Benchmade 940 Osborne (S30V Steel) Pocket Knife Review

Over the years, Benchmade has become one of the biggest names in the world of knife manufacturing. This is a company that offers premium quality knives and uses state of the art technology to create knives that are built to really perform.

The Benchmade 940 Osborne is premium quality pocket knife with a reverse tanto blade.  It’s not only sleek and elegant, but also extremely durable.

This US manufactured knife is one of our favorites for EDC pocket carry with the only knock against it being the premium price tag.  The handle is ergonomically friendly, and the reverse tanto blade serves very well for both rugged wilderness tasks around the campfire, or cutting open boxes at your shop.

Click to See on Amazon.com

The Benchmade story dates back to the end of the 1970s, which is when Les de Asis decided to create the perfect knife. Keen to create a product that used the latest materials and innovation, he teamed up with Victor Anselmo, and the first Benchmade knife was born. Since that time, Benchmade has gone on to become a huge name in this sector, dealing with customers around the globe.

This is a manufacturer that prides itself on the creation of innovative, high performing, solid knives fit for a variety of different purposes. From industrial and professional use through to recreational and personal use, you will find knives designed to cater for all needs. Today, this company continues to offer great quality and design with plenty of knife options to suit a range of requirements.

The Benchmade 940 Knife:

Benchmade 940 Rear End

The Benchmade 940 is one of the many popular knives made by Benchmade, and one of the best sellers in the pocket knife category.  This is a knife that combines versatility with robustness and durability. You will find yourself with a very high quality knife when you invest in the 940. It falls under the category of an Everyday Carry knife and offers high specifications as well as a range of features.

This knife has been available through Benchmade for many years and still enjoys huge popularity amongst those looking for a great quality everyday carry knife. The knife offers a high level of versatility, which makes it ideal for use in a range of different situations. It is also lightweight and easy to carry.

Benchmade 940 Specs & Details:

Benchmade 940 Spine
If you are looking for an everyday carry knife with high specifications and unique features, this could be the ideal choice for you. The designer of this knife model is Osborne and it comes in a manual opening style with an AXIS mechanism.

The length of the blade is 3.40 inches and the overall length of the knife when it is open comes in at 7.87 inches. When the knife is closed, the overall length is 4.47 inches.

The weight, handle and blade materials can vary, as you have a choice available to you with this knife. The Osborne has aluminum handles, which has a CPM S30V steel blade and weighs in at 2.90 ounces.

The aluminum handles are 0.41 inches thick. The blade comes in a reverse tanto design, which is a design that is known for its sturdy tip.

Related: If you’re wondering how to sharpen a folding knife without ruining it, check out our step-by-step guide: How to Sharpen a Pocket Knife Properly: Hunting & Survival Blade Sharpening Tips

Appearance of the Benchmade 940:

Benchmade 940 Another Angle

The Benchmade 940 knife is robust, versatile, and designed to perform superbly. It also boasts a very sleek, modern, and slim-line design. This is a very stylish knife, which adds to its appeal for many people. Overall, this knife has unique elegance and a stunning design. Although it is classed as an everyday carry knife, many find that it makes the perfect gentleman’s knife and is a great choice for a gift.

The Osborne has a very ergonomic design that has been created to ensure ease of use and comfort. You will benefit from superior grip with this knife, which helps to make day to day tasks far easier.

The knife comes with a standard Benchmade pocket clip, which is simple yet effective. The knife is lightweight and slim, which means that you can carry it around with ease. The thumb studs and AXIS mechanism on the knife will enable you to flick out the blade in next to no time and without any problems.

Benchmade 940: Price and Pros & Cons

Benchmade 940 Osborne in Hand

In terms of cost, the Benchmade 940 is not the cheapest everyday carry knife out there. However, when you compare the cost of the knife to the modern design, appearance, feature options, and overall quality, you will see that it does offer value for money.

The S30V steel is one of the most expensive knife steels that is used in manufacturing knives today, and that is often the reason for the higher price tag of this knife in comparison to other models.

Pros

  • Lightweight, wear resistant, and tough
  • Smooth action
  • Super AXIS lock mechanism
  • Compact size makes it an ideal EDC
  • Premium quality steel and impressive finish
  • Made in the USA

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Many knockoffs out there

Our Verdict:

Benchmade 940 in Hand

In conclusion, the Benchmade 940 is a knife that many will consider the perfect everyday carry knife. It has something for everyone – great design, compact and lightweight, durability and power, versatility, ease of use and more.

The fact that it has a number of options with regards to handle material, blade steel, and weight means that you can benefit from a knife that suits your personal needs.

When you opt for this product as your everyday carry knife or even a gentleman’s knife, you can rest assured that you have a product that is designed to both perform well and last you for years.

There are reports of users having used this gem for more than 5 years and the knife still performs like in the first day. We believe that with the Benchmade 940 you truly get what you pay for as long as you steer clear of the cheap, Chinese counterfeits.

Here’s a review of the Benchmade 940 five years later if you’re on the fence about its durability:

Gerber Prodigy Knife Review

When Joseph R. Gerber described his young knife company, Gerber Legendary Blades, as the “birth of an enterprise that grew into big business,” it was true.

However, it was also a vast understatement because what had started out in 1939 as a small batch of handmade cutlery sets given as holiday gifts turned into thousands of retail accounts around the country.

By 1960, Gerber had quickly become one of the most trusted, appreciated and collected names in knives. In the over 70 years since its founding, Gerber continues to grow still grounded on the same principles that first guided Joseph R. Gerber’s enterprise:

Gerber is a company dedicated to making knives and tools that combine high quality materials and innovative designs that will stand up to a lifetime of use.

In fact, the sleek stainless steel sheath knives of the ’50s and ’60s (such as the Magnum Hunter) gave birth to today’s lightweight, open-frame, clip folders (such as the Remix).

Gerber, however, is no longer just a knife company since they have begun exploring making products other than knives with the same standards of quality and design. These new Gerber products include:

  • Multi-tools
  • Axes
  • Handsaws
  • Machetes
  • Headlamps
  • Flashlights
  • Survival kits and
  • Digging implements.

Gerber Prodigy Survival Knife, Serrated Edge, Black...

The Gerber Prodigy features an overall length of 9 3/4” with a black, powdercoated, partially serrated 4 3/4” drop point blade made from 420 HC stainless steel (Rockwell hardness unknown) with a saber grind.

In addition, it also features full tang construction with over-molded rubber handles to ensure a soft, comfortable yet secure grip in all conditions. The handle also includes molded quillions and a lanyard hole.

Note that the knife comes with MOLLE compatible ballistic nylon sheath with a friction-release thumb lock.

Upon first viewing this knife, it was obvious to me that the designer (Jeff Freeman) intended this knife to be a tactical knife and not a dedicated survival knife.

This first impression is supported by Gerber’s original description of this knife even though the Gerber Prodigy is currently being marketed as a survival knife and even as a combat knife, despite having a serrated blade.

However, in an outdoor situation any knife is far better than having no knife at all. The Gerber Prodigy would serve far better than some.

For instance, although the drop point blade is too short even for minor chopping jobs, it would still serve well for slicing, splitting and puncturing which covers the majority of tasks a user would normally require in an emergency situation.

Also, the partially serrated edge located in front of the ricasso tends to preclude using the knife for carving to sharpen stakes and staves and carve the notches needed to create snares and spring traps which is the most important tasks you can use for a survival knife.

In addition, the saber grind on the blade makes the bevel too wide and thus, it prevents the user from creating a really fine edge on the knife.

On the other hand, the full tang construction does create a very strong knife with a satisfying amount of weight in the hand. The use of 420 series high carbon stainless steel compliments the intent to create a tough knife that will hold an edge reasonably well (contains 0.4% to 0.5% Carbon).

This gem is also reasonably corrosion resistant. It contains 12% to 14% Chromium and 0.6% Molybdenum which combines with Chromium during forging to create hard double carbide bonds that makes the steel corrosion and abrasion resistant.

The choice of ballistic nylon for the sheath is also a wise choice because nylon is an extremely tough material that is both waterproof and rot proof.

Variants and Similar Models

There’s also a straight blade version, the Gerber Prodigy Fine Edge, which is exclusively sold by Wal-Mart (although we’ve heard that the big-box retail giant might have discontinued  it).

The Fine Edge is great if you’d rather buy a Prodigy without the serrated portion on the blade. It makes a sturdy fixed blade knife for camping as there are not major differences between the two variants.

If you’d like a straight blade Prodigy right now and Wal-Mart no longer carries it, the closest thing that you can get to the Fine Edge by Gerber is their Strong Arm Fixed Blade (check price and availability here) but expect some losses in the ergonomics department.

Related: Finding the Best Survival Knife in 2020: Our Favorite Fixed Blades [Tested and Reviewed]

Another tactical/survival knife that’s very similar to the Gerber Prodigy is Gerber’s iconic LMF II Infantry, a knife field tested with American troops (check it out here). In fact, the LMF II is Prodigy’s predecessor since the latter has borrowed heavily design-wise from the former.

The Prodigy, though, is smaller, slimmer and comes with a narrower blade which makes it more portable than the LMF II and a great option for users with smaller hands.  Also, the Gerber Prodigy lacks the LMF II’s built-in knife sharpener. You can check out the LMF II Infantry here.

To Wrap It Up

Although there are many other knife designs that I would personally choose over the Gerber Prodigy for use as a dedicated survival knife, the Prodigy is not actually a bad choice-  it is just not a particularly good choice.

Also, the 420 HC stainless steel is in my opinion not a particularly good choice of steel for a dedicated survival knife especially when there are much better stainless steels for the purpose such as AUS-8 or AUS-10 or even 440C.

I would be much happier if the blade had a hollow grind or even a semi-hollow grind instead of the saber grind displayed on this knife. But as I said, when you really need a knife the most, any knife is better than no knife at all.

The 7 Best Machetes for Survival in 2020 [Rated & Reviewed]

Almost every outdoor and survival enthusiast will agree that a machete is an essential survival tool for any time you spend outdoors.

From building shelters, clearing brush, chopping wood, gather firewood or prepping game, a machete can increase work efficiency and serve as a great all purpose cutting tool for just about any occasion. Protection is another important element that shouldn’t be overlooked when selecting a Machete.

It’s not surprising that survival machetes are the main security provision for indigenous tribal people the world over. A reliable defense weapon against animals in the wilderness, a machete takes the guess work out of a good night’s sleep in the great outdoors.

When it comes to finding the best multi purpose survival machete on the market, there are a few things you should consider before jumping in to make a purchase and we are going to outline the basics below.

Before we jump into details, below you will find our comparison guide where we’ve selected our top 5 favorite choices along with some basic details including price and average user rating.  For a more in depth look at each, take a look at the information below where we cover the types of steels machetes are typically made of and a review of each machete below that.

Our Comparison Table:

View on Amazon:Typical Use:Our Rating:
Ka-Bar 1249 KukriBrush & Military
Ka-Bar Black CutlassSurvival
Cold Steel KukriBrush Clearing
Gerber Gator MacheteMulti Purpose
Woodman’s Pal 2.0Multi Purpose
Luna Tech LTK9500Military/Survival
Gerber Bear Grylls ParangMulti Purpose

What Are Typical Machete Materials?

Carbon Steel:  One of the oldest materials in machete manufacturing, carbon steel has been employed for centuries. Stronger than stainless steel, carbon steel retains its sharpness over time.

There really are no drawbacks to Carbon Steel.  The two primary benefits are listed below.

  1. Carbon steel is harder than stainless steel.  It’s also easier to sharpen and holds an edge longer than Stainless.
  2. Carbon steel may can rust, but if you properly oil the blade from time to time, it will be better protected from the elements.

If you are in a pinch, some WD-40 can be an effective blade lubricant for Carbon Steel.  Steel wool will also do a great job cleaning off any unwanted oxidation on the blade. Carbon steel blades tend to be easier to field sharpen.

Stainless steel:  An overlay of chromium nickel makes stainless steel manageable in wet climates. Stainless blades are a good budget option, but we prefer Carbon steel for machetes.

The softer metal means that Stainless Steel requires more sharpening than Carbon Steel. An even better choice is high carbon stainless steel; tougher on the edge with the rust resistant properties of stainless (See the Ka-Bar recommendations below).

Best 7 Survival Machetes in 2020:

Below we break down our top 7 survival machetes with a little bit more detail to help you decide if any of these are right for you and your next outdoor excursion.

1. Ka-Bar 2-1249-9 Kukri:  

This machete is a one of the best-selling Machetes on the market today and is often used by many servicemen and women in all branches of the United States military.

It’s a full tang blade and the construction is outstanding which is true of almost all Ka-Bar manufactured items.  In 1942, Ka-Bar was the knife of choice for men fighting in WWII.  This is a heritage that Ka-Bar is proud of, and you can be too if you pick one up.  The Ka-Bar is our top choice.


2.  Ka-Bar Cutlass Machete:

This machete is great for someone that isn’t really interested in the curved blade of the Kukuri. It may be more of an aesthetic choice since Kurkuri models are extremely popular, but the Ka-Bar impresses us with the Cutlass.

Made with a cutlass style blade (hence the name) out of 1085 carbon steel, this Machete is a solid choice that you won’t regret if a curved blade isn’t your style. 


3.  The Cold Steel Kukuri:  

The Kukuri is a model of a machete designed by the traveling Gurkha mountaineers of Nepal and Cold Steel does this particular model justice.  Cold Steel is one of our favorite manufacturers because their quality is top notch for a reasonable cost.  

The Cold Steel 97KMS has an 18 inch length with a 13 inch blade and 2.75mm thickness.  It’s made of carbon steel and is a great pick for anyone that wants quality along with affordability.


4.  Gerber Gator Machete:  

This machete is a great pick for someone on a budget.  The ergonomics are solid and the Machete is relatively light weight.  It’s equipped with a tactile rubber grip and has both a saw blade edge as well as a fine edge for clearing brush.  

It’s made of high-carbon stainless steel and is a great pick in a budget friendly price range.


5. The Woodman Pal 2.0:

Click to view on Amazon.com!

The Woodman Pal 2.0 carries on a design used by the U.S. army since the Second World War with some minor revamps to make it a survival machete that can do just about anything while out in the wild. You can use the Woodman Pal 2.0 for bushcraft, survival, land clearing, batoning, surveying, camping, hunting, and more.

It is a beautiful machete whose sheath and ash wood handle are handcrafted by Amish craftsmen in Lancaster County, PA. The machete is 100% USA-made and has been treated to temperatures of up to 1500 °F to ensure maximum strength and durability. This rare gem’s high-carbon steel blade was individually sharpened and comes with a blunted point for the user’s safety. We were very impressed with the stunning quality and versatility of this machete.

6. The Luna Tech LTK9500, with MOLLE System:

The Luna Tech LTK9500 full tang machete was designed by self-defense and survival expert, Dave Young, so expect it to have everything a survival machete needs. Besides being full tang, the razor-sharp 440 stainless steel blade is serrated on both the edge and ridge and comes with a rope cutter.

The machete’s length is just right (23”) for most emergency situations, and the non-slip rubberized handle comes with a 70 HRC carbide tip which can be used as an emergency glass breaker. The elegant black sheath is compatible with MOLLE systems for maximum versatility in the field.


7.  Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete:  

Click to view on Amazon.com!

This machete is one of the newer models out there that’s part of the Bear Grylls line which like the Gator is also manufactured by Gerber. It has a strong hand grip and is relatively light weight making it a great multipurpose machete for any expedition.

It’s slightly shorter in length than the Gator, and the grip is just as comfortable as the Gator (possibly more).  We like the lanyard cord that it comes equipped with as well.


Time to Clear some Brush!

Whether you are planning a trip to the rainforest or the outback, or simply going hunting for the weekend, a good machete is a must. Hunters should be especially careful about the handle rigging and blade efficiency to avoid any risk while dealing with game.

Uncertain how to use a machete properly?  Check out the brief video below that will help you understand not only how to use one, but how to properly hold one so you don’t end up with painful blisters that can be hard to treat in the wild.

It’s important to remember that while most machetes are in the same wheelhouse price-wise, most price points vary according to material, model and brand.  Picking one of the machetes that we have outlined in our article should help keep you on the right path when selecting this all-important survival tool.

It should always be paired with a smaller knife to make sure you have every situation covered should a survival situation arise that you need to be prepared for.

Survival machete owners trained in self-defense will acknowledge that a machete is an effective tool for any SHTF situation. Be sure to check with regional law enforcement for license rules.

The Best Compass for the Great Outdoors: 11 Reviews [2020 Updated List]

Whether you spend a lot of time outdoors bowhunting, kayak fishing or hiking just for fun, an adventure can quickly turn into a dangerous situation requiring you to have a well thought out arsenal of survival tools.

A sudden shift in weather, an accidental injury or any other unexpected event can mean you’ll need to find civilization quickly, and nothing is better for that than picking the best compass out.

There are a few tools that every outdoors enthusiast should have in their arsenal.  This list usually includes but isn’t limited to a first aid kit, a pocket knife, a good walkie-talkie or two way radio, a water purification kit and enough food to last at least two extra days over your planned trip.

One additional key item you can add to this list is a good compass. With a compass, you’ll always be able to orient yourself and determine where you need to go.

Not all compasses are created equal which is why we’ve given you a detailed breakdown of the features on 11 of the highest rated compasses for camping, hiking, backpacking, and survival on the market today.

Best Compasses for the Money in 2020: Comparison Table

View on Amazon:Type:Our Rating:
Cammenga Phosphorescent Clam Pack LensaticMilitary/Survival
SE CC4580 Military Lensatic Sighting CompassMilitary/Survival
Eyeskey Military Compass with InclinometerMilitary/Survival
Suunto A-10 CompassBasic
Neon® Metal Waterproof Pocket Military CompassMilitary/Survival
Coleman Compass with LED LightBasic
TurnOnSport OrienteeringBasic
Gerber Bear Grylls Compact CompassMilitary/Survival
Ultimate Survival Technologies Deluxe CompassBasic
Ueasy Military Waterproof CompassMilitary/Survival
PPbean Classic Pocket Style Camping CompassBasic

How to Choose a Compass:

Many hikers, campers and other nature enthusiasts – even experienced ones – are leaving the compass at home and relying only on a GPS. This is actually a pretty dangerous mistake.

A GPS can run out of power or lose signal. If you need to navigate through unknown (or even known) terrain, there is nothing more reliable than a topo map and a compass.

With a compass, you can pinpoint your position, identify geographic features and orient a map. You’ll want what’s called a “floating needle compass.” This is when the needle housing is steadied inside the compass by a liquid (usually alcohol or a type of oil).

While digital compasses do exist (even in watch form), they pose the same power-related problems found with GPS devices. For a compass you can depend on, choose either a floating needle or a dry compass. A dry compass is like a floating needle compass only without the liquid.

The magnetized needed in a compass aligns with the Earth’s magnetic core. This means you need to store you compass carefully otherwise the needle can become demagnetized.

Avoid storing your compass near any stereo speakers, since speakers contain powerful magnets. Also keep your compass away from your smartphone.

The 3 Basic Types of Compasses:

1. Basic Compass:

These are no-frills compasses perfect for day hikers, backpackers, fisherman and other people who aren’t going off-trail for days at a time. A basic compass has all the features you need for navigation and orientation.

