For a variety of reasons, every person who enjoys the outdoors should own specific knives related to particular activities they are participating in. Trying to determine which knives are the best can be an overwhelming challenge. But, all knives, regardless of their outdoor use, should be durable, compact, and versatile enough to handle any tasks.
This article will look at different knives that you should consider based on what you are looking for. We will look at some of the best knives for your budget, as well as what to look for in a hunting knife, small tactical fixed blade knife, folding knife, EDC knife, and OTF knife. These are the key types of knives you would want to consider when heading to the great outdoors.
Importance of Having a Survival Knife
When you put your life in the hands of the outdoor elements, having added protection is of the utmost importance. Having a survival knife can do just that…help you survive! A quality knife can help you in your hunt for food as well as an aid in helping you build a shelter. Collecting firewood and building a fire will be a part of your survival technique and a solid knife will allow you the opportunity to do that.
You will most likely have plenty of cans of food with you as a food source, so a survival knife will help you open up the cans as well as help prepare and clean your food. In the event of a first aid emergency situation, you will have something to quickly use if needed.
What to Look for in a Knife
Having the right outdoorsy knife is extremely important. But, what exactly should you be looking for in your knife? You need to understand, first and foremost, what you plan on using the knife for. It should be something that is strong enough to handle most activities, but not something that is so massive that it makes it uncomfortable to carry around.
Users want to make sure they have a full tang knife. This indicates to you that you have a solid piece of metal that runs down the handle well. They are more robust and are your best option for outdoor activities such as chopping and levering. Partial tangs are more likely to cause you more hazards.
It is important to also find a knife with the right size for what you want to accomplish. An all-purpose utility knife will usually measure between 4-6 inches in length. This size will allow you to accomplish most tasks in a camp type setting. You should also be looking for a blade that is more straight edge. This type of edge is more versatile, especially if it has a sharp edge. This can help you in times of self defense or if you need to open up processed food, take care of splinters, or repair anything that might have become damaged.
Finally, you want to spend some money to have the best quality blade material. This would be stainless steel and carbon steel. Stainless steel blades are stronger, more durable, but harder to sharpen. Carbon steel blades can be sharpened very easily, but will require more maintenance on your part. Both types of steel will handle your outdoor elements much better than any other kind of knives.
Pocket Knives for your Budget
For the outdoorsy type, pocket knives can be extremely useful. It is one of the most general purpose tools that any person can own. This can be a very beneficial tool anytime you are out in the backcountry. It would be hard to find a fisherman these days without a pocket knife with them. It is very useful for cutting line and removing fish hooks. For many different reasons, a pocket knife is essential for anyone who loves to fish.
When you are outdoors, you never know what kind of danger you could potentially run into. Having a pocket knife on hand can be used for protection if needed. It is not one of the biggest in terms of “survival knives”, but it is just a little added security if you ever needed it.
It can be pretty costly to purchase specific knives, depending on what you plan on using them for. There are many durable pocket knives on the market that won’t make you break the bank. Pocket knives are the most simplistic of all knives that any outdoorsy person would want to own. If working with a budget, here are a couple of knives that you may want to consider.
The Kershaw Skyline Stainless Steel Blade Pocket Knife has been around for a long time and is known for its quality. It has a very minimalistic design that still gets the job done. The blade is 3.1 inches long with an overall length of 7.4 inches, with a weight of 2.5 ounces. The Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel is mid-range steel, which is a reason for the price being so affordable. It offers excellent strength, wears resistance, and corrosion.
One other knife to consider when on a budget is the Steel Will Cutjack. This is a relatively new knife, but is already coming in with great reviews and is expected to be a force for years to come. It comes in D2 steel and has solid ergonomic FRN handles that include nested liners. It has been crafted from the highest quality materials. With steel liners on both sides, the Steel Will CutJack has tremendous strength and durability. It has a very smooth and quick deployment with the simple pressing of your finger. The blade is 3.0 inches long with an overall length of 7.0 inches and weighing 3.0 ounces.
Small Tactical Fixed Blade Knife
Making sure that we are protected out in the woods is priority number one. And, one way of doing that is being able to carry a small tactical fixed blade knife that can easily fit in our pockets. We need something that we can quickly access and that can help save our lives if needed. But, what kind of qualities make up a good type of tactical knife?
Sometimes carrying around a pocket knife just isn’t enough for what kind of tasks you may need a knife for. As with any kind of outdoor knife, it is important to find a knife that has the materials necessary to survive all the elements.
With that being said, one of the first things you want to look for in a tactical knife is what quality of a handle does it provide. Is the grip something that you feel is secure enough for you to handle or do you worry about it slipping? Choosing to go with a rubber or rubber polymer handle would be your best bet. It has a strong enough grip that won’t splinter or crack.
