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Best Hiking Knife: An Essential Tool for Every Hiker

Best hiking knife
John C. Porter
Written by John C. Porter

Everyone likes hiking. I mean, every time you do it feels like the first time because the experiences are always different. When preparing for a hike, there are several essential tools that one must have and a knife is never optional.

There is so much that will be unaccomplished without a knife, but the challenge comes in when one sets to look for the best hiking knife. The markets have so much to offer, but unfortunately, not all these knives end up withstanding the tests.

Every hiking environment has its share of different challenges, and one needs to have the best hiking knife to come out victorious.

We have come to understand this challenge and it’s the reason we set to do a comprehensive research to come up with the list of the finest hiking knife reviews where we have mentioned every little but important feature that’s key when choosing a hiking knife. Go ahead and read through.

Product NameDimensionsWeightColorPrice
SOG Slpro SLP26 x 6 x 4 inches4.3 ozBlack, SilverCheck price on Amazon
Swiss Army Adventurer3.6 x 0.5 x 1.02 inches2.8 ozRedCheck price on Amazon
Cold Steel Recon 19.5 x 1.5 x 1 inches5.3 ozBlackCheck price on Amazon
Buck Knives 011910 x 0.5 x 6 inches10.5 ozBlack, SilverCheck price on Amazon
Gerber Strongarm3 x 5.5 x 16 inches11.2 ozBlackCheck price on Amazon
Spyderco TenaciousUnlisted4 ozBlackCheck price on Amazon
Fallkniven A11.8 x 2.8 x 12.9 inches12.8 ozBlackCheck price on Amazon
Gerber LMF II12.2 x 4.7 x 2.8 inches19.2 ozBlackCheck price on Amazon

Things to consider before buying

It can be really hard to choose something that could possibly save your life – the best hiking knife, especially if you are buying it for the first time. Hiking knives  come in a wide range of sizes, designs and weights, so we understand why this can be a daunting task.

Some hiking knives are heavier than others and as someone who spends a lot of time outdoors hiking, you don’t want something heavy in your backpack, so you really have to be carefully when choosing the best hiking knife. This is why we prepared some features you should take in consideration, so read them below.

Size

The knife you buy should have the perfect size to meet your needs as it matters a lot if you’re planning on using it often. Check the length of the knife when buying a hiking knife.

different type of backpacking knifes

The longer the knife is can be good at some points, but a really short knife will do no good and can leave you dealing with consequences of not being able to cut anything.

Weight

This is another tricky part of choosing a hiking knife. A lot of hikers cut the hiking knife due to its heaviness. You don’t want to carry around a heavier knife than necessary. It might kill the fun of using it. Keep in mind that the bigger the knife, the heavier and bulkier it is and you definitely need something that will feel light and comfortable in your hand.

Design (handle, blade, and sheath)

How easy is it to carry, use and store it? It’s wise to go for a knife that has several options on how you can carry and store it.

backpacking tactical knife

For camping or hiking, a folding blade will be just fine, but there are a also some reasons why you should get a knife with a fixed blade, for example strength, safety and cleanliness.

The combination

Apart from the knife, what else are you getting? Will you have to purchase a sharpener or sheath separately? Getting a knife with more “extras” helps you cut on cost. Choose a knife that serves as a multi-tool.

Ease of operation

This is mostly determined by design. How quick can you get the knife from the storage and use it? Every folding knife comes with a locking blade which sometimes can fail which will make it harder to open it and use it.

Corrosion resistance

This has more to do with durability. Can you use the knife in wet conditions? Can you use it in salt water?

Sharpness

Is the knife sharp from the box? How much work can it handle without the need to re-sharpen it?

Although it may seem obvious that many hiking knives have rounded, angled or straight cut flat tips it would be good that the knife has a sharp pointed tip despite any contrary argument as it can be used for hunting too.

Durability

Based on the conditions that you plan on subjecting your knife in, how long will it take before it can’t handle it anymore?

Price

Gone are the days when prices were used to determine the quality of the product. Cheaper knives might be much better that most overpriced ones and vice versa.