2. Advanced Compass:

These are compasses with additional accessories beyond the basics. Usually these accessories help improve navigation and accuracy. Some features you might find include a signaling mirror, a magnifier, a flint and other survival tools. These compasses are usually more expensive but they’re worth consideration.

3. Accessory Compasses:

These are small compasses usually found on a keyword or watch. They’re usually small globes which don’t have a base plate. While they’re accurate enough to point you towards magnetic north, an accessory compasses isn’t something you want to rely on while navigating through the woods.

You can pick up a basic compass for roughly the same price and that will serve you much better in an emergency.

Compass Features To Consider:

Durability: If you’re carrying around a compass for emergency use, you’ll want something which can withstand cold, water, snow, wind or other hazardous elements.

Additionally, since you won’t be using this compass during every outing, you’ll likely store it in a backpack, glove compartment or other out-of-the-way spot.

Your best bet here will be metal, although some hard polymer compasses will also be very durable. Be careful, too – not all compasses are waterproof! You’ll want water-resistant at the very least.

Size: You’ll also need to consider the size of the compass. The compass should be small enough to comfortably carry or hang around your neck with a lanyard. At the same time, a larger compass is more readable.

Most compasses are a circular shape. However, some compasses are rectangular. We’ve even included a kidney-shaped compass on the list below.

Sometimes extreme weather conditions can make handling the compass a bit difficult. We recommend using a lanyard or cord. This way you can loop the compass around your wrist or neck and it won’t drop to the ground in wet or windy weather.

Luminescence: A sudden storm can darken even the sunniest skies. So even if you never plan on camping or hiking at night, you probably want a compass which you can read in the dim light or even total darkness.

There are generally two types of illumination: battery-powered and light-powered. Light powered compasses use either the sun or portable light, such as a flashlight, to hold a charge. As long as you properly charge the compass, this type of power can be renewable as you hike.

Battery-powered compasses also work find. In many cases, they actually create more light for the compass. The downside is that batteries will eventually run dry. If you don’t use your compass too often, batteries can be easy to forget about. 

Type of Arrow: You can choose between either a fixed orienting arrow or an adjustable arrow. A fixed arrow requires you to make manual adjustments for each new measurement. An adjustable arrow allows you to set the compass once.

Don’t worry if you’re not sure how to use a compass. All of the compasses listed below include basic instructions. Learning how to use a compass might seem difficult, but most people pick it up pretty quickly. Let’s take a look at some compasses you should consider:

The Top 11 Compasses for Hiking, Camping, Hunting and Survival in 2020:

1. Cammenga Phosphorescent Lensatic Compass for Hunting/SurvivalCammenga Phosphorescent Lensatic Compass, Clam Pack 27CS

This compass is accurate, indestructible and suitable for military and other high-stress situations. You can take this compass anywhere.

It’s waterproof with both a carrying pouch and belt clip. The luminescent paint lets you use the compass even in the pitch dark. Simply shine a flashlight on the compass for a few seconds and the dial will glow for several minutes.

This is a dry compass with a sapphire bearing. The entire dial turns with the direction arrow – which is a feature not found in every compass. Navigation is very easy and dependable. While this is a higher priced compass, it’s also suitable for heavy-duty use in the toughest conditions.


2. SE Military Lensatic Sighting Survival/ Hunting Compass 

SE CC4580 Military Lensatic and Prismatic Sighting Survival...

SE is known as a manufacturer of low-cost, reliable compasses. Their CC4580 is no exception. A relatively compact 3” by 2” by 5”, this survival compass weighs a light 3.7 ounces.

The compass has an attractive, functional metallic-gray color. It can be easily attached to a backpack or the included 36” lanyard. The compass face is 2 1/8” marked in 5-degree increments. The compass is accurate and durable while the cost is affordable for practically any budget.

This probably isn’t the compass you want to take along if your main outdoor activity involves orienteering. But it is a compass you can pack with you while on camping trips and walks through the wilderness. If you need a compass, the CC4580 is one you can rely on.


3.  Eyeskey Military Compass for Hiking/Hunting/Survival, with Clinometer

The Eyeskey Multifunction is compact, lightweight and extremely accurate. Built for all climates and conditions, this compass will guide you up mountains, down the trail or wherever your adventures take you.

Made of sturdy metal, the compass is a portable 287 g. The compass is green with a military-like style.

There is a notable difference between this compass and a traditional military one, however. This compass does not have a flip-up optic, like what you’d find in a lensatic compass.

Instead, this model has a true sighting optic. You can read the internal compass card in the capsule directly. There’s a clinometer to measure height differences, too. If accuracy is one of your main concerns, this compass is worth checking out.


4.  Suunto A-10 Field Compass

This compass isn’t going to win any design awards. But as long as you have a topographical map and some basic orienteering knowledge, you just need a compass which you can count on. And you can count on the A-10.

This is a solid, straight-forward compass which is practically indestructible. You can take it with you through basically any condition including rain, snow, ice and heat. This compass is white with clear red centimeter and inch measurements. The dial is easy to manipulate and the compass easy to use even under severe weather conditions.

The compass includes an instruction booklet. If you’ve don’t
know how to read a compass, don’t worry – the booklet will tell you everything you need to know.


5. 360 TACTICAL Neon® Waterproof Military/Army/Geology Compass

360 TACTICAL NEON Metal Waterproof Professional Pocket...

This compass is ready when you need it – even in pitch dark! The special fluorescent light lets you use all the features and read the data in the dark. Even better, the fluorescent light charges up in the sunshine so you don’t need to worry about battery failure.

This compass is also extremely durable. The high-strength metal matrix stands up to rain, wind, snow and other harsh weather. You can safely take this compass out on the water, into woods and practically anywhere else! The bubble level is also extremely accurate. Also includes a detailed instruction booklet on compass use.


6.  Coleman Compass with LED Light

Coleman Compass with LED Light

This compass is small, powerful and ready for any situation. The push-button LED backlight lets you use the compass in the dark. The light is also useful for personal navigation. Note that the light is powered by a CR2016 coin-cell battery.

This liquid-filled compass shows the eight directional points and a rotating bezel. Users can mark the compass in two-degree increments. A lanyard is also available. This is a small, dependable compass you can pack away as a back-up device for emergencies.


7.  TurnOnSport Orienteering Hiking Compass

Orienteering Compass - Hiking Backpacking Compass - Advanced...

This compact compass is a portable, durable, and compact compass which works well as a reliable back-up. Perfect for hunting, camping, industrial use and practically any other situation. Each product is field tested.

This isn’t a compass you’ll want as a primary compass for exploring the unknown. This compass can easily be stored in a pocket, backpack or on a boat. This makes it very useful as an emergency compass.


8.  Gerber Bear Grylls Compact Compass

From the legendary survivalist himself, this Bear Grylls Compact Compass is a portable, durable compass which works well as a reliable back-up.

Perfect for hunting, camping, industrial use and practically any other situation. Each product is field tested.

This isn’t a compass you’ll want as a primary compass for exploring the unknown. But with a length of 2.28 inches and a lightweight design, Bear’s compass can easily be stored in a pocket, backpack or on a boat.

This makes it very useful as an emergency compass.


9. UST Deluxe Hiking/ Backpacking/ Camping/ Outdoor Survival Compass

UST Deluxe Map Compass with Raised Base Plate and Swivel...

Not every situation calls for a compass with all the fancy bells and whistles. The Ultimate Survival Technologies (UST) Deluxe Map Compass has everything you need at a very affordable price. The extended, clear base plate allows for improved map reading.

There are also multiple measurements scales which allow for accurate route planning. The swivel bezel lets you move the face easily even in cold, windy conditions. This low-priced, reliable compass is perfect if you need to buy multiple compasses for a camp, troop or school.


10. Ueasy Military Sighting Compass for Hiking, Hunting, Boating

Ueasy Compass,Hiking Boat Military Compass - Multifunction...

This is a heavy-duty military compass suitable for practically any situation. There are a variety of features including a thumb hold, magnifying viewer and a sighting window with line. Made of sturdy metal, this compass can withstand rain, snow, mud and more.

The Ueasy with mirror is “old school” and proud of it. There are no batteries, electronics or anything else which might lose power. This is a compass perfect for military use or extreme outdoors adventure.

At the same time, it’s reliable and easy to use, which makes it perfect for less strenuous outings such as fishing trips and day hikes.


11.  PPbean Classic Pocket-Style Camping Compass

PPbean Classic Pocket Style Camping Compass

This compass is inexpensive, durable and has a classic, unique style.  Approximately 2” by .5”, this compass can easily slip into a backpack, jacket pocket, tackle box and more. The compass has a sensitive precision dial and is made from a strong aluminum alloy.

But the look of this compass is really what makes it stand out. With a classic gold color and circular shape, this compass resembles an old-fashioned pocket watch.

More than simply decorative, this compass not only looks great, but performs well and is extremely durable.


Important Elements of a Compass

Learning exactly what the various parts of a compass do is possibly the most critical part of purchasing a compass that suits your needs. It’s nearly impossible to understand which compass to choose when you don’t know how the features work, what they mean, which ones are most important, and how they vary.

In this section, I want to walk you through the intricate details of a compass and how they work together to accomplish their mission and get you on the right track, facing the right direction.

No matter how extensive or how intermediate your knowledge of compasses is, these simple explanations of the various parts that work together will be helpful to you.

To figure out the direction, or bearing, from one point to another, you need a compass as well as a map.

For the most part, all compasses are marked with the four cardinal points —North, East, South, and West—but some are marked with the number of degrees in a circle (360 north is 0 or 360, east is 90, south is 180, and west is 270) as well. Both kinds of compasses are easy to use with a little practice.

A compass tells which direction to head in. When paired with a map, you can find where things are, and how to get to them. Whether you’re hiking, biking, hunting, fishing, a compass is a great tool. These devices help you understand the shape of the land with a map.

Maps used alongside compasses define and locate natural and man-made features like woodlands, waterways, important buildings, and bridges in the direction of true North. These pairings show the distance between any two places, and they also show the direction from one point to another.

1. SCALES

Scales help measure distance on a map. It is smart if you check the common scale for the maps in your area before buying a compass. If you can get them to match, this can make working with a map a little easier. If your compass and map scales do not match, most orienteering compasses have centimeter and inch scales- so choose one of these!

2. ORIENTING ARROW

The orienting arrow portion of the compass is marked on the bottom of the housing, inside the tool, and it rotates with the housing. It lets the baseplate align relatively to the magnetic needle. In order to take a basic field bearing, the housing is turned until the orienting arrow and the magnetic needle are aligned. These two parts are then kept in alignment while following the bearing.

3. DECLINATION SCALE

Declination is the difference in an angle which differentiates between magnetic north and true north. This aspect of a compass, the declination scale, makes it easier to adjust between the two. More advanced compasses often have an adjustable declination scale that can be set, usually by way of a tiny screw on the bottom of the compass.

4. DIRECTION OF TRAVEL

This is the arrow that is marked on the baseplate of a compass. It guides your direction of travel while following a bearing in the field you’re in.

5. DIAL

The dial is part of the housing of the compass and is marked in two-degree portions. When the dial is turned, the orienting arrow, declination scale, and orienting lines also rotate as part of the compass’s housing.

6. INDEX LINE/ BEARING MARKER 

This is where a bearing is read, which is a very important part of the compass reading. A bearing is basically an angle relative to true north (which is true bearing), or magnetic north (which is magnetic bearing).

7. MAGNETIC NEEDLE

The magnetic needle is a magnetic strip of metal that is on a pivot in the center of the housing. The north end is usually painted red, while the other end is often white or black.

8. ORIENTING LINES

These lines are marked on the bottom of the housing and rotate with it, the same as the orienting arrow. They are also often called meridian lines and north-south lines. When taking a bearing from a map, the orienting lines are aligned with the north-south map grid lines.

9. HOUSING

The housing is a liquid filled capsule that contains the magnetic needle.  Orienting lines are etched on the bottom of the housing, and the dial is fixed to the top of the housing. The liquid helps dampen the needle movement, making it easier to get a more accurate reading.

10. BASE PLATE

A base plate was created to take a bearing on the map. The edge is placed between two points of the compass and the orienting lines and dial act as a gauge to give the bearing. The base plate is marked with scales, the direction of travel arrow and index line.

Once You Pick the Best Compass, What Do You Use It For?

So you know all about the best compasses on the market. Maybe you even choose yours! But if you are unaware of what compasses are used for as well as how to use them, they are no good to you!

SHOWS DIRECTION

A magnetic compass will align with North. A compass will show you which way is North, South, East, and West.

MAP ORIENTATION

You can orient a map by sight when you do not know the land features, or you can use a compass to orient the map instead. For beginners, using a map is the better option.

TRIANGULATION

If you are not sure where you are but the features around you match those of your surroundings, a compass can pinpoint your exact location. This is done through triangulation. The way this works is by taking two bearing measurements from two land features and plotting them on a map. These lines will intersect, and that will show you where you are standing.

GET YOUR BEARINGS

If you are trying to figure out where you should go, shooting a bearing of your destination is a great way to do it! As you are traveling wherever you are, orient your course in order to stay in the direction of your bearings.

DIRECTIONS

All in all, a compass is used to keep you on the right track and keep you from getting lost at all times. HIkers, backpackers, and travelers of all kinds use compasses to get them to their destinations. No matter where you are, truth North always stays the same.

Wrap Up & Decisions:

Whether you are a bass fisherman, beginning bow hunter or an avid survivalist, a quality compass is an absolute must have for anyone that ventures into wild consistently.

They make a great addition to any hiker’s backpack for basic hiking but can also be a great compliment to any hunter’s arsenal of top notch hunting gear.

Whenever you plan your next excursion into the great outdoors, you should always bring a top quality compass with you – just in case.

Best Bushcraft Knives of 2020: Ratings & Reviews

If you’ve been around knives for a while, then you know the old saying is typically true: “The best type of knife you can own is the one you have on you when you need it.”  

Having a knife on you is far more important than the type of knife you have.  With that being said, if you are adding to your collection, there are definitely different uses for each type of knife.

Below are some of our favorite knives that fall into the bushcraft category.  All of them are adept in fieldcraft and can be utilized for any number of outdoor tasks.

Before we get into extreme detail on our favorites, we look at what makes a bushcraft knife slightly different from other types of knives.  We’ve also listed our three favorites below in case you don’t feel like a lengthy read.

Our Top Three Picks

Ontario Blackbird Spear Point

Our rating

ONTARIO BLACKBIRD

TOP OVERALL PICK

Our rating

BENCHMADE BUSHCRAFTER

HIGH END PICK

Condor Bushlore

Our rating

CONDOR BUSHLORE

BUDGET PICK

Now that you’ve taken a look at our top three, let’s take a look at some of the differences that you can expect from a fieldcraft knife versus some of the other types that are out there.  There’s a number of differences, so let’s look at them in-depth.

If you don’t feel like a longer read, use the quick jump menu below to get to the part that answers whatever questions you may have.

What sets a Bushcraft Knife apart from the rest?

Bushcraft knives differ from survival knives and pocket knives.  They each have different uses which we will cover a little bit in detail below.

Survival Knives: Survival knives typically have a fixed blade and are good all around options that you can use for “anything.”  These are jack of all trade knives that are used for breaking glass, prying open doors, cutting into thick materials and have a set criteria.

You can check out the best survival knives on the market and what makes each one special by reading our Finding the Best Survival Knife: Reviews of the Top Fixed Blade Knives post.

Pocket Knives:  Pocket Knives are typically folding knives that you can carry on you daily that’s smaller in nature and can be used for a variety of different everyday tasks. Click here, for our selection of the best pocket knives for EDC.

Bushcraft Knives: A bushcraft knife, which we cover here should be considered as primarily a wood cutting tool and can be used effectively for notches, feathering and creating points on wooden objects.

It typically will not resemble a tactical knife looks wise and should have a blade that’s 3 to 6 inches in length and be extremely sharp.  Anything longer would probably fall into the machete category.

The shorter edge allows the bushcraft knife to be more maneuverable than longer survival knife blades.  It can also be extremely effective in skinning game and other basic bushcrafting tasks.

Bushcraft knives should be full-tang, fixed blade knives.  They should also have a flat grind and have a drop point blade, like many of their survival knife cousins.  While they can serve adequately as a tool for cutting fish like crappie after a fresh catch, it’s typically recommended you stick with a fileting knife for that task.

Similar to survival knives, they will typically have handles that vary in material.  Handle materials may include wood, micarta, and dense rubber or a firm plastic.

When choosing a bushcraft knife you should avoid blades longer than 6 inches, and start considering a machete or hatchet for heavy duty chopping and brush clearing.

Types of Knife Steel:

Similar to steels available for the other types of knives, the primary types of steel you will be dealing with for a bushcraft knife will be High Carbon Steel and Stainless Steel.

For a more in-depth look at knife steel, you can check out our breakdowns and the benefits of each by looking at this article here.  Here’s a basic summary for both:

High Carbon:  HC steel will hold an edge longer, but will rust faster.  It’s also softer which makes it easier to sharpen.  Oil the blade frequently to keep it rust free if you live in a wet climate.  Recommended High Carbon Steels are: 1000 Series (1045, 1095, etc.), 5160, O1, O6, W2

Stainless Steel:  SS will require more sharpening but will hardly ever rust. It’s a harder steel which makes it more of a pain to sharpen.  It will typically require less maintenance but also not hold as sharp of an edge.  Recommended Stainless Steels are : 400 Series (420, 440A/B/C), AUS Series (AUS-6/8/10), BG42, Bohler, S30V, VG10

Which Steel is Best for a Bushcraft knife?

Which steel is best for a Bushcraft knife?  While this is a loaded question, we will answer it as directly as we can.  If you are a collector, and have several knives, either type of knife steel is fine.

If this is your only knife, go with Stainless as it will allow you to have more versatility with the knife and less maintenance.  It may not hold an edge as well but it will take more abuse between care.

High Carbon is great but if you are looking for “one” knife that does it all, Stainless Steel is a better choice.  We’d still recommend a multi-knife approach (look at them as tools for specific jobs) when it comes to bushcraft, brush clearing, survival and knives you may pocket carry daily.

If you employ that approach, a High Carbon knife may make more sense.

Ten of the Best Bushcraft Knives for the Money:

Bushcraft knives are a great addition to any collection when preparing for a survival situation in advance.  Below we break down our top 10 favorites in more detail.


1. Benchmade Bushcrafter Knife:

Benchmade is notorious for quality.  They produce some of the highest quality outdoor/survival knives on the market today and the Bushcrafter is no different.

Here are the Specs for the Benchmade Bushcrafter:

Benchmark Bushcrafter

• Overall Length: 9.2 inches
• Blade Length: 4.43 inches
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade Material: S30V Stainless
• Rockwell Hardness: 58-60 HRC
• Handle Material: G-10 Plastic
• Weight: 7.72 oz.

The Bushcrafter features a Stainless Steel Blade made from S30V stainless steel which contains 1.45% carbon and is one of the better steels for knives.

It’s also made in the USA which is important to some consumers and should be noted that the production is not shipped overseas.  Unfortunately that means that it comes with a higher price tag, but the quality is worth the cost.


2. Condor Knife & Tool Bushlore 4.375 Inch Blade:

Condor Knife & Tool produces some quality knives for people on a budget.  This knife is an import so that’s something to consider, but that’s also what makes it much easier on your wallet.

