Whether you live off the land, hiking the Pacific Crest Trail or you’re just planning a weekend camping trip, it’s important to have the essential equipment on you, and that includes a pocket knife.
Pocket knives can be used for a number of things in the wilderness, including starting fires, cutting rope, opening cans and of course, defending yourself. When you come across a tool as versatile as a pocket knife, it can be hard to know which one is best.
We’ve scoured the internet to find the top 5 best pocket knives to use when you’re in the wilderness and wanted to share our findings with you. Complete with a buyer’s guide and in depth reviews, you’re sure to find your next pocket knife below!
One of the best pocket knives on the market has to go to the Snake Eye Tactical Folding Pocket Knife. It has plenty of accessories built in to make it more than just a pocket knife. This knife has a pocket clip, seat belt cutter and glass breaker, making it a great item to have with you in the wilderness.
The blade is black and is partially serrated to get through tougher material. It’s also easy to use when you’re in a pinch since it’s spring activated. The blade is quite thick and made from stainless steel to provide additional durability. The blade is 3 ¼ inches long and the knife is 4 ½ inches long when closed.
- Spring activated for easy use
- Made of stainless steel
- Has a glass breaker and belt cutter built in
- Handle may feel awkward to some
- Locking tab is hard to reach
Why it’s recommended: This knife is relatively small and packs quite a punch. For the amount you pay for it, you get quite a deal.
When it comes to the wilderness, one of the best known names is Bear Grylls. If you want to go on adventures like him, you may want his knife! This knife was made to edge retention and is great for cutting rope.
The grip is rubber and textured to make it comfortable in your hand, without any worry of it slipping. It comes with a nylon sheath that is military grade and resistant to things like mold or mildew.
There is a dual sided thumb stud which makes it easy to open with either one of your hands. The blade is made out of high carbon stainless steel and have a ½ inch serrated section. Closed, this knife is just under 5 inches long, with a blade that is just under inches long.
- Ergonomic rubber grip
- Military grade nylon sheath
- Made by Bear Grylls
- Can be used ambidextrously
- Higher priced than most pocket knives
- Some may think it’s too heavy
- Serration takes up nearly half the blade
Why it’s recommended: Designed by Bear Grylls, you know you’ll get a quality tool. It’s comfortable to hold and is great for taking on the great outdoors.
Another great option you have is this folding knife by Smith and Wesson. The knife itself is just over 7 inches from tip to base, including the 3 inch blade. The blade is made out of stainless steel, making it quite durable and is coated with teflon, so debris won’t stick to it.
Even though the handle is made out of tough aluminium, it won’t be slipping out of your hand. There are convenient thumb knobs that make it easy to use this knife with either hand. There is also a pocket clip for easy storage when you’re not using it.
- Easy to open
- Can be used ambidextrously
- High quality handle and blade
- Pocket clip for easy storage
- Comes incredibly sharp
- May be too heavy for some
- Lock can get stuck (just add oil!)
Why it’s recommended: The blade and handle are made using high quality materials, so you know this knife can get through just about anything!
This stainless steel survival knife by BlizeTec comes with a handy nylon pouch for quick storage. There is an LED flashlight built in, making it perfect for adventures in the wilderness.
There is also a magnesium alloy fire starter to make starting fires much easier. A couple more features this knife has is the ability to cut through seatbelts and break through glass.
Even though this knife has a lot of add-on features, it’s still relatively lightweight and easy to use. The entire thing is 8 ½ inches long, with a 3 ½ inch long blade. When closed, it’s only 5 inches and can easily be stored in the nylon pouch provided.
- Has a built in flashlight
- Can break glass
- Cuts through seatbelts
- Durable – made from stainless steel
- Nylon pouch for storage
- Handle is quite large
- Flashlight doesn’t have a power switch
Why it’s recommended: With a built in LED flashlight amongst many other features, this knife will come in handy in several situations if you bring it with you on a wilderness adventure.
Last but not least on the list, is the MTech USA Ballistic Folding Knife. The handle is durable and high quality, made from aluminum. The blade itself is 3 ¾ inches long and made from stainless steel.
The entire pocket knife closed is just 5 inches long and it has a thumb stud to make it easy to open with either hand. This knife also has a liner lock to keep the blade safely in place when it’s in the lock position.