Best products on today’s market

Now that you’ve read all the features and things you should consider when looking for the best hiking knife, let’s review some of the hiking knives and then decide which one’s the best. Check out the link in each review that will lead you directly to the purchase place.

SOG Slpro SLP2SOG Specialty Knives Tool Logic SLP2 SLPro

Price: Approx. $35

Color: Black/silver

Weight: 4.3 ounces

Dimensions: 6 x 6 x 4 inches

Specific features: Folding blade knife, firestarter rod, white LED flashlight, loud emergency whistle, flashlight is waterproof, rugged frame lock, pocket/belt clip, excellent grind and steel, one hand operational handle

Best use: Outdoors, camping, hunting

Description: Tool Logic’s SOG SLPro SLP2 is the best combination knife for any outdoors all factors considered. You get not only a knife but also an excellent flashlight, a loud whistle, and a fire starter. To save on storage space, the genius manufacturers made the knife foldable, which also means easy to carry.

Also, the knife is lightweight, weighs 4.3 oz and its size, 6x6x4″ makes it perfect for its purpose. You also don’t have to carry it together with your other luggage which might make it hard to locate it if you need it urgently due to its size. It has a pocket/belt clip that enables you to just clip it wherever is easily accessible for you.

The loud emergency whistle makes you feel safe when out hunting or camping because even if your troop leaves you behind for some reason, you can quickly alert them if you are in danger.

Again, with the flash LED light, you can always be sure to find your way around no matter how dark the place is plus the flashlight comes in handy for hunters as it can either be used to scare away some dangerous animals while also letting your hunting mates know where you are.

Besides, this knife’s handle can be operated single-handedly. This means that if you are making your tent with one hand or holding your tool, you can use the knife’s touch with the free hand effortlessly. Another excellent feature that makes this knife ideal for camping or hunting is the magnesium fire starter.

Think of how frustrating it can be trying to start a fire in the middle of nowhere with no success. All you do with this fire starter is first to work off the protective coating. This makes it easy to get a spark, and you can say goodbye to the cold if you are camping, and also make a good meal! You will never go wrong with this Tool Logic knife.

PROS:

  • LIghtweight
  • Waterproofed flashlight
  • Magnesium fire starter

CONS:

  • The whistle isn’t very loud
  • Low range of flashlight

Related: For every hiking enthusiast who is planning on buying a hiking knife is mandatory to have a sharpener. Many buyers who opted for this knife also bought this Smith’s PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener for sharpening gut hooks and serrations.

Check the price on Amazon

Swiss Army Adventurer Swiss Army Adventurer

Price: $25 – $50

Color: Red

Weight: 2.8 ounces

Dimensions: 3.6 x 0.5 x 1.02 inches

Specific features: Compact on-the-go pocket Multi-tool, stylish red housing, Victorinox logo, locking blade, Phillips screwdriver, tweezers, can opener plus a small screwdriver, reamer plus sewing eye, wire stripper, toothpick, key ring

Best use: Camping

Description: When you see the name Victorinox, a range of products come to your mind, but among them is the Swiss Army Adventurer. This knife is ideal for any adventurous person as it saves you a great deal when it comes to deciding what to carry with you and also how to pack them.

It’s hard to believe how much such a small package can be holding but thanks to Victorinox, this Swiss Army Knife opens up presenting everything you might need while away from your kitchen. Some of the small contents in this knife are a cap opener, toothpick, screwdriver, tweezers, and locking blade.

Think of how much trouble you would have to go through if you realized that you did not carry a can opener while you are already miles away on your road trip. This tool was not just designed in a hurry. Below are some of the features and their importance:

The blade is excellent and is long enough to handle different tasks such as trimming loose strings. It has a side-button lock mechanism that enables the user to lock it one-handed, which is great, especially if you are working and has just one free hand.

If you ever need a screwdriver while away from home, you will be glad you purchased this knife. The screwdriver serves the role of a prying and chisel tool, and it’s strong, and even with hard prying, you will hardly break one.

