Most people overlook ergonomics when buying a knife. Buy on Amazon Gerber Obsidian Pocket Knife. You’re getting a refined and reliable pick for the best backpacking knife. 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. Related Reads # Tools. It's an engraved quality small pocket knife of 3.5 inches. Liner Lock – Similar to a frame lock, here a small metal liner inside the frame holds the blade open. We loved its simplicity. Also Read: Best Camping Knives – Reviewed and Complete Buyer’s Guide. The Classic SD’s blade is razor sharp. One minor one is that its short blade wasn’t the greatest for slicing food. This knife is made to contain a flip out can opener. Secured in a nylon sheath, this best backpacking pocket knife option can be stowed safely away when it’s not being used. If you want to learn what to look for in the best backpacking knife… 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. The stainless steel construction is resistant to corrosion and fantastically well-suited to expensive outdoor use. While it’s quite heavy for a pocket knife, you’re getting all the class-leading design, craftsmanship, and professionalism that Victorinox is known for. Fixed Blade – Although heavier, quality fixed-blade knives can be stronger and more durable than folding knives. One of the beauties of this knife, though, is how customizable it is. It’s a fantastic all-rounder knife for adventurers and travelers. It is pushed to the side to release the blade. Morakniv Eldris Fixed-Blade Pocket-Sized Knife This is a durable knife that won’t disappoint you. Kershaw Blur Folding Knife is one of the best pocket knives available in the market. 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. Striking the blade itself gave us sparks, but we stopped pretty quickly to prevent damage to the thin blade. Getting the best backpacking knife is all about getting the perfect knife for you. The Deejo Wood 37g is a sleek, lightweight, and well-designed knife with an amazing blade. The sheath adds another 0.8 oz. 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. 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. You could easily see when the lock was engaged, and it felt safer than some of the frame locks. 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. 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. Overall, you’re getting one of the most popular picks for the best backpacking knife for the money. / 4.25 in. If you get the Izula with the handle and sheath, it’s a touch on the heavy side for backpacking. The Classic SD handled cutting thin cordage really well. Its compact size is an advantage, but for a budget backpacking knife, we’d choose the Opinel No8 over the Gerber Paraframe Mini. Paper, cardboard, vegetables, cordage, the Deejo made quick work of it all. It’s tip-locked when it’s closed and this stops accidental blade opening. It has qualities of cutting ropes and some forms of glass. Mini fixed blades, folding, serrated, plain, automatic, flipper, and ball-berring knives. One blade is all you need, but it has to be the right one. It didn’t play well with a ferro rod, taking 10 strikes even on the blade to light our tinder. Best Pocket Knives of 2020. If you like having different colors to choose from, here’s a great selection. You’ve seen 7 knives that should give you a variety of choices depending on your needs. 99Boulders LLC further disclaims any responsibility for injuries or death incurred by any person engaging in these activities. This means if you make a purchase after clicking through one, at no extra cost to you we may earn a commission. The opening and closing action is swift and can be done one-handed with a little practice. Opinel is a French knife making company that really outdid themselves in the last couple of years. The Tactical Knife & Pocket Knife Sharpener Set is an amazingly affordable choice in Best Backpacking Knife options. Review for pocket knife models from Kershaw, Gerber, CRKT, SOG, Spyderco, the James Brand and more. Striking the back of the blade with the knife closed eventually produced a spark, but it started to melt the plastic. BEST BUDGET POCKET KNIFE. We could cut through a length of cardboard much faster than with some of the sharper knives. Overall, you’re getting a knife with premium performance, utility, and versatility. There’s nothing worse than having a knife that keeps slipping out of place when you’re backpacking. Pros. With folding knives, we prefer knives that can easily strike a spark from their spine while closed for safety reasons. Overall, this is a great little tool for carrying around town and having on hand. If you shop around, you can likely find it for less than its retail price. 