Hiking and camping presents unique challenges that require specific solutions. That’s where the handiness of a hiking knife comes in to play. Hiking knives are pocket knives that are especially made for the challenges that you face while hiking. Here are our picks for the best hiking knives on the market.
In a Hurry? Here Are Our Top 3 PicksInvalid table id.
Reviews of the 5 Best Hiking Knives
Our reviews are 100% unbiased so that you can get a clear overview of the features to make the best decision when it comes to picking out the best hiking knife for your next hiking trip.
1. Morakniv Companion Heavy Duty Knife with Sandvik Carbon Steel Blade
- Fixed blade outdoor knife with 4.1-inch high carbon steel blade
- Extra-large ergonomic handle with patterned, high-friction grip that makes the knife comfortable to...
Our pick for the best overall hiking knife is the Morakniv Companion. Some of the features that set this hiking knife apart from the others is that it is a fixed blade. Fixed blades are great for hiking because you can easily access the blade by unsheathing it.
The blade itself is made out of carbon steel which is extremely strong, durable, and resilient. The feature that really makes this our overall best hiking knife choice is the handle. The handle is large and comfortable so that you can get a really good grip.
- Comes in green or orange
- Orange knife is easy to find
- Made in Sweden
- The plastic sheath has a clip for your belt
- Easy access
- Amazing grip
- 1 inch blade with .125 inches thickness
- This knife has no serrated edge
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2. Grand Way Spring Assisted Knife – Pocket Folding Knife – Military Style
- Knife with folding spring assisted opening blade and pocket clip has a simple and reliable...
- Perfect tactical knife for everything - Camping Edc Hiking Backpack Bushcrafting, Hunting & Fishing,...
Our pick for the runner up best hiking knife is a black spring assisted knife. We love the military style classic look of this knife. It is a rugged and heavy-duty construction that is very high-quality as well as made to last.
The stainless steel blade stays sharp and clean longer than other blades. An awesome feature of this hiking knife is how it has studs for both right and left handed users. This versatile knife makes a great gift and it comes with a ten-year warranty.
- Three different military styles
- Right or left handed use
- Has a belt clip
- Easy to flick open
- Overly tight bearings are a common issue for these knives, but is an easy fix with a little bit of oil and a screwdriver
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3. Pocket Knife – Tactical Folding Knife – Spring Assisted Knife with Fire Starter & Paracord Handle
- EDC tactical knife for men and women. A pocket clip and a lanyard available. Lock type is a liner...
- Steel type - 440С. The blade provides impressing cutting performance out of the box. The best fire...
This Grand Way knife is a spring assisted hiking knife that comes in two camo styles. It is perfect for hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking. Out of this line of knives this is the sharpest one. It is made out of high-quality stainless steel that stays sharp for longer than other knives.
You can rely on this knife to get you through all sorts of situations. It is a great tactical combat knife in case you need to use it for self defense against a wild animal or intruder. It is a good size for easily storing in your pocket, belt, or bag.
- Two camo colors
- Spring assisted and easy to use
- Comes with a clip and a lanyard
- Lightweight plastic handle
- Start fires with it
- The plastic handle is lightweight but less durable than a metal handle
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4. Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops SWA24S 7.1in S.S. Folding Knife
- DIMENSIONS: 7.1 inch (18 cm) overall length with a blade length of 3.1 inches (7.9 cm) and a weight...
- DURABLE: Blade is made of reliable 7Cr17MoV Black Oxide High Carbon Stainless Steel with a black,...
The length of the blade on this Smith & Wesson knife is about 3.1 inches long, which is a good size for a knife because it is not too big or too small. Smith & Wesson is a leader in the production of knives and other equipment, and they use the highest quality materials in the construction of their knives.
The knife is made out of stainless steel which is one of the best materials for knives because it is sharp, strong, and stays clean easily. This knife is easy to use for every day cutting and has been designed for use by both left and right handed individuals. There is a liner lock on the knife which adds confidence that accidents are preventable.
- Dependable performance
- Serrated edge or flat edge
- Useful for a variety of tasks
- Use in self defense
- Left or right handed
- Grooves on the handle
- Takes most people two hands to open instead of one
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5. Atomic Bear Paracord Bracelet
- Be Ready To Survive Without Stuffing Your Backpack - Find the 5 camping gear must haves in just one...
