Best Knives for Hikers: Reviews, Buying Guide, and FAQs 2021

by knifeideas

Hiking requires a great deal of planning. You have to carefully plan what and what not to add to the already full list of things to bring with you. And the fact is, no matter how hard you try, you always end up with a full backpack. One of the major causes is making the right choice between two of three options when setting out to the wilderness, and in this case, which knife is best for hiking.

As you're packing to get ready for your hiking trip, you think to yourself, "I need a knife for cutting ropes and clearing bushes when I plan to set up my spot in the woods." But then you also think, "what if I wanted to go hunting or fishing, or I'm attacked in the woods, what kind of knife will I need to protect myself?" "I will definitely get cold at night in the woods, cutting up firewood would be a hassle of I do not get a strong knife hard enough to cut through the wood." The truth is, after all these, you'd still want your knife to perform just as great the next time you set out for another hiking trip. For these reasons, choosing the best knife can be a real hassle as you might end up packing multiple knives to suit many of your hypothetical but valid needs.

Editor's Recommendation: Top Knives for Hikers 2021

The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to choosing the best knife for hiking. But I'll walk you through the best knife choices for hikers and backpackers out there. Plus, the reason for those choices. These reasons vary due to their weight, size, durability, ability to use them for multiple purposes, and handling capacity (ease of use). So that when you finally make your knife choice for hiking, you will do so to the best of your knowledge.

Top 5 best hiking knives to have

Top 5 best hiking knives to have
Top 5 best hiking knives to have

1. Grand way folding knife: - Link

Spring Assisted Knife - Pocket Folding Knife - Military Style - Boy Scouts Knife - Tactical Knife - Good for Camping Hunting Survival Indoor and Outdoor Activities Mens Gift 6681
Spring Assisted Knife - Pocket Folding Knife - Military Style - Boy Scouts Knife - Tactical Knife - Good for Camping Hunting Survival Indoor and Outdoor Activities Mens Gift 6681

the awesomeness of the Grand way folding knife does not end with its beautifully crafted design. Though we all agree it looks good. Here are its features:

  • Handle material: aluminum
  • Handle color: black
  • Blade material: stainless steel
  • Blade color: black
  • Blade length: 3.42 inches
  • Blade shape: clip point
  • Blade edge: fine
  • Total length: 7.75 inches ( 195 mm)
  • Weight: 125 grams

The Grand way folding knife is the perfect utility knife for all your hiking trips. It's light to the point of  not taking any space, making it a great choice of a knife if you want to pack light for your hiking trip. You do not need to find a backpack space for it, though, since it has a pocket clip that allows easy access to it whenever needed on your hike.

The Grand way folding knife has a spring-assisted opening blade, and the handle has an interlock that allows you to keep it in place whenever it is locked. This means the risk of accident due to opening up unexpectedly when the flipper is pressed accidentally is completely eradicated. It also has a linear lock that protects you from accidents caused by the blade accidentally closing up when used for pressure-related jobs. It leaves you in charge. This interlock is also constructed to be dirt resistant which makes it reliable at all times.

The blade of the Grand way folding knife is a 440c stainless steel coated with black oxide, which makes it highly durable. It's not prone to corrosion. You can cut through hardwood with ease and not expect it to wear off.

The Grand way folding knife has a ribbed non-slip handle with thumb studs, ergonomically crafted to allow cutting with ease.

2. Smith and Wesson swhrt9b fixed blade knife: - Link

Smith & Wesson SWHRT9B 9in High Carbon S.S. Fixed Blade Knife with 4.7in Dual Edge Blade and TPE Handle for Outdoor, Tactical, Survival and EDC
Smith & Wesson SWHRT9B 9in High Carbon S.S. Fixed Blade Knife with 4.7in Dual Edge Blade and TPE Handle for Outdoor, Tactical, Survival and EDC

The Smith and Wesson swhrt9b is a great cutting tool for hikers. It was made by Smith and Wesson, who are well known for creating the best knives and firearms. Here are its features:

  • Handle material: rubber, thermoplastic elastomers
  • Color: covert black
  • Blade material: high carbon stainless steel
  • Style: fixed blade
  • Blade shape: spear pointed
  • Blade length: 4.7 inches ( 12.1 centimeters)
  • Blade edge: compound bevel
  • Knife length: 9 inches ( 22.9 centimeters)
  • Knife weight: 7.7 ounces

The Smith and Wesson swhrt9b is a lightweight tactical knife with a dual-edge blade perfect for hikers. This knife is not only lightweight, but it also comes with a sheath that can be attached to the belt or boot, which means it does not take up space. So whether you're packing light and do not want to save the extra space for a knife, or your backpack is already full, the Smith and Wesson swhrt9b ensures there is nothing to worry about as it doesn't care how much space you have. The sheath also comes with a sturdy steel clip which makes it easily accessible when needed.

The Smith and Wesson swhrt9b has a spear point blade made of high carbon stainless steel, making it less prone to corrosion. It is well-known highly durable. Smith and Wesson are so sure of their blade's durability that they placed a limited lifetime warranty on the blade in case of any breakages.