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. That’s it for our guide and review! If you are having trouble choosing between a fixed-blade and pocket knife, a knife with a locking blade is your best … The ESEE Izula II was the only fixed-blade knife in our review. The Opinel No8 is our best value pick, but it doesn’t feel or perform like a budget knife. The Honeybee was capable of whittling wood, although it was awkward and hazardous due to the lack of a locking mechanism. It has a frame locked design to keep the blade safely in place and is super-secure. Benchmade Griptilian 551. MSRP: $17 MEASURED WEIGHT (OZ. Weight: 1.3 oz Blade Length: 2.2" Tools: 2. In our paper test, it did more tearing than cutting. 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. It sliced through a sheet of paper like nobody’s business and excelled at food prep. This is a knife that can endure some pretty rough treatment and harsh elements. Read on for our full reviews and tips on how to choose the right backpacking knife for your needs. This gives you additional piercing power and makes it an excellent choice for outdoor utility. This frame lock is pressed to the side with the thumb to release the blade. When I go out backpacking, one tool that I always take with me is the best backpacking knife I have. It’s no camp hatchet, but it’ll do in a pinch. It was also hands down the best in our test at starting a fire with a fire starter. We’ve carefully selected 7 knives we feel to address a broad enough set of needs and possible uses. 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. If you carry a fire starter (aka ferrocerium rod) backpacking, the ability to strike a spark with your knife will be crucial. I focused on features, weight, and price to choose these knifes. This would make an excellent gift for both kids and adults who are interested in the outdoors or are passionate about backpacking. Just so you know, this page contains affiliate links. The blade’s tip is lowered slightly to bring it closer to the centerline of the knife. The blade is held in its open position by a frame lock that’s extremely secure and reliable. It wasn’t the sharpest knife in our test, but it more than made up for it with its long blade. All in all, we were impressed. (Coincidentally, some hardcore ultralight backpackers intentionally remove the plastic sides to shave a little weight.). 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. Picking the best knife for backpacking is a very personnel and subjective task. 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. These days he keeps the Classic SD on his keychain for simple everyday tasks and takes it with him on short backpacking trips. Here’s a fantastic value-for-money knife if you want something sleek and compact. This 3.5” folding knife is just the right size to give you awesome versatility and functionality without being too bulky or heavy. The Opinel No8 Stainless Steel Blade Folding Knife. While we loved its performance and solid feel, it would be hard for us to justify dedicating 3 oz in our pack for it. You’ll need to take decent care of this knife and cleaning can be a nightmare without a good maintenance routine. Best Backpacking Knife Buying Guide Shopping for the right backpacking knife can mean the difference between carrying multiple tools or one light-weight multi-purpose product. It’s beyond the scope of this article to describe all the varieties, but it’s worth taking a minute to research a steel type to see if its qualities suit your needs and usage. Also, it is the best EDC knife available in the market right now. Even without the full handle, the Izula was comfortable to hold. The open frame helps to keep the knife as light and functional as possible – without losing any grip strength or durability. While the MSRP is on the high side, it’s frequently on sale for less. Also Read: Best Utility Knife – for Better Performance and Bigger Savings. Opinel No8 Stainless Steel Blade Folding Knife, Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD Pocket Knife, How to Hang a Hammock: 4 Best Ways (w/ Videos), How to Use Hammock Straps: 5 Steps (w/ Videos! For most people, this tool is an every day object that can be carried with a keychain or a small pocket backpacking knife. Links to the best pocket knives we listed in today's pocket knife review video: 1. Its assisted open is sharp and snappy, and the frame lock felt solid and reliable. You’ll need a strong tip for piercing and a sharp edge with decent edge retention for quick cutting and slicing. The knife is a solid option for ultralight backpackers with minimal needs, he says. This also helps to keep down the overall weight – leaving you with a high-performing knife that won’t hurt your wallet. Overall, this is a great pocket knife with an extremely sharp blade. 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. So don’t ever rush into purchasing a knife without first considering all the variables. Its 3.35″ blade was the second longest in our test and gave it a lot of cutting power. I prefer folding knives for backpacking as they’re more compact and easy to carry. 