CAMPING & HIKING

The Best Hiking Knife: Ingenuity With A Handle

Best Hiking Knife
Daniel Carraway
Written by Daniel Carraway

The best hiking knives provide more functions that don’t immediately come to mind. A knife can be used in many different instances if you let your imagination roam.

When you are out in the wilderness with only one tool, you better hope it is reluctant and reliable. A knife is the perfect tool to have on your body because of the great functions it offers to its owners.

Not to mention, there are some knives that are pretty attention grabbing. Here is a list of provided functions that the best hiking knife can offer you in a time of need:

  • Slicing/ Dicing
  • Digging holes in the earth or into harder materials
  • Splitting branches
  • Chopping up food, whether that be produce or protein
  • Creating shelter
  • Assisting in first air
  • Hammering with the handle
  • Prying with the blunt edge
  • Signaling with the blade
  • Screwing with the sharp tip
  • And whatever else you can think of!

How Much Can A Knife Really Help Me While Hiking? Do I Even Need One?

For beginners in the world of hiking and backpacking, you may be questioning all your necessities when you face nature on your own. For many, the first thought of a knife in the wilderness is associated with the most dramatic expectations.

Bring your hiking knife

Many jump to conclusions of protecting themselves from wild animals, building their own shelter from the logs and branches of trees, and chopping off their own limbs for survival.

You know these situations are not likely to occur, so remove the machete from your virtual shopping cart and stop right there! While a knife is a great convenience to carry with you during a backpacking or hiking trip, the most common uses are like those in the list above.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but a knife is useful for pretty mundane activities when hiking.

You have to open your packets of food to eat, you must cut cord for support, sparking a fire is pretty necessary, splitting wood is hard to do with your hands, and you are quite susceptible to getting blisters and having dirty nails while in nature’s playground.

Keeping your hygiene is important even when hiking, guys.  A knife offers you much assistance, but you can put down the sword now. A small retractable knife will do just fine. Keeping a lightweight and easily accessible knife is great help when facing the wilderness.

Knife outdoor

Staying minimal with your knife purchase will save you energy in the end, and you can also use it for other activities later in life. There is not a single knife on the list that will put a hole in your pocket, figuratively—we can’t speak literally, so be careful everyone!

What Are The Traits to Look for In A Hiking Knife?

Before you go on gallivanting through the wonderful world of knives, take the time to look for features you are interested in first. While there is no specific knife that will fit the bill for everyone, there are certainly traits you should look for in a knife.

Depending on what you plan on using this knife for, there are plenty of different features you can look. Taking these features into consideration is important when preparing for a trip:

  • Straight Edge Blades are great for splitting wood and carving. This will come in handy when you need to create a fire and split wood when you need it. The straight edge is more versatile in general compared to that of a serrated knife, and you can cut cleanly through more materials like rope and metal.
  • The Size of a Knife and the blade is important for safety and comfort. Everyone has different sized hands and the handle should fit properly in your hand for the right leverage. If the blade is too big, you cannot make precise movements, and if it is too small you can risk hurting yourself. A nice sized survival knife is about 10 inches when in a functioning position.
  • Keep a Sharp Pointed Blade for the best stabbing potential. This is great for those who go on hikes and hunt on regular a regular basis. The sharp point makes stabbing quick and easy. If you are only using a blade for simple uses, the point doesn’t have to be the sharpest, but it’s still important that you maintain the blade and point so that it’s sharp when you need it.
  • Consider the Material of the Blade in a survival knife. The blade must be stainless steel or carbon steel to be reliable. Carbon steel is easier to sharpen and it is much stronger than stainless steel. Stainless steel, on the other hand is rust-resistant, so if you are on the water a lot or hiking in humid climates, this is a great choice.

Depending on the environment you see yourself in while hiking, it is important to pay attention to these features and what is best for your specific situation.

Keep your hiking preparedness at an all time high with the products below.

Top Hiking knives of 2017

Fallkniven TK4

Fallkniven TK4

Price: $147.58

Weight: 3.2 ounces

Dimensions: 1 x 2 x 2 in.

Specific Features: Blade length of 2.76 in., blade thickness of .1 in, zytel handle, and steel hardness of 3G. Comes with an attractive wooden box and a black pouch.