Here are the specs for the Bushlore 4.375 Inch Blade:

Condor Knife & Tool Bushlore 4.375 Inch Blade

• Overall Length: 9.5 inches
• Blade Length: 4.375
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade Material: 1075 Stainless
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: Wood
• Weight: 12 oz.

The CKT Bushlore is a great all around option for a Bushcraft knife and it’s simplist
ic design make it one of the more popular knives out there if you are looking for something budget friendly.

This knife has excellent value, making it a top wallet friendly pick.  This knife is great for chopping as well.  Grabbing the knife by the end can make this a very effective yet maneuverable tool for chopping wood and creating points.  They also make a smaller version with a 3 inch blade as well.


3. Buck Knives Selkirk:

No comparison list would be complete without Buck having a knife making the list.  The Selkirk makes a great bushcraft knife at an affordable price point.

Here are the Selkirk Specifications:

Buck Knives Selkirk

• Overall Length: 9.5 inches
• Blade Length: 4.625 inches
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade Material: 420HC
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: Micarta
• Weight: 7.6 oz.

While most of Buck’s knives are American made, this one is made overseas which is what helps keep the price point lower than the top tier knives.  Even though it’s not made in the US, the warranty is still the same and Buck has one of the best lifetime warranties in the knife business.

Price wise this knife is a budget friendly pick, making it a great option for anyone that’s trying to save a few bucks while expanding their knife collection.  This wouldn’t be the single knife we’d choose if you were looking for a “one-size fits all” type of knife, but it’s a worth addition to an established collection.

The knife handle is made of flat steel at the end, making it usable as a hammer in a pinch.


4. Spyderco G-10 Bushcraft Knife:

It’s tough not to like everything about the Spyderco G-10 Bushcraft Knife.  We’ve shown on some of our other review articles that we are Spyderco fans. The G-10 Bushcraft is no different.

Here are the G-10 Bushcraft Specs:

Spyderco G-10 Bushcraft Knife

• Overall Length: 8.75 inches
• Blade Length: 4 inches
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade Material: O-1
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: G-10 Plastic
• Weight: 7.75 oz.

The Bushcraft Knife by Spyderco is a collaboration between Tactical Buchrafter CHris Claycombe, BushcraftUK.com and Spyderco.  They set out to make a blade that would rival some of their fixed blade competitors in both quality and use.

The Bushcraft handles chopping, slicing, whittling and processing game without any issues whatsoever.  It’s our first non-stainless blade in our series and the O-1 High Carbon is easy to sharpen.  It also holds an edge extremely well.  The knife also comes standard with a fitted sheath making it easy to carry right out of the box.

The blade is fully tanged which is different than most of Spyderco’s most popular offerings that are more modern styled pocket knives.  Overall, it’s hard not to like what Spyderco does with most of their knives and the Bushcraft is no exception to that.

For a full review of this beauty, check out our Review Series: Spyderco Bushcraft G-10 Knife Review


5. Tops Brothers of Bushcraft:

Tops knocks it out of the park with their Bushcraft knife, but like the Benchmade, the price tag reflects it.  This knife has some extra features that we will dive into a little deeper, but first let’s look at the specs.

Here are the specs of the Tops BOB Knife:

Tops Brothers of Bushcraft

• Overall Length: 10 inches
• Blade Length: 4.5 inches
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade Material: 1095 HC
• Rockwell Hardness: 56-58 RC
• Handle Material: Micarta
• Weight: 9.6 oz.

The only thing we don’t love about the TOPS BOB is the price tag.  With that being said, it’s worth considering this knife if you are already looking at our top choice in the quality region which is the Benchmade Bushcrafter.  The extra weight behind the BOB Fieldcraft knife is excellent and helps make it a highly effective chopping tool.

While the knife already has some decent out of the box features, let’s look at what’s been added to make the BOB stand out.

The handle has a bow drill divot which was specifically designed for starting fires.  The pommel of the blade is the tang, simply wrapped in the knife grips making it excellent for Batoning.

The thumb area on the hilt of the blade is also formed to provide a better grip when doing other tasks outside of basic bushwork, like skinning game or helping setup snare traps.  Overall the BOB is a great choice that you won’t go wrong with if you can afford the point of entry from a cost perspective.


6. Schrade Full Frontier Drop Point:

Schrade’s bushcraft knife is the cheapest on our list.  The quality is pretty solid for the price which is consistent among other Schrade knives on the market today. Let’s look at the specs.

Schrade Full Frontier Drop Point Specs:

Schrade Full Frontier Drop Point

• Overall Length: 10.4 inches
• Blade Length: 5.05 inches
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade Material: 1095 HC
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: TPE Handle
• Weight: 16 oz.

Schrade does a good job of combining an extremely low price point with decent quality.  There have been some issues with people not being completely thrilled with the powder coating the blade comes with on top of the 1095 high carbon steel, but that can be removed manually or eventually through wear and tear.

If you are looking to pickup a serviceable field knife on a budget, the Schrade Full Frontier will make an excellent choice as a stop gap until you can afford a top tier quality knife.


7. Morakniv Carbon Black Tactical Bushcraft Knife:

Moakniv is a budget knife maker and while we normally don’t focus too much on lower cost knives as some of our favorites, the Black Tactical Bushcraft knife makes our list.

Here are the Morakniv Specs: 

Morakniv Carbon Black Tactical Bushcraft Knife

• Overall Length: 9.1 inches
• Blade Length: 4.3 inches
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade Material: HC/Tungsten
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: Molded Rubber
• Weight: 5.7 Oz (with sheath)

Our primary knock on the Morakniv is that it’s only 3/4 of a tang, and not a full tang like the other favorites.  That’s really the only knock on this knife outside the fact that the warranty is only one year, which pales in comparison to some of the higher end knives like Buck who warranty their knives for the lifetime of the blade.

Let’s move on to what we like about the Morakniv. First and foremost is the cost, which is generally cheaper than most higher end knives.  Next is that the spine of the blade is ground specifically to be used with a firestarter.  You can purchase the knife both with or without an issued firestarter.

We’d recommend buying the one with it fully equipped, but you’ll be coughing up a few extra bucks to get there.  The Rubber handle is ergonomic and allows the blade to be gripped easily and the blade comes razor sharp right out of the box.

Overall this is a tough knife that will get the job done for anyone on a budget. If it starts to wear through after a couple years, it’s not going to be all that expensive to simply replace it.


8. Ontario SK-5 Blackbird:

The Ontario SK-5 Blackbird is a solid knife with a unique design.  It’s a spear point blade that serves a bushcraft purpose not only as a knife, but as a utility tool that can be attached to a stick and then used as a spear.  It fits our criteria well and we like the features that the SK-5 offers.

Here are the Ontario RTAK II specs:

Ontario SK-5 Blackbird

• Overall Length: 10.0 inches
• Blade Length: 5.0 inches
• Blade Type: Spear Point
• Blade Material: 154 CM Stainless
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: G10
• Weight: 12 oz.

The blade itself is made out of 154 CM American made stainless steel.  While the tang is thinner than some of the other knives on the list, the steel feels very sturdy allowing this knife to perform well out in the brush.  The handle is a G10 Plastic that’s finished well and holds a grippy finish on the handle where your hands lay over the grip.

We like the blade machining that’s been done, as the knife feels like a quality knife which is what OKT is known for.  The sheath is a fabric material that’s tan, and carries a somewhat tactical look & feel to it (it’s Molle compatible).

The knife itself was designed by Paul Sheiter, looking for a simplistic knife that could be used out in the brush for a variety of purposes, without complicating the actual design.

Here’s a breakdown of other popular Ontario knives and a side by side comparison with KA-BAR, another well-known U.S. knife manufacturer: K-BAR vs Ontario Tool and Knife – Comparing Traditional Knife Manufacturers


9. Helle Utvaer:

Below is a write up from one of our readers, Tony Lugosy of Romania.  He took the time to write in to the site and give us some feedback on the Helle Utvauer, so we wanted to include it.

Here are the Helle Utvaer specs:

Helle Utvaer

• Overall Length: 11 inches
• Blade Length:  3.93 inches
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade Material: 12C27 Stainless
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: Wood
• Weight: 5.64 oz.

In just a few words, my hands on experience with the Helle Utvaer was and still is one of the best.

I bought the knife as soon as in was launched in 2014, mainly because I was looking for a full tang bushcraft/outdoor piece, small enough to be carried in normal day trips, but sturdy enough to sustain a 10 day full outdoor trip. I was attracted by the overall shape and classical features.

I selected the Utvaer due to the Sandvik steel used by Helle. Helle uses a patented sandwich steel, with a hat inner layer, and two softer “protection” layers on the outside – Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel.  I took into consideration that I also do some fishing, and a good stainless blade is a must. I live in Romania, and we don’t have always the best weather possible…

This knife is the creation of Jesper Voxnaes, and for the knife guys “out there” this should be enough.

The blade is the classical Scandinavian drop point, meaning that the drop in the spine of the blade is gentle, offering a good blade cross section even close to the point.

The grind is also scandi – excellent edge retention even in harsh use, easy to sharpen, cuts like a razor if you hone the blade on a 8000 grit waterstone. The spine also generates a good spark if you use it with a ferro rod. I used the knife for batoning, and, even if the blade is only 2.8 mm thick, the blade did the job.

The handle is obviously curly birch – here we have no surprises from the northsmen – good balanced, and provided with two tube rivets. The shape of the handle offers perfect handling, and the smooth satin finish insures a very good grip.

If you have large hands, the handle might seem a little bit small, but in normal circumstances the handling is perfect.

I used a lot of knifes, factory made and custom, but this one seems to stuck on me.

The sheath was a little bit disappointing, but I made a Kydex one, with a ferrocerium holder, and everything is now OK. The original one was made from genuine leather, but the knife was not firmly kept inside.

The sheath allows a good room for the knife to fall if you don’t pay attention. I still have no answer from Helle regarding this matter, but, at the end of the day, I bought a knife, and not a sheath.

 

10. Perkin Handmade Bushcraft/Hunting Knife:

Here’s a superb small handmade bushcraft knife that can be a backup knife in any bushcraft kit. It has everything a knife in its category should have and some more. And as for the price, we first thought the seller erroneously skipped one digit. This full tang knife is too good to be true, but it is real. Get it while the stock lasts.

Here are the Perkin Bushcraft Knife specs:

Helle Utvaer

• Overall Length: 8 inches
• Blade Length: 4.1 inches
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade Material: 420C stainless steel
• Rockwell Hardness: 56-58 HRC
• Handle Material: Burl walnut wood
• Weight: 11.2 oz. (sheath included)

Everything about this bushcraft knife by Perkin oozes quality. From the outstanding steel blade to the finish of the handle, everything is well-thought-out and meticulously crafted.

Even though it might time some time to get used to the shape of the knife, it makes for a great backup bushcraft knife that can double as a hunting knife in times of need.

It comes razor sharp straight out of the box and holds an edge long time according to dozens of happy users. The handle offers excellent control of the blade and the tip. Along with the sturdy construction and fitment, this means that this beauty is great for batoning wood, carving, digging, and other bushcraft tasks.

The 90-degree edge on the spine makes the Perkin a great tool for starting emergency fires. The sheath is also superbly crafted and fits on the knife like a glove.

Hats off to Perkin for giving the world this classy but tough bushcraft knife at an insanely low price.

 

Bonus Bushcraft Knife: The Kellam Slasher 

If you need a bushcraft knife that won’t freeze in its sheath and be able to process wood like a champ in extreme cold weather, look no further than this Scandinavian-style knife. Don’t be fooled by its look, the Kelam Slasher was designed as a slashing machine and it is robust as a tank.

Here are Kellam Slasher’s specs:

 

• Overall Length: 11.75″
• Blade Length: 7 inches
• Blade Type: Straight back
• Blade Material: carbon steel
• Rockwell Hardness: n/a
• Handle Material: Stained curly birch
• Weight: 6.3 oz (w/o the leather sheath)

The Slasher’s design is inspired from the simple but sturdy and crazy sharp knives used by the Sami and Chukchi people for hundreds of years. This means that it lacks the bells and whistles of many of its competitors but it is reliable and great for many outdoor tasks. It is a great all-around knife (you can even butcher and quarter a reindeer with it), but it shines bright especially in the wood processing department.

Its 7” blade is great for batoning and because it is so sharp and lightweight, you’ll have no problem carrying out a primitive bushcraft project and be really proud of yourself. It can also be used to start a campfire and for basic kitchen tasks.

The Slasher is a very sharp bushcraft knife with superior edge retention and traditional birch handle. It was designed to withstand all the challenges the long, cold and harsh winters in the North might pose. It is pricier than a Mora but much much sturdier. We believe that, in the long run, it is worth the investment.

 

Wrapping Up & Parting Advice:

Finding the best bushcraft knife can be difficult because so many people have different interpretations when they are looking for a field knife.  It’s not as simple as just picking a survival knife that you think can meet every criteria in the outdoors that you may have.

Knives should be looked at as a complete system and not as a one size fits all remedy.  Any of the knives we have featured here will do their part very well as a field knife in anyone’s knife rotation.  As always, if you feel there’s one we have missed, feel free to drop us a line.

Finding the Best Survival Knife in 2020: Our Favorite Fixed Blades [Tested & Reviewed]

If you find yourself in an unexpected survival situation, what kind of knife would you want at your side?  Honestly, you would probably be happy to have ANY knife with you.  But obviously since you are reading this, you are someone that plans ahead, and you don’t want just any old pocket knife, you want the best knife possible to well, survive with.

Want to Test and Review New Gear? Join our Gear Club!

We all have our personal preferences on what makes a good knife to go camping or hiking with, but in an extreme situation you want the absolute best survival knife possible, and so we are here to make sure that you have the right choice for any situation.

The comparison guide of knives below and the analysis that follows will help you find the right knife to meet your needs.

SURVIVAL KNIFE COMPARISON GUIDE:

View on Amazon:Steel:Our Rating:Price:
Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Fixed Blade1095 Cro-Van$$
Gerber LMF II Survival Knife420 High Carbon$$
Gerber Strong Arm420 High Carbon$$
Ka-Bar Full Sized Fighting Knife1095 Cro-Van$$
Fallkniven A1 Survival KnifeLaminated VG10$$$$
Buck 119BKS 6 Inch Blade420 High Carbon$$
Ka-Bar BK7 Combat Utility Knife1095 Cro-Van$$
Schrade SCHF9N Fixed Blade Knife1095 Cro-Van$$
ESEE 6P-B Plain Edge1095 Steel$$$
ESEE Laser Strike1095 Carbon Steel$$$
SE Outdoor Tanto (bonus)440 Stainless Steel$

Comparison Guide Key:

1.Knife brand and name/model: Click to view more details or to purchase.
2.Blade Material: The metal used in the blade.
3.Rating: Our Rating
4.Price:  Generally Speaking: $ = under $50, $$ = $51 to $100, $$$ = $101 to $200, $$$$ = $200+

The knives included in this chart actually only begin to scratch the surface.  So many manufacturers and models exist that there is no way that we could have listed everything.  However, many exceptional survival knives are included at every price range and from a wide variety of quality makers.

All of the survival knives included are fixed blades which many feel is an essential criteria for choosing a proper survival knife.  There are a few folding knives that will make good backup options, but your primary choice for a survival knife should always be a fixed blade.

Feel free to use the quick jump menu below to make it easier to find the details that apply to you.

OUR TOP THREE SURVIVAL KNIFE PICKS:

Ka-Bar BK2 Fixed Blade 1095 Steel

Our rating

Ka-Bar Becker BK2

TOP OVERALL PICK

Gerber Strong Arm 420 High Carbon Steel

Our rating

Gerber Strong Arm

BUDGET PICK

ESEE 6P-B Plain Edge 1095 Steel

Our rating

ESEE 6P-B Plain Edge

HIGH END PICK

So, Just What is a Survival Knife?

A survival knife is the essential tool that can be used in the event you get lost in the wilderness or involved in some other extreme outdoor environment. In the event that you are lost in the wilderness the proper knife can truly be a life saver to help you build shelter, start a fire, hunt, prepare food, dig, clear paths, and so much more.

Best Fixed Blade Knife in Tree Stump

Do you really think the castaways from LOST would have survived without John Locke’s suitcase full of knives including a Ka-Bar Full-sized USMC, a Master Bowie knife, and a Spyderco Harpy? Even Hollywood knows that you need a knife to survive when you get “lost”!

In general, a full-tang, fixed blade is going to be more reliable and less likely to break than a folding knife or partial tang. Having a full-tang knife (metal blade runs the full length to the end of the handle) will help ensure the knife can handle extreme pressure or usage without the risk of breakage.

However, a solid folding knife or partial tang knife is more likely to be in everyone’s price range and still provide many of the benefits that perhaps an “ideal” survival knife would.

How to Choose the Right Survival Knife: 8 Things to Consider

There’s a few things you need to consider when picking out your survival knife which includes your planned needs, uses and budget.

In order for a survival knife to perform all of the myriad tasks that is likely to asked of it, it must incorporate several key features that we dive into more detail in the sections below.

1. Blade Design: Choosing the Right Type of Survival Knife:

When choosing a survival knife, blade design is perhaps the single most important factor since it determines whether or not a knife is suitable for survival use. For instance, when faced with a wilderness survival situation, the user often employs the full length of the cutting edge from the choil to the belly for different purposes and sometimes, even the tip is needed for piercing.

As a result, you should be aware that there are actually several different blade designs consisting of clip pointsdrop pointsspear points, Nessmuks, trailing points, etc., but, those best suited for survival purposes are the clip point, the drop point, and the spear point.

The reason for this is that all three blade designs are meant to position the tip of the blade closer to the center line to provide the user with greater control than can be had with a straight back design.

Also, all three designs serve to lighten the tip of the blade in order to balance the blade closer to the hilt which also provides the user with better control over the tip.

Experienced wilderness survivalists tend to think of survival knives as falling into one of three different categories consisting of heavy duty choppers, camp knives, and bushcraft/utility knives depending on their blade length and blade design.

A heavy chopping tool will feature a robust construction and have a blade that is 10 inches to 14 inches in length with a weight-forward blade design and a saber grind and be made from a tough steel such as 1095, 5160, or 440C.

Also, it should feature a highly ergonomic, non-slip, handle design with, preferably, a cushioned, textured, non-slip, surface on the handle made from either Kraton or Hypalon rubber.

A camp knife is defined as a medium sized knife with less robust construction and a blade that ranges from 5 inches to 8 in length with a balance point near the hilt and a flat grind or a hollow grind.

Also, it should feature an ergonomic handle that allows the knife to be held in several different positions.

A bush craft/utility knife is defined as a knife that has a blade that measures from 3.5 inches to 5 inches with clip point, a drop point, or a spear point blade design and a flat grind or a hollow grind with an ergonomic handle design.

Schrade does a good job with the video below giving more detail on the types of blade design.

2. Fixed Blade or Folding? Which is best for a Survival Situation?

As the expert in the earlier video highlighted, a pocket knife is good to have on hand when you need a good all purpose knife you can carry everyday.  The primary problem with relying on a folding knife is the fact that they have the additional break point that a fixed blade knife does not have.