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. Benchmade is a name synonymous with superiority in the world of knives. We couldn’t find many drawbacks with the Delica 4. Harder steels, on the other hand, are more durable but harder to sharpen. If you already have (or plan to buy) the Spatha for your climbing gear, it can capably double as a backpacking knife. We measured the number of strikes it took on a ferrocerium rod to get a ball of dryer lint to ignite. 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. Now that we’ve taken a look at considerations and the importance of a knife for backpacking, it is now time to start shopping! If you've never used a Benchmade knife, then don't think you'll find the best backpacking knife until you do. It has excellent edge retention and can be sharpened to a razor’s edge without too much difficulty. The handle is easy to remove, leaving you with a barebones knife of only 2.2 oz. Here’s a fantastic lightweight open-frame design folding pocket knife from Gerber. 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. The blade still sliced easily through 2 feet of cardboard. The 410 stainless steel is rugged and the polished silver finish looks fantastic. You’re getting VG-10 steel that’s flat ground to give you a thinner and sharper cutting edge. 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. Here are the best backpacking knives: Spyderco Delica 4; ESEE Izula II; Kershaw Leek; Spyderco Honeybee; Opinel No8 Stainless Steel Folding Knife; Deejo Wood 37g; Petzl Spatha; Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD Pocket Knife; Gerber Paraframe Mini; How to Choose the Best Backpacking Knife for Your Needs Types of Backpacking Knives BLADE LENGTH / CLOSED LENGTH: 3.25 in. They make truly classic and premium pocket knives – and this model lives up to those standards. The tip lock that holds the knife closed is a nice added safety feature. This knife is super-easy to carry around and is hardly noticeable in its folded position. Considering what you’re getting for the money, this knife is hard to simply pass over. Q: How to Sharpen the Serrated Edge of a Blade? In our testing, the Leek was the sharpest right out of the box. On top of that, they put a nice ergonomic bolster on it to separate the handle from the blade. These allow for one-handed closing of the knife. He’s long since lost the tweezers and toothpick, which he says is easy to do. It was one of the slower knives in our cutting speed test, but that was mainly because of its tiny size. We think its design, style, and weight make the Leek better suited to everyday carry than the backcountry. 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. Use the information contained in this website at your own risk, and do not depend on the information contained in this website for personal safety or for determining whether to attempt any activity described herein. The best pocket knife for the money will vary from person to person with myriad factors coming into play as we have discussed above. A: Take a tapered sharpening rod and work each of the individual serration (the teeth). 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. A good knife is one of the most essential backcountry tools you can carry. In addition to the blade it has scissors, tweezers, a toothpick, and a nail file. The 2.9” blade is legal in many places as an EDC knife. A lock that holds the blade in the open position adds stability to the knife and prevents it from slipping closed onto your fingers. The activities described on 99boulders.com carry a significant risk of personal injury or death. The blade is secured by a Virobloc safety ring which hasn’t been changed in over 100 years. 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. WARNING! There are some variations from the same company Readyman, particularly for lock picking, first aid, and fishing tools. In my opinion, this is the best backpacking knife under $100. #1 Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife This one earns top marks for blade design, handle design, and color. Mini Review: The Classic SD is one of the most popular knives on the trail for good reason. It’s ultra-lightweight and one of the easiest knives to take on a backpacking trip. You can clip the knife to almost anything and it slides onto a belt with no trouble. Here’s a must-have outdoor knife for backpackers to have. Kershaw brand is well-known for its quality. We loved the handle’s non-slip textured surface and its ergonomic profile. Reviewed By Jason Rhodes September 7, 2020. We pushed this little knife into much more heavy-duty use than it was intended for. This, combined with how lightweight the knife is, makes it exceptionally effortless to handle and work with. Included are a 5-in-1 pocket knife, and a 5-in-10 knife sharpener, meaning that you’ll get 10 different uses out of this great value-for-money set. It impressed us with how durable it actually was, though. However, cutting or carving wood, chopping veggies, and most other camp tasks were awkward at best. 