One might ignore the importance of the tweezers and toothpick, but it’s when you need them and are unable to get them or their substitute that you realize how important they are.

PROS:

  • Long blade
  • Large flat screwdriver
  • Lock mechanism

CONS:

  • Serrated edge
  • Small Size

Related: Victorinox is one of the most popular companies when it comes to manufacturing swiss knives so it’s no wonder they offer a wide range of hiking knives specifically designed to every person find their perfect hiking companion. The popular ones are Victorinox Swiss Army Huntsman Pocket Knife and Victorinox Swiss Army Pioneer Pocket Knife.

Check the price on Amazon

Cold Steel Recon 1Cold Steel Recon 1 Spear Point

Price: $80 – $170

Color: Black

Weight: 5.3 oz

Dimensions: 9.5 x 1.5 x 1 inches

Specific features: 4-way Pocket/ belt clip, Tri-ad lock, spear point steel blade with DLC coating alloy, tactical folding knife, scalpel Sharp, tank tough, perfectly thin, lightweight, amazingly strong

Best use: Law enforcement and law personnel, fire & rescue crew, civilians (for any occasion)

Description: The Cold Steel Recon 1 is ideally suited to perform just any task thanks to its blade length (4 inches). This length of the blade enables one to perform serious tasks, and at the same time, you can perfectly use it for fine carvings.

Also, for those with large hands, thanks to this long blade, the knife’s handle will fit in your hands perfectly. Looking at the handles, it’s just fantastic and has an excellent aggressive texture making it feel good in your hand while causing no pain.

It also has two grooves for both primary and middle fingers making it super comfortable to hold in your hand and use. Thus way Pocket/belt clip: with this, you have options on how to carry the Recon depending on how comfortable each option is for you.

You can either carry it left/right or up/downside plus its lockup is rock solid, so you are totally safe no matter how you choose to carry it. This is an excellent feature considering that when on different activities, you might be forced to carry it differently otherwise it will be uncomfortable.

This blade is a sturdy piece of metal! Its hollow grind is a plus to its spear point shape when it comes to different task performance.

You get enough cutting surface because the blade’s blade has a perfect size and even from the box, this blade is scalpel sharp and goes a long way without a need to re-sharpen it. Also, the blade here is thick, thus no worries about it breaking when subjected to tough tasks.

The knife is outstanding for all cutting tasks, and you can easily use the blade to open cans. It’s strong enough, very sharp and it’s generally reliable and durable.  It’s extremely rugged, and when it comes to re-sharpening, you only need few lops on its strap, and it goes back to razor sharpness. It’s a must have tool!

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Size
  • Sharp, high-quality blade

CONS:

  • Price
  • Low-quality Tri-ad lock

Related: This is another hiking knife that is usually bought with  Smith’s PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener for sharpening your hiking pal.

Check the price on Amazon

Buck Knives 0119Buck Knives 0119

Price: Approx. $45

Color: Black/silver

Weight: 10.5 oz

Dimensions: 10 x 0.5 x 6 inches

Specific features: Comes in black/silver, lightweight, large clip blade, phenolic handles, sheath with fitted genuine leather (has a belt loop), classic design, razor sharp blade, 420hc stainless blade, thus easy to sharpen, corrosion resistant blade, handle made of Cocobolo wood: polished brass guard and pommel, full-tang knife, well balanced

Best use: Knife enthusiasts, outdoors, hunter, camper

Description: The Buck Knives 0119 is everything you would expect from Buck! You know you are getting a good deal when it comes with a forever warranty. I mean, no one would be willing to give this knowing that their products won’t stand the test. Buying this knife, for knife lovers/users, it’s the greatest favor you can do yourself.

It’s the ideal deal for all tasks that a knife can be subjected to. This knife is razor sharp straight from the box. The manufacturers make sure that it’s ready to use, and not for a short period, but rather for years without the need to re-sharpen.

Even knife enthusiasts are not fans of knife sharpening, thus with this knife, and you are guaranteed of several years frequent use without re-sharpening. However, if you have to re-sharpen yours, you will have an easy time doing it because this knife has a 420hc stainless blade.