Best Use: Everyday use for activities such as sailing, hiking, and more.

Description: The Fallkniven TK4 is a lightweight tool for those who need a reliable knife adapted for every day use. While small, the handle is strong and is rigid.

This is a great knife to be used for survival because the symmetrical handle is for both left and right-handed individuals.

This product can be safely toted around because the locking mechanism securely keeps the blade tucked away. The folding knife can be carried safely in any situation without fear of the blade ejecting itself.

Some believe this product could go for a cheaper amount, but others believe it is worth it because the hardness rating and it’s sharpness. For those who want a little resistance in their grip of the handle, this may not be the right knife for you.

When you need to use a knife to your advantage, a rigid handle helps with maneuvering.  The slick design can slip easily in and out of ones hands, which is not the best trait for a survival knife. All around this is a great product for anyone who needs an affordable knife.

Related: Fallkniven offers a large variety of knives with the TK6 is the most similar to the TK4 because the blade. Both knives have 3G steel blades and a zytel sheath case.

Adventure Medical Kits SOL Core Lite Knife

Adventure Medical Kits SOL Core Lite Knife

Price: $7.95-$19.95

Weight: 1.4 oz.

Dimensions: 2in. in length

Specific Features: The SOL Core Lite provides a knife, led light, and a whistle. The folding AUS-8 steel blade is short, but great when you are in a pickle.

Best Use: Camping, hiking, and medical emergencies

Description: The SOL knife is a great compact knife that is designed for survival. The blade may be short but the knife is sharp. Whether you need the product to cut cheese or cut up sticks, you can depend on the knife.

While this knife cant take the place of a full sized knife, the features are resourceful. The lightweight knife has more features than the blade. You can illuminate your work and also be heard for miles with the attached 1000decibel whistle. Many reviewers say that the knife holds true to being sharp and easy to use.

However, the light attached might not be the brightest. If you are going on a light backpack trip, make sure to take your SOL Core Lite knife, but if you need some extra light, bring your own flashlight just in case.

Regardless of the dim light, the package of 3 items is not too bulky or inappropriate for a knife alone. Only weighing in at 1.4 oz., you can easily store this in your backpack or pocket for any emergency that may occur.

Related: The SOL phoenix is a compact knife like the SOL Core Lite. The SOL phoenix has a retractable knife and other features as well. Instead of a light and a whistle, the phoenix comes with a light, belt clip, whistle, tinder compartment, and a retractable flint!

Spyderco Delica4 Lightweight

Spyderco Delica4 Lightweight

Price: $65. 97

Weight: 2.5 oz.

Dimensions: 4.25 in. long when closed, 7.12 in. long when open

Specific Features: 2.87 in. steel blade in length with a .09 in. thickness. Includes a four-way clip, you must use screws to deconstruct this knife if you need to clean it. The full-flat ground blade comes in a variety of different colors.

Best Use: hiking and camping, yet small enough for every day use.

Description: With a rust resistant blade, the VG-10 steel sharpens easily and doesn’t dull quickly. Spyderco Delica4 Lightweight is great when you are hiking, because there is no stress about what elements it is exposed to.

You don’t have to hesitate before you use it. Because the steel was originally marketed towards Japanese chefs, the swift yet brittle steel is perfect when you need a helping hand in any situation.

You can cut anything from cardboard, thick plastic, to produce. The full flat-grind drop blade is the great quality that makes it so diverse. The trademark, “spyder hole” helps with quick opening and closing actions.

There aren’t any struggles keeping the knife in your hand with the great grip on the handle. The bidirectional texturing keeps your grip solid and steady. This knife gives you plenty of leverage for cutting, digging, and more.

The product only weighs 2.5 ounces so you can easily carry it in your pocket or on a lanyard. Easy access is necessary when on a hike. The locking mechanism is flawless, and the blade is perfectly centered in the scales in liners.  The Delica 4 will keep you prepared for whatever.

Related: The Spyderco Endura 4 is comparable to the Delica 4 because the lightweight frame and options. Both knives feature a full flat ground VG-10 blade.

Victorinox Swiss Army Cadet Knife

Victorinox Swiss Army Cadet Knife

Price: $28.95

Weight: .05 lbs.

Dimensions: 1 x 1 x 4 in.

