CAMPING & HIKING

Best Fixed Blade Knives: Staying Sharp in The Wilderness

Fixed blade knives review
Daniel Carraway
Written by Daniel Carraway

There are many considerations to be made when selecting the best fixed blade knives for your hunting trips, camping trips and general outdoor survival. These knives will be suitable for bushcraft, camping, hunting, tactical and military applications so a lot of thought has to be put into selection.

Having a good knife in your kit or backpack is very essential and how do you select the best knife. This article will address some of the things you have to know when picking out a knife.

Fixed blade knives

The following are some of the most important things to look out for when picking out your knife:

  • Versatility: First of all, your knife should be a rugged utility tool that can be used for cutting, chopping, batoning and breaking things with its pommel. The more tasks your knife can accomplish, the better.
  • Design: Knives are designed in a variety of ways, the most noticeable being the tang. This is how the blade is connected to the handle, and come in various types.
    • full tang: this means that the knife is one solid piece, with the blade running through the entire length of the handle. It’s considered to be the strongest.
    • half tang: the blade runs through the full length of the handle, but is only half the width.
    • push tang: a partial tang that has been inserted into the handle and is kept in place with epoxy or glue.
    • rat tail tang: the tang narrows as it goes through the handle of the knife, and is threaded at the end or is welded to a piece of threaded rod.
    • encapsulated tang: this is smaller than the handle, so the handle has to be fitted or molded to the tang in order to secure the whole thing together.
  • Blade size: Blade size is another thing to note. What is too small or too big actually depends on the application. You want a knife that is somewhere between 4- to 5-inch blade for easy to carry and conceal, and fine detail work purposes. A 6-inch blade or longer is a more extreme survival knife capable of tough utility, survival and bush craft tasks like chopping and batoning.
  • Handle Style: Handle style is also important because in a survival situation or expedition, you may need to handle your knife for several hours at a time so you need a knife that fits comfortably in your palms and has a sure grip in all weather conditions.
  • Handle Material: the material of your knife handle is very important, as it needs to be comfortable to use, especially when you start getting into the more rigorous tasks. Knife handles come in a wide variety of materials, ranging from wood to hard plastic to even molded metal. The more common materials used in survival knives are:
    • G-10: this is a fiberglass-based laminated that is very hard and strong, but also very lightweight. Texture is usually added to the surface to make it easier to grip.
    • Micarta: this is most commonly found as linen micarta. It has a similar construction to G-10, producing a handle that is tough and lightweight. However, no texture is added so the handle is very smooth. It isn’t scratch-proof, and because it can only be made by hand, knives with this kind of handle tend to be pricier.
    • Carbon fiber: this is constructed by weaving together thin strands of carbon to create a handle that is considered to be the strongest material in the world. However, it is more costly to produce, so if you’re a budget shopper, you may want to seek an alternative.
    • Zytel: this is thermoplastic that is probably the cheapest to make in this list of handle materials. It’s great at resisting impacts and scratching, so your handle will definitely withstand the tests of time and hard labour.
  • Knife Material: The steel that makes up the blade is also very important to watch. If you have a knife with a blade made out of the wrong steel, you might just end up with scrap metal on your hands. With the right steel material, you can use your knife for a very long time without fail. Typically, there are two kinds of steel used in blade manufacturing: carbon steel or high carbon stainless steel. Each has its own trade-offs. The carbon steel is a lot tougher compared to the stainless steel but it is not as resistant to rust and corrosion as the stainless steel.

Some of the best survival knives will be reviewed in the rest of this article and each will be discussed with its specifications and key features.

Top Fixed Blade Knives

Morakniv Companion with Carbon Steel Blade

Morakniv Companion with Carbon Steel Blade

Description: Morakniv Companion Heavy Duty Knife with Carbon Steel Blade is a very suitable and handy companion for any bush crafter, hunter, hiker and outdoor explorer. It is ergonomically designed to fit perfectly in your hands and offer you the best grip with its soft high friction grip handle.

Suitable for batoning, carving, tinder and cutting wood, this knife is one of the most versatile kinds available. With its carbon steel blade and 27-degree edge angle, this knife is very suitable for high load capacity and has a very high sharpness resistance.