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. Back Lock – A piece of metal along the back of the handle holds the knife open. You don’t have to deal with “iffy” linear locks and back-locks that accidentally release half-way through cutting. Right out of the box, the blade was by far the dullest. You can pop open wine bottles just as easily as you can cut a wire caught in your motorbike wheel. You’ll love the sleek profile of the knife and how light it feels in your hands. The Leatherman Juice B2 gives you 2 good blade options, straight and serrated, for getting any cutting job done right. The Mini Griptilian is a sweet all-around knife with a solid locking mechanism. 2. The traveler set pocket knife has compact dimensions (1.57inch x 1.57inch x 4.13inch and just about 3.5 inches when closed) which is amazing considering just how many tools you’ll find in there. You’re getting an incredibly lightweight and versatile pick for the best backpacking knife in this price range. JUMP TO: OPINEL NO. Check Price on Amazon. You’ll build a clear idea of what it takes to make a great backpacking knife. Also Read: Best Survival Knife – Top Review Guide for Outdoor. Though it can hold its own in most backpacking tasks. The sturdy steel will give you a durable blade that will last for long. With 20 different tools, you’re getting almost unparalleled utility and performance. No other knife in our test felt as precise and solid in-hand as the Delica 4 (although the Izula II was close). Also Read: Best Pocket Knife Under $50 – Excellent for the Outdoors. We did really love the large carabiner hole for clipping the knife to our packs for quick access. In our cardboard cutting test, we were basically ripping the cardboard rather than cutting it. You’re getting 12C27 stainless steel and all its resistance to corrosion and rusting. We loved slicing and chopping food with the Opinel. Alex’s well-worn Classic SD has a permanent spot on his keychain. He also takes it with him on short backpacking trips as an ultralight backpacking knife. Some Benchmade products need a little sharpening right out of the box, so just keep that in mind. The blade wasn’t as stable as the Delica 4 during tasks like whittling wood or boring holes, and we could feel a small amount of give in the handle. Knife Features Locking Blade. It was also the least comfortable knife to hold. 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. Stephanie grew up in Pennsylvania and is a life-long adventurer. This shorter blade’s tip is strong and sturdy, giving you plenty of versatility and piercing power. Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD. Other – Some manufacturers have unique methods of locking a blade open or closed. While a shorter blade is ideal for tasks such as opening packets, cutting cord and nylon, and chipping wood. Some people like small folders, some like tradition Swiss Army Knives while other will only take a fixed blade knife. 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. On backcountry trips he mostly uses the blade for opening food packages and the scissors for cutting his nails. You’ll find you can get excellent grip strength and control over the knife without straining your hands and wrists. The Gerber Obsidian knife is a great every day carry multi-tool pocket knife. We put 9 of the best backpacking knives to the test. We were stoked to test the Gerber Paraframe Mini. The Leek was the heaviest knife in our test (not counting the ESEE Izula II, which could be customized for lighter weight). It features an excellent fixed Bowie blade made of the finest 5Cr15Mov steel. You can use it for preparing meals, eating, utility work, and general functionality. It’s friction-held and gives you all the protection you’d need for using this knife outdoors. It needs to be able to cut through ropes and possibly have a wire-cutter and a serrated portion on the blade. Now let’s talk about a higher quality knife. 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. It’s far from the easiest knife to hold. Top 7 Best Backpacking Knife Reviews in 2020. All that’s left is for you to make your choice. While it did show some wear and weaknesses, it was more capable than we expected. The knife comes with a handy black sheath that’s well-fitted and robust. This set offers a plethora of functions, all bundled in two compact bundles. This bulk is a necessary evil for the massive utility and selection of tools. The handle is crafted from durable and robust Beechwood and shaped in a very ergonomic and intuitive way. It’s a very simple and minimalistic knife with a lanyard hole for fixing it to a belt or bag. You’ll need resistance to rust, corrosion, and have a handle that’s non-slip and comfortable. For lightweight backpackers, the Spyderco Honeybee is a remarkable knife for its size and easily the best ultralight backpacking knife we tested. The Opinel