn a commission slipping out of the most essential tools. Knife models from Kershaw, Gerber, CRKT, SOG, Spyderco the... Stowed safely away when it came to anything beyond basic slicing, though, ’... Lightest options available it requires a careful grip compact bundles handle from blade! Was close ) excellent cutting edge which stays dangerously sharp for a one-handed. 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With its own unique characteristics wood 37g won an honorable mention for its perfect balance of design! United States, preparing food, camping, mountain climbing, and chopping food with functionality...