The carbon steel build of the blade makes it very hard so it doesn’t break easily and it sharpens very easily. Carbon steel as you may or may not know is superior to stainless steel when it comes to knives as it is harder thus allowing it hold a sharper and more durably acute edge.

This knife is a product of Morakniv and they have been at the forefront of manufacturing the highest quality knives and so many outdoor enthusiasts have come to trust this brand as their preferred choice.

Specifications:

  • Blade length: 1 inches
  • Blade thickness: 0.125 inches
  • Total length: 8.8 inches
  • Weight: 135g

Special Features:

  • Extra-large ergonomic handle with high friction grip
  • Colour matching sheath with belt clip
  • High carbon steel for extra hardness and easy re-sharpening
  • Easy to carry with you everywhere

Overall, this knife is a great companion for your outdoor activities and it is very versatile. The handle is great, the blade is tough and the sheath makes it very easy to carry about.

The overall feel of the knife is also good plus the price is also set at a good point. You need to be careful with the knife and the way you use it though. How well it serves you is also dependent on your own best practices.

Kershaw 1895 LoneRock Small Fixed Blade

Kershaw 1895 LoneRock Small Fixed Blade

Description: Kershaw 1895 LoneRock Small Fixed Blade is a medium-sized hunting knife designed to offer the user multiple grip options and firm control. Even in slippery conditions, this knife still gives you a very good grip. With its design, you can easily choke up on the blade or grip the full handle for more leverage.

This grip feature is in part as a result of the contoured handle and the K-texture material is textured and rubberized to provide a non-slip grip. The blade is fixed and it does not fold close so it is stored in a nylon sheath or blade protector. This knife is one of the Kershaw series and they are all known for their toughness, durability and edge holding capabilities.

Specifications:

  • Blade length: 3.75 inches
  • Overall length: 8.25 inches
  • Glass filled nylon handle with K-texture grip
  • Weight: 3.7 ounces

Special Features:

  • Nylon sheath
  • Titanium carbo-nitiride coating handle

The Kershaw knife will serve you well for your hunting trips and demands with its excellent grip and control features. It might seem a little too big for you at first but you should get used to it in no time.

Cold Steel 39LSF Leatherneck SF

Cold Steel 39LSF Leatherneck SF

Description: Cold Steel 39LSF Leatherneck SF gets its leather work name from high collar leather design of marine gear in the US army in past history. The high collar serves the purpose of protecting the soldier’s neck against sword and cutlass blows and also forced the soldier to keep his head straight.

In light of this structural design, this knife was modeled with similar guards in mind, but aimed towards protecting the fingers. The leatherneck Semper Fi has a razor sharp clip point blade with a flat ground from top to bottom which keeps the fingers from sliding forward on its keen edge.

The Leatherneck-SF thus offers more protection with its guard. It is ideal for cutting, slicing and shearing through different kinds of materials.

With its thick steel build and double quillons that are turned slightly forward, this knife offers you more protection in close combat and doesn’t interfere during utility tasks.

It also has a very good grip feature as the handle has been carefully designed with deeply checkered Kraton which totally encloses the knife’s extra wide full tang. With its machined steel butt cap, it is also equipped to deliver a powerful blow and also double as a hammer in emergency situations.

Lastly you can conveniently carry the knife about in its sturdy secure ex sheath with a fully detachable belt loop.

Specifications:

  • Blade length: 6.75 inches
  • Blade thickness: 4.75 inches
  • Overall length: 11.75 inches
  • Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Griv-Ex and Kray-Ex handle
  • German stainless steel

Special Features:

  • Saber ground clip point blade
  • Steel guard to protect your fingers
  • Double quillons for extra protection and minimal interference
  • Razor sharp blade

This blade will do very well for the undecided user who cannot choose between a bush crafting blades, a combat blade of just a general all-purpose blade as a lot of its features cut across so many knife features. At its price point, it is a budget versatile blade and guaranteed to make you happy.

SOG SEAL Pup Elite Fixed Blade E37SN-CP – Black

SOG SEAL Pup Elite Fixed Blade E37SN-CP - Black

Description: SOG SEAL Pup Elite Fixed Blade E37SN-CP – Black gives you more than most of the known knives out there today. With its very high performance steel and super charged performance, this knife means business and it is a preferred choice for the world’s elite military forces.

