The 5 Best Backpacking Knives in 2021 Reviewed

 

best backpacking knifeAn essential for every hiker, camper, or adventurer is an awesome backpacking knife. This versatile tool comes in handy with endless tasks on the trail, whether that’s preparing food, making repairs, cutting wood, or even in emergencies. That is exactly why we’ve created this comprehensive review of the Best Backpacking Knife options on the web. And that’s not all, we’ve also included a handy guide to Finding the Best Backpacking Knife in 5 Steps, allowing you to determine exactly what you are looking for before you start shopping.

From pocket knives to fixed blades, folded blades to multi-tool devices: the possibilities are endless. We’ve included options for every budget, scenario, and style, ensuring there’s something for every outdoor-explorer. Let us navigate you towards the Best Backpacking Knife products worth your time and money, and discover which items have made the cut now!

In a hurry? Here’s the test winner after 10 hours of research:

Sale
GERBER Bear Grylls Folding Sheath Knife, Serrated Edge [31-000752]
  • ½ Serrated High Carbon Stainless Steel Drop Point Blade

And here’s an overview of the best backpacking knives on the market today:

Preview
Tactical Pocket Knife for Men, Folding Knives with Knife Sharpener Set, EDC Camping Hiking Hunting Survival Knife with Clip, Bottle Opener Glass Breaker Seatbelt Cutter Valentines Day Gifts for Him
Pocket Knife with Stainless Steel Blade - G10 Handle Folding Knife for Outdoor, Tactical, Utility and EDC
GERBER Bear Grylls Folding Sheath Knife, Serrated Edge [31-000752]
Morakniv M-13216 Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife with Sandvik Stainless Steel Blade, 4.1-Inch, Desert Tan
Multifunction Folding Pocket Knife for Outdoor, Survival, Camping Multitool
Title
Keenstone Tactical 5-in-1 Pocket Knife 
Atomic Bear Folding Knife
Gerber Bear Grylls Folding Sheath Knife
Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Knife 
INONE 12-in-1 Utility Folding Pocket Knife
Customer Rating
-
-
-
-
-
Type
5-in-1 Pocket Knife
Folding Knife
Folding Knife
Fixed Blade Knife
12-in-1 Pocket Knife
Prime
-
Price
$17.69
$15.99
$25.00
$19.99
Price not available
Preview
Tactical Pocket Knife for Men, Folding Knives with Knife Sharpener Set, EDC Camping Hiking Hunting Survival Knife with Clip, Bottle Opener Glass Breaker Seatbelt Cutter Valentines Day Gifts for Him
Title
Keenstone Tactical 5-in-1 Pocket Knife 
Customer Rating
-
Type
5-in-1 Pocket Knife
Prime
Price
$17.69
Details
Preview
Pocket Knife with Stainless Steel Blade - G10 Handle Folding Knife for Outdoor, Tactical, Utility and EDC
Title
Atomic Bear Folding Knife
Customer Rating
-
Type
Folding Knife
Prime
Price
$15.99
Details
Preview
GERBER Bear Grylls Folding Sheath Knife, Serrated Edge [31-000752]
Title
Gerber Bear Grylls Folding Sheath Knife
Customer Rating
-
Type
Folding Knife
Prime
Price
$25.00
Details
Preview
Morakniv M-13216 Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife with Sandvik Stainless Steel Blade, 4.1-Inch, Desert Tan
Title
Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Knife 
Customer Rating
-
Type
Fixed Blade Knife
Prime
Price
$19.99
Details
Preview
Multifunction Folding Pocket Knife for Outdoor, Survival, Camping Multitool
Title
INONE 12-in-1 Utility Folding Pocket Knife
Customer Rating
-
Type
12-in-1 Pocket Knife
Prime
-
Price
Price not available
Details

Finding the Best Backpacking Knife in 5 Steps

 

With so many options on the market, it can seem daunting to pick the best knife for your exact needs. Don’t worry: we’ve made it easy. Simply follow these steps to determine which backpacking knife will cut it for you. 