This is critical when you think about the different uses you may need to use your knife in when you are in a tough survival situation.  The last thing you need is a broken knife when you are trying to setup a shelter or start skinning a recent game kill.

You want something that’s going to be extremely sturdy that will allow you to leverage the knife in just about every situation and not break under contact.  You need to have a knife that is ready to stand up to extreme abuse and last a long time doing it.

A good folding knife has it’s place in any survivalist’s arsenal, but it should never replace a fixed blade knife as the primary resource that you use for extreme situations.

3. Blade Edge: Know the Best Purpose of Your Knife’s Edge

The design of the cutting edge is also a critical factor when choosing a survival knife because the different types of cutting edges are designed for different purposes.

First and foremost, here are straight cutting edges which are specifically designed to be general purpose edges. However, it should be noted that they can feature either a positive rake angle, a neutral rake angle, or a negative rake angle measured from the bolster.

The neutral rake angle is the most common and it is defined as a an angle that extends at a right angle from the bolster.

A positive rake angle extends from the bolster at a downward angle in order to increase the angle of attack when cutting and slicing.

A negative rake angle is one that extends at an upward angle from the bolster and it is designed to lessen the pressure placed on the cutting edge when cutting and slicing.

Then, there are recurved edges which feature a straight section extending from the Ricasso but which then changes to a positive angle at it approaches the center of the blade and curves upward to the tip as it reaches the belly of the edge which places the balance of the blade well forward of the hilt.

Therefore, the purpose of the recurved edge is to create the blade that is good for both cutting and carving near the bolster but which is also tip heavy for better chopping performance.

4. Blade Length: How Long Should Your Knife Be?

A third critical factor when choosing a survival knife is the length of the blade because different length blades are best suited for different purposes.

For instance, blade lengths ranging from 8 to 10 inches are usually long enough and have enough weight to be well suited for chopping and splitting with a baton but, they tend to make it difficult to control the tip of the blade when trying to perform small, precision, cutting tasks.

Survival knives with blade lengths ranging from 3.5 inches to 5 inches are much better suited for more delicate tasks such cutting notches in stakes and staves to build traps and snares, skinning small game animals and gutting fish, slicing up root and tubers, ect.

Blade lengths ranging from 6 to 7.5 inches represent an excellent compromise between long, heavy-duty, blade designs and short utility blade designs.

5. Blade Steel: What’s Your Knife Made of?

Types of Survival Knife Steel

Next to blade design, the type of steel that a survival knife is made from is possibly the second most critical factor when choosing a survival knife.

You should first be aware that there are two different categories of blade steel consisting of non-stainless, high carbon, tool steels and stainless steels with the defining difference between the two being the amount of Chromium the steel contains.

While high carbon tool steels are often significantly tougher than stainless steels, they are less likely to break, they are more prone to corrosion. Plus, although they are also easier to sharpen, they will not hold an edge quite as well as stainless steels.

Whereas, stainless steels are generally less tough than high carbon tool steels but will generally hold an edge better (depending on composition and Rockwell Hardness) and, they are far less prone to corrosion But, they are also more prone to break and, they are generally more difficult to sharpen as well.

However, having said that, the relative toughness and edge holding ability of any blade steel is also dependent on its Rockwell Hardness (designated HRC).

Therefore, knife blades with a Rockwell Hardness of 50 to 54 are meant to be tough whereas, knife blades with a Rockwell Hardness of 58 to 62 are meant to hold an edge well and knife blades with a Rockwell Hardness of 54 to 58 are meant to be a compromise between toughness and edge holding ability.

Large, heavy-duty, survival knives with long blades should be made from a non-stainless, high carbon, tool steels and have a Rockwell Hardness of 50 to 54 whereas, small bush craft knives with short blades can be made from either type of steel and should have a significantly higher Rockwell Hardness and the same is true for camp knives.

Therefore, some good choices for high carbon tool steels for this purpose are 1095, 5160, O1, and A2 whereas, some good choices for stainless steels are 420HC, 440C, AUS-8, and AUS-10.

6. Blade Grind: Saber or Flat Grind? What’s the Difference?

Blade Grind Shapes For Knives

Every bit as important when choosing a survival knife as blade design and cutting edge design is the blade grind. While there are several different types of blade grinds, the two best suited for survival knives are the saber grind and the flat grind.

The reason that this is important is that a saber grind exhibits a primary bevel that extends only a very short distance from the cutting edge to the back of the blade and it creates a thick, axe-like edge that is difficult to sharpen to a fine edge but, which does an excellent job of holding an edge when chopping and splitting.

A flat grind exhibits a primary bevel that extends from the cutting edge all of the way to the back of the blade which represents a compromise between a saber grind and a hollow grind.  As a result, it can be honed to a much finer edge than a saber grind but will hold an edge better than a hollow grind.

Some survival knives have a hollow saber grind which designed to incorporate both the spine thickness of a saber grind and the fine edge of a hollow grind and while this type of blade grind works fairly well for chopping, cutting, and slicing, it is not optimized for either task which makes it a good compromise between a saber grind and a flat grind.

7. Tang Construction: Full or Partial?

The tang of a fixed blade knife is the portion of the blade that extends into the handle upon which the knife’s handle is fixed.

Because the point where the tang meets the blade is the knife’s weakest point, it should be noted that while there are several different types of knife tangs, the ones best suited for survival knives are the full tang and the hidden tang due to their inherent strength with the inherently weaker partial tang and stick tang being poplar for some handle designs.

The full tang is by far the most popular design and should be your top choice because it consists of a tang that extends the full width and length of the handle with handle scales that are affixed one either side of the tang via epoxy and rivets.

The hidden tang is similar to the full tang in that it extends nearly the full width and length of the handle but is designed in such a way the handle can be hollowed an slid onto the tang where is usually affixed with epoxy.

The partial tang and stick tang are the least desirable of the four types of tangs used to construct survival knives since they have a tang that extends the full length of the handle but only extends a small part of the width.

This type of tang is most commonly used in conjunction with handles made from stacked leather discs that are secured with a pommel cap that screws onto the end of the tang via threads.

8. Handle Material: Understanding Grips

Another important factor to consider when choosing a survival knife is the material from which the handle is made because it must be both tough in order to prevent cracking and breaking and it must be impervious to the absorption of moisture to prevent rot.

The single most popular handle material for survival knives is either canvas or linen Micarta which is a resin impregnated fabric that has been heated to liquefy the resin and then pressed under tremendous pressure to form into a solid material.

Fiber reinforced plastics such as G-10 and Zytel are also popular and work just as well. However, neither of these materials provide the user’s hand with any sort of cushion to lessen the shock generated when chopping with the knife.

Textured rubber handles such as those made from Krayton or Hypalon are good choices for heavy duty choppers.

Our Review of the Top 10 Fixed Blade Survival Knives:

Most of the survival knives mentioned above are excellent options, but there are a few that we just need to point out as our favorites.  Below you will find our top 10 overall best survival knives along with a more detailed individual review.

So, pull up your camping chair and let’s dig into these options.

1. Ka-Bar Becker BK2 “Campanion” Fixed Blade Knife:

The Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion is one of the most popular survival knives on the market today.  With over a thousand reviews on Amazon, this makes it not only well-tried, but also well reviewed.  (You can read all those reviews by clicking the link below).

Here are some points worth mentioning about the knife:

Ka Bar Becker BK2 Companion Fixed Blade Knife Sharp

• Blade type: drop point
• Overall length: 10.5”
• Blade length: 5.25”
• Blade material: 1095 Cro-Van
• Rockwell Hardness: 56-58 HRC
• Handle material: Ultramid
• Sheath material: Nylon
• Weight: 16 oz.

Looking at the knife, you can see why people like it. Not only does it have a drop point blade design that is well suited for survival use, it features a heavy-duty construction with a 5.25 inch blade made from 1095 Cro-van (adds both Chromium and Vanadium to Carbon and Manganese) non-stainless, high carbon, tool steel with a Rockwell Hardness of 56 to 58 and a the deep saber grind that allows it to be honed to a fine edge.

It also features a very ergonomic handle design made from Ultamid which is a custom made polyamide that extremely tough and impervious the absorption of moisture.

Due its medium size, it is well suited as both camp knife and a bush craft/utility knife since it will perform most any small task asked of it from skinning game animals to preparing an evening meal.

However, another reason it’s so popular is the price! With the quality design, craftsmanship, size, and durability, you would expect something on the higher end. But, for less than $70, you can add this great survival tool to your collection!

2. Gerber LMF II Infantry:

Specifically designed to be a military grade survival knife, the Gerber LMF II is a very well designed little knife. Although it’s way too small to be effective chopping tool and its design is not particularly well suited to the role of camp knife, it is an excellent little utility knife.

Here are some features worth mentioning below:

Gerber LMF 2 Infantry Knife

• Blade type: drop point
• Overall length: 10.59”
• Blade length: 4.84”
• Blade material: 420 HC
• Rockwell Hardness: unknown
• Handle material: Glass Filled Nylon
• Sheath material: nylon
• Weight: 11.67 oz.

The LMF II Infantry has a 4.84” drop point blade design made from 420HC stainless steel with a deep saber grind and a serrated cutting edge.

The serrations and the glass breaker on the pommel are indicative of its military mindset since the serrations on the cutting edge are not particularly well suited for sharpening stakes and staves nor for carving notches but, they are rather useful when cutting a seat belt to exit a downed air craft or for sawing your way out of an aircraft fuselage or a helicopter canopy.

In addition, it features a very well designed 5.75” handle made from glass filled nylon with a textured rubber coating that is nearly indestructible and is impervious to the absorption of moisture and it has an integral double finger guard with jimping on the inside edges to improve the grip.

Furthermore, the designers of this knife had the forethought to include two lanyard holes in the finger guard so that the knife can be lashed to a staff or pole to create a makeshift spear to protect the user from attack by predatory animals or for use as a makeshift hunting tool.

The Gerber LMF II Infantry knife is well suited for a myriad of small utility jobs in a survival situation.

3. Gerber Strong Arm Military Knife:

Another one of Gerber’s line of fixed blade, military, survival knives, the Strong Arm is designed to serve as a small utility survival knife. In fact, it feature a 4.8” drop point blade almost identical to the LMF II Infantry model listed above.

Here are a few of the features worth looking at for this knife.

Gerber Strong Arm Survival Knife

• Blade type: drop point
• Overall length: 9.8”
• Blade length: 4.8”
• Blade material: 420 HC
• Rockwell Hardness: unknown
• Handle material: Glass Filled Nylon
• Sheath material: nylon
• Weight: 7.2 oz.

Like the LMF II, the Strong Arm is also made from 420HC stainless steel with a hard, black, ceramic coating to further enhance the steel’s corrosion resistance and to provide a stealthy appearance when used in tactical situations.

However, unlike the LMF II Infantry model, the Strong Arm is available either with or without serrations. Due to its small size, it is too small to be effective at even light chopping tasks and it is a bit on the small side for a good camp knife but, it does make and excellent utility or “bush craft” knife for jobs that require a significant amount of control over the blade.

Of course, aiding in that control is the ergonomic and well designed 5” handle made from glass filled nylon with a textured rubber coating that is nearly indestructible and is impervious to the absorption of moisture. Also, it has an integral double finger guard with jimping on the inside edges to improve the grip.

Plus, it comes with a heavy-duty, nylon, modular sheath system that can be mounted vertically on a MOLLE vest, horizontally on a standard 1.75 inch belt, as a drop leg belt mount.

The Gerber Strong Arm knife is a well designed utility survival knife for small jobs with its 420HC stainless steel blade and its nearly indestructible, rubber coated, handle and modular nylon sheath system.

Like many other top Gerber products, the Gerber Strong arm it is a knife that you can depend on in a survival situation.

4. Ka-Bar Becker U.S. Marine Corp Fighting Utility Knife:

Recognized worldwide as a true icon among combat knives, the KA-BAR U.S.M.C. Fighting and Utility Knife is their most famous knife! In fact, the only other combat knives as widely recognized as the classic “KA-BAR” are the Sykes/Fairbain and Sykes/Applegate double edged daggers issued to British soldiers during WW1 and WWII and the “Kukri” issued to Nepalese Gurkha troops.

Even though there’s a fair bit if history behind the KA-BAR fighting knife, here are a few features that the knife boasts:

Ka Bar Full Size USMC Marine Knife• Blade type: drop point
• Overall length: 11.875”
• Blade length: 7”
• Rockwell Hardness: 56-58 HRC
• Handle material: leather
• Sheath material: leather
• Blade material: 1095 Cro-Van High Carbon Steel
• Weight: 0.7 lb.

Featuring a heavy duty, 7”, clip point blade with a saber grind made from 1095 Cro-Van (adds both Chromium and Vanadium to Carbon and Manganese) high carbon tool steel with a black, corrosion resistant, coating and a Rockwell Hardness of 56-58.

This knife follows the classic Bowie knife design and not only is it eminently well suited as a combat knife, it is also extremely well suited as a heavy duty survival knife.

In fact, although there are a lot of survival knives on the market today, considering the blade design and the robust construction of this knife combined with its relatively low MSRP, it would hard to choose a better knife.

In addition, for those of you who like a bit of nostalgia, the handle of this knife is made from thick, leather discs stacked on a stick tang with a double finger guard at one end and secured with a steel pommel cap on the other to help balance the knife near the hilt.

Plus, the leather discs have been sealed to make them impervious to the absorption of moisture while still providing a positive grip.

Lastly as a nice add-on feature, it comes with a heavy duty leather sheath stamped with both the KA-BAR and U.S.M.C. logos.

5. Fallkniven A1L Survival Knife:

Without a doubt, Fallkniven is one of the premier production knife companies in the business today and the Fallkniven A1L Survival Knife is a premier example of their commitment to producing high quality knives.

Here are some of the notable points of the A1L:

Fallkniven A1 Survival Knife Full Tang

• Blade type: clip point
• Blade length: 6.3”
• Overall length: 11”
• Blade material: VG-10
• Rockwell Hardness: 59 HRC
• Handle material: Kraton rubber
• Weight: 12 oz.

Featuring a 6.3 inch clip point blade made from a core of VG-10 stainless steel with a Rockwell Hardness of 59 HRC laminated between two layers of softer stainless steel with a saber grind that extends nearly to the back of the blade combined with a spine that measures a full .24 inches, this is literally one of the strongest survival knives you can buy!

In addition, it features hidden tang construction with a very ergonomic, diamond textured, Kraton rubber, handle with an integral finger guard, for a non-slip grip.

Plus, it comes with a heavy-duty black leather sheath that has a single snap strap. Although the blade is a bit too short to make an effective chopping tool, it is an excellent example of what a camp knife should be.

Due to its general purpose blade design, it is one of the best possible choices for a wilderness survival knife for performing nearly every task you might need to do from slicing to cutting to skinning.

6. Buck Model 119 Special Survival Knife with Leather Sheath:

A truly iconic example of the general purpose “camp knife”, the Buck knives model 119 “Special” has been an integral part of the Buck line of classic knives since 1945 when Hoyt and Al Buck used to build them by hand in their two man shop.

Here are the specs:

Buck 119 Survival Knife

• Blade type: clip point
• Overall length: 10.5”
• Blade length: 6”
• Blade material: 420 HC
• Rockwell Hardness: 58 HRC
• Handle material: phenolic plastic
• Sheath material: leather
• Weight: 7.5 oz.

In fact, because it features a 6” Clip Point blade with a hollow grind made from 420 HC stainless steel with a Rockwell Hardness of 58 HRC, it is an excellent design for a multitude of survival tasks such as trimming branches and carving notches for traps and snares as well as skinning game and other general purpose jobs.

It’s not well suited for chopping because of its relatively light blade and balance point near the hilt. Plus, although the hollow grind on the blade allows it to be honed to a very fine edge for cutting and slicing, it also allows the edge to dull more easily when the knife is used to chop.

On the other hand, the 4 1/2”, black phenolic plastic, handle is both large enough to comfortably fill the hand and is very ergonomic.

Plus it’s complimented by a double finger guard up front and a polished aluminum butt cap in the rear which really sets off the pitch black handle. Anyone who knows knives can spot a Buck knife at a glance just by noting the distinctive handle design.

For those people who appreciate classics and antiques, the Buck model 119 Special is the general purpose survival knife (aka “camp knife”) to have because it is an extremely well designed knife for this purpose.

In fact, this knife is so well designed that it has been in continuous production for 70 years which is not only a testament to both its functionality and its popularity, but a strong argument that this could be one of the best survival knives in the world ever made.

Last, it comes with a heavy-duty, black, pouch type, leather sheath with fold-over flap and snap closure which is a nice touch.  It’s hard to go wrong with a classic and the Buck Model 119 is no different.

7. Ka-Bar Becker BK7 Combat/Utility Knife:

The Ka-Bar Becker BK7 Combat Utility Knife was designed by Becker Knife & Tool to be the ultimate all-purpose utility knife for both soldiers and survivalists who need a relatively lightweight survival knife for heavy-duty use.  KA-BAR has been well known by survivalists and military personnel for years.

Here are the specs for the BK7:

Ka Bar BK 7 Clip Point• Blade type: clip point
• Overall length: 12.75”
• Blade length: 7”
• Blade material: 1095 Cro-Van
• Rockwell Hardness: 56-58 HRC
• Handle material: Ultramid
• Sheath material: Nylon
• Weight: 0.85 lb.

In fact, its long blade combined with its excellent blade design and its straight cutting edge make it imminently well suited for its role as a general purpose survival knife.

Featuring a 7” clip point blade with a deep saber grind made from 1095 Cro-Van (adds both Chromium and Vanadium to Carbon and Manganese) high carbon tool steel with a black, corrosion resistant, coating and a Rockwell Hardness of 56-58 HRC, the BK7 is a good choice for a truly tough survival knife that will stand up to most any job including light chopping, splitting, and digging.

Plus, this full tang survival knife has a very ergonomic handle design with handle slabs made from “Ultamid” (aka Zytel) which is a custom made polyamide that is extremely tough and impervious the absorption of moisture.

Due its medium size, the Becker BK7 Combat/Utility Knife is very well suited for use as a general purpose camp knife since it will perform most any job you might need of it in a survival situation from building survival shelters to building traps and snares to preparing the evening meal.

It also comes with a heavy-duty, MOLLE compatible, nylon sheath.

8. Schrade Extreme Survival Knife (SCHF9):

A fine offering from Schrade, the Extreme Survival model SCHF9 is an excellent choice for those people who prefer non-stainless tool steels over stainless steels due to their superior toughness and ease of sharpening.  It’s also the most budget friendly knife on the list which is a good thing for folks with a sub $100.00 knife budget.

Here are the specs:

Schrade Extreme Fixed Blade Knife

• Blade type: drop point
• Overall length: 12.1”
• Blade length: 6.4”
• Rockwell Hardness: unknown
• Blade material: 1095 High Carbon
• Handle material: Plastic Elastomer
• Sheath material: nylon
• Weight: 16 oz.

Featuring a 6.4 inch drop point blade with a recurved cutting edge and a hollow grind made from 1095 non-stainless, high carbon, tool steel, the Schrade Extreme model SCHF9 is a well thought out design.

For instance, the straight section of the cutting edge is great for sharpening stakes and cutting notches while the deeply curved section near the tip places the knife’s balance point well forward to make it a more effective chopping tool.