Corrosion resistant blade: if you are going to be cutting fresh vegetables or using the knife in wet conditions, you need to know whether or not it is corrosion resistant. Most knives are said to be corrosion resistant, but they prove otherwise after use.

Some people hold on to their favorite knives for even more than 50 years, and this is only possible if the knives do not corrode and Buck Knives 0119 is that knife for you. Also, this knife is made in the USA, apart from the sheath, and this tells you that you are getting the best quality.

Handle made of Cocobolo wood, polished brass guard and pommel. The best knife should have the best handle. Otherwise, even with a great blade and all other great features, it still will be useless because the user must feel comfortable using it.

The manufacturer made sure that the user of the 0119 knife has the best time using it by first giving it the best balance followed by a great handle with a warm and stylish look. This is a full-tang knife and it comes with a quality sheath that has the same durability as the knife itself.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Stainless steel
  • Corrosion resistant blade

CONS:

  • Low-quality rivets
  • The balance seems off

Related: Buck Knives for their 75th Anniversary Edition collection also manufactured the same type of knife with same features, but with Wooden Handle. It’s almost double the price (approximately $80), but if you want something more stylish, then this one’s design is perfect for you.

Check the price on Amazon

Gerber StrongarmGerber StrongArm

Price: $55 – $90

Color: Black

Weight: 11.2 oz

Dimensions: 3 x 5.5 x 16 inches

Specific features: Full Tang Knife, ceramic-coated drop point blade, rubberized diamond-texture handle, striking pommel at the handle’s base for rescue and survival,modular sheath that can easily be mounted on a belt, MOLLE, or the traditional drop leg, brute strength, solid grip, fine edge

Best use: Combat and survival applications

Description: The Gerber StrongArm design was based on the military survival training fundamentals. Everything about it makes sure that whatever your mission is, you will accomplish it perfectly.

One thing that the manufacturers of this knife are known for, is the “tough-as-hell fixed blade, ” and this means that you can be sure of success in whatever you subject the knife.

Apart from being sturdy and super durable, this modular sheath makes the knife ideal, especially for people who plan on being in different activities while using it. You can mount it on MOLLE, traditional drop leg or a belt.

This means that whatever position you will be in when on your tasks you will access it effortlessly. Its snap-together components make it the best sheath.

Users of this kind of knife are people who know what a good knife should look and feel like and unshakable grip says it all. If you plan on subjecting your knife to tough tasks, the last thing you want is to have a shaking grip because chances of doing a clean job are slim.

A shaking grip also means you will spend more time than necessary on a single task. But with this knife, you get the most solid grip ever! Striking pommel at the handle’s base means that you will be able to break through any hard surface for an effective rescue operation.

You can have full trust on this knife to help you carry out your mission in the best way possible and within the shortest time possible. This knife’s blade is ceramic coated, meaning that you will have a subtle use even with a low visual profile.

The coating also prevents corrosion, giving it a long life while enabling you to carry out your tasks perfectly even years after purchasing it. Every knife enthusiast’s nightmare is waking up to a corroding knife, especially if it’s their favorite knife.

PROS:

  • Full tang 420HC steel blade
  • Adjustable strap
  • Stainless steel

CONS:

  • Sturdy construction
  • Poor design
  • Poor balance

Related: Coyote Gerber StrongArm Fixed Blade Knife is another hiking knife from this brand’s collection and it costs approximately as the black version of the knife. It has same features, the only difference is the stylish coyote design.

Check the price on Amazon

Spyderco TenaciousSpyderco Tenacious

Price: Approx. $40

Color: Black

Weight: 4 oz

Dimensions: 7.75 inches length

Specific features: Tenacious thus one holds fast, plain Edge Knife, mid-sized knife, G-10 laminate handle-black, 8Cr13Mov stainless blade, leaf-shaped blade, textured spine jimping and Oversized Spyderco Round Hole, walker Linerlock, 4-way pocket clip

Best use: Suitable for everyday carry

Description: Whatever your reason is for buying this knife, you will never regret placing your money on it. Every feature of it was carefully designed, and every material is the best you can ever get. Generally, the Spyderco Tenacious is everything the manufacturers say it is so if its description fits what you are looking for then go ahead and buy it without hesitation.

