If you are planning a camping trip or just going into the wilderness and expect to stay there for quite some time, your pack will definitely include a perfect backpacking knife. 

Backpacking is about having fun, not scaring the living Jesus out of the other backpackers. At the end of the day, the  knife of choice for survival is the one you have.

Which knife is best for backpacking ? When asked which knife will you bring on hiking everybody will have their own preference and choices. But with that aside, let’s talk about what makes a great backpacking knife. While these choices boil down more on personal preference on details, there are things that you do have to consider. 

There are things that you do have to consider before buy a knife like the size, weight, material, fixed, folding and use of the knife. Of course you will not bring a machete when backpacking unless you have a Jason complex.

Size. A great backpacking knife is one that can easily be carried around and fits perfectly with the rest of your gear. Words like “tactical” or “everyday carry” comes to mind and the knives that often gets these words associated with them incidentally would work well as backpacking knives because they are not too big to cause problems and yet not too small to do anything other than open up boxes.


Blade. This is a great plus and is almost a requirement since you will not have a lot of time to spend maintaining your knife in the wild. Having a low maintenance blade like a stainless steel one would make it easier for you to focus on other more important tasks in the camp.

Construction. The ideal backpacking need not only be manageable in size and low maintenance. It also needs to be immensely durable and strong. This is because you will not have a lot to rely on in emergency situations like going up against a wild animal except your knife. A 2-inch blade knife is hardly a good choice for this task.

With all three considered, here are seven of the very best backpacking knives in the market today. All these knives have made quite an impact in the knife world and would fit perfectly as a great backpacking companion for anybody who appreciates and requires the best of the best.

Gerber StrongArm Fixed Blade

Gerber is well-known for creating some of the best survival knives available today, but the StrongArm Fixed Blade can be perfectly used for your hunting activities as well.

One of the first things you notice is the beautiful and elegant design. Gerber pays great attention to detail in designing this knife and knows how to provide great value at an affordable price.

  • The blade length is 4.8″ and the overall knife length is 9.8″. The blade length can be considered a huge benefit because this is the recommended blade size for hunting.
  • A really interesting thing about this Gerber knife is the fact that it has a full tang 420HC blade with black ceramic coating; this helps preventing corrosion and the blade will be more durable. It’s indeed an advantage if you plan to use it on a daily basis.
  • When you purchase this knife, you have two options: you can choose either a fine edge or a serrated edge. What’s the best choice? It depends on what you intend to do with this knife. If you would like a knife that you can use for slicing or deer skinning, a fine edge will do the job. If you intend to use the knife on harder surfaces and much more difficult tasks, a serrated edge will be more useful. Both of them have their advantages and disadvantages. A fine edge is easier to sharpen. A serrated edge, even though is more difficult to sharpen, will hold a superior edge and it won’t require constant sharpening.Most people usually choose a fine edge, since it’s traditional and it rarely fails to get the job done.
  • The Gerber StrongArm is made in the USA. The sheath is made in the USA as well and can be carried in a variety of ways.  You can hang it from your belt either vertically or horizontally; You also have the option to attach it to MOLLE. It securely holds your knife into place and the included nylon strap  provides additional security.
  • The handle is made of rubber, which helps you control the knife even under wet conditions and it feels comfortable and secure; this is extremely important when deciding to buy a hunting knife, since you don’t want to harm yourself. You can rest assured with this handle: it won’t slip and you won’t cut yourself.
  • The StrongArm Fixed Blade is an ambidextrous knife, so it can be used by left-handed people without any problems.

CONS:

  • The StrongArm Fixed Blade is a large knife, so it’s not that suitable for detail work.

Morakniv Companion

The Morakniv Companion is a beautiful tool that’s made in Sweden and when purchasing this knife, you can choose between 7 colors, including orange, magenta and green. Morakniv is well-known for producing great quality knives that can be purchased at an affordable price. The knife that we’re going to discuss about in this review is used mainly for bushcrafting, but you will see that’s perfect for hunting tasks as well.