With its ergonomic handle design with deep finger grooves, a blade with longer cutting edge with an added blade spine rasp for notching, filing and thumb placement, this knife is a very good fit in the hands of its wielder.

This knife has been put to the test and carefully evaluated by the US government; it has come out on top when compared to other knives in its category. Tests included tip breaking stress tests, water immersion tests, handle twist off force, penetration tests and a host of others.

Specifications:

  • Blade length: 4.85 inches
  • Blade thickness: 0.185 inches
  • Overall length: 9.5 inches
  • Weight: 5.4 ounces

Special Features:

  • Glass reinforced nylon with grip lines
  • Soft nylon carry sheath
  • Longer ergonomic handle with deeper finger grooves
  • Blade spine rasp for notching, filing and thumb placement
  • AUS-8 steel blade with clip point and black TiNi finish
  • Belt loop attachment

This product is of great quality and it is very versatile. It has a very good grip and firm handle with comfortable finger grooves and the blade is razor sharp. However for people with extra-large hands or those wearing leather gloves, using this knife might be a little tricky but it is a great knife nonetheless.

It is important that you keep this knife clean, dry and oiled to prevent corrosion and rust. After cleaning and oiling, dry it off completely with a soft cloth or chamois.

KA-BAR BK-22 Companion Fixed Blade Knife

KA-BAR BK-22 Companion Fixed Blade Knife

Description: KA-BAR BK-22 Companion Fixed Blade Knife is another companion knife that was designed to be carried along with you for your camping, hunting and field trips. The knife features a very long straight edge blade made out of 1095 Cro-Van Steel. Its flat ground provides a sharper edge better edge retention.

The blade is 56-58 HRC rated and it is suitable for prying, splitting and slicing. With its drop point blade, you can also use it when field dressing or skinning wild game. This knife was designed for comfort and control.

Specifications

  • 100 percent synthetic
  • Blade length: 5.25 inches
  • Overall length: 10.5 inches
  • Weight: 1 pound.

Special Features

  • Flat ground 1095 Cro-Van Steel
  • Heavy duty sheath with polyester
  • Drop point blade etched
  • Grivory blade thickness
  • Features extended pummel which can be used for pounding

This knife is suitable for use even in all branches of the military. It is also great for collectors and outdoor activities. Tested to ensure quality and durability, this knife delivers on all its promises. Note that this knife is quite heavy and it is not very suitable for the ultra light hiker or backpacker.

Buck Knives 0119 Special Fixed Blade Knife

Buck Knives 0119 Special Fixed Blade Knife

Description: Buck Knives 0119 Special Fixed Blade Knife is a top choice for the outdoor person who values the solid feel of a fixed blade. This fixed blade is ideal for field and work. With all the improvements and refinements that this knife has undergone through the years in terms of its design, it can withstand the rigors of everyday use.

Specifications:

  • Blade length: 6 inches
  • Overall length: 10.5 inches
  • Weight: 7.5 ounces

Special Features:

  • Genuine leather fitted sheath for easy carry
  • Cocobolo dymond wood handle with brass pommel
  • Detail work and cutting
  • 420 HC steel for great edge retention and corrosion resistance.

This knife delivers and it is suitable for your outdoor activities and camping trips. Its razor sharp blade and classic design makes it very easy to use

ESEE 6P-B Plain Edge Fixed Blade Survival Knife

ESEE 6P-B Plain Edge Fixed Blade Survival Knife

Description: ESEE 6P-B Plain Edge Fixed Blade Survival Knife with Grey Micarta Handle is made from high carbon steel with a black powder coated flat ground blade. The blade has a better thumb grip with its jimping on the blade spine and this makes it convenient t grip and use.

Specifications:

  • Blade length: 6.5 inches
  • Overall length: 11.75 inches
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • 1095 steel blade
  • Grey Micarta Scale handle
  • Molded Polymer Sheath

Special Features:

  • Rounded pommel
  • Durable polymer sheath with removable clip
  • Black powder coated flat ground

The ESEE-6 is a very good looking knife and it feels good to carry. If you are a regular knife user, this knife comes sharp and ready to go.