There is so much about this knife that makes it the best hiking knife. First, the blade. Expect heavy chunk of steel here. This knife has a modified leaf shape, an adequate blade thickness, wide cord, and flat grind design to give it extra strength. This knife performs perfectly even when subjected to rugged duty tasks.

If you are one person who doesn’t know how to baby your knives, you can put your trust in this knife because it will withstand every abuse. Other great features in this knife that are hardly found in other knives within the same price range are smoothness and the G-10 scales of blade deployment.

You can also adjust the pivot tension thus you are able to use your knife in the most comfortable position for you. When it comes to the pocket clip, you can switch it around to suit your preference. This makes it easy for you as the user because you can carry it however you feel safe and comfortable for you.

With this knife, you also get a solid feel while using it because it has skeletonized steel liners plus the sturdy liner lock. The strong lock is the strongest locking design and is mostly found in more expensive custom built folders.

PROS:

  • Steel blade
  • Adjustable pivot tension
  • Price

CONS:

  • Sturdy construction
  • Rough edge
  • Too wide

Related: If this knife is not something that would suit you, Spyderco offers 4 more hiking knives options – Spyderco Resilience G-10 Knife, Spyderco Tenacious Folding Knife, Spyderco Persistence G-10 Knife and Spyderco Ambitious Black G-10 Knife with all having different features.

Check the price on Amazon

Fallkniven A1Fallkniven A1 Survival

Price: Approx. $190

Color: Black

Weight: 12.8 oz

Dimensions: 1.8 x 2.8 x 12.9 inches

Specific features: Spear point blade, full tang knife, VG-10 stainless blade, handle: Black checkered Kraton, lanyard hole, embossed black leather sheath- belt sheath, Sweden designed- Japanese steel, ergonomic grip, semi-large all-purpose knife, water-repelling concept- works the same in both stifling heat and extreme cold conditions

Best use: Heavy duty use

Description: Sweden design and Japanese steel sound like an all-around perfect knife. For heavy duty use, you will never go wrong with the Fallkniven A1. The knife is semi-large, and it’s all-purpose, so you will be able to perform different tasks with it.

The knife has a great blade made extremely hard and tough, laminated VG-10 steel enabling it to withstand any stress from hard use. With the ergonomic grip, you will comfortably use it for chopping and any other daily tasks. It’s also full tang meaning you will be able to strike its end without breaking your grip.

Therefore, you can perform all your tasks perfectly and use the shortest time possible. For a knife to qualify as the best hiking knife, then it should have great options of how to carry and store it. With the Fallkniven A1, there is no doubt that the manufacturers took their time in coming up with the best ways possible.

The knife has a sturdy Zytel sheath that allows the users to fasten it on their belts or pack and you can even fasten it or pack it upside down. Water-repelling concept- this knife works the same in both stifling heat and extreme cold conditions.

When you decide to go hiking or camping, there is never absolute certainty in how the weather is going to turn out and it’s important to know that all your tools will perform perfectly despite the changes in weather. With the Fallkniven Model A, you will do everything right, whether it’s cold or hot.

The knife is also very well balanced, thus comfortable to wield. Its handle’s design makes it functional for safe and comfortable gripping. It’s also totally sharp from the box so no need of re-sharpening, even after several years of use. It’s also very light thus perfect for hiking.

PROS:

  • Stainless, spear point blade
  • Well balanced
  • Comfortable

CONS:

  • Price
  • Small handle

Related: People who bought this knife usually bought 2 things that work perfectly with this knife – Fallkniven Knives DC4 Sharpening Stone and Überleben Zünden Traditional Bushcraft Fire Steel with wooden handle.