The 1095 high carbon tool steel is the perfect choice for a heavy duty knife that can expect to see hard use. In addition, the handle is extremely well designed with a very ergonomic shape that is specifically designed to fit the human hand with finger grooves to provide a comfortable, positive, grip.

Also, the handle scales are made from Thermo Plastic Elastomer which is a material that displays the properties of both plastic and rubber. Therefore, the grip on this survival knife is both incredibly tough and, it also provides a cushioned, non-slip, grip.

Schrade rounds it out with a heavy duty nylon sheath with a single, buckle closure, pocket on the front.

9. ESEE-6 Plain Black Blade with Grey Removable Micarta Handles:

The Randall Adventure & Training Company entered the knife market with their own ESSE brand of knives in 1997 and since then, ESSE Knives have become well known for their quality of design and workmanship. In fact, the ESSE 6 with plain edge is one of the top rated survival knives on the market today.

Let’s look at the specs:

ESEE 6 Micarta Grip

• Blade type: Drop Point
• Overall length: 11.75”
• Blade length: 6.5”
• Blade material: 1095 High Carbon
• Rockwell Hardness: 55-57 HRC
• Handle material: linen Micarta
• Sheath material: Kydex
• Weight: 12 oz.

It’s obvious that when your knife is designed by a wilderness and jungle survival training specialist specifically for the sole purpose of survival, that it should be near the top of the pack in quality. So, if you are looking for a tough, medium sized, high quality, wilderness survival knife, you can’t go wrong with the ESSE 6.

With 6.5” drop point blade made from 1095 high carbon tool steel with a flat grind, a black, corrosion resistant coating, and a Rockwell Hardness of 55-57 HRC, this survival knife is easily on par with the KA-BAR knives listed above but, it has a very different blade design. In fact, it’s design resembles a hunting knife far more than it does a combat knife.

While the drop point blade positions the tip close to the center line for precise control, the flat grind provides the perfect compromise between the razor sharpness of a hollow grind and the edge toughness of a saber grind.

Plus, the choil features a shallow finger groove to allow the user to move their hand forward on the grip and place their index finger in the groove for significantly more control over the edge when carving. This knife is an excellent choice for a tough, general purpose, survival knife.

In addition, this full tang survival knife comes with a hand filling, highly ergonomic, handle design made from two linen Micarta handle scales attached to the tang with three Allen screws.

Not only is the handle of this best outdoor knife very comfortable, it also provides the user with a nearly indestructible, non-slip, grip that is impervious to the absorption of moisture.

ESEE wraps it all up in a nice package with a molded Kydex sheath which is not only extremely tough, it is also completely waterproof.

10. ESEE Laser Strike Fixed Blade Knife:

The ESSE Laser Strike knife is somewhat unusual among survival knives in that it features a spear point blade as opposed to ESSE’s standard drop point design.

However, many experienced wilderness survivalists consider the spear point blade design to be the ultimate bush craft/utility knife blade design because the tip is positioned directly in line with the center of the blade for highly effective piercing while retaining enough belly to still make a good skinning knife.

Let’s look at the specs of this best fixed blade survival knife:

ESEE Laser Strike Micara Handles

• Blade type: spear point
• Overall length: 10”
• Blade length: 4.75”
• Blade material: 1095 High Carbon
• Rockwell Hardness: 55-57 HRC
• Handle material: linen Micarta
• Sheath material: Kydex
• Weight: 9.5 oz.

Featuring a 4.75” spear point blade made from 1095 high carbon tool steel and a Rockwell Hardness of 55-57 HRC with a flat grind and a black, corrosion resistant, coating, this knife is the perfect companion to the ESSE Junglass.

The high carbon tool steel makes it a tough little survival knife while the mid-range Rockwell Hardness enables it to hold an edge well without being excessively difficult to sharpen.

This hardy full tang survival knife comes with a highly ergonomic handle design made from two linen Micarta handle scales attached to the tang with three Allen screws.

Not only is the handle very comfortable just like the ESEE 6, it also provides the user with the same nearly indestructible, non-slip, grip that is impervious to the absorption of moisture. ESEE finishes it off with a molded Kydex sheath which is not only extremely tough, it is also completely waterproof.

 

Bonus Survival Knife: SE Outdoor Tanto Knife with Firestarter

The SE outdoor Tanto knife is an excellent entry-level survival knife for preppers just getting started or those on a tight budget. It lacks all the bells and whistles of more expensive survival knives, but for the insanely low price it does its job with flying colors.

Let’s take a look at the specs:

• Blade type: Hollow ground
• Overall length: 7”
• Blade length: 3”
• Blade material: 440 stainless steel
• Rockwell Hardness: N/A
• Handle material: black matte stainless steel
• Sheath material: nylon
• Weight: 7.2 oz.

The SE Outdoor Tanto Knife is a bare and bones survival knife for survivalists that would rather have a knife than no knife at all when things go south. The blade is made of 440 stainless steel and is harder to sharpen than other survival knives on our list but once you get the hang of it resharpening is easy as pie.

The military green cord-wrapped handle is a handy detail as the heavy duty cordage can be easily unwrapped when an emergency situation demands it. Due to this survival knife’s small frame you can re-purpose it as a spear head. But don’t be fooled by the dimensions. It can also be used in making tent pegs, split kindling, and staring a fire. What’s more, because there’s an ideal balance between the blade and the handle, this survival knife is also great for throwing.

Yes, this full tang survival knife comes with a magnesium alloy firestarter for an extra fire source in your bug-out bag or survival kit. The thick nylon sheath comes with a belt loop if you want to keep this knife and the firestarter close to your body.

We do not recommend the SE Outdoor Tanto to be used as a primary survival knife, but it makes a great backup option for when things start to look really dire.

So What’s the Best Survival Knife for the Money?

So the true question always comes down to value.  What’s THE best knife I can get for my budget?  We have four survival knives on our list that we would choose that are all in a similar price range.  They all give different features and while all of the knives in our top 10 list feature some great options, there’s 4 of them that we’d take above the rest.  Those four are the following:

Best Under $100.00, around the $80.00 Price Range:  Ka-Bar Becker BK2

Coolest Looking Model under $100.00:  Gerber LMF II Survival Knife

One of the Most Trusted Survival Knives & often used in the US Military:  Ka-Bar Full Size US Marine Corps Knife

Old Faithful on the Cheap:  Buck Knives 0119 Fixed Blade Knife

As has been stated, any of the choices in this list will be a great option for your next outdoor adventure.  If we could only choose from a few survival knives, these four would be our top choices as they are economical and will last a very long time if cared for properly.

OUR WRAP UP & PARTING THOUGHTS:

So, as you can see, there is actually quite a bit to consider when searching for the best survival knife on the market today. In fact, just trying to choose the best blade length, the best blade design, and the best blade steel make the task difficult enough. Other factors such as cutting edge design, tang construction, and the design of the handle and material from which it’s made may further complicate things too.

Rather than thinking of a survival knife as a single, all-purpose, tool, it is helpful to instead think of them as purpose specific tools consisting of heavy duty choppers, camp knives, and utility/bush craft knives.

A good heavy chopping tool is characterized by an extra heavy blade 10” to 14” in length with a weight forward design made from a high carbon tool steel such as 1095, 5160, O1, or A2 as opposed to a stainless steel and it should feature a shallow saber grind combined with a non-slip handle design made from a tough material.

You can see some blades we recommend for these purposes by checking out the article here.

A good survival knife is characterized by general purpose blade design ranging from 5 to 8 inches in length with either a deep saber grind or a flat grind made from a high quality stainless steel designed for the purpose such as AUS-8 or 440C combined with an ergonomic handle design.

A utility/bush craft knife can be either a fixed blade or a folding knife and is characterized by a much shorter blade ranging from 3 to 5 inches in length with either a flat grind or a hollow grind for superior sharpness and made from a high quality stainless steel designed for the purpose such as AUS-8 or 440C.

By thinking of survival knives as a system rather than a single, all-purpose, tool, you can combine a compact heavy chopper with a small survival knife or a large survival knife with utility knife to form a complete system that will ensure that you always have the correct knife for the job at hand.

How to Sharpen a Pocket Knife Properly: Hunting & Survival Blade Sharpening Tips

The actual process of honing a pocket knife, survival knife or hunting knife’s blade looks like a relatively straightforward process which may seem like it requires little to no explanation.

But there’s a lot that actually goes around sharpening a pocket knife or survival knife properly.  For example, different types of blade steels and different types of blade grinds require different wet stone grits and different honing angles.

You also need to be aware of what type of sharpener you are using for the knife you own. Bushcraft or field knives will more than likely be sharpened by a pocket sharpener as you will have them out in the field.

It’s also important to have the proper sharpening stone for the job.  Finding the right stone can be complicated. There are so many types of sharpening stones out there, some of which require water to smooth out the honing process, while others require oil.

If you do not yet understand the difference between a Flat Grind and a Saber Grind, a water stone and an oil stone, an India Stone and an Arkansas Stone, then read on and everything about how to sharpen a pocket knife will be explained in detail.

Whetstone Basics:

Before we examine the actual process of honing a knife blade’s edge, let’s first examine the various types of sharpening stones.

For example, wet stones are divided into different groups consisting of naturally occurring stones such as Japanese water stones and Arkansas oil stones and man-made stones such as Crystalon (aluminum oxide) and India stones (silicon carbide).

Also, both natural and man-made whetstones are classified as either water stones or oil stones which means that they are meant to be used with either water or oil as a lubricant.

In addition, there are additional types of man made whetstones such as diamond hones and ceramic hones that can be used either with or without water to lubricate them.

Whetstones designed to work with water include: Japanese water stones, ceramic whetstones, diamond whetstones, and most man-made wet stones. Whetstones that work with oil include India stones and Arkansas whetstones.

Tip: To check out whether the sharpening stone you’ve just bought is a water stone or an oil stone do this simple test: Pour a couple of drops of waters on the stone. If the stone absorbs the water quickly, it is a water stone, if it doesn’t or repels it, it must be an oil stone. Do not use lubrication oil on a water stone as you can clog the pores and irreversibly damage it.

Plus, both natural and man made whetstones are available in different grits with the more coarse grits being more abrasive and the finer grits being less abrasive.

Usually the coarser stones (with a lower grit) have darker colors while the finer ones (with higher grit) are more colorful, but there’s no standard practice among manufacturers.

The primary reason that it is important to know and understand all of that is because different knives with different types of blade grinds need to be sharpened at different angles in order to achieve the proper type of edge.

So, let’s start with a description of blade grinds but, in order to do that, we first need to define some terminology.

Types of Whetstones:

For those of you who are not familiar with either of these types of whetstones, Japanese Water Stones are mined in the mountains of Japan.

They are made from from ancient deposits of metamorphic stone that consists of tiny silicate particles suspended in a clay matrix.

As a result, the fine crystals they produce when sharpening a knife blade tend to remove the steel very quickly while also polishing the surface.

Arkansas Oil Stones on the other hand are mined in the mountain of Arkansas.

They come from ancient deposits of Novaculite which is thought to be a metamorphic sandstone.

Novaculite also produces fine crystals when use to sharpen a knife blade and, it too, has the property of removing steel relatively quickly while also polishing the surface.

Then, there are man made whetstones made from powdered, industrial grade, diamonds as well as from silicon carbide impregnated ceramic which do not require any sort of lubrication.

But, regardless of which type of whetstone you choose, the process of sharpening a knife blade is the same.

For instance, depending on the type of whetstone you are using, you may first need to lubricate it either with water or honing oil.

Then, you start by grasping the knife by the handle and placing the edge against the whetstone at a 10 degree to 30 degree angle depending on the thickness of the Primary Bevel and then, slowly move the entire length of the cutting edge across the whetstone while maintaining the same angle.

Then, you turn the blade over onto its opposite side and perform the same action for that side.

Then, you continue to perform this action, alternating from side to side, until the edge reaches the desired sharpness.

However, if you are one of the many people who has difficulty maintaining a consistent angle during honing, then there are several different types of honing aids on the market that will enable you to hone a fine edge on any type of knife blade.

Blade Grind 101: Best Sharpening Angle for Pocket Knife

Types of knife grinds

In the case of a hollow grind or a saber grind (which is a variant of the flat grind, pictured above), the line located on the side of the blade above the cutting edge extends from the back of the blade to the tip.

This is then created by the removal of metal from the face of the bar stock is called the Primary Bevel Line and the line that descends from the back of the Primary Bevel Line to the back of the Cutting Edge is called the Plunge Line.

Also, the widest cross section of any knife blade is called the Spine.

Therefore, a Saber Grind is a blade grind whose Primary Bevel Line is located low on the face of the blade, close to the Cutting Edge, with either flat or slightly concave Primary Bevels so that it creates a relatively thick Primary Bevel.

A Hollow Grind however is similar to a Saber Grind but, its Primary Bevel Line is positioned much higher on the face of the blade and its Primary Bevel is distinctly concave so that it creates a relatively thin Primary Bevel.

With a Flat Grind, there is no Primary Bevel Line because the face of the blade is ground flat from the Cutting Edge to the Spine which creates an edge that is sharper than a Saber Grind and tougher than a Hollow Grind.

Two more knife grinds: the Scandi and the Saber

Consequently, knives meant for heavy-duty use generally have Saber Grinds or Scandinavian (scandi) grinds whereas, knives meant for general purpose like pocket knives use generally have Flat Grind and, knives meant for hunting generally have Hollow Grinds.

Therefore, blades with Saber Grinds require sharpening at much higher edge bevel angles (25 to 30 degrees) than blades with Flat Grinds or Hollow Grinds.

This is important so that they can withstand the shock generated when the knife is used to chop and, by the same token, blades with Hollow Grinds will need to be sharpened at much lower edge bevel angles (10 to 15 degrees).

Blades with Flat Grinds will need to be sharpened at angles between the two depending of the thickness of the blade’s Spine.


Blade Steel Grinding Tips:

In addition, different blade steels and Rockwell Hardness’s will require different grits and sometimes even different whetstone materials to sharpen them.

For instance, knives with relatively soft blades such as 1095 or SK-5 ranging from 50-55 RHC are generally used for large, heavy, blades with Saber Grinds and thus, although they sharpen relatively quickly, they also tend to incur the greatest amount of damage to their edges and thus, they often need the highest degree of repair most often.

Therefore, when sharpening a knife with a Saber Grind made from a softer blade steel, start with a coarse grit and progress to a finer grit.

But, leave the edge rough because it will dull quickly the next time you use it. On the other hand, for knives with relatively hard blades such as 154-CM, ATS-34, or D2 around 58-63 HRC with either Flat or Hollow Grinds, start with a medium grit and progress to a fine grit.

Then, if the blade has a Hollow Grind with a particularly thin Primary Bevel, then you might want to polish the cutting edge with an extra-fine grit.

How to Sharpen a Pocket Knife with a Stone:

Sharpening a pocket knife is not rocket science. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide:

  1. Water or oil the whetstone to prevent it from getting clogged;
  2. Locate the knife’s bevel (it’s the only thing you should get in contact with the stone); marking it with a marker makes it more visible (see video below);
  3. Start with the stone’s coarse’s side (lowest grit);
  4. Do several slow passes over the stone on one side of the pocket knife, making sure that you hit the entire surface of the bevel and use the right edge bevel angle (see the ‘Blade Grind 101’ section above for more details); You are done after the marker’s marks are gone;
  5. Switch to the other side after 10-12 slow passes; repeat;
  6. Repeat the process across a finer wheat stone (+1,000 grit) for a razor-sharp pocket knife edge (optional step);
  7. Get a leather strop (you can buy it here) and do around 40 gentle passes on each side for a crazy sharp blade (optional);
  8. If the blade is made of carbon steel, lube it with a food grade honing oil or mineral oil to prevent it from rusting.

Wrap Up:

Thus, as you can see, the process of sharpening a knife blade actually starts with choosing the correct type of whetstone in the proper grit based upon the type of steel the knife’s blade is made from and it’s Rockwell Hardness.

In addition, the correct honing angle is determined by the relative thickness of the of the Secondary Bevel which is, in turn, governed by the type of blade grind.

Last, as a general rule, manmade whetstones such as Crystalon and India Stones are the cheapest and work well for cutting initial, secondary, bevels or quickly repairing damaged edges whereas, natural whetstones such as Japanese Water Stones and Arkansas Oil Stones are more expensive but, do a better job of creating, extremely sharp edges.

On the other hand, both diamond hones and ceramic whetstones are useful at times when it inconvenient to have to lubricate the whet stone prior to use.

But, regardless of which type of whet stone you choose, the real key to achieving a super sharp cutting edge is to maintain a consistent edge bevel angle throughout the entire sharpening process.

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Best Pocket Knife for EDC [2020]: 20 Folding Knife Reviews

 

Buying a knife used to be easier. But now, whether you are buying a survival knife, pocket knife, or just looking at any manufacturer’s website to gather information, it can get quite confusing.

There was a time when most people’s idea of an “everyday carry” knife consisted of one of the many different types of traditional pocket knife patterns.  Their idea of a tactical folder was an Italian-style stiletto, not the modern looking EDC knives you see today.

These days, there seems to be a mass exodus away from the traditional pocket knife patterns of old to what seems to be a long line of various designs of tactical folders which can also serve very well as every-day-carry knives.

In this article, we will talk about both modern and traditional knife patterns because both forms of knives are completely viable options as knives that you can use and carry every day.

Below we’ve put together a quick comparison chart of our three favorites.  If you like in-depth guides, take a look at our buyer’s guide along with all 20 of our top picks, along with pictures & specs for each knife.

OUR TOP THREE PICKS

Kershaw Ken Onion Blur

OUR RATING

KERSHAW BLUR

BEST OVERALL VALUE

Benchmade 940 Osborne

OUR RATING

BENCHMADE 940

BEST HIGH END

Buck 110 Traditional Pocket Knife

OUR RATING

BUCK 110 HUNTER

BEST TRADITIONAL

In the comparison chart above, you will find our top three picks, each in their own category:

1.Overall Value: Great combination of both quality and budget combined
2.High End: The perfect choice if budget isn’t an issue
3.Traditional: Top old school traditional pick

If you still need more help picking the right knife for your needs, our Buyer’s Guide & Advice section should help you along the way.

We’ve also broken each of our top choices down in more detail which you can get to easily, by using the menu below.

Pocket Knife Buyer’s Guide:

There are two schools of pocket knives (for the most part).   Some people would argue that you have a smaller subset of pocket knives that are considered more military style and tactical in use.  We stand by that most of the knives we’d recommend for military or tactical use should be fixed blade knives and not something that’s a basic EDC pocket knife. Bushcraft knives should be shorter in nature and also have a fixed blade.

Today’s knives for the most part fall into two buckets which are Modern Pocket Knives and Traditional Pocket knives.  Let’s look at the basic differences and uses of each type in more detail below.

1. Traditional vs. Modern Folding Pocket Knife Patterns: 

The Origins of the Traditional Pocket Knife Style:  Unlike the modern crop of folding every day carry knives, many traditional patterns were specifically designed to meet the needs of people in specific professions. For instance, the Stockman pattern was originally developed for use by farmers, ranchers, and stockyard workers who used their pocket knives to trim hooves and spay and neuter livestock. The Pen Knife was originally developed for use by clerks, bankers, and layers to use when sharpening their quill pens.  Traditionally styled folding knives are also a favorite of knife collectors.