Specific Features: Very small yet sturdy. Features all stainless steel tools with an aluminum handle. You can get your knife engraved and each knife comes with a lifetime warranty.

Best Use: When hiking light, this product is resilient with 9 different features.

Description: The Victorinox Swiss Army Knife features a large blade, key ring for convenience, bottle opener, large screwdriver, wire stripper, can opener, small screwdriver, nail file, and nail cleaner.

This knife is great for those who don’t need much assistance, but like to be prepared. For younger hikers and beginners, this can fit perfectly on your key ring for convenience and everyday use.

The Swiss made knife has been a staple in the lives of many for more than 130 years and continues to bring convenience around the world. The price is respectable for the many years it is known to last.

Whether you only use the knife when you need it in desperate measures, or for daily activities. It comes in handy for opening letters, packages, and assisting in your time of need.

Not to mention, the blade is known to sharpen easily and resist stains so you can keep a flawless knife wherever you go!

Related: The Victorinox Farmer is a version of the Swiss Army Knifes. It is compact and sturdy and encompasses many tools for daily use, but this knife features a wood saw.

ESEE Knives Black CANDIRU Fixed Blade Knife

ESEE Knives Black CANDIRU Fixed Blade Knife

Price: $62.73

Weight: 1.7 ounces

Dimensions:  5.13 in in length, 2 in cutting edge

Specific Features: Blade is made from the long lasting 1095 Carbon Steel 55-57 Rc. The sheath is a black molded polymer and has a black powdered coat that adds texture.

Best Use: Field dressing and woodwork such as carving and biting into wood. Could be helpful when hiking and camping.

Description: The short yet thick knife is more durable than one may assume. While it cannot replace a full body knife, the blade can do a great deal of damage. The thickness of the ESEE Knives Black CANDIRU Fixed Blade Knife helps in the strength aspect. The Candiru has a very clean appearance with minimal lines and appearance.

The small size makes it appealing to people who value the aesthetics of a knife and people who respect a knife for its performance. With a strong visual and performing appeal, anyone can appreciate the compact knife.

Because the handle is larger in comparison to the blade, you have more control on the knife and can handle it as you see fit. Not to mention, the handle is comfortable to grip as well. The attention to detail in the blade and in the handle is what makes the knife a great product.

When dealing with straining activities and delicate cuts, the Candiru is perfect for getting the job done.

Related: The Esee Izula Desert Knife is small like the Candiru, yet has a couple extra inches on the blade. The thickness of the blade is similar and can be used for quick and precise cuts, but the handle is far more comfortable on the Candiru.

Ka-Bar BK14 Becker Knife

Ka-Bar BK14 Becker Knife

Price: $38.31

Weight: 2.4 oz.

Dimensions:  7.5 x 3.2 x 3.2 in.

Specific Features: the 3 ¼ in. blade is made from a 1095 Chrome Vanadium steel. The handle of this knife is also made from the same steel. A protective sheath is made from a hard plastic and is accompanied by a lanyard that can be attached to the neck or gear.

Best Use: Self-defense, camping, hiking, and survival in any location.

Description: The BK14 has a large belly to the blade that makes it different than many folding knifes.

You get more heft as well, which allows you more options in performance. Like the blade, the handle is made out of the same material, yet is hollowed out to create a lighter knife. The ways you can tote this knife around vary depending on the owner.

Described as a neck knife, you can carry it on a lanyard from the sheath, in your pocket, or on a belt if you purchase the adapter. The BK14 is a great survival knife when you need it, and it is also great to use for fun and recreational hobbies.

While the knife may be heavy compared to others, you can use this knife for more activities as an axe, shovel, pry bar, and the knife all in one. If you are building a survival kit, this knife will suit you well in many situations.

Related: The Ka-Bar BK11 is made with the same durable 1095 Cro-Van steel. Similar to the BK14, you can use both knifes for outdoor activities. With the hollowed out handle they are similar in weight as well.

Benchmade Knife 556

Benchmade Knife 556

Price: $89.25

Weight: 2.81 oz.

Dimensions: Open length of 6.78 in. and closed length of 3.87 in.

Specific Features: Made with American steel, and has great edge retention. The Benchmade Knife 556 is durable and is corrosion resistant. The axis mechanism is innovative with an ambidextrous design. The two omega style springs are great for engaging with the knife.

