One of your most important hunting and survival gear purchases is your knife. This is also one of the more difficult purchases for beginners, too. Why’s that? Because frankly, to the untrained eye, most knives look exactly the same except for some cosmetic differences. So, how can you tell the difference between the best hunting knife and the worst?
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping for a knife to take hunting or camping:
Some of the coolest looking knives are also the worst quality and least practical, so don’t buy a knife just based on looks. Having said that, there are some absolutely beautiful high quality knives, too.
- You don’t have to spend a fortune for a good hunting knife, you just have to shop smart.
- If you’re able to buy dozens of knives and test them all out, you’re living the dream. If you only want to buy one or two, this page will help you select the very best one for your unique needs.
- We’ve taken experience, reviews, and value into consideration and chosen a handful of knives. You can’t go wrong with any of these, so find the one that best suits your tastes and your budget and you’re guaranteed an excellent experience.
Top 5 Best Hunting Knives
We’re going to be looking at different styles of buck knives, folding knives, camping, and hunting knives… Whatever you want to call them, they all have a few things in common: quality, value, and from brands with great track records.
ESEE Knives LSP Laser Strike Fixed Blade Knife with Canvas Micarta Handles
This fixed-blade knife by ESEE has a very comfortable canvas handle, and at just over $100 it’s certainly not the cheapest knife on this list, but it’s also worth every single penny of your hard earned cash.
It comes with a Kydex sheath, and pre-equipped with ferrocerium fire-starting flint and tinder tabs hidden inside of the handle. It’s made from high-carbon 1095 steel, so you’ve got to take good care of it – it may rust if you aren’t careful.
This knife is for somebody who understands the philosophy that sometimes you’ve got a pay a little extra for quality, and that having nice things usually means you’ve got to take better care of them, too. It’s not like it’s high-maintenance or anything, just keep it properly lubricated and clean it when you’re done using it.
To top it off, their warranty is basically perfect: “If you break it, we will replace it. Warranty is lifetime and transferable. In other words, we warranty the knife no matter how many times it’s been traded, sold or given away – no sales receipt or proof of purchase required.”
In other words, you buy it once and you’ve got a knife for life.
Benchmade Knife 15031-2 North Fork Folder Wood
This beautiful knife by Benchmade is in a higher price point than the previous one we looked at, but we’re going to feature some less expensive (yet still high-quality) knives in just a moment. This particular knife is also great for an everyday carry.
There’s no shortage of positive reviews, and the wood grain handle is gorgeous. This knife is popular amongst hunters, campers, fishermen, collectors, and just people looking for a new EDC. It’s made in the USA. It’s not spring assisted, so you don’t have to worry about the added headache of maintaining that or having it fail when you need it. It folds out smoothly, and can be adjusted.
Before we take a look at a couple more affordable options, let’s climb higher up the ladder and take a look at a premium knife by Spyderco.
Spyderco FB36CFP Hunting Fixed Blade Knife
This knife is an absolute treat. It’s not always in stock, so if you’re able to catch one – consider yourself one of the lucky ones! It’s designed by Chris Claycomb, and is just an all-around piece of art that can also get the job done.
It’s a collector’s item, no doubt, but don’t let that stop you from taking it out into the bush with you. This might be one of the best hunting knives you’ll ever own, and that your children will ever own, and that their children will ever own…
It also includes a premium leather sheath, but you’re never going to want to put it down.
Havalon Piranta Z Folding Blade Skinning Knife
This knife is specifically for skinning, in particular in the field. It’s the most affordable, but it’s not versatile at all. We really need to emphasize that. It does one thing, and it does it very well. It is made by a brand that is primarily known for making surgical equipment, so when you want to skin your game with surgical precision, you’re covered.
Want to whittle away at a branch by the campfire? This isn’t the knife for you. If you apply any side pressure, the blades will break. It comes with 12 replaceable blades, and even if you toss it after they’re done – it’s still an amazing value when you compare function and price.
Buck Knives 110 Famous Folding Hunter Knife
Here’s our value option if you want to spend under $50 but still get a high-quality knife from a reputable brand that will last you for as long as you’re willing to care for it.
It has over 1400 positive reviews, ships fast, folds up into an included sheath, and is very sharp. It’s a versatile blade, unlike the last one that we looked at, so it’ll have your back in any situation you may encounter.
It’s referred to as “the most copied knife in the world”, but why not own the original?
Hopefully we were able to include something for all tastes and budgets. Any of these knifes is a good bet, so pick the one that most catches your eye.