Another classic patterns is the Barlow (which is available in different sizes) because it does an excellent job of filling the need for an all-purpose knife.  Traditional designs would encompass all traditional folding knife patterns such as the iconic buck 110 Folding Hunter and the Buck 112 Ranger as well as all classic patterns such as the Barlow, the Stockman, the Sunfish, the Pen, ect.  Schrade does an excellent job in the video describing some the basic traditional knife models in more detail.

There ere are six designs commonly used on traditional pocket knife patterns consisting of straight backs, clip points, drop points, spear points, sheep’s foot, spey, and Wharncliffe. They can be combined with numerous different handle patterns. A knife with a Clip Point, a Sheep’s Foot, and a Spey blade combined with a Serpentine handle design is always called a Stockman pattern. Choosing a traditional pattern is really a matter of personal preference depending on how you intend to use it.

The Origins of the Modern EDC/Tactical Pocket Knife Style:  However, because so many of the jobs that once required a man to carry a “working knife” on a daily basis are no longer existent, the modern “everyday carry” knife has evolved from the traditional folding lockback to a much more tactical design. The two patterns are very distinct from one another when placed side by side.

The more modern knife patterns are extremely popular due to technological advances in modern day design and these newer modern designs typically surpass more traditional knife designs depending on the intended use of the knife. Your more modern looking knives typically stand up to abuse and serve really well in areas of labor that require a knife with more aggressive features. This just means that someone who installs carpet may be more apt to stick to a Spyderco than a traditional folding Buck Knives model.

Modern looking tactical folding knives came about in the 1990s as more aggressive looking knives became popular.  We think these knives are a great option for someone that needs a good option for basic everyday carry, but we wouldn’t rely on them as a sole self defense knife. For that purpose, we’d rely on a full tang fixed blade knife due to the durability and the lack of a break point that a fixed blade knife has.

2. Finding the Optimal Blade Size:  

Most modern folding knives are generally medium to large size, and traditional pocket knives are usually available in small, medium, and large sizes to meet various needs.

A “gentleman’s knife” is always small so that it will ride comfortably in a dress pants pocket and will be non-threatening to coworkers when you need to use it. Whereas, a working pocket knife is usually a large size knife so that the blades are easy to open and the handle fills your hand when you grasp it and thus, a medium sized knife is meant to be a compromise between small gentleman’s pocket knife and large working pocket knife.

Because most modern everyday carry folding knives feature pocket clips for vertical carry on the edge of a pocket, they do not require belt sheaths. Most traditional folding knives do require a belt sheath which some people like while others don’t.

3. Blade Design (Modern Everyday Carry, Traditional, etc.):

 Traditional vs. Modern Folding knife Designs Compared StylesWhen choosing either a modern folding knife or a traditional folding knife pattern, the first step is to decide whether your main purpose for the knife is work or self defense since the two blade designs are very different from each other.

Modern designs usually feature either a clip point or a drop point blade design because they place the tip of the blade closer to the center of the blade where the cross section is more narrow. This makes the point sharper for easier piercing. It also notably limits the amount of sweep the blade has even if a deep belly is included.

Working knives are far more often used for cutting and slicing than piercing.  They generally feature blade designs with extended cutting edges and a mild sweep to the belly specifically designed to maximize the length of the cutting edge.  Blade designs with points that are located at or near the center line of the blade tend to be better suited for tactical use.  Blade designs with the tip located well above the center line of the blade tend to be better suited for general purpose use.

When choosing a traditional pattern, you have the choice between two, three, and four different blades contained within the same handle and each blade can be of a different shape.

Both the clip point and the spear point designs are meant to be general purpose blade designs.  The spey exhibits an extra deep belly for an extended cutting edge on the sweep which makes it good for slicing and whittling.  Sheep’s Foot and Wharncliffe blade designs provide a straight edge all of the way to the tip and thus, they provide a short, highly aggressive, cutting edge.

The Pen blade on a Barlow or a Pen knife is perfect for removing staples and other small jobs.  Many outdoorsmen favor the Muskrat pattern which features two large clip point blades or the Trapper pattern which has both a long clip point and a long spey blade. The Stockman makes the ultimate working knife pattern with its clip point, sheep’s foot, and spey blade.

4. The Different Types of Blade Steels:   

Pocket Knife Getting Forged BladeWhen choosing either a modern every day carry knife or a traditional folding knife or modern pocket knife pattern, blade steel is something to consider. Blade Steels are first divided into two categories consisting of stainless steels and non-stainless, high carbon tool steels.  Each type of steel has different properties.

High carbon tool steels are generally significantly tougher than stainless steels due their grain structure.  They are generally not as wear resistant as stainless steels and they are slightly more prone to corrosion.

Stainless steels on the other hand are generally not as tough as high carbon tool steels and they are more inclined to break under duress. They are also significantly less prone to corrosion due to the inclusion of at least 12.5 percent Chromium and sometimes a little Nickel thrown in for good measure. Stainless blades are more difficult to sharpen than high carbon tool steels and they won’t take quite as fine an edge. They will however hold their edge longer than a high carbon steel of an equal Rockwell Hardness.

In fact, the Rockwell Hardness of the blade is another important consideration when choosing a knife. This is important because the softer a blade is, the less it holds an edge and it’s less likely to break. The harder a blade is, the better it will hold an edge but, the more inclined it will be to break.

Softer blades are easier to sharpen whereas, harder blades are more difficult to sharpen. Bladesmiths use something called the Rockwell Scale C to measure the hardness of knife blades. A tough knife blade would have a Rockwell Hardness of 50-53 HRC, while a hard knife blade would have a Rockwell Hardness of 58-62 HRC.  Knife blades with a Rockwell Hardness of 54-57 are a good compromise between toughness and edge holding ability.

All modern every day carry knives and most traditional pattern folding knives are made from stainless steel. There are a few companies that still produce both types of pocket knives with blades made from high carbon tool steels.

The same is true for traditional pattern pocket knives and pocket knives with high carbon tool steel blades.  They are shinny when the knife is first removed from the box. A couple of days of continuous carry in a pocket will cause the blades to develop a dark brown patina which actually helps to prevent corrosion. This is normal and not something to worry about.

5. Pocket Knife Handle Design: 

Messer im Gegenlicht der SonneWhen choosing a traditional pattern, there are numerous different handle patterns to choose from. There is the Swell End Jack, the Serpentine, the Peanut, the Sunfish, the Canoe, the Coke Bottle, ect.

In most cases, specific handle shapes are always paired with certain designs.  When choosing a traditional design, you first choose the type and number of blades you want and simply accept the handle design that accompanies it. The Barlow with a Swell End Jack handle pattern and the Stockman with a Serpentine handle pattern are among the most popular designs.

Most modern designs are simpler and are made based on functionality and intended use, rather than sticking to a pattern that more traditional models have for years.

Traditional style handle scales range from many different types of synthetic materials such as Delrin, Mica Pearl, and Kirinite. There can also be many different types of natural materials such as exotic hardwoods, jigged bone, and Stag antler.  Your choice should depend on your intended purpose for the knife.

For instance, if you are purchasing a working knife, you would probably want a tough material such as Delrin. If you are choosing a gentleman’s accessory, then you would want a decorative material such as Mother of Pearl or Abalone.

 

Best Modern Folding Pocket Knives: Our Picks for 2020:

Because a full list of high quality pocket knives for the modern user is simply too extensive, we have instead hand picked for you 13 of the best EDC knife picks on the market today.


1. Kershaw Blur Folding Knife: 

The Kershaw Blur Folding Knife might be the best pocket knife on our list so far, and also the best EDC knife for the money in our opinion.  Kershaw is known for quality and sturdiness, but this knife is also very budget friendly, while not skimping on durability.

While Benchmade should be your go-to if you have the money, the Kershaw Blur, gives you a sleek and simple design as well as comfort and utility all in one package.

Specs for the Kershaw Blur:

Kershaw Blur EDC Pocket Knife• Overall Length: 7.875 Inches
• Blade Length: 3.375
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade Material: 14C28N Stainless
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: Aluminum
• Weight: 3.9 oz.

Its practical design and additional safety measures make it a top pick for the cost.  It features a closed length of 4 1/2 inches and a length of 3 3/8 inches.  It has a thumb stud which helps assist in opening and closing the blade with one or both hands.

The blade made from 6061-T6 Anondized aluminum and comes with a speed safe opener for additional safety.  This is important if you plan on keeping it in your pocket every day.

CLICK HERE FOR RATINGS, REVIEWS & PRICING ON AMAZON.COM


2. Benchmade 940 Osborne Design Knife: 

The Benchmade 940 Osborne is the cream of the crop.  In fact, we feature this knife in a detailed breakdown right here.  Benchmade has made it’s mark by having some of the top quality pocket knives on the market and the 940 Osborne is no different.  While price is always a factor, equally important is the quality of the knife.

Benchmade 940 Osborne Folding KnifeSpecs for the Benchmade 940:

• Overall Length: 7.87 Inches
• Blade Length: 3.4 Inches
• Blade Type: Reverse Tanto
• Blade Material: S30V Stainless
• Rockwell Hardness: 58-60 HRC
• Handle Material: G-10
• Weight: 2.65 oz.

The 940 is by far one of the higher quality knives on our list, but it comes with a higher price tag as a result.  It’s a premium folder that comes equipped with a pocket clip on one side, making it ideal for everyday carry.

It has a 3.4 inch stainless steel blade with an ambidextrous thumb stud which makes this a great option if you are a lefty.  When extended the knife measures 7.87 inches from top to bottom.

CLICK HERE FOR RATINGS, REVIEWS & PRICING ON AMAZON.COM


3. Spyderco Endura 4: 

Like the Tenacious Combo Edge, the Endura 4 has a serrated edge blade and it’s made from VG-10 high carbon steel. The blade itself is titanium carbonitride coated to help prevent against rust.

Spyderco Endura 4Specs for the Spyderco Endura 4:

• Overall Length: 8.75 Inches
• Blade Length: 3.75 Inches
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade material: VG-10 Stainless
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: Fiber Reinforced Nylon
• Weight: 3.67 oz.

It has a lock on the rear side of the blade to ensure it doesn’t open easily and when completely open, the knife locks.  This helps prevent unintended closure. It comes with a clip on the handle to make it easy to attach to your belt and the handle is also textured for optimal grip.

It’s also equipped with pocket clip on the handle, making it a great option for anyone that’s looking for a decent EDC option.

CLICK HERE FOR RATINGS, REVIEWS & PRICING ON AMAZON.COM


4. Benchmade Super Steel Barrage:

The 940 Osborne isn’t the only top tier knife that Benchmade is responsible for making.  The Super Steel Barrage is extremely popular with the high-end knife owning crowd.

Benchmade 580 Super Steel Barrage in HandSpecs for The Benchmade Super Steel Barrage:

• Overall length: 8.35 Inches
• Blade Length: 3.6 Inches
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade Material: 154 CM
• Rockwell Hardness: 58-61 HRC
• Handle Material: G-10/Aluminum
• Weight: 4.94 oz.

It’s a little pricey, but for the quality you expect from Benchmade, it’s well worth the cost. It’s made of M390 “super steel” and has a locking blade to help ensure that it won’t pop open at an unexpected time. It has an ambidextrous thumb stud that will help with opening and closing the knife with one or both hands.

Again, the price tag is a little steeper, but when it comes to knife quality, you get what you pay for.

CLICK HERE FOR RATINGS, REVIEWS & PRICING ON AMAZON.COM


5. Benchmade Griptilian 551-1: 

While the Benchmade Griptilian 551 doesn’t have quite the same accolades as the 940 Osborne or the Super Steel Barrage, It’s still quite popular with outdoor enthusiasts due to the solid construction and overall length of the blade.

Specs on the Benchmade 551:

• Overall Length: 8.07 Inches
• Blade Length: 3.45 Inches
• Blade Type: Modified Clip Point
• Blade material: CPM-20CV Steel
• Rockwell Hardness: 58-61 HRC
• Handle Material: Unknown
• Weight: 4.17 oz.

The blade is slightly longer than some of the others on this list, coming in at 3.45 inches.  When the knife is open, the entire knife is a total of 8.8 inches in length.  It’s made from CPM-20CV Steel and has a fixed point blade.  It is also ambidextrous.

CLICK HERE FOR RATINGS, REVIEWS & PRICING ON AMAZON.COM


6. Spyderco Delica Plain Edge:

The Spyderco Delica makes our list as it’s one of Spyderco’s better selling models.  It has a 4 way clip with a screw together construction making it easy to take apart and clean up when needed.

Spyderco Delica Plain EdgeSpecs for the Spyderco Delica:

• Overall Length: 7.125 Inches
• Blade Length: 2.875 Inches
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade material: VG-10
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: Fiber Reinforced Nylon
• Weight: 2.5 oz.

It has a textured handle making it easy to grip and it has an enlarged opening hole making it easy to pull it completely out and extend.  It has a 2.875 inch VG-10 Steel Blade and measures 7.125 inches when fully opened. It’s a great value and won’t break the bank, making it a great choice for budget conscious shoppers.

CLICK HERE FOR RATINGS, REVIEWS & PRICING ON AMAZON.COM


7. SOG Flash II Knife: 

While SOG is notorius for their survival knives, they have a good reputation as an every day carrier as well.

SOG Flash II Tactical Folding Knife in HandSpecs on the SOG Flash II:

• Overall Length: 9 Inches
• Blade Length: 3.5 Inches
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade Material: AUS-8
• Rockwell Hardness: 57-58 HRC
• Handle Material: Glass Reinforced Nylon
• Weight: 3.10 oz.

The Flash II comes equipped with a 3 1/2 inch blade and the SOG technology provides an easy solution to open the blade with one hand.

The handle is made of nylon that’s been glass reinforced and the black finish almost looks like a little like a carbon fiber material. The SOG flash is a solid everyday carry knife.

CLICK HERE FOR RATINGS, REVIEWS & PRICING ON AMAZON.COM


8. Spyderco Tenacious G10 Combo: 

The Spyderco Tenacious Combo is slightly different than many of the other models on this list. It has screw together construction and an easy opening hole to make it easily accessible when it comes to taking it apart and cleaning it.

Spyderco Tenacious Edge G10 ComboSpecs on the Spyderco Tenacious G10 Combo:

• Overall Length: 7.76 Inches
• Blade Length: 3.39 Inches
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade material: 8Cr13MoV
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: G-10
• Weight: 4.1 oz.

The biggest difference is the serrated edge at the base of blade which makes this blade ideal for cutting small branches in the forest or while hiking in the brush. The blade is 3 5/16 long and is a Flat Ground Blade.

The Spyderco Tenacious Combo edge also comes equipped with a pocket clip on the back, making it convenient if you need the flexibility of carrying it openly for any range of tasks. The Tenacious Combination Edge is a great pickup for anyone on a budget looking for the quality that you’d expect from Spyderco.

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9. Spyderco Pacific Salt Knife: 

The Pacific Salt Knife is a mid sized folding knife which offers a serrated edge along the entire length of the blade. The blade itself is 3.8 inches and is made of H-1 steel.

Spyderco Pacific Salt Folding Knife in HandSpecs on the Pacific Salt Knife:

• Overall Length: 8.687 Inches
• Blade Length: 3.812 Inches
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade material: H-1
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: G-10
• Weight: 3 oz.

When the blade is fully open it is 8.7 inches in total length. Spyderco has some amazing knifes on this list, but this one breaks the top 20 due to the fact that it’s thinner than most and can be very comfortable as an EDC knife. It’s more modern looking, which Spyderco is known for.

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10. Ontario RAT 1:

The Ontario Knife RAT-1 is one of Ontario’s most popular knives. Ontario has been manufacturing knives for quite some time and the RAT 1 is an excellent knife for the fact it’s a solid knife at a decent price point. If you are looking for something that’s easy on your wallet and you aren’t afraid to bang around, this is a great pick.

Ontario Rat 1Ontario Knife & Tool Rat 1 Specs:

• Overall length: 8.5 Inches
• Blade Length: 3.5 Inches
• Blade Type: Clip Point
• Blade material: AUS-8
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material:Nylon
• Weight: 5 oz.

This flat grind blade is manufactured with AUS-8 steel, which is a quality knife steel. While it’s not going to hold up to the likes of S30V, AUS-8 is generally durable and fairly easy to sharpen. It also holds its edge consistently, but you may find yourself needing to sharpen it more frequently compared to other steels.

At 4.5 inches when closed, and only 4.5 ounces in weight, the RAT-1 makes a for a decent companion without taking up too much space. The lanyard hole is a nice touch if you need to carry it around your neck. Ontario produces several knives for the US government and the US military, so you’ll be in good company with the RAT-1 and at a reasonable price point.

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11. Spyderco Cara Cara 2: 

The Cara Cara 2 is a great pick for anyone looking for a super light weight carry option.  It’s made with 8Cr13MoV steel, which is a Chinese steel. It’s a higher quality Chinese steel that’s easy to sharpen and holds an edge well.

Spyderco Cara Cara 2Spyderco Cara Cara 2:

• Overall length: 8.5 Inches
• Blade Length: 3.75 Inches
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade material: 8Cr13MoV
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: Stainless Steel
• Weight: 5.6 oz.

The Cara Cara 2 is another great option for people on a budget.  It’s similar in both look and feel to the RAT I from Ontario.  It carries with it some of Spyderco’s signature traits, which includes the cut away hole at the base of the blade itself, making it easy to open and close the knife.

The blade opens and closes smoothly, and the flat ground blade cuts through most daily tasks with ease.  It has a pocket clip and a lanyard hole, giving you plenty of different options for choice of carry style.

Normally Spyderco’s offerings are significantly costlier, but that’s usually because they are made with American made steel and some are produced in the United States. This lower cost offering is made overseas, allowing Spyderco fans to enjoy their quality without having to break the bank to do so.

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12. Benchmade Mini Griptilian: 

If you are looking for quality in a small package, the Mini-Griptilian is tough to beat. We are Benchmade fans here at Wildernes Today, and this particular knife has the quality that you’d expect and it doesn’t wreck your wallet.

Benchmade Mini Griptilian 556Benchmade Mini Griptilian Specs:

• Overall length: 6.78 Inches
• Blade Length: 2.91 Inches
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade material: 154CM
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: Glass Filled Nylon
• Weight: 2.81 oz.

The 940 is our favorite knife by Benchmade.  The Mini-Griptilian is close.  It’s comfortable to hold and does the job when you need a smaller knife to complete certain tasks.  It’s manufactured with 154CM Steel, which is an American made steel that stays extremely sharp and holds an edge very well.

It’s also easy to open and close with just one hand.  Be careful if you do this though, as the blade is extremely sharp, right out of the box. The blade does not have a spring assist opening, but the blade locks firmly in place.

As with the 940, it comes equipped with the AXIS lock technology, which firmly locks the blade in place.  As always, you can expect a lifetime warranty.  The handle is ergonomically as comfortable as just about any knife on this list, and at 2.81 ounces, it’s extremely light to carry around. If you are looking to get into a Benchmade product without spending a ton, this knife will allow you to jump in full force.