 

Decide where you will use the knife

Firstly, it’s important to note that the location of where you plan to use your knife, has a big impact on the type of blade you need. If you’re planning to camp out in the backcountry and are facing cold conditions, you will need to build a fire. Therefore, you’ll need a blade durable enough to cut through wood. If you want to go backpacking in humid, moist climates, you’ll need a corrosion-proof option, etc. Or if you want an all-in-one solution for every type of situation, a multi-tool backpacking knife or Swiss army knife could be your ideal match. 

 

Decide between light-weight and heavy-duty

For every hiking, camping, or backpacking trip, the weight of your bag is something to consider before you set off on your adventure. This is exactly why it’s important to take the weight of your knife into account when shopping for your perfect match. From super-lightweight options to heavy-weight designs: products can vary greatly in weight.

For the average hiker, a small knife under 5oz should work just fine. However, for those planning on chopping their way through thick bushes and undergrowth, you might want to consider a slightly heavier, and more durable, full-size alternative.

Regardless of how much weight you plan to carry, always make sure to check how heavy a pocket knife, folded blade, or fixed blade is before you purchase. As you don’t want to be caught out when you suddenly receive a heavy-weighted option in the mail… 

 

Decide between a fixed blade or a folding blade

Backpacking and hiking knives can feature a fixed blade or a folding blade. Each has its benefits. For example, a fixed blade knife is simple to use and contains no moving parts, making it more durable and sturdy, plus easier in maintenance. A folding blade, on the other hand, is compacter, easier to store anywhere (for example, some come on a keyring or clip), and may also be available in a multi-tool version with even more versatility in one device. For example, a multitool might also contain extra accessories such as scissors, a toothpick, tweezers, a screwdriver, a compass, and more.

Once you’ve decided whether you prefer a fixed or folding blade, your search time for the perfect backpacking knife is cut in half! 

 

Decide on a type of blade material

Just as there are different styles of fixed and folding knives, there are also different types of blade materials. Yes, most blades will be metal, but there can be a big difference in the actual quality of the metal. If you don’t consider this when shopping for your knife, you might end up with a low-grade blade that already starts rusting, or deteriorating after a few uses. These are the main blade materials you should know about:

 

Stainless steel

You’ll see that most of the backpacking knife, pocket knife, and hiking knife options all feature a stainless steel blade. This alloy is resistant against rust and corrosion, making it an easy to maintain and durable choice for long-term enjoyment. Though, be warned, even stainless steel has different gradations, meaning that one stainless steel knife might still be superior to another. For example, 420HC stainless steel is an affordable option that offers reasonable edge retention and is corrosion-proof.

Another option is S30V stainless steel, a premium choice of metal that contains a special rust-resistant compound called vanadium. This high-quality type of steel allows for maximum blade edge retention and ultimate durability, making it a superior choice when it comes to the blade materials, but also making it more expensive. That said, it’s hard to go wrong with stainless steel, even if its a ‘cheaper’ variety. 

 

High-Carbon Steel

Another material we often encounter when reviewing backpacking knives is high-carbon steel. We fully understand why some brands chose to use this type of metal: as it has outstanding edge-retention, and amazing hardness. However, it is also prone to corrosion as it is non-stainless steel. And, therefore, requires a bit of extra care and maintenance to keep it in tip-top shape. So, if you want a low-maintenance knife, try to avoid high-carbon steel and stick with stainless steel instead. 

 

Lightweight Titanium

You’ll also encounter blades made of titanium allow, an ultralight material that is rust-proof. Though most brands do not use titanium itself, as it’s a ‘soft metal’, they may elect to add a titanium coating to the blade or use a titanium alloy (a ‘harder’ variety). The main reason to use titanium in the blade is to reduce the weight, creating super lightweight options that don’t add a lot of bulk to your bag. Be warned though that titanium blade is less suited to more strenuous task such as woodcarving.

Titanium blades get the job done when opening food packaging, cutting ropes, or in meal prep, but if you want to go full McGyver and cut your way through the bush: this is not the recommended material for you. Simply remember: titanium is lightweight, for ‘light’ tasks. 