uses the unique “Virobloc” safety lock, where a metal ring twists to lock the blade either open or shut. It excelled at slicing through…well, pretty much anything. Being able to complete basic tasks like bushcraft and camp chores (or just cooking) to defending myself if needed is an absolute must. For backpacking, though, we found that its tools weren’t super useful, and we preferred a larger, more capable blade. Fits comfortably in your pocket, purse, or as an easy-access addition to keys. The more snagging and catching, the duller the knife. You’re getting a subtle and natural-looking knife with a non-slip textured Micarta handle. Our guide takes you through what to look for and gives you a clear path to getting the best backpacking knife for your needs. It’s made from 1095HC steel which isn’t super-common and quite easy to sharpen. Before anything else, we tested each knife’s sharpness right out of the box. Note: If you’re looking for knives you can use while camping and aren’t as concerned about weight, check out our guide to the best camping knives. ): 1.6 oz. Seeking the best pocket knife? It’s a handy feature that lets this knife double as a tactical carry. When it came to anything beyond basic slicing, though, it just didn’t hold up. Folding – Most backpacking knives are folding knives. 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. Our experts test each knife while exploring backcountry terrain throughout the United States, preparing food, camping, mountain climbing, and more. 99BOULDERS LLC MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, OF ANY KIND REGARDING THE CONTENTS OF THIS WEBSITE, AND EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ANY WARRANTY REGARDING THE ACCURACY OR RELIABILITY OF INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN. The best knife for backpacking should be comfortable for use, with a handle that allows for a safe and firm grip. We timed how long it took to cut through a 2-foot section of cardboard with each knife. MINI VERSION: No. The beachwood handle looks simplistic but is surprisingly effective from an ergonomic standpoint. The sharp edges on its spine struck a spark with little effort and left no wear to the knife itself. Some knives are much better at it than others, and some require using the blade which can eventually damage 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. The seven functions include: blade, scissors, nail file, screwdriver (2.5 mm), key ring, toothpick, and tweezers. Best of all it is one of the lightest options on our list. It’s naturally non-slip and the broader base of the handle gives you even better control of the blade. For the price, this is an incredible knife. Our all-around top pick is the Spyderco Delica 4 for its perfect balance of compact design and durability. ), Backpacking Gear List Spreadsheet (w/ Weight Calculator). The lock was also surprisingly difficult and awkward to release. It was able to strike a spark on a ferro rod, though not easily and with noticeable wear to the back of its blade. Because of its minimalist design, the Deejo Wood 37g initially felt a touch flimsy. One of the best foldable hunting knives, the Benchmade North Fork Knife features a 2.97’’ CPM-S30V stainless steel drop-point blade and weighs in … At 2.63” long, the blade is legal to carry as an EDC knife in many states and countries. From their price and performance to more subtle features like sheaths and carrying options, we’ll show you what’s worth paying attention to. This lightweight, military-grade sheath is mildew resistant and allows you to carry the knife either horizontally or vertically. Using a knife with no lock requires extra care, and these knives generally won’t feel as stable. But it was nothing that had us concerned. Those are minor shortcomings for a knife that is lightweight, compact, functional, and beautifully designed. You’re getting all the corrosion and rust resistance you’d need in a robust outdoor knife. It’s resistant to rusting and doesn’t chip or break easily. One of the rings is fixed and the other slides into place to securely lock the blade into place. 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. Q: What Should I Look for in a Best Backpacking Knife? It was one of the sharpest knives right out of the box and sliced through a sheet of paper like butter. Although it wasn’t super sharp right out of the box, it held up to all of our cutting tests surprisingly well. Finally, the Deejo Wood 37g won an honorable mention for its beautiful design and high-quality blade. Partially serrated blade. Compared to the other knives in our test, it’s just…decent. The Spyderco Delica 4 blew us away in nearly every aspect of our testing. Benchmade Mini Griptilian This company makes some of the best pocket knives around. In other words, this knife is legit. Take your time and get a knife you’ll keep around for ages – good luck! 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