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13. Spyderco Paramilitary 2: 

The Spyderco Paramilitary 2 is a fantastic knife that’s made in the United States.  Spyderco is another one of our favorite manufacturers, and the ParaMilitary 2 is a knife that can be used for just about anything you can throw at it.

Spyderco Paramilitary 2Spyderco Paramilitary 2 Specs:

• Overall length: 8.28 Inches
• Blade Length: 3.44 Inches
• Blade Type: Clip Point
• Blade material: CPM-S30V
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material:G10
• Weight: 4.8 oz.

The ParaMilitary 2 is on the pricey side because it’s made with CPM-S30V steel.  This is one of the most expensive types of steel that a knife can be made with.  This type of steel sharpens easily but holds an edge for an extremely long time.  It’s also one of the toughest steels to break and cuts through practically anything.

The G10 Hadle on the Paramilitary 2 is extremely comfortable, making it ergonomically pleasing for even the most picky people (like our editorial staff).  The blade locks in place and pivot bushing system makes the knife extremely easy to open and close.  There’s no thumb assist, but you get the signature hole in the blade that Spyderco is famous for, so opening with one hand is definitely do-able.

The Paramilitary 2 is a tough knife to beat if you are looking for a knife with high quality steel at a reasonable price point.

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Best Traditional Pocket Knife Picks: 

Since we first broke down some of the more modern pocket knives in 2020, next we will cover our favorite traditional models.

Our modern models always seem to have a place in just about everyone’s lineup due to their modern styling and technological advancements.

It’s worth noting that we feel that Buck Knives dominates the traditional space.  There’s always a place in the lineup for some of the more traditional looking pocket knives which we will jump into below.


1. Buck Knives 110 Hunter Folding Knife: 

Buck Knives has been around a very long time.  They manufacture many different types of knives and the 110 Hunter folding knife is one of their most popular EDC knives in this price range

Buck Knives 110 Traditional Folding Pocket Knife RosewoodBuck Knives 110 Folding Hunter Specifications:

• Overall length: 8.5 Inches
• Blade Length: 3.75 Inches
• Blade Type: Clip Point
• Blade Material: 420HC
• Rockwell Hardness: 58 HRC
• Handle Material: Rosewood/Brass
• Weight: 7.5 oz.

The 110 Hunter is one of the most popular traditional pocket knives in production.  It may not be as “stylish” as some of the newer production models, but it’s tried, tested and true and has been around for a long time.

Popular among many outdoor enthusiasts and weekend campers, the Buck 110 has steadily morphed into a classic wilderness knife (one of our editors believes that it is the best pocket knife of all times although severely underrated). It is the right pick if you are longing to re-live your outdoor adventures you had as a kid, just in an adult sized version.

Plus, this knife will exceed all your expectations when it comes to the quality of its build and materials. We couldn’t believe our own that at this price point, an American EDC classic would not skimp on quality. Everything about the 110 Hunter looks and feel premium, from handle and blade to overall finish and fit. And this hasn’t changed for multiple generations so far.

The blade is a 3 3/4 inches 420HC steel clip blade (420HC is very easy to get scary sharp and it is the perfect choice for a knife in this category). The total length is 8.5 inches, making it easy to carry, and the blade length is 3.75 inches which makes it productive for most daily tasks. Buck have added their trademark deep hollow grind to this knife’s blade to achieve an extra level of cutting edge sharpness.

The 110 Hunter also comes equipped with a leather sheath, is sharp right out of the box, and has a lifetime warranty. Plus, Buck Knives’ after sales services is hard to match these days.

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2. Buck Knives 112BRS Ranger Folding Knife:

Another stalwart for Buck Knives, the 112BRS Ranger is one of the top traditional pocket folding knives on the more compact side.  With .75 inches less than the 110 Folding Hunter, the Ranger is the ideal pickup for someone that wants the quality that Buck provides but still sticking on the smaller side of the knife spectrum.

Buck Knives 112 Traditional RangerBuck Knives 112BRS Lockback Ranger Specs:

• Overall length: 7.75 Inches
• Blade Length: 3 Inches
• Blade Type: Clip Point
• Blade Material: 420HC
• Rockwell Hardness: 58 HRC
• Handle Material: Rosewood/Brass
• Weight: 5.6 oz.

If you are trying to limit the size of the knife you are carrying for everyday activities, the Ranger fits the bill.  It’s one of the smaller knives on the list and quality wise, there’s just nothing quite like owning a buck knife.  This is a perfect knife for anyone with slightly smaller hands, or someone that just might want something smaller than the 110, without losing any of the reliability.

The blade is a 3 inch 420HC steel clip blade.  You’ll also get a leather sheath with just like its big brother, the 110.  It’s another added perk for a folding knife that’s a little more budget friendly.  If you are looking for a smaller knife, the Ranger is a fantastic choice for a compact model. Here’s a side-by-side size comparison of the two EDC knives.

Buck 112 Ranger (top) v. Buck 110 Hunter (bottom)

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3. Buck Knives 505RWS Knight:

Small and compact, the Buck Knight is a great knife in a smaller stature.  It’s perfect for carrying everyday around your house or cabin for basic uses.  As typical, the Buck warranty is hard to beat and the Knight does a great job of keeping cost in check while not sacrificing the quality that Buck is known for.  Keep in mind, this knife is a small knife and will fit in the palm of your hand.

Buck Knives Knight SmallBuck Knight 505RWS Specifications:

• Overall length: 4.5 Inches
• Blade Length: 1.85 Inches
• Blade Type: Clip Point
• Blade material: 420HC
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: Rosewood/Brass
• Weight: 7.5 oz.

If you are looking for a quality knife that comes in a small package, the Knight is sure to get the job done.  It makes for a great keychain knife or one for the 5th pocket of your jeans as you stroll around the house.  You can see how small it is just by looking at the size in the palm of our editor’s hand.

For the small size, the Knight gives you quality in a very small package.  You also get the Buck warranty and piece of mind that comes with it.  This is a great knife for any Boy Scout or younger person just getting into enjoying life outdoors.  It’s also great for any small tasks around the house and is the perfect size to take up almost no space if you are a minimalist.

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4. Case Cutlery Lockback Red Bone:

The Case cutlery Red Bone is a fine choice for someone looking for a US made lifetime warrantied knife.   The Old Red Bone Lockback is a classic knife offering from Case.  The quality is on par with Buck and this is another knife that will last you a lifetime.  This is a smaller knife that will fit in the palm of your hand and is on the same playing field as the Buck Knight.  Case has a long tradition of making quality knives, and this is no different.

Case Cutlery Red Bone Handle StainlessCase Pocket Worn Lockback Specs:

• Overall length: 5.5 Inches
• Blade Length: 2.75 Inches
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade material: Surgical Stainless
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: Rosewood/Brass
• Weight: 1.9 oz.

Overall, the Case Lockback is a good option for anyone looking for a companion on their next outdoor tent camping or hunting trip.  Case hangs in there with Buck from a quality perspective and case specifically takes extra steps to break in their knives to make them feel a little more “worn.”

If you are considering the Knight from Buck, the Lockback Red bone should be one of the knives in your list of considerations.  Like the Buck Knight, this is a smaller choice as you can see by the size of it in our editor’s hand.  It’s another quality choice to pick from if you are looking for something that’s good for a first-time knife owner, or  you just want something that looks extremely old school and very traditional.

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5. WR Case & Sons Stainless Trappper: 

Smaller than the Traditional trapper, this Case model has a 3.25 inch blade bringing the overall length of the knife when fully extended to just over 7.3 inches.  This trapper knife is just as good as the Bone handled version, but it’s cheaper due to the synthetic handles versus the bone handled trapper listed above.

Case & Sons Blue Bone Stainless TrapperCase Cutlery Synthetic Handle Trapper Specs:

• Overall length: 7.25 Inches
• Blade Length: 3.25 Inches
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade material: Chrome Vandium
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: Synthetic
• Weight: 4.8 oz.

The Case synthetic handled trapper does what it’s meant to do and does it on a pretty decent budget.  As with all Case knives, it’s manufactured in the USA.  The trapper blade is one of the oldest knife designs out there and it’s one that you can’t go wrong with.  If you are considering a trapper knife and want to save a few dollars to go without a real bone handle, then this should be at the top of your list.

Trappers are a common type of popular knife and a lot of cutlers mass produce them because of their popularity.  This knife is a true trapper as it has both a clip and spey blades and nothing else.  Case stays true to the original model and does so with an excellent design and bone finished handle.

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6. Buck Knives 301 Three Blade Folding Knife (Stockman Design):

As we jump into Stockman territory, the Buck Knives 301 Stockman is our top selection for the money.  It’s elegant, classic and has the quality that you’d anticipate from a Buck product.  This is also Buck’s largest traditional folding multi-purpose knife that they offer.

Buck Stockman 3 Blade KnifeBuck Knives Stockman Specs:

• Overall length: 6.5 Inches
• Blade Length: 2.75 Inches
• Blade Type: Clip Point
• Blade material: 420HC
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: Rosewood/Brass
• Weight: 2.9 oz.

The 301 Stockman comes equipped with three blades.  It has a clip point, spey and sheepsfoot blade.  It’s made from the standard Buck 420HC Steel which holds an edge very well on top of being extremely corrosion-resistant.  It’s a perfect knife for just about everything you can throw at it.

It’s perfect for skinning, pruning, whittling and just about anything else you can think of in a traditional every day carry pocket knife.

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7. Case Cutlery Medium Pocket Knife (Stockman Design):

Stockman again makes the list for a quality knife design in the Stockman category.  It has 3 blades, the standard clip point, spey and sheepsfoot that all Stockmans carry.  It has an Amber Bone handle which gives it a nice vintage look while remaining durable.

Case Cutlery Stockman SurgicalCase Cutlery Medium Stockman Specs:

• Overall length: 6.5 Inches
• Blade Length: 3 Inches
• Blade Type: Clip Point
• Blade material: Surgical Steel
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: Amber Bone
• Weight: 7.5 oz.

Like the trappers that Case does a great job with, this Stockman is a fine offering.  They do a great job of serving up a Stockman in a more compact version.  This knife is an ideal size for daily carry at right around 6.5 inches, similar to the Buck Stockman.  The bone handle is a nice touch that offers the knife a vintage feel and like their other knives, this Case model is also made in the USA.

This Stockman is ideal for hunting, fishing, hiking, or anything you need to use it for as an every day knife around the house or cabin.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the top brand of pocket knife?

What’s the best way to clean a pocket knife?

Is it legal to carry a pocket knife?

How do I sharpen a pocket knife?

How can you improve a cheap pocket knife?

What’s the best “outdoorsy” folding pocket knife?

What’s the best EDC pocket knife that’s LIGHTWEIGHT?

What’s the best folding knife for a boy scout?

 

So What’s the Best Pocket Knife for the Money?

Let’s start off by saying that any knife on this list should be completely sufficient for any task you throw at it.  It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a modern every day carrier that looks more tactical in nature, or are just looking for a traditional Stockman.  All the knives on this list are solid choices and will function well for whatever your needs are.

It’s safe to say that after all of this we’ve come up with a few of our favorites which we will list below in order of styles:

Modern EDC Knife Choices:

Top Modern Folding Knife Choice:  Kershaw Ken Onion Blur

Top Choice if You have a healthy Budget:  Benchmade 940 Osborne

Traditional Pocket Knife Choices:

Top Traditional Lockback:  Buck Folding Hunter Knife

Top Stockman:  Buck 301 Stockman

As you can see, when choosing a pocket knife, there many different types to choose from and each one features a different number of blades with different blade designs combined with different handle patterns in different sizes.

Regardless of your intended purpose for the knife, there is undoubtedly a modern or traditional pocket knife pattern that will suit your every day carry needs.

What are the Best Tactical Knives? Top Military Style Knife Reviews

Although the term “tactical knife” is used to describe a wide range of knife types these days, the term actually refers to knives that are specifically designed for self defense & military utility.  The term “tactical knives” also covers modern day “combat knives.”

A combat knife is often designed to serve several different purposes. Combat knives are generally purely utilitarian and they tend to have a very rugged appearance. Tactical knives can have either a fixed blade or a folding blade based on the designated purpose.

While a soldier may be issued a fixed-blade combat knife, he might also choose to carry a folding tactical knife as well. On the other hand, due to varying knife laws governing the type of knife a civilian is legally allowed to carry, most civilians tend to prefer folding tactical knives over fixed-blade tactical knives.

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The first step in choosing a Tactical Knife is to decide whether you prefer a fixed blade knife or a folding knife and then, to decide what length of blade you prefer as well as what type of blade design you like.

Then, other factors that you need to consider are the type of steel the blade is made from, the design of the knife’s handle and, other materials from which it is made.

Tactical Knife Buyer’s Guide

When choosing a tactical knife, just like any other knife, there are a number of things you need to consider.  You’ll first need to decide whether you prefer a fixed-blade knife or a folding knife and then choose what you want from the blade design, blade length, blade steel, handle design and, the handle materials.

Let’s look at the five most important factors in a little bit more detail to help narrow down the options and ensure you have asked the right questions before purchasing a tactical knife.

1. Fixed Blade vs. Folding Knives

Fixed and Folding Tactical Knives
In most tactical circumstances, you should have both a fixed blade and folding tactical knife.

The first step to choosing a tactical knife is to decide whether you prefer a fixed blade knife or a folding knife since each type has both advantages and disadvantages.

Fixed Blade Knives: Fixed-blade knives have tangs that enable a bladesmith to affix either guards or bolsters to them to prevent the user’s hand from accidentally sliding forward onto the blade and parry potential strikes during self-defense situations.

Because a fixed-blade knife’s tang extends into the knife’s handle, a fixed-blade knife is inherently stronger than a folding knife.

But, at the same time, a fixed-blade knife can be more cumbersome to carry and difficult to conceal.

Folding Knives:  Folding tactical knives are the opposite.  They allow the user to fold them in half, often using a self-assisted opening mechanism.

Folding knifes are good for any type of tactical utility that isn’t self defense related. Because folding tactical knives lack extended tangs, they are not as strong as a fixed-blade knife.

However, because most folding tactical knives are small enough to easily fit in a trouser pocket, they are significantly more convenient to carry and far easier to conceal than a fixed-blade tactical knife.

Because knife carry laws vary so widely from state to state, it is a wise idea to consult the American Knife & Tool Institute web site to find out what types of knives are legal for carry in your state before choosing between a fixed-blade and a folding tactical knife.

2. Blade Length

Tactical Blade Length
Blade length matters depending on your circumstances.

Another factor to be considered when choosing a tactical knife is the length of the blade.  There are several reasons why this aspect of tactical knife design is important.

The longer a tactical knife’s blade is, the more reach it will have and the greater the distance at which the user can utilize it in self defense. But on the opposite side, the longer a tactical knife’s blade is, the heavier the entire knife will be.

This means it will be slower to use and harder to manage in close quarters. Longer blades are also significantly more difficult to conceal.

On the other hand, tactical knives with shorter blades require you to be in close quarters to utilize it effectively for self-defense.  Tactical knives with shorter blades are also lighter than their counterparts with longer blades which makes them faster to use and easier to conceal.

Typically speaking, fixed blade tactical knives will have longer blades and folding tactical knives will have shorter blades. Longer blades are generally more well regarded for self defense as where folding knives are more well known for basic mission ready tactical tasks

3. Blade Steel

Tactical Knife Steel Types
The type of steel used for the blade always matters in knife manufacturing.

Yet another factor to be considered when choosing a tactical knife is the type of steel from which the blade is constructed.

For instance, all blade steels fall into one of two categories consisting of high carbon plain tool steels and stainless steels and each type of blade steel has both advantages and disadvantages.

The two most important determining factors when choosing a tactical knife blade steel are its strength and its toughness.

However, because these two terms can be somewhat confusing, the strength of a blade steel is a measure of its ability to bend without breaking and then return to its original shape.

The toughness of a blade steel is a measure of its ability to withstand chipping and cracking. While strong blade steels are able to withstand extreme lateral forces, they are often not particularly tough, while tougher blade steels are able to withstand edge rolling and edge chipping, they are often not particularly strong.

You’ll also want to factor in the abrasion resistance of the steel, which is a measure of its ability to hold an edge and which is directly related to its Rockwell Hardness. This means that sometimes you will see tactical knife blades listed with a Rockwell Hardness rating which is designated as a number followed by the letters HRC (ex. 58-59 HRC).

The lower the numbers, the softer the blade steels are. Higher number indicate harder blade steels. Knife blades with a Rockwell Hardness of 52 to 54 HRC represent the low end of the scale whereas, knife blades with a Rockwell Hardness of 58 to 62 HRC represent the high end of the scale.

High carbon plain tool steels are generally stronger and tougher (see our guide here to the best steels for knives) than stainless blade steels and they are significantly easier to sharpen due to the lack of chromium carbides in the steel.

Unfortunately they do not hold an edge as well as stainless blade steels do and, they require significantly more care to keep them corrosion free.

Stainless blade steels are generally not as strong or as tough as high carbon plain tool steels and, they are often significantly more difficult to sharpen.  They also require far less care to keep them corrosion free.

4. Handle Design

Tactical Knife Handle Design
Handle design is important for ergonomics.

When choosing a tactical knife, it is very important to chose a knife with an ergonomic handle design that is sized to fit your hand and which is comfortable when holding the blade either up or down depending on what you feel is easiest to grip.

Some knife users prefer to hold the knife blade up in self defense situations while others prefer to have the knife blade pointed down in order to parry incoming strikes.

Overall, handle design can be a personal preference with regards to ergonomics, so it’s important to remember that when you are field testing different types of knives.

5. Handle Material

Steel Knife Handle Material
Handle Material is extremely important for grip.

Lastly, when choosing a tactical knife, the type of material that the handle is made from should be part of your decision point.

Knife handle materials can all be divided into two categories consisting of natural handle materials such as stag antler, exotic hardwoods and, synthetic handle materials such Kirinite, Delrin, Micarta and, G10.

While most natural handle materials are chosen because they are aesthetically pleasing, most synthetic handle materials are chosen because they are tough.

But, there are exceptions to this rule such the material Kirinite which is a synthetic handle material that is both decorative and tough.

In addition, as a general rule, while most natural handle materials are chosen because they are pretty, the vast majority of them will absorb moisture, making them prone to eventually decompose.  Most synthetic handle materials are chosen because they are tough and are impervious to the absorption of moisture as well as to chipping and cracking.

There is also the issue of the texture that is added to the handle material. For instance, smooth handles are far more prone to twist or slip in the user’s hand when wet and thus, most tactical knives have some sort of texture added to the surface of their handles to provide a more positive grip.


Our Top 6 Tactical Fixed Blade Knives

As mentioned, tactical fixed blade knives are best used for self defense situations.  Folding knives are better used for mission-ready tactical purposes, or if you just really want a folding knife that looks “tactical” to impress your buddies.

Fixed blade knives serve a different purpose, though.  They are not your standard survival knives (like these beauties here) as they are used more for self defense. So, they should be considered more as part of an overall “package” and not a stand alone knife that “does it all.”

Below are the top 6 tactical fixed blade knives on the market in 2019 for military ready purposes.