Fallkniven A1, Kraton Handle, Black Blade

Fallkniven A1, Kraton Handle, Black Blade

Description: Fallkniven A1, Kraton Handle, Black Blade is another great knife to own and it is very well equipped to chop branches and shaving off bark all day without losing its edge.

With its black coating, excellent holster and overall neat finish, the knife spots a very good look on its wielder. If you want to baton wood, cut rope and bush wack a small area, this knife is for you.

Specifications:

  • Blade length: 6.3 inches
  • Overall length: 11 inches
  • VG10 blade
  • Kraton Handle

Special Features:

  • Excellent holster locks knife in place
  • Black coating finish
  • Thin, non-intrusive sheath.

Helle GT Knife

Helle GT Knife

Description: Helle GT Knife is one of the sharpest known knives today. It also has a very attractive design and collectors have always loved to include this knife in their collections. With its sharpness and edge retention, it is suitable for a variety of purposes. Ideal for wood work, slicing, and various other camp chores.

Specifications:

  • Blade length: 4.8 inches
  • Weight: 0.44 pounds

Special Features:

  • Handmade using Curly Birch black leather and finger grind.
  • Full grain leather sheath
  • Drop point blade
  • Lightweight and high shine finish.

Benchmade – Bushcrafter EOD

Benchmade - Bushcrafter EOD

Description: Benchmade – Bushcrafter EOD was originally built to be a survival knife but it was then modified over the years to suit other needs such as cutting through plastic explosives and similar applications.

Specifications:

  • Blade length: 4.4 inches
  • Blade thickness: 0.164 inches
  • Weight: 0.48 pounds
  • S30V stainless steel
  • Sheath weight: 2.7 ounces

Special Features:

  • Fixed blade, 4.4 inches drop point
  • Pressed titanium handle tubing
  • Hand blended sand contoured handle
  • Black moulded kydex sheath with reversible belt loop.

Final Words

The above-mentioned knives are some of the best out there if you consider all the necessary factors that have been mentioned in the beginning of this article such as versatility, material build, grip, blade size and handle style, overall design and of course affordability.

Fixed blade knife in action

Each of the knives have their own peculiarities are making a choice between any one of them is down to your own personal preference and intended application but with any of these knives, you are guaranteed a companion that will make your hunting, bush crafting, tactical and military missions a successful one.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Carraway
Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway joined our team last year. He is a gear freak when it comes to hiking, climbing and camping. He went to REI Outdoor School to meet new people and learn best practices. Don’t even try to argue with him about the latest backpack or ice axe, he tried most of them. Daniel’s dream is to climb Mount Everest.

  • Elliot Giles

    I really like the Benchmade – Bushcrafter EOD. The knife is well balanced and looks to be of excellent quality. Nice, thick blade, will stand up to whatever I choose to use it for. This knife is considerably lighter and smaller in stature than the Esee.

  • Daniel Carraway

    One of the top of the line knife in the market today. The steep price is worth it and investing in an excellent tool is crucial when you’re out camping. You must have a knife that will see you through the toughest adventure. In fact one of the ways to ensure your survival is to have a hardy knife that won’t let you down.

  • Carl Thompson

    The ESEE-6 is one of those knives that just looks good and feels good in your hand. It’s kind of difficult to explain, but if you’re a regular knife user, no explanation is really needed. It comes sharp and ready to go. I don’t usually make a habit of “abusing” knives, but I received the ESEE before a weekend camping trip and decided to abuse it maybe just a little bit, so I spent the weekend with the ESEE making big pieces of wood into little pieces of wood and cutting through chicken bones. I even used the ESEE to open a few metal cans, although doing so made me cringe as I was half convinced I was going to bend the tip of the blade. The ESEE handled everything in my little unscientific weekend experiment without any problem whatsoever. At the price point the ESEE-6 is a difficult knife to beat. I’ll be purchasing more ESEE knives because good knives are like good beer: why have only one?

  • Daniel Carraway

    Indeed, why have only one, right? The ESEE 6P-B Plain Edge Fixed Blade Survival Knife is one of the best knives around. It will make camping look like child’s play, if I must say.
    If you want to experiment more, try other knives that are equally interesting – I also recommend you try the Cold Steel 39LSF Leatherneck SF. It’s very versatile if you can’t make up your mind whether to buy a bush crafting blade, a combat blade of just a general all-purpose blade.

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