 

Decide what your budget will be

The good news is that there are backpacking knives at any price-point. From cheap, yet functional basics to high-end multi-tool designs with incredible features. However, we would recommend you to determine what you’d like to spend before you start shopping. It can be tempted to ‘upgrade’ to an expensive knife, but we’re confident you can find a great knife within your envisioned price-range, without having to stretch your budget. 

Also good to know: if you’re willing to spend a bit more on your knife, ensure that you’re paying that bit extra for quality, not merely because it looks fancier. Higher-priced options should feature premium blade materials such s S30V (mentioned above), and have great user reviews. 

And that goes for cheaper products as well. If a product fails to mention the type of material or only has limited/average reviews, don’t take the risk. There are plenty of trustworthy, highly-rated sharp edge knives on the market, so make sure to spend your money wisely and go for a reliable brand in hiking/camping/hunting essentials. Established brands, recommended by outdoor experts are, for example, Gerber, Benchmade, Victorinox, Spyderco, Opinel, Morakniv, Kershaw, SOG Knives, KA-BAR, Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT), etc.

To help you get a better idea of the different price-points, and what you’ll get for your money, we’ve ensured to include options for every budget in our Best Backpacking Knife review. Check it out below! 

 


Best Backpacking Knife 


 

Keenstone Tactical 5-in-1 Pocket Knife 

Sale
Tactical Pocket Knife for Men, Folding Knives with Knife Sharpener Set, EDC Camping Hiking Hunting Survival Knife with Clip, Bottle Opener Glass Breaker Seatbelt Cutter Valentines Day Gifts for Him
  • Pocket Tactical Knife - 7.8 inch (20 cm) overall length with a blade length of 3.1 inches (7.9 cm) and a weight of 5.6 ounces. Made of Quality 420B stainless steel which has a hardness of 58HRC....
The Tactical Knife & Pocket Knife Sharpener Set is an amazingly affordable choice in Best Backpacking Knife options. This set offers a plethora of functions, all bundled in two compact bundles. Included are a 5-in-1 pocket knife, and a 5-in-10 knife sharpener, meaning that you’ll get 10 different uses out of this great value-for-money set.

The 5-in-1 pocket knife includes a stainless steel hunting knife with an unfolded length of 200 mm, a bottle opener, a glass breaker, a seat-belt cutter, and a saw clip. The 5-in-1 knife sharpener includes a carbide V-shaped sharpening slot, a diamond tapered rod, a ceramic v-shaped fine honing slot, a whistle, and a compass. Both devices are compact and come with a pocket clip/belt clip for easy carrying. 

 The pocket knife and sharpener have a combined weight of approximately 6oz, making them slighter heavier than standard options on the market. That said, if you’re only going on a day hike or short trip, you can also elect to leave the knife sharpener device at home to reduce the weight you’re carrying.

Super affordable

One of the big selling-points of the Tactical Knife & Pocket Knife Sharpener Set by Keenstone is its pricing. For the price listed, we think it’s simply a steal. Admittedly, some reviewers do state it is not the most durable quality set, but still, praise its functionality in everyday outdoorsy situations. With overall great user reviews and a very affordable price-tag, this is a great choice for leisurely hikers and campers. For more intense, hardcore outdoor adventures, we’d recommend a sturdier option – but for ‘light’ usage, this is an excellent set.

Pro

  • Excellent value-for-money
  • Bonus knife sharpener

Con

  • Slightly heavier than other knives

 

The Atomic Bear Folding Knife

Sale
Pocket Knife with Stainless Steel Blade - G10 Handle Folding Knife for Outdoor, Tactical, Utility and EDC
  • Sharp Blade Out of The Box - Hardened high carbon stainless steel sharpened to perfection before we ship it. Keeps its edge sharp for your everyday uses.
The Atomic Bear Folding Knife is a highly rated choice in outdoor essentials. This sharp, semi-serrated SWAT blade can cut through rope, wood, seatbelts, cardboard, and even fish and deer. The tactical-style knife is a solid choice to be prepared for anything, and everything!