Check the price on Amazon

Gerber LMF II Survival KnifeGerber LMF II Survival Knife

Price: Approx. $70

Color: Black

Weight: 1.2 lb

Dimensions: 12.2 x 4.7 x 2.8 inches

Specific features: Rugged & Reliable design, perfect choice for various military, survival tactics, hunting, outdoors and industrial situations, partially serrated blade, plexiglass punch, sheath with integrated sharpener, can convert to a spear, you can use it as a hammer, lashing holes, overmolded handle, pointed stainless steel butt cap

Best use: Various military, survival tactics, hunting, outdoors and industrial situations

Description: Just like anything else that’s made by Gerber, the Gerber LMF II Survival Knife is unstoppable. The manufacturers of this knife intended to make a survival knife usable even in the worst condition and the results never disappointed.

It’s a 10″ knife, and every part of it shows perfection. Some of the features making it the best hiking knife include: Strong, serrated blade. These features enable you to use the knife in all situations. When you go hiking, it’s hard to tell if you will need to cut firewood, slice through seat belts, build a shelter and so forth.

But, given that the LMF II is a survival knife, you will be covered. The knife is designed to adapt to any situation so you can rest assured that you got the right knife. Unique buttcap- can pierce the glass. This knife does have not only a unique blade end, but also the buttcap that is pointed and is stainless steel made.

You can use the heavy end to pierce glass if you ever find yourself in a situation where jumping out of a helicopter/vehicle is the only option. The buttcap’s design ensures that you are safe from electrical shock as it’s separated from the knife’s tang to create shock absorption for when one uses it as a hammer.

Sheath with a built-in sharpener. The moment you purchase this knife, you get other extras such as a carbide sharpener and a low-profile sheath. You can attach the sheath MOLLE vest or a belt.

These features make it the best hiking knife because you will never be stranded in the middle of nowhere with a dull or damaged knife as it also withstands pretty tough abuse.

PROS:

  • Drop point blade
  • Stainless steel blade
  • Built-in sharpener

CONS:

  • After some time handle becomes very sticky
  • Heavy

Related: This knife comes in three different colors, black that we reviewed above, coyote and green, so you can match your hiking knife to the rest of your essentials in your backpack and hike in style.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrapping It Up

Hiking knives are a necessity for anyone going on a hike. However, you should ensure that you have the best hiking knife before embarking on your hike. The best hiking knife is the knife that works perfectly in any environment and can make even the toughest tasks easy and with great results.

We carefully combined this list of the best hiking knife, and with this information, you will not go wrong while choosing one from the other. Read through the list to choose the best for your needs. Good Luck!

Feel free to share if the list was helpful, and leave us a comment of what you would like us to include, change or explain, in the comments section below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John C. Porter
John C. Porter

John is passionate about hiking long distances. His record is over 65 miles in one day with backpacking gear. John hiked over 10 thousand miles, tried over 100 hiking shoes and visited 56 countries so far. His favourite hiking route is West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.

  • John Memphis

    The best folding knife, you can get for the money. Very solid lock-up. This knife qualifies as a “hard use” knife for me… lives daily in my Get-Home bag and it is a superb locking mechanism and razor edge. I have a lot of confidence in using this. I have used it for basic cutting tasks and it is outstanding.

  • John C. Porter

    Folding knives are indeed essential tools for hikers and campers. As the saying goes “don’t leave home without them”. These are basic gear that you’ve got to invest on. Don’t settle for the cheap varieties. Also go for the best products that last for years.

  • Frank Meyers

    I have gone through many knives in my backpacking life. Some knives got lost and some were simply not good enough. About six years ago, I discovered the Gerber brand. First, I bought the Gerber StrongArm Fixed Blade Knife which worked great but unfortunately got lost last year. This time round I decided to try out the Gerber Prodigy Survival Knife and all I can say is …”jackpot”. The Prodigy has a very sharp blade that can cut through almost anything, has perfect weight and comes with a perfect sheath.

  • John C. Porter

    It’s great to finally found what you’re looking for, right Frank? There are a lot of knives for sale but not everything is created equal. When deciding on what to purchase, it really helps to read reviews and testimonies of people who have experienced that brand fully.
    Thanks for dropping by!

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