  • The Morakniv Companion has a blade length of 4.1 inches and the overall knife length is 8.6 inches. It’s a lightweight knife that features a clip point blade; this type of blade is mainly used on those knives made for multiple purposes and it’s reliable and sharp.
  • This handle is made of hard ABS plastic, it’s ergonomic, easy to handle and sits comfortable in the hand thanks to its high-friction grip; it’s really easy to maneuver. This feature is extremely useful in cold or wet conditions, when you will need to be in control of your tool.
  • The blade is made of Swedish Sandvik 12C27; this is a versatile blade that provides superior corrosion resistance and great edge performance. This blade is suitable for activities such as skinning small game and filleting; it can be used as well for camping activities, food preparation or survival situations. The HRC rating of the Swedish Sandvik 12C27 is 56-58. To improve the resistance against corrosion, you can clean and oil the knife on a regular basis.
  • The knife comes with a matching color sheath that it’s made of hard plastic and keeps the tool securely in its place. The advantage of a light color sheath is the fact that if you lose your tool in low light conditions, you can easily locate it. The sheath features a belt clip, which can be considered really effective and convenient. Since it’s light weight, this knife is compatible with an everyday carry.
  • The best thing about this knife is the fact that’s fantastic for skinning. It’s really hard to find a better tool for this job at this price. If you want European quality and you want a tool that can get the job done fast, this knife is for you.

CONS:

  • The blade steel is quite thin;
  • The handle might get damaged from rigorous tasks.

Buck 110 Folding Hunter

The Buck 110 Folding Hunter is indeed an American icon. It was first launched in 1963, but its elegant and classic design never goes out of style. It’s a folding knife, but it was created to offer the same benefits as a fixed tool.

Buck 110 Folding Hunter is a lockback folding knife ( it’s also one of the first knives to have this feature), that weighs 7.2 ounces and has a closed length of 4-7/8 inches. The clip point blade has a sharp point which can be beneficial if you usually perform detail work; on the other hand, a drop point blade will be more effective for harder tasks.

  • It comes sharp right from the factory;
  • It features a 420HC stainless steel blade with a very sharp point, which makes it suitable for activities that require lots of attention to detail: for example, you can use it when you perform field dressing game, slicing or skinning; the knife’s solid construction will make the process faster and easier. This knife is also great for skinning pigs, squirrels or rabbits. The 420HC stainless steel offers superior corrosion resistance and durability; These blades are easy to resharpen and hold a good edge as well.
  • It features a beautiful Charcoal Dymondwood handle that feels comfortable in the hand. The handle gives both a traditional and modern look at the same time.
  • The sheath is another classic element, since it’s made of leather and it’s black. It has a snap closure and you can attach it to your hip or belt.

Buck offers an unbeatable offer: Forever Lifetime warranty. So, if you notice any problems, the company will either repair or replace your knife.

CONS:

  • This knife is a folding knife, so it’s not recommended for more rigorous activities such as prying or hammering. Its thin tip can be considered too fragile for such tasks as well.
  • It’s larger in size than most folding knives.
  • You can only carry it in a sheath, since it’s too big to carry it in a pocket.

Ontario Black Bird SK-5

The Ontario Black Bird SK-5 was developed by Paul Sheiter. The SK-5 from its name comes from “Survival Knife” with “5” inch blade. Paul wanted to create a simple but effective knife and he wanted to focus on those things that can really make a difference in your hunting experience; something that it’s simple but it provides massive results.

This knife was created to be used on a daily basis; judging by its design it surely feels comfortable since it doesn’t have any abrupt angle changes.

  • This full tang knife features a 5 inch blade that’s made of 154CM stainless steel. That’s great because it offers a combination of edge retention and corrosion resistance. The Rockwell Hardness is 58-60 and the blade thickness is 0.13″.
  • The Black Bird SK-5 features a spear point blade, which does a great job for tasks such as carving or piercing. This blade also has a strong and sharp point, that’s located exactly in the center line of the blade.
  • What’s interesting about this knife is the fact that the Micarta handle length and the blade length are the same: 5 inch. This creates a beautiful balance and offers more comfort, even when used extensively. As you can see, the edges of the handle are rounded, so this guarantees a comfortable grip as well.
  • You receive the knife with a Coyote brown nylon sheath. Interesting fact: Paul Sheiter produces some of the best sheaths for Hedgehog Leatherworks, but the Coyote sheath is not manufactured by them. On the front of the sheath you can see two straps and you have the following carrying options: belt loop or molle attachment.
  • The knife comes sharp out of the box.

CONS:

The snap of the sheath can be difficult to close.

Kershaw Clash Knife 1605CKTST

The Kershaw Clash Knife 1605CKTST is one solid knife and if you say Kershaw, you automatically say innovation; this knife is no exception and if we’re looking at its features, you will notice that it’s indeed a really special tool.