As with the hunting knife, you want to go with a blade that can handle all kinds of weather. Choosing a tactical knife that is made of stainless steel is your best bet. Obviously the better the quality of the blade, the higher the cost will be.
Finally, when thinking of the word tactical, you shouldn’t necessarily just think of fighting. A knife like this can be used for slashing branches or cutting a rope that is tangled. This kind of a knife should be used for outdoor emergencies that could arise. If you see most of your emergencies happening as a result of being outdoors, you will look for a tactical knife with a longer blade, but if it is for more around the house kind of tasks, a smaller blade is all you need.
Folding Knife vs. Fixed Blade Knife
When it comes to surviving the outdoors, you may question whether a folding knife or a fixed blade knife is your best option. Most outdoor experts would choose a fixed blade knife. This seems to be a more reliable option, especially for outdoor use. This kind of knife does not fold over or clip onto a handle. No joint separates the handle from the blade. Because of that reason, fixed blade knives are much tougher than folding knives. When you have a joint between the handle and the blade, it tends to weaken the knife a bit.
Because they do not fold, you cannot carry a fixed blade knife in your pocket. You will need to acquire a quality sheath that you can store your knife in. This would not be the knife for you if your plan was to use it for day-to-day activities. It would be quite dangerous for those kind of chores.
A folding knife provides you with the opportunity to carry it around in your pocket because of the reduced size. But, as discussed above, with the joint between the blade and handles not being sturdy, when too much pressure is applied, the joint might break or bend. This kind of knife is for your everyday chores, not necessarily for difficult outdoor survival tasks.
If you are a hunter, then you understand how important it is to have a quality hunting knife. One of the main reasons that you need to have a solid hunting knife is having the ability to skin and prepare the game caught.
A good hunting knife is also important for people who are more of the camping type then hunting. It can be used for cutting ropes and trimming branches as well as cutting tinder for a blazing fire.
A hunting knife sticks out because of how sharp the edge is compared to any other kind of knives. It also has a curved edge which makes it ideal for skinning an animal and ensuring that the meat isn’t spoiled. It is also important to have a hunting knife that doesn’t rust, since it will be outdoors for all kinds of weather conditions. Many of these kinds of knives come with stainless steel blades for just that reason.
It is certainly a challenging task to determine what the best hunting knife on the market is because of so many quality hunting knives that are available. If you are heading out into the woods, you want to have as top-notch of a hunting knife available at your disposal. Going cheap on this piece of equipment will eventually cost you in the long run.
Many hunting knives could fall into this category, but the ESEE ESLSP-BRK Laser Strike is as durable and dependable as they come. It is a worthwhile knife if you are camping, hiking, or hunting. The knife comes with a very simple design that consists of one steel piece and two handle scales. The blade is five inches long while the entire knife itself stretches out to ten inches. This is a perfect carrying size with a handle strong enough to handle any tough situation you may run into.
The knife is basically a big slab of steel, which makes the knife a little on the heavier side. But, if you are looking to really control the knife during a cut, you want it to be on the heavier side. The saber ground blade appears to be slightly thicker than many other models on the market. It can even be durable enough to cut wood for your overnight fire. The cutting edge is extremely sharp and made of carbon steel, which makes it a little bit more difficult to maintain. But, it will retain its edge for a long time. This is one of the best hunting knives out there today.
EDC and OTF Knives
The final two categories that we will look at for outdoor knives will be EDC (every day carry) and OTF (out-the-front) knives. EDC knives are simple knives that you carry for everyday use. Instead of reaching for your keys to open up a box, you can dig for your EDC knife instead.
An OTF knife is a simple switchblade that deploys its blade automatically by pressing a button or a switch. The blades natural position is open and it is being held closed by a locking spring mechanism that is released by a button or switch. Both of these knives can be carried around and used for everyday tasks.
The many knives described in this blog are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the choices you will have when deciding on a particular knife. Some people may argue that these aren’t the “best” knives in each category, but each one comes with very high ratings and performance records.
With many television shows highlighting the importance of survivalism, it is no wonder that people have been in demand for more survival items, like knives. Survival knives are typically a bit more problematic for people due to the sheer size that they come in. This is why viewing pocket knives, EDC knives, OTF knives, and tactical fixed blade knives are so popular (and legal!). These knives provide solid options for building fires, shelter, and for pure safety. And, more importantly, all of the knives offered above are sturdy, durable, and compact enough to accompany you on all of your travels.
For the true outdoorsy people out there, select your knives carefully as they will be your saving grace in many instances. Your safety is top priority and having the right knife is as important as it gets.