The design features a folding blade with a liner locking system for easy opening and maximum safety. To open, simply push the thumb stud and keep pushing until the blade is open and it snaps into the locking mechanism, securing the blade firmly in place. We also like the ergonomic G-10 performance handle on the knife. This skeleton style, textured handle with a thumb groove and finger guard allows for a comfortable, solid grip. And can be used in both a forward or reverse grip position.

Quality, rustproof blade

Another pro is the quality of the blade. The manufacturer has chosen to use 420B stainless steel, coated with a sleek black oxide layer, durable, rustproof, and with great longevity for long-term enjoyment out of your purchase. The Atomic Bear Folding Knife even comes with a lifetime warranty by the manufacturer, which serves as a testimony that this blade is truly made for the long-haul.

With over a hundred 5-star reviews, other outdoor enthusiasts give this sleek choice in Best Backpacking Knife options a big thumbs up. They rave about the knife’s sharpness, ease of handling, quality construction, and lightweight grip. Some confirm that it’s comparable to other high-end brands like Gerber, offering the same level of craftsmanship at very affordable pricing.

If you’re looking for a solid, sharp, knife blade to cut your way through any type of challenge, this may be your ideal, serrated survival knife.

Pro

  • Outstanding customer reviews
  • Lightweight and ergonomic grip
  • Manufacturer Warranty

Con

  • Can be tricky to open smoothly

 


 

Gerber Bear Grylls Folding Sheath Knife

Sale
GERBER Bear Grylls Folding Sheath Knife, Serrated Edge [31-000752]
  • ½ Serrated High Carbon Stainless Steel Drop Point Blade
If you want the top-quality standard in outdoor gear, the Gerber Bear Grylls Folding Sheath Knife is an outstanding choice. This product is the result of a collaboration between renowned outdoor brand Gerber and survival expert Bear Grylls. With two experts joining forces, you can be guaranteed that this Best Backpacking Knife option ticks all the essential boxes.

The Gerber Bear Grylls Folding Sheath Knife is a compact design that folds for quick storage and portability. The silhouette features a dual-sided thumb stud for easy, one-handed opening on the go.

The blade length is 3.6 inches and features half-serrated detail. The drop point blade is made of high carbon stainless steel, allowing for maximum edge retention and ideal for cutting rope. It also comes with a nylon mildew-resistant sheath, rubberized grip handle, and Lockback feature for extra security.

Solid expertise

This folding knife is perfect for those who want a durable, yet compact blade that can fit neatly into a sheath or on a belt when you’re on the move. The knife weighs 5.3oz, or 10oz when covered with the nylon sheath. It is not the lightest folding knife available, but we reckon it’s still a reasonable weight for adventurers who want a sturdy knife that handles well in every kind of survival situation.

The Gerber Bear Grylls Folding Sheath Knife is a slightly more expensive choice in Best Backpacking Knife options, but we do think it is worth the extra dollars. It’s made of premium materials, comes with all the functionality you need, and is backed by survival experts for its premium performance. And don’t just take that from us, this best knife recommendation has hundreds of 5-star user reviews from fellow outdoor-enthusiasts! Praised for its balance, sharpness, durability, and handy nylon sheath covering, it’s a best-selling choice in hiking and camping essentials. 

Pro

  • A renowned brand in outdoor gear
  • 5-star consumer favorite
  • Made of premium materials

Con

  • Slightly more expensive

 

Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Knife 

Morakniv M-13216 Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife with Sandvik Stainless Steel Blade, 4.1-Inch, Desert Tan
  • Versatile fixed-blade outdoor knife with a 4.1-inch hardened Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel blade is ideal for carving, food prep, and cutting tinder
The Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Knife is one of the best-selling options on the internet. This highly-rated, highly-sought-after design offers endless versatility, making it an essential for any outdoor enthusiasts. Take it fishing, camping, hiking, boating, hunting, and more.