  • The blade length is 3.1 inches and the overall knife length is 7.4 inches. It’s a great knife for daily use and carry, since it weighs 4.3 ounces.
  • This knife has a drop point blade, which means it’s perfect for hunting; it can make a skinning process faster and more precise and it works great for slicing as well. Another benefit of this drop point blade is the fact that’s partially serrated and non-reflective. A partially serrated blade enables you to use the knife for heavy duty tasks, some of them not even related to hunting, such as cutting rope. Another advantage is the good edge retention.
  • The blade material is the Chinese 8Cr13MoV; this is the Japanese equivalent to AUS8. The black oxide coating makes the knife resistant to corrosion.
  • The SpeedSafe assisted opening system takes care to open the knife easily and securely. To open the knife, all you have to do is to pull back on the flipper; if you want to close the knife, look at the base of the blade and you will find a slide; all you have to do is to push it to the left and the knife will close. The SpeedSafe mechanism will also take care to keep the knife closed and safe when you don’t use it. However, if you want to carry the knife in a pocket and you want additional protection, you can place the tool with the blade against the pocket seam; if your knife will accidentally open, the blade will remain fixed in the steam.
  • The handle material is black material polymide; it’s a good fit in the hand, it feels comfortable and it assures a solid grip.
  • Comes sharp straight out of the box.

CONS:

  • This knife might be a little heavy, based on your preferences.
  • The fast opening mechanism could be a concern, if you don’t pay attention.

Cold Steel Recon 1 Tactical Knife

This tactical looking bad boy comes in four sizes. Micro, mini, standard and XL. For the purpose of this list, we will focus more on the standard sized Recon 1. Cold Steel had hit a homerun with the Recon 1 because it pretty much ticks all the boxes for a perfect backpacking knife.

A 4-inch long 3.5 mm thick blade made from AUS 8A stainless steel that is coated with black Tuff-Ex for that acts as another layer of protection as well as making the knife look wicked cool. The tip of the Recon 1 comes in many variations like a clip point, modified drop point, tanto and spear points.

The handle strength and Triad locking mechanism of this folder is strong enough that it can carry 350 lbs. when fully opened without giving out and simply snapping shut.

A solid handle, great locking mechanism, a premium choice blade and at 5.5 ounces makes the Recon 1 a great backpacking knife choice even for beginners.

SPYDERCO BUSHCRAFT

The name Spyderco is almost synonymous to folding knives but they do occasionally produce fixed blades and when they do, it is nothing short of remarkable.

The plain edged Spyderco Bushcraft with its contoured G10 handles is a fixed blade, full tang knife designed by legendary bushcraft expert Chris Claycombe. It uses an O-1 high carbon tool steel with a Scandinavian grind which gives it a tougher blade which then improves it edge retention properties.

It can go through wood as easily as it would with meat. If you want an all-around knife that you can expend on over and over again, you want a Spyderco Bushcraft.

The contoured G-10 handles exponentially improves the control you have with this knife and the fact that it is a full tang fixed blade knife puts doubts about its strength to rest. While it is relatively heftier at 7.72 ounces, the monster 4.40” blade makes it ideal for most camping tasks from batoning to game preparation.

ESEE-4

It’s hard to make a list of camping or survival knives without having the ESEE 4 in it and for good reasons. The ESEE 4 is perfectly sized for backpacking with a 4.5 inch long, 0.19 inch thick 1095 carbon steel blade that can handle pretty much anything you can think of in the wild.

The overall length of the knife is at 9 inches and by no means is it a pushover. It has a full tang construction with an extended tang that serves both as a lanyard hole and a pummel.

This behemoth is all you need when it comes to camping because the blade is strong enough to slice through most and retains its edge very well.

The Micarta handle is very light which means most of the 8 ounce weight of the ESEE 4 comes from the blade steel itself. The size and strength of the ESEE is simply a deadly combination.

BENCHMADE MINI GRIPTILIAN

The most recognizable Benchmade knife is also the smallest blade in this list. A shade shorter than 3 inches, the Mini Griptilian 154-CM stainless steel blade is crazy sharp right out of the box and stays that way for what seems to be forever.

An EDC legend, the Mini Griptilian can easily be carried around without having to make a fuss against other tools in your backpack. You can clip it to your belt and you will barely notice that it’s there. 

The same reasons why it is the best EDC knife in the world are the same reasons that will cause you to appreciate the masterpiece that is the Mini Griptilian.