- Don't Stress About Getting The Size Right - Unlike other options, the Cobra bracelet is adjustable...
For our best budget pick for hiking knives we have to choose the Atomic Bear Paracord Bracelet. For those who want the benefits of carrying a hiking knife, but do not like the look or feel or a traditional knife, we have this bracelet that doubles as an emergency knife, whistle, and fire starter. There is an orange and a black option.
You can adjust the size of the bracelet and wear it on your wrist while you are hiking. Making sure it is tight enough on your wrist will keep it from falling off and you will be a lot less likely to lose this bracelet than other knives. Included in the features is a compass, 12 feet or paracord, and an emergency whistle. If you get into trouble while hiking this bracelet knife will be your best friend.
- Wear your knife on your wrist
- A ton of features for a great price
- Whistle for safety
- Fire starter
- Military grade paracord
- Sharp emergency knife
- The knife is small
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In this buying guide we will explore everything there is to know about hiking knives from a consumers point of view. If you are looking to buy a knife for hiking, this guide can be a huge help in narrowing down your options.
Why You Should Carry a Hiking Knife
If you have never been on top of a mountain and suddenly realized that you need a knife, then you may wonder why you should get one in the first place. Just because you have not needed a pocket knife on your hikes so far doesn’t mean that you won’t ever need one. Having a hiking knife keeps you prepared if nothing else, so here is a list of the benefits of carrying a knife on your next hiking trip.
- Self Defense
When you think of pocket knives the first thing you probably think of is self defense, and it is true that a knife is an effective way to protect yourself in the case of an animal attack, robbery, or assault. Carrying a knife is multi-functional because it works as a handy tool when you need it, and if the unthinkable occurs you will be prepared to protect yourself.
Bears and mountain lions can present a threat to humans who are hiking, and while a small knife might not do a world of a good against a giant animal, you will be better off being prepared with something rather than nothing and carrying a large weapon on a hike is not functional. A lightweight, sturdy pocket knife is perfect for self defense on a camping or hiking trip and can be easily concealed in a pocket for easy access.
- Camping and Rock Climbing
On a simple hike the most use you will probably get out of your hiking knife is taking it out to do a random task (and hopefully not for self defense), but if you are taking your hike up a notch by including a section of rock climbing or you will be camping along the way, the usefulness of a hiking pocket knife goes way up. Some pocket knives are multi-functional and can be used as fire starters.
You can use a hiking knife to fashion a tool out of wood or other materials. You also may need a knife for first aid, because accidents can occur when you least expect them to and you do not want to be unprepared. Starting a fire can be a breeze if you use the right hiking knife to start the blaze or to split wood for tinder. For rock climbing a knife will come in handy if a rope needs to be cut.
- Random Tasks
There are lots of uses for knives that you won’t think of until you need one. Cutting loose a piece of fishing wire wrapped around wildlife, cutting up an apple for a snack, or using a knife to dig a cool rock out of the mud are all examples of random things that a knife can come in use for. For opening cans and containers a knife can be useful as well.
There are a lot of good reasons to carry a hiking knife, and it comes down to always being prepared. To be properly prepared it is not enough just to have any knife in your pocket however. You will want to make sure that your hiking knife is outfitted with all of the features that you need for any occasion.
Features You Should Consider When Shopping For A Hiking Knife
Now that we have gone over the best selling hiking knives on the market and the benefits of carrying a hiking knife, let us take a deeper look at the features that set them apart from one another.
The price may be the first or the last thing that you want to consider when shopping for a pocket knife for hiking, but either way all of the following features will have an effect on it. You can expect the price of a knife to go up the more high-quality it is as well as with how large the size is, what features it as, and what materials go into the construction.
A good pocket knife for hiking does not have to break the bank. While it is pretty average for a hiking knife to cost under $20, spending a little extra may ensure that the knife is forged out of top of the line materials that will not easily wear and tear with constant use. The brand is another factor that will affect the price of the knife, and while the features are more important than the brand name, we recommend avoiding cheap knock-offs because they are generally made with low quality materials that do not hold up to their promises.
The size of the hiking knife is important for multiple reasons. For self defense, a tiny knife is not the best. However for camping you may only need a small blade to perform simple tasks. The size of the hiking knife is mostly up to you, but keep in mind that in some territories there may be legal statutes dedicated to pocket knives
A typical rule for pocket knives is that the blade itself (not the entire length including the handle) should be less than six inches. For hiking between three and four inches seems to be a sweet spot of functionality and defense for most hikers.