1. US Army KA-BAR

One of the most iconic Combat Knives in existence, the KA-BAR U.S. Army knife is a fixed-blade tactical knife that features an overall length of 11 7/8″ with a Clip Point blade design measuring 7″ in length.  It has a Saber Grind and is made from non-stainless, 1095 Cro-Van, high carbon, Plain Tool Steel with a Rockwell Hardness of 56-58 HRC. US Army Ka-Bar This knife also features dual steel quillions with a Rat Tail Tang and a beautiful, 5 1/4 inch, stacked leather handle combined with a steel pommel cap. The blade, quillion and, pommel cap are all coated with a black, powdered metal, coating.

In addition, the knife includes a heavy duty leather sheath which is made to stand up to any type of mission ready tactical abuse you can throw at it. The Army KA-Bar is one of our favorites and one of the most popular tactical knives on the market.  It’s used by many members of the US Military and is a reliable option for anyone looking for a tactical knife.


2. SOG Pentagon

An excellent example of more moderately sized fixed-blade tactical knife, the SOG Pentagon features an overall length of 9 3/4″ with a Spear Point blade design measuring 5″ in length with a Double Bevel Grind made from AUS-8 stainless steel with a Rockwell Hardness of 57-58 HRC. SOG Pentagon This knife also features a stainless steel bolster with a Hidden Tang and a highly ergonomic, 4 3/4 inch, Krayton Rubber handle with deep checkering for very positive grip. In addition, the knife includes a black, ballistic nylon, sheath.

Designed by McHenry and Williams, the Benchmade Infidel is an out-the-front, automatic opening, tactical knife that features a closed length of 5″ inches with a 3 7/8” Spear Point blade made from semi-stainless D2 steel with a Double Bevel Grind and a Rockwell Hardness of 60-62 HRC.

Also, this knife features Benchmade’s out-the-front automatic opening mechanism with a sculpted handle made entirely from 6061-T6 Aluminum with a right hand only, tip down only, stainless steel pocket clip. Overall the SOG Pentagon is a solid pick – just like their other tactical gear line which includes military style tactical tomahawks.


3. Gerber Silver Trident 

Designed in part by Chief Jim Watson, an original plank holder of SEAL Team 2, this fixed blade knife is nothing but tactical.  Just glancing at it, you know it is meant for serious business. Gerber Silver Trident The Silver Trident features a double edged clip point blade that is partially serrated on both top and bottom.  The heat treated blade is made of 154CM steel and shows a Rockwell Hardness of 59-61.  This means the knife is very tough and can be sharpened to a razor edge.

The blade is finished in a black coating that reduces visibility in low light conditions and helps prevent corrosion. The handle is made of DuPont Hytrel, which is a high quality polymer that comes in various forms. The center of the handle is extremely hard, while the surface is soft and textured so the user can maintain a sure grip in all conditions. In short this knife performs and looks good while doing it.


4. Cold Steel Trail Master

The Cold Steel Trail Master is a fixed-blade Bowie Knife that features an overall length of 14 1/2″ with a Clip Point blade design measuring 9 1/2″ in length. Also, this knife is constructed from your choice of either (non-stainless) O1 high carbon Plain Tool Steel or laminated San Mai III steel with a Flat Grind and an unknown Rockwell Hardness. Cold Steel Trail Master In addition, it features a quillion made from a single brass oval along with Hidden Tang construction and a 5/1/8 inch, deeply checkered, “Kray-Ex” (Kraton) handle and includes an extremely well designed “Secure-Ex” (Kydex) sheath. Overall, the trail master is another high quality production from Cold Steel, who is a knife manufacturer that is synonymous with quality knives.


5. Cold Steel Recon Tanto

The Cold Steel Recon Tanto is a fixed blade tactical knife that features an overall length of 11 3/4″ with a American Tanto Point blade design measuring 7″ in length with a flat Saber Grind.  It also features a black Tuff-Ex (Diamond Like Carbon), coating made from VG-1 stainless steel with an unknown Rockwell Hardness (probably 58-61 HRC). Cold Steel Recon Tanto Also, this knife features a single integral quillion adjacent to the cutting edge combined with a Hidden Tang which is covered by a very ergonomic handle design with deeply checkered Kray-Ex (Krayton) rubber for a very positive grip even when wet. In addition, the knife includes a heavy duty Secure-Ex (Kydex) sheath.

While nylon or other synthetic fabric sheaths are typically fine, a Kydex sheath is an excellent choice as it will allow the knife to “snap” into place and stay there until it’s determined the knife is in need. Cold steel makes a number of great products (including machetes) and the Recon line is no exception to their arsenal.

 

6. Gerber StrongArm

Here’s what might be the best all purpose tactical knife in this price range. The Gerber StrongArm features a full-tang partially serrated 420HC steel blade coated in black ceramic for superior corrosion resistance and low-profile use. But the best part about this knife, beside the razor sharp blade straight out of the box and tank-like construction, it’s the sheet’s Molle compatibility.

The StrongArm is compatible with Molle tactical backpacks, belts, and whatnots. It can also be attached horizontally or vertically to a regular tactical belt or leg strap harness. It is one of the most “tactical” looking knives on our list.

The handle has an anti-slip rubberized diamond texture, which guarantees a firm grip even in some of the most extreme situations. And the icing on the cake is that this gem is proudly made in the good ol’ USA at the company’s Portland, Oregon factory.


Our Top 6 Tactical Folding Knives:

Below you’ll find our favorite tactical folders that will operate very well in any tactical situation.  Assuming you don’t need a fixed blade and are good with a pocket carry tactical foldable, below are 6 of our favorites that you can’t go wrong with.

We will jump in and look at each knife in detail by examining blade design, handle material, length, and product features.


1. Benchmade Griptillian

The Benchmade Griptillian is an assisted opening folding tactical knife that features a closed length of 4 5/8″ inches with a 3 5/8” Drop Point blade made from 154CM stainless steel with a Saber Grind and a Rockwell Hardness of 59-61 HRC. Benchmade Griptillian Green Also, the blade of this knife is available either with or without serrations and it is available with either a satin finish or a black, epoxy powder coated, finish. In addition, this knife features Benchmade’s axis assisted opening mechanism w/thumb stud and a Liner Lock locking mechanism with 420J2 stainless steel liners.

It also features a glass filled nylon handle with a right hand only, tip down only, stainless steel pocket clip.  Benchmade knives are synonomous with quality, and we are huge fans of their knives.  In fact, the Benchmade 940  McHenry is one of our favorite standard EDC pocket knives on the market today.


2. Gerber Covert w/F.A.S.T.

The Gerber Covert is an assisted opening folding tactical knife based on an improved version (Applegate-Fairbairn) of the famous British Sykes-Fairbairn fixed-blade dagger that was issued to British soldiers during World War II. It bears both U.S. Army Colonel Rex Applegate’s and, British Royal Marine Lieutenant William Fairbairn’s signatures. Gerber Covert with FAST The Gerber Covert features a closed length of 5″ with a Spear Point blade design measuring 3 3/4″ in length with a Double Bevel Grind and a black, titanium coated, finish made from an unknown stainless steel with an unknown Rockwell Hardness.

This knife features a very ergonomic handle design with textured, G10, handle scales combined with Gerber’s F.A.S.T. assisted opening mechanism and a Piston Lock locking mechanism and includes a right hand only, tip down only, steel, pocket clip.


3. Benchmade Model 531

Designed by Joe Pardue to be a more rugged version of the Model 530, the Benchmade Model 531 is a manual opening folding tactical knife that features a closed length of 4 3/16″ inches with a 3 1/4” Drop Point blade made from 154CM stainless steel. Benchmade 531 It has a deep Saber Grind and a Rockwell Hardness of 58-61 HRC. In addition, this knife features Benchmade’s proprietary Axis Lock locking mechanism with 420J2 stainless steel liners and black, contoured, G10 handle scales with an ambidextrous, tip up only, stainless steel pocket clip.

As with other Benchmade knives, it’s almost impossible to find a better quality knife manufacturer for folding knives.  You should expect to pay a little more price wise though, as the steel that benchmade uses can get quite costly.  The machine work on their knives is second to none.


4. Cold Steel Hold Out II

Designed to be an easily concealed folding tactical knife, the Cold Steel Holdout II has an exceptionally thin profile and a purpose specific design. It features closed length of 5″ with a Spear Point blade design measuring 4″ in length with a Fat Grind made from CTS-XHP stainless steel with an unknown Rockwell Hardness. Cold Steel Hold Out It also features a very ergonomic, 5 inch, handle design combined with a manual opening mechanism and a Lockback locking mechanism with black, textured, G10 handle scales and an ambidextrous, tip up only, stainless steel, pocket clip. Cold Steel has a number of high quality knives and the Hold Out II is one of our favorites for any tactical utility situation.


5. Spyderco Yojimbo 2

The Yojimbo 2 is a tactical folder designed by highly regarded knife fighting expert Michael Janich.  Prior Janich designs include the BeWharned and the original Yojimbo.  With this folder, Janich incorporated all of the best features of the original plus added a few refinements. Spyderco Yojimbo 2 It uses the highly effective Wharncliffe blade, which is widely regarded for its ability to slice and cut by transferring all of the energy all the way to the tip.  The blade has a straight edge, hollow ground blade made of S30V steel. The knife handle uses aggressively textured G10, which is a very durable polymer resin.

With G10, the knife is not likely to slip from the user’s hand even when wet from sweat and blood. As with several of Janich’s designs, the Yojimbo 2 is designed to be used with a thumb forward position.  This gives the user a very strong grip and maximum cutting power. The Yojimbo 2 has been in high demand by people who know fine knives ever since it was introduced.


6. Cold Steel Recon 1

Our list would not be complete without our LEOs and service members’ classic tactical folder: the Cold Steel Recon 1. This one is a tactical workhorse suited for nearly any situation. The manufacturer touts it as being “tough as a tank and sharp as a scalpel” and, so far, it has not disappointed.

It comes razor sharp out of the box and holds an edge superbly for a long time as many happy users can confirm. The blade action is decent for a tactical knife of this size and there’s no annoying wiggle to it, but don’t expect lightning-fast action just straight out of the pocket as you would with those smaller EDC flippers.

The handle is (a bit too) abrasive yet comfortable, and the knife is so light that you’ll barely notice that it is there. It is a heavy-duty knife that has been field tested time and time again and is worth every single penny.


Wrap Up & Decision Points:

As you can see, when choosing tactical knife, there many different brand names and numerous different blade designs, blade steels, handle designs, handle materials as well as numerous different price points to choose from. In addition, they each differ from classic folding knives in that rather than being designed to be carried in a belt pouch, they instead feature pocket clips that enable them to be accessed and deployed quickly.

It should be noted that many U.S. state’s laws prevent civilians from carrying any knife that the powers that be deem to be inappropriate for everyday use. Therefore, in order to combat such unfair knife laws, an organization has come into existence that is called Knife Rights which bills itself as the NRA of knives.

If you state has laws that prevent you from owning or carrying an automatic opening knife, an assisted opening knife, a Balisong Knife, a Bowie Knife or, any other type of knife or, has laws that restrict blade length to a given size, then you should consider joining Knife Rights since they do work diligently to reverse unfair knife laws.

Our Five Ten Freerider Contact Review: Ride with Confidence

From hiking to biking, there are many ways you can explore the outdoors. And if you want to do so on a bike, you’ll need some special shoes. So, consider our Five Ten Freerider Contact review before you hit the trails.

Hiking shoes and mountain bikes don’t mix. That’s because hiking shoes are too flexible to offer control of your pedals. On the other hand, biking shoes don’t offer enough give for flexing your feet on a hike.

If you want to do both, you’ll need the shoes for both.

FIVE TEN FREERIDER CONTACT REVIEW: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Whether you’re looking for your first pair of bike shoes or your current pair is wearing out, you should invest in a high-
quality pair. The right pair of shoes will protect your feet, while the wrong pair will be uncomfortable or even painful.

When it comes to bike shoes, the right pair is super important. You need shoes that are easy to move in and aren’t too bulky. They should also have some grip so your feet don’t slip off the pedals. And, like any pair of shoes, they shouldn’t be too small or too large.

Let’s breakdown some of the important features in our Five Ten Freerider Contact review.

How they fit

The Freerider Contact shoes from Five Ten are 100 percent textile and synthetic women’s bike shoes. These shoes have a rubber sole, and you can remove the insole.

They have a lower total volume than some other shoes, and the heel fits tightly to your foot. The shoes have a non-marking stealth phantom outsole that gives you the grip you need when riding a bike.

They’re pretty similar to the original Freeriders, but they’re for women instead of men. Unfortunately, these shoes don’t have a ton of room in the toe box, which can make your toes feel numb after some time.

However, these shoes come in women’s sizes from 5 to 11, including half sizes. If numbness is a concern, you can size up and see if that gives you the room you need.

How well they last

We all know that buying a new pair of shoes means we have to break them in. So, for our Five Ten Freerider Contact review, we wanted to know how the shoes perform as you wear them.

While the shoes might be uncomfortable at first, they do get better over time. These shoes are sturdy, and the quality is great. The shoes are also relatively waterproof, and you can wash them easily.

However, the bottom of the shoe is pretty soft. That means that pedal pins can poke into the sole if you use the shoes a lot.

What they’re for

The Five Ten Freerider Contact shoes keep your feet straight, which is helpful when biking. They also have sticky soles, and that can help your feet stay on the pedals of your bike.

However, that does mean that these shoes aren’t ideal for walking or hiking. For one, they’re not comfortable for walking. When you walk, you need to flex your feet as you step.

And you probably don’t want your feet to feel sticky as you walk, either.

Also, the outsole doesn’t have as much traction as hiking shoes. Part of the shoes has no traction at all, which gives you the flexibility to move around on a bike but is a no-go for hiking.

However, these shoes provide great grip on some surfaces. You might be able to wear them on a hike. But from our Five Ten Freerider Contact review so far, we’d recommend saving the shoes for biking.

The good, the bad, and the ugly

For our Five Ten Freerider Contact review, we wanted to share some of the advantages and disadvantages of these shoes. While they have plenty of great features, they’re far from perfect.

Pros

  • Great for biking

  • Variety of sizes

  • Solid grip for bike pedals

  • Durable

  • Fits well on your feet

Cons

  • Not for hiking

  • The toe box is small

  • Pedal pins can perforate outsole

  • Interior stitching can be uncomfortable

WHY YOUR RIDING SHOES MATTER

As you read through our Five Ten Freerider Contact review, you might wonder what the big deal is with choosing the right shoes. Well, we walk on our feet, so they have to support a lot.

Now, when riding a bike, we can distribute that weight between our feet, hands, and bottom. While that can provide some relief to your feet, that doesn’t mean you don’t still need the right shoes.

Even with the best shoes, your feet can develop problems ranging from athlete’s foot to an infection.

Sure, your shoes may not be able to prevent some of the more common foot problems. But the wrong shoes certainly won’t do anything to help.

Since we rely so heavily on our feet, we need to protect them even when we aren’t using them. Because of how our feet sit on bike pedals, we need shoes that keep our feet from moving and flexing too much.

Don’t let it slip

Speaking of foot problems, we aren’t doctors. While our Five Ten Freerider Contact review contains our own research and thoughts, it’s only for your information. We can’t diagnose or treat any foot problems.

So, if you do experience pain or another issue, stop wearing the problematic shoes and contact your doctor. They can check for problems or recommend a specialist for additional help.

There are good shoes out there for everyone, and a doctor can help you find the right ones for you.

HOW WE REVIEWED

For our Five Ten Freerider Contact review, we looked at a range of women’s bike shoes. We considered features like the fit, size selection, and durability.

Next, we looked at what they are good for, and when you should avoid wearing them. After that, we considered the pros and cons of the shoes.

To round out our Five Ten Freerider Contact review, we compared the Five Ten shoes to some competitors. We put each of the shoes through the same process, looking at the features, uses, pros, and cons.

A TRUE FREE RIDER?

No Five Ten Freerider Contact review would be complete without a look at some similar shoes. While the Five Ten shoes have some great features, they aren’t the only option.

So, as you consider the Five Ten Freerider Contacts, consider these options, too:

PEARL IZUMI WOMEN’S X-ROAD FUEL V5


PEARL IZUMI Women’s W X-Road Fuel v5 Cycling Shoe, Smoked…

  • Quick-drying, highly…
  • Low-cut construction for a…
  • X-Road nylon plate delivers…
  • Rubber lugged outsole for…
  • Flexible forefoot and a…

The PEARL iZUMi Women’s X-Road Fuel v5 is pretty similar to the Freerider Contact in terms of appearance and design.

These shoes have a rubber sole and a bonded seamless upper. Those materials make the shoes comfortable and durable. They also have a low-cut construction, so they’re light and have a nice fit.

This pair has a mesh and synthetic upper that’s breathable and easy to dry. A built-in lace garage helps with drivetrain interference. Meanwhile, a nylon plate gives you stability, power, and efficiency for pedaling.

You can also wear these shoes for walking, but you shouldn’t rely on them for long distances. The sizes range from 36 to 43 EU, which converts to about 5 to 10 in US sizes.

Pros

  • Comfortable materials

  • Lightweight

  • Easy to pedal

Cons

  • EU sizes

  • Shoes can run tight

Where to buy

GIRO EMPIRE E70 KNIT ROAD CYCLING SHOES


Giro Empire E70 Knit Cycling Shoes – Women’s Grey/Glacier 39

  • Upper Material: [body] Xnetic…
  • Closure: lace
  • Footbed: molded EVA
  • Sole: Easton EC70 Carbon Fiber
  • Cleat Compatibility: 3-bolt

The Giro Empire E70 Knit Road Cycling Shoes are another option to consider. These shoes have a knit upper with a skeletal support system to offer breathability and a lightweight feel.

The outsole uses a carbon composite material, while the molded footbed gives a medium amount of arch support. These shoes have steel hardware and replaceable heel pads to add to their durability.

They’re water-repellent and easy to clean. You can choose from sizes 5 through 11, with some half sizes also available.

Unfortunately, there’s no mention of how the shoes last over time.

Pros

  • Lightweight and breathable

  • Some arch support

  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Not sure how they last

  • May not line up with all cycles

Where to buy

NEW BALANCE NBCYCLE WX09

The New Balance Women’s NBCycle WX09 uses textile and synthetic materials for the upper and features a synthetic sole. These shoes have a low-top shaft, and they feature a lightweight midsole.

They’re compatible with SPD cleats, and they’re great spin shoes. Instead of laces, the shoes use Velcro strips to give you a comfortable and secure fit.

A full-length plate gives you enough power to pedal. However, they aren’t great for walking or other activities. You should keep these shoes for your bike.

They come in sizes 5 through 12, including some half sizes.

Pros

  • Lightweight

  • Easy to put on and take off

  • Comfortable and secure

Cons

  • Somewhat tight

  • Too flexible for biking

Where to buy

JUST SMOOTH RIDING FROM HERE

Throughout our Five Ten Freerider Contact review, we wanted to see if these shoes really were some of the best biking shoes. We looked at the fit, durability, and use of the shoes.

Next, we considered the advantages and disadvantages, and we compared the shoes to some of the leading competition. After all of that, we think the Five Ten Freerider Contacts are an excellent choice for women who want good riding shoes.

However, they’re not great for walking or hiking. But if you plan to hit the trails for a ride, you won’t be disappointed!

Have you worn these shoes? Share your own Five Ten Freerider Contact review in the comments!

Featured image by: Amazon

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