The design features a 4.1 inch, three-quarter tang-hardened Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel blade. This material offers outstanding edge-retention and is corrosion resistant, ideal for outdoor activities where your knife is exposed to dirt and moisture. And according to other consumer reviews, the blade is razor-sharp and very durable.

The knife Includes a color-matching, hard plastic sheath to keep the blade secure. The sheath includes a handy belt clip for convenient carrying, and a drain hole to keep moisture out. The Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Knife itself has a blade length of 4.1 inches, a blade thickness of 0.1 inches, and measures 8.6 inches including the handle. When covered with its sheath, the total weight of the design is 4.1oz – lightweight enough for easy carrying.

We like the special, high-friction grip on the handle of this Best Backpacking Knife option. The patterned, ergonomic design allows you to maintain full control in wet or cold conditions and provides extra safety when handled.

European design

The Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Knife is made in Sweden, adhering to high-quality European standards for outdoor gear. This sleek, stainless steel version is compatible with a wide range of activities, includes carving fresh tinder as a fire-starter, fire kindling, or cutting wood for fires, and food prep such as skinning and filleting.

We’ve selected to highlight the stainless steel version of the Morakniv Companion Knife, but this popular design is also available in other blade variations. These include a carbon blade, a heavy-duty blade, and a stainless steel serrated blade option. Allowing you to still take advantage of the same ergonomic grip, durability, and quality standard, but also choose the blade that matches your personal preferences best.

The Morakniv Companion has outstanding user-reviews, with thousands of 5-star reviews. This best-seller in hunting, camping, and hiking knives is praised for its excellent quality, solid performance, extreme sharpness, and ease of handling. It is also backed by a manufacturer’s limited lifetime warranty, ensuring long-term enjoyment out of your purchase.

Pro

  • #1 Best-Seller in hiking knives
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Con

  • Some users report receiving a slightly blunt knife

 

INONE 12-in-1 Utility Folding Pocket Knife

Multifunction Folding Pocket Knife for Outdoor, Survival, Camping Multitool
  • ✅ Made of 3CR13 and 2CR13 stainless steel, compact, durable and practical.
If you’re a backpacker looking for an all-in-one solution for all your survival needs, the INONE Utility Folding Pocket Knife is the blade for you. This 12-in-1 solution offers an outstanding value, all for the price of a regular camping knife. Designed to tackle almost any job, it’s a comprehensive choice for your outdoor adventures, ensuring you’re prepared for a whole range of scenarios.

The ergonomic design is still relatively lightweight, considering all the extra tools it contains. Instead of having to carry separate accessories in your pack, this 9oz knife combines them in one, streamlined and easy-to-use product. Its grooved handle design is also skid-resistant and ensures a comfortable, stable grip.

So, what tools does the INONE 12-in-1 Utility Folding Pocket Knife contain? This nifty, swiss army knife inspired design includes a knife, needle nose pliers, a wire cutter, a regular plier, and a wood saw. It also features a bottle opener, can opener, rope cutter, and a double-sided file. And, to allow for quick repairs of your gear on the go, this multi-tool contains 3 types of screwdrivers: a small screwdriver, a Philips screwdriver, and flat groove option.

Travel pouch included

The INONE 12-in-1 Utility Folding Pocket Knife is made of 420 stainless steel (also known as 3CR12), allowing for great edge retention, durability, and sharpness. The foldable blade measures approximately 2.8 inches when extended, which should be sufficient blade length for most ‘light’ tasks. The design includes a nylon travel pouch. This travel pouch with a belt loop is a handy bonus to keep your tool safe and protected on the go.

Order consumers rave about how much functionality this multi-tool style knife offers. For the price listed, you get a lot of bang for your buck, and the value-for-money appeal is simply outstanding. However, be warned that though it’s a good knife, it’s not a premium quality knife. Which we reckon is a fair trade-off for its affordability. That said, other reviewers give the product top marks for versatility, ease of usage, and compact silhouette.

Overall, we think this choice in Best Backpacking Knife options is great for those looking for a comprehensive, all-in-one solution on the go. But if you’re specifically looking for a durable, heavy-duty knife, we might recommend you to for a blade-only solution by an established brand such as the Gerber Bear Grylls Folding Sheath Knife (as listed previously).