It’s relatively inexpensive and comes in four different design options. This is a heavy duty pocket knife that would work great in the wilderness for plenty of things!
- Comes in four design options
- Spring assisted
- Thumb stud for quick access
- Can break through glass
- Has a seatbelt cutter
- Not that sharp
- No safety lock
- Some users claim it’s heavy
Why it’s recommended: This is a great, inexpensive option for someone looking for the key features. It may be a bit heavy, but it gets the job done!
Key Considerations When Choosing a Pocket Knife
It doesn’t matter what you’re buying, there are always a few things that may be worth considering. Below you’ll read about some of the most important factors to keep in mind before you spend any money on a pocket knife to use in the wild. These are tips and ideas to help you decide which knife will be perfect for you!
When it comes to things that are important in a pocket knife, the blade length ranks high on that list. There are blades that are 8 inches long, while others are just 2 inches. Just a few inches difference from one blade to the next makes a big difference.
Having a small blade is great for things like cutting strings or opening packages, which you probably won’t be doing too much in the wild. Medium length blades are great because they don’t take up too much room and can still handle the jobs that may be required of it in the wilderness.
Lastly, large blades are nice because you’re able to do a lot more with them. You’d be able to cut firewood, catch dinner and more. The downfall of larger pocket knives is that they’re bulky and can be quite heavy to carry around for long periods of time.
Number of Blades
A lot of pocket knives actually come with multiple blades. If this is of interest to you, that’s great because these can come in quite handy. Pocket knives with multiple blades are often able to do more than single use pocket knives. The downside is that they’re usually quite small and can be a bit bulky to carry.
Just like anything else you purchase, price plays a factor. There are a number of pocket knives out there that will work great in the wilderness without breaking your bank. Some knives that are more expensive may be made of better material, have more features or may simply be tied to a well known brand or survivalist.
If you’re going to be using a pocket knife in the wilderness, you’ll want it to be made out of high quality material. Most that you’ve read about above are made out of some form of stainless steel. Stainless steel is a durable material that will last through cut after cut.
Another material you’ll want to keep your eye on is that of the handle. You don’t want a handle that will slip or wear down overtime. Lastly, if it comes with a sheath, note what material that is made out of too. You’ll want something that’s nylon or military grade so that your knife is well protected when it’s not in use.
Above you read a bit about how the material of the handle is important, and that’s true. Another thing you want to look for in a handle is that it’s comfortable. You don’t want your hand to get fatigued or blistered up from using a pocket knife.
There are knives on the market that have a rubber, non-slip grip like the Bear Grylls pocket knife mentioned above. This not only makes the handle comfortable to hold, but keeps you from dropping it if your hands are wet or sweaty when using it.
There are pocket knives out there that are built for use in the wild. If you look at the BlizeTec knife reviewed above, it not only can cut through many types of material but it has the ability to break through glass, cut through heavy duty things like seatbelts and has an LED flashlight.
If you’re in the wild, you’ll become a big fan of any pocket knife that also has a flashlight. Some have a pocket clip feature that makes for easy storage, while others have thumb knob features that make it easy to open.
Features are more a preference than a requirement, and you can easily choose which features you’ll need in a pocket knife.
Having a quality locking mechanism is pretty important in a pocket knife. You don’t want the blade coming out when it’s meant to be locked up. This is not only a safety matter for you, but is especially important if you have children with you in the wilderness.
There are different types of locking mechanisms. The liner lock is a pretty basic type but it gets the job done. A slipjoint doesn’t necessarily lock the blade as it does keep it in place inside the handle. Lockbacks are a great option that makes it easy to lock the knife by just snapping a piece of metal at the base of the handle.
There are many different types of locking mechanisms when it comes to pocket knives and it’s best to be well versed on those before choosing which knife will work best for you.
Before you head out into the woods or mountains, make sure you have a pocket knife on you. It doesn’t have to be one listed above, but having one on your person could save your life. They also make the wilderness experience much more enjoyable.
You’ll be able to shave off kindling to start a fire, cut open cans for food, catch prey for dinner and more. Pay attention to the blade length and material when shopping for your next pocket knife. Make sure it has some sort of locking mechanism to keep you and your party safe.
There are plenty of great options out there that are inexpensive and still have a lot of great features. You don’t need to spend a bunch of money to get a pocket knife that will work great in the wilderness. Happy adventures!