The handle of the Smith and Wesson swhrt9b has a rubber-wrapped handle ergonomically crafted so that it is easy to handle. It has finger guarded extensions at both the top and bottom of its handles to provide added security in use. It also has a hole at its handle through which you can pass a rope to tether the knife to your wrists while in use.

3. Mossy oak surviving hunting knife: - Link

Mossy Oak Survival Hunting Knife with Sheath, 15-inch Fixed Blade Tactical Bowie Knife with Sharpener & Fire Starter for Camping, Outdoor, Bushcraft
Mossy Oak Survival Hunting Knife with Sheath, 15-inch Fixed Blade Tactical Bowie Knife with Sharpener & Fire Starter for Camping, Outdoor, Bushcraft

The Mossy oak surviving hunting knife is a tactical hunting and carving knife. And trust me, it isn't child's play. here are its features

  • Handle material: rubber
  • Color: black
  • Blade material: stainless steel
  • Blade length: 10 inches{ 254 millimeters
  • Blade shape: clip point
  • Blade edge: bowie knife
  • Knife weight:16.8 ounces
  • Knife length: 15 inches(384 millimeters)

The Mossy oak surviving hunting knife comes with a heavy-duty nylon sheath with an easy-open fastening system and a belt hanging system that makes it easy to carry.

The Mossy oak surviving hunting knife has stainless steel, black anodized, 10 inches in length.  It has a saw back blade with improved rust resistance and edge retention. This makes it a worry-free knife to use in humid areas, which could cause corrosion in blades. Cutting hard surfaces with this knife on your hiking trip is not a reason to worry about losing its sharpness. It takes a lot this ultra-sharp as well as strong hunting knife as they are built to last.

The Mossy oak surviving hunting knife has a rubber handle that provides a comfortable grip with high friction, which means it doesn't slip easily when it's in use. It also has a hole at its handle, which you can use to tether your wrists to the knife.

The Mossy oak surviving hunting knife is a great tactical knife for hunting and survival when hiking out in the woods. With a knife length of 15 inches, a blade thickness of 3.8mm, and a weight of 16.8 ounces. It's evident that this knife is no small add-on on your hiking trip. Being a bowie knife, also known as a short sword, this knife has enough weight to pack a force. It is strong enough for slashing and thrusting movements. So when hiking out in the deep forest, the Mossy oak surviving hunting knife is the best choice for you as it'll allow you to be able to clear bushes on your path, cut trees to make fire, hunting and protection from wild beasts. It also does great for skinning and butchering the wild beasts. It is the perfect survival knife.

This knife also comes with a silver sharpener and black fire starter, which aids your hiking trip. The Mossy oak surviving hunting knife is not lightweight, but it's certainly a useful knife for hiking trips that deal with survival in the wild.

4. Esee izula-11 - Link

ESEE Knives Izula-II Fixed Blade Knife, Micarta Handle, Molded Sheath, Clip Plate (Black)
ESEE Knives Izula-II Fixed Blade Knife, Micarta Handle, Molded Sheath, Clip Plate (Black)

The Esee izula-11 is a lightweight knife for light packers. Here are its features:

  • Handle material: Tan Micarta
  • Blade color: black
  • Blade material: high carbon steel
  • Blade length: 2.63 inches
  • Blade shape: straight back
  • Blade edge: flat
  • Knife weight:1 pound
  • Knife length: 6.75 inches

The Esee izula-11 is named after its predecessor, the Esee izula. The major difference between the Esee izula-11 and the Esee izula is that the Esee izula-11 has a half-inch longer handle, and it came with scales. The extra inch is made this way because even though customers loved the Esee izula, they feel the handle is a little smaller. Thus the Esee izula-11 was made.

The Esee izula-11 is as lightweight as they come, and it comes with its dependability in its 1095 high carbon steel, which allows great cutting without risk of breakage. Its powder coat finish allows you to use it around water without risk of corrosion. So if you're hiking around streams and rivers; as you plan to go fishing during your hiking trip, the Esee izula-11 is your best hiking knife.

The Esee izula-11 comes with an injection mold plastic sheath that can be carried as a right-handed and a left-handed person. The Esee izula-11 can be carried with you in varieties of ways as its compact design and slim profile allows you to fit it easily into any pocket or clip it to the strap of your backpack.

5. Smith and Wesson extreme ops swa24s - Link

Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops SWA24S 7.1in S.S. Folding Knife with 3.1in Serrated Clip Point Blade and Aluminum Handle for Outdoor, Tactical, Survival and EDC
Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops SWA24S 7.1in S.S. Folding Knife with 3.1in Serrated Clip Point Blade and Aluminum Handle for Outdoor, Tactical, Survival and EDC

The Smith and Wesson extreme ops swa24s is another great product of smith and Wesson. And the fact that two of their products made this list attests to the fact that they are one of the best out there for making great knives for hikers and knife lovers. Here are the features of the Smith and Wesson extreme ops swa24s:

  • Handle material: aluminum
  • color: covert black
  • Blade material: high carbon stainless steel
  • Blade length: 3.1 inches
  • Knife weight:3.5 ounces
  • Knife length: 7.1 inches

The Smith and Wesson extreme ops swa24s is a lightweight folding knife great for hikers. As it is lightweight and small, you can easily bring it with you in your pocket without worrying about space. The Smith and Wesson extreme ops comes with a pocket clip ant this pocket clip is placed conveniently so that you can pull it out to immediately open the knife.