Considering that you will have to carry the knife around with you, you should consider the weight of the product. The weight is determined by the size and the materials used in the construction. Most knife blades are lightweight, made with thin and durable stainless steel, so it really is the handle that has the most say in the total weight of the knife.
Metal handles are going to be a lot more heavy than plastic handles, and which one is best for you largely depends on your personal preferences. Metal handles have the capacity for a longer lifespan because it is harder to damage metal than plastic.
Plastic knife handles are going to make the knife more lightweight, but be aware that it will have an effect on how stable and easy to hold the knife is as well as the weight and comfort of the handle. Metal handles are heavier and in some cases preferable as they are considered more heavy-duty, however some people strongly dislike being weighed down by a heavy pocket knife.
Not only should the handle be an appropriate size and weight in relation to the size of the knife blade, but the grip of it is also very important. There should be imprints for your fingers or some other form of grooving that keeps the knife from slipping out of your hands. If there is not a good grip on the knife it could prove useless in dire situations when it slips out of your hands.
The most common type of blade that you find on hiking knives is going to be stainless steel, although you will see titanium as well as some other metals. You can rely on stainless steel to be a consistently strong metal. It stays clean easily so you do not have to worry about dirt and fingerprints clinging to the blade of the hiking knife.
We have already gone over the size of the blade somewhat, but just to reiterate, the size of a hiking knives blade should be under six inches and over three inches for the best performance. Smaller knives such as a compound knife like the one in the bracelet knife kit are also useful for completely simple tasks (although not the best for self defense).
The blade on the knife may be serrated, which means it has sharp ridges along it, or it may be completely flat. The best hiking knives are a combination of both so that you have whichever you need whenever you need it.
There are a few different styles of pocket knives that you can choose from when shopping for a hiking knife. A fixed blade knife is one that does not flip out or change in any sense, and instead usually comes with a sheath to keep the knife protected when not in use. The benefit of a fixed blade is that you don’t have to worry about opening and closing it, which can be sticky in some knives, especially older ones, but the downside is that it is a bigger size since it has not been compacted down.
Flip switch knives are great for hiking because they convert to a small size and can be brought out with a switch of a finger. For some people opening and closing these knives can be difficult. If the knife is a flip switch knife it may need to be greased or adjusted every so often to keep it from sticking. These kinds of knives usually come with a pocket clip and are great for self defense and basic knife tasks.
When shopping for a good hiking knife pay attention to what warranty options are available to you. If the knife does not come with a warranty or return policy then you may be out of luck if it does not live up to its promises. Reputable companies almost always provide some sort of warranty with the purchase of their product, but sometimes you can’t find out about the full warranty options available to you unless you contact their customer care department when making the purchase.
Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about hiking knives.
Why do you need a hiking knife?
There are a lot of benefits to carrying a hiking knife. You may never know what kind of rabid animal or scary person may be lurking in the forest or mountains, which is why it is always good to be prepared with some sort of self defense.
Other occasions where a hiking knife is going to come in use is for cutting ropes, wire, and string for camping and rock climbing. Who knows, you may need a hiking knife to help you prepare a snack to eat, or to cut yourself loose if you get stuck somwhere by your clothes. Having a good knife helps you to prepare for the unthinkable before it happens and to complete simple tasks with more ease.
What is the best hiking knife?
The best hiking knife for you will depend on a few things. If you are planning on going hiking in dangerous terrain, rock climbing, or camping then you should get a heavy duty knife that will keep you safe and be functional.
Features of a good hiking knife that you should look for are a clip to attach it to your belt or pocket, a good grip on the handle, and a strong and sharp blade. The brand matters less than the materials, but shopping with a reputable brand usually means that you get better warranty options and customer care.
In conclusion, our pick for the best overall hiking knife is the Morakniv Companion Knife because we love how the handle is thick and padded for a really steady grip. The blade is very high-quality and you can easily clip it to your belt to take it with you on any outdoor adventure.
If you want a budget choice, the best cheap hiking knife we could find comes in the form of a bracelet. The Atomic Bear Paracord Bracelet can literally save your life. For a super affordable price you get a knife, fire starter, and 12 ft of paracord. Wearing the knife on your wrist makes you a lot less likely to lose it as well.