Best Use: Great for every day use. Is strong enough to make cuts you must perform while hiking or camping.

Description: the stainless steel blade holds an edge with ease but cannot be sharpened to the max. The strong blade makes sure that the blade will not dull easily.

Though some say the handle feels cheap, the durability and reliability of this knife is highly praised by the public. Not to mention, the one-handed operation of the AXIS lock maneuvers very smoothly.

You don’t have to compromise sleekness for durability with this knife. The usefulness of this knife is highlighted in the ambidextrous thumb post and switchable clip. Regardless of your dominant hand, your fingers are kept far away from the retracing blades so there is no compromise. Those who favor this knife appreciate the excellent lock strength, lightweight, yet durable build, and the great edge.

While it may be a little more expensive than some would like to pay, its functionality is worth it if you have smaller hands but like a good knife.

Related: The Benchmade- Griptilian 551 is similar to the 556 in a few aspects. While the 551 may be a bit bigger, they are made of the same blade materials. They both offer an ambidextrous grip for convenience and easy handling.

The Blunt Truth: Knives Are Handy in Any Situation

Hopefully, now that you have seen our suggestions of knives available to you for hiking, you have a better idea of what to bring with you on your own adventures. While all of these knives can perform the functions that are listed above, you are the one who truly knows what you are comfortable carrying.

Knives Are Handy in Any Situation

If you are still not convinced a hiking knife can provide the protection you seek, there are many shapes of retractable knives that carry more girth and leverage. If you question the need of a knife at all, a small pocketknife that fits on your key ring can give you all the assistance you need.

Being prepared never hurt anyone when on backpacking trips. A knife can give you peace of mind and help you perform activities you haven’t even considered yet. You never know what you are going to experience on your trip, but it is important to be ready for the (un)predictable. The crazy and extreme are quite unlikely to occur, dude. So relax and arm yourself with the necessities.

If you have any more questions about knives or other items you are weary about, comment below! We are always willing to help our readers prepare for their future trips. Efficiency is the best trait to have when preparing for a hike.

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.

  • Natalie Green

    When my uncle was still around, he and I, and my brother, would go for hikes all the time. The man was quite a character… his choice of knife was actually a machete, something I still roll my eyes about. Though my brother and I thought it was about the coolest thing ever at the time. I have since selected a number of smaller knives for various occasions and activities, I am partial to a knife I have that is similar to the Esee fixed blade you have above. Perhaps one day I will see fit to pull out and use that old blade for an adventure, but it’s not very practical outside of slashing out a new path in a forest somewhere.

  • Daniel Carraway

    You’ll need an axe to clear your way in a forest Natalie, haha! I have quite a collection of knives and their history is quite interesting. I hope to show them to the world when I’m ready. Thanks for dropping by again. 🙂

  • Mark Watson

    What’s the different between the Becker bk16 and the bk14? Is there a significance diffence? What do the do that makes them different or have that make them different? I am quite the avid hiker and am interested in getting a good quality knife.

  • Julie Stuart

    I Have always been a little leery about weapons and knives are no different. I guess I am just not very comfortable with handling them. My brother would always have a variety of different things and he joined the army and really liked the whole survival thing they would do sometimes. Go figure. I enjoy hiking and would like to do some more backwoods camping and explore a little more way from campgrounds. This seems like a really smart idea.

  • Daniel Carraway

    Bk14 is more compact and has a smaller handle which may not be the most comfortable to use for some people. It can be a great backup knife but nevertheless very useful, since there are some things that only smaller knives can do. On the other hand, the Bk16 is a great all around knife 16 is an all around great knife -camp, yard, woods, bushcraft, garage, you name it. But it’s a lot larger for EDC and everyday urban use. You can easily grasp the full handle of the knife since it’s a lot bigger than the Bk14.

  • Daniel Carraway

    You can have a smaller knife for EDC Julie that you can easily use around camp or for general use. Don’t feel queasy about knives – they are great tools and not only for weaponry. For example, what will chefs do without their knives, right? There’s a knife for chopping, paring, and so on – the same is true for campers and backpackers. Start small – like a Swiss army knife that you can always have inside your purse. 🙂

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