The ambidextrous thumb knobs can open the blade. The knobs are placed on both sides, making it easy, whether you're left-handed or right-handed. Unlike the grand way folding knife, the Smith and Wesson extreme ops is not a spring-assisted knife. This is not a disadvantage because not being spring-assisted means that the Smith and Wesson extreme ops is a safer tool to use. So you can give your younger child on a hiking trip with less threat of accident caused by accidental opening. To make the knife safer to use, the Smith and Wesson extreme ops also has a thumb-lock catch which keeps the knife in place whenever it is opened or closed.

The handle of the Smith and Wesson extreme ops is aluminum with an ergonomic design to make working with it easier to use.

The blade of the Smith and Wesson extreme ops is a clipped point, serrated on both ends with only one end sharpened. The blade is high-carbon stainless steel coated with black oxide. This leaves no room for corrosion as it is used over time. It is made to last. I have great confidence in this blade, highly recommended.

Things to consider before purchasing a hiking knife (buying guide)

Deciding the best hiking knife for you depends on the terrain you wish to hike, your expectations, and activities planned for your hike.

How heavy or light is your trip:

You wouldn't want to carry large and heavy knives for light intensity hiking trips; these are what camping in the wilderness is for. A heavy-duty fixed blade will be needed for hiking that involves cutting your way through a dense forest. You don't want a broken blade when you need it for survival. This way, when you plan to cut through the thick forest, hunting, or even self-defense, it won't fail you.

When traveling light, which can be because you're following maintained trails or you have a long-distance hike, you require light packing. Carrying a large and heavy knife for trips like these not only takes up space meant for other hiking materials, it is not necessary. For this kind of hiking, stick with fixed blades of about 5 inches long such as the Smith and Wesson swhrt9b. Any folding knife from 3.25 inches upwards will also do the trick, for example, the Grand way folding knife.

What's the quality of your blade:

while I will not ask you to exceed your budget, you must consider quality when choosing your blade. While the cheap blades will do the work in the short run, the truth is, it may only last for just the one, or probably until the second trip. And quality knives, however, though they may cost a little more, would not fail you when you need them most. Not to mention, it'll outlast the cheap, low-quality blade multiple times. That's why ill agree with this unpopular opinion, "If you want to cut costs, spend a little more." Imagine facing a wild animal in the forest, with the need to protect yourself. But your blade broke earlier while you were cutting wood to make a fire. Oh no! You will notice that all the knives listed above have blades that do not fail easily. Therefore, choosing any of the above guarantees that you won't have to worry about needing another knife for a long time.

How resistant to corrosion is your blade:

Corrosion resistance is also an important thing to consider, especially when traveling through humid areas. Steels such as carbon steels are prone to corrosion, especially when they are not dried after use. Mineral coatings are often used to protect such knives.

  • Can your blade perform multiple functions:

packing light for your hiking trip will mean that you don't want to get multiple knives when you can get one that can be used for multiple things. Though there may be a reason to get a specific knife for a specific purpose, I'll advise you to place multipurpose knives on the priority list.

Hiking Knife Frequently asked questions

1. What is the best knife for hikers?

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to choosing a knife. But whenever you're going hiking, ensure you have at least a utility knife like the Grand way folding knife with you. And if your trip would need bush clearing and heavy knife work. A strong knife such as The Mossy oak surviving hunting knife is an important addition.

2. Where should I keep my knife when hiking?

Your knife can be kept in multiple places on your hiking trip. The most common place to keep a knife is at the waist side. This is most common if there is a frequent need for your knife while hiking and you need quick and easy access to your knife. Other places where knives are often kept during hiking are the ankles, the side of the backpack, the arms of the backpack (this is most often used for small knives), etc.

3. What is the best hunting knife?

The best hunting knives are long, strong, and heavy knives such as the Bowie. This is because hunting entails heavy knife action such as cutting through trees searching for prey, sharpening sticks to set traps, stabbing powerful animals in the hunting process, skinning carcasses, and many more. There wouldn't be a time while doing any of these that you'd want your blade to fail since your survival depends on your knife being dependable. One of the best knives is The Mossy oak surviving hunting knife which is both strong and durable.

4. Which knife is great for fishing:

what you need is a lightweight cutting knife. Nothing too big. I'll personally recommend the Esee izula-11 largely because it's been used by lots of anglers out there who can attest to its dependable and long-lasting performance.

Conclusion for Hiking Knife Buyers

Now that you've read through, I'm sure you have a whole new view about blades in general, their different applications, and the kind of blades you should avoid on your next hiking trip. So whenever you are set to go on your next hiking trip, and your buddy tells you, "you never know what can happen," as he shows up with a larger than a normal backpack, with half of it filled with knives of different shapes and sizes. Smile like an expert and set him straight.

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