Pro

  • Multi-tool versatility 
  • Great value-for-money

Con

  • Heavier and bulkier than fixed-blade or folding-blade knives

 

Verdict

 

Honestly, all the options listed in our Best Backpacking Knife of 2019 (Buying Guide) are a great choice for any backpacker. Highly-rated, great value-for-money, and affordable: you can’t go wrong with any of them. That said, which blade matches your needs best, depends on a variety of factors, as we explained earlier in our 5 Step Guide to Finding the Best Backpacking Knife. Firstly, we would advise you to review this information before making a well-informed decision. That way, you can be certain your purchase will not disappoint and match all your outdoor requirements.

Single blade or multi-tool?

We are big fans of the quality of Gerber, a renowned brand in outdoor essentials. The Gerber Bear Grylls Folding Sheath Knife listed is a solid, affordable, and durable option that allows you to tackle survival scenarios in style. However, if you’re more interested in an all-in-one option that ensures you’re prepared for any situation, the INONE 12-in-1 Utility Folding Pocket Knife might be a solution you’re after!

 

 


Best Backpacking Knife Overview

Preview
Tactical Pocket Knife for Men, Folding Knives with Knife Sharpener Set, EDC Camping Hiking Hunting Survival Knife with Clip, Bottle Opener Glass Breaker Seatbelt Cutter Valentines Day Gifts for Him
Pocket Knife with Stainless Steel Blade - G10 Handle Folding Knife for Outdoor, Tactical, Utility and EDC
GERBER Bear Grylls Folding Sheath Knife, Serrated Edge [31-000752]
Morakniv M-13216 Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife with Sandvik Stainless Steel Blade, 4.1-Inch, Desert Tan
Multifunction Folding Pocket Knife for Outdoor, Survival, Camping Multitool
Title
Keenstone Tactical 5-in-1 Pocket Knife 
Atomic Bear Folding Knife
Gerber Bear Grylls Folding Sheath Knife
Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Knife 
INONE 12-in-1 Utility Folding Pocket Knife
Customer Rating
-
-
-
-
-
Type
5-in-1 Pocket Knife
Folding Knife
Folding Knife
Fixed Blade Knife
12-in-1 Pocket Knife
Prime
-
Price
$17.69
$15.99
$25.00
$19.99
Price not available
Preview
Tactical Pocket Knife for Men, Folding Knives with Knife Sharpener Set, EDC Camping Hiking Hunting Survival Knife with Clip, Bottle Opener Glass Breaker Seatbelt Cutter Valentines Day Gifts for Him
Title
Keenstone Tactical 5-in-1 Pocket Knife 
Customer Rating
-
Type
5-in-1 Pocket Knife
Prime
Price
$17.69
Details
Preview
Pocket Knife with Stainless Steel Blade - G10 Handle Folding Knife for Outdoor, Tactical, Utility and EDC
Title
Atomic Bear Folding Knife
Customer Rating
-
Type
Folding Knife
Prime
Price
$15.99
Details
Preview
GERBER Bear Grylls Folding Sheath Knife, Serrated Edge [31-000752]
Title
Gerber Bear Grylls Folding Sheath Knife
Customer Rating
-
Type
Folding Knife
Prime
Price
$25.00
Details
Preview
Morakniv M-13216 Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife with Sandvik Stainless Steel Blade, 4.1-Inch, Desert Tan
Title
Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Knife 
Customer Rating
-
Type
Fixed Blade Knife
Prime
Price
$19.99
Details
Preview
Multifunction Folding Pocket Knife for Outdoor, Survival, Camping Multitool
Title
INONE 12-in-1 Utility Folding Pocket Knife
Customer Rating
-
Type
12-in-1 Pocket Knife
Prime
-
Price
Price not available
Details

 

 


 

Click to rate this post!
[Total: 2 Average: 5]

Caleb Cole

I grew up in Montana, spent my free time camping, hunting