The ambidextrous AXIS locking secures the blade in place with zero blade play in any angle. One can almost say that it is as stable and dependable as a fixed blade. This devotion to quality performance is why the Mini Griptilian is one of the most popular folders in the market today and has become one of Benchmade’s best products to date.

ZERO TOLERANCE 0560

What do you get when you combine the lightweight and strong G-10 handle with the space age technology blade steel Elmax? You get a bull of a knife that is the Zero Tolerance 0560.

With a monster 5.25 long handle and a 3.75 inch long ELMAX blade with a stonewash finish, it is no surprise that the Zero Tolerance 0560 comes in at 5.6 ounces. 

Elmax is still considered as an exotic choice for a knife blade not just because it is expensive but because it is still relatively rare. The technology that comes into play in producing Elmax steel is no joke either.

ELMAX has a unique chemistry that gives it high compressive strength, high wear resistance, premium corrosion resistance and dimensional stability. You rarely see these characteristics together, much less working seamlessly with each other producing the very best knife blade choice in the world.

 This means it will not deform even when it went to hell and back. It bridges the gap between the stain resistance of stainless steel and crazy edge retention of high carbon steel.

KERSHAW OSO SWEET

This sweet little Kershaw knife has the looks but can definitely roll with the boys. For strength, the 3.1 inch long 0.11 inch thick drop point hollow grounded satin finished 8Cr13MoV stainless steel blade is perfect for light to medium camp tasks like cutting rope, food preparation and even opening cans.

Anything heavier like batoning is not a great idea for the Kershaw OSO Sweet though. It is still one of the best backpacking knives because it is easy to carry around, it is not a push over and the blade has very good qualities like above average edge retention, strength, hardness, and wear and corrosion resistance.

If you are not the Rambo type, this knife is perfect for you. The SpeedSafe assisted opening also allows for singe –handed opening which is quite useful when you are out there in the wild.

The nylon handle has incorporated texturing to improve grip and has an added bonus of looking really good. The ergonomic design of the handle also offers safety and control even in wet conditions, vital for many camp tasks especially game preparation. All in all, the Kershaw OSO Sweet is a sweet addition to your backpack whenever you have the urge to experience nature at its best.

MICROTECH CURRAHEE

Originally designed for the U.S. Special Forces, the Currahee is built and feels like a tank. You can feel the quality of this knife just by holding it in your hand. I guess its hefty 13.35 ounce weight has something to do with that too.

It is the heaviest knife in this list. Some would say that it is too heavy to be a backpacking knife but the Currahee is one knife that you can really depend on.

It has a 4.5 inch long 0.21 inch thick drop point flat grounded Elmax blade with a plain edge and black coated for added protection The blade is strong and dependable enough that it can handle virtually everything thrown its way.

Whether it be batoning or game preparation, the Currahee will not have a problem with it and will keep on going.. The word Currahee is Cherokee that translates to “stand alone” and you can definitely stand alone and survive with this behemoth of a knife.

The Elmax blade has unique properties that make it uniquely at home in the elements and the ergonomic design of Currahee’s polymer handle makes it both safe and manageable. Most of the weight of this knife is in the blade which then makes it ideal for throwing, if needed.

If you ever get to that desperate point that you need to throw your knife, the Currahee will not disappoint. If your life depends on it, the Microtech Currahee is your best bet to survive.

KERSHAW OSO SWEET

This sweet little Kershaw knife has the looks but can definitely roll with the boys. For strength, the 3.1 inch long 0.11 inch thick drop point hollow grounded satin finished 8Cr13MoV stainless steel blade is perfect for light to medium camp tasks like cutting rope, food preparation and even opening cans.

Anything heavier like batoning is not a great idea for the Kershaw OSO Sweet though. It is still one of the best backpacking knives because it is easy to carry around, it is not a push over and the blade has very good qualities like above average edge retention, strength, hardness, and wear and corrosion resistance. If you are not the Rambo type, this knife is perfect for you.

The SpeedSafe assisted opening also allows for singe –handed opening which is quite useful when you are out there in the wild.

The nylon handle has incorporated texturing to improve grip and has an added bonus of looking really good. The ergonomic design of the handle also offers safety and control even in wet conditions, vital for many camp tasks especially game preparation.

 All in all, the Kershaw OSO Sweet is a sweet addition to your backpack whenever you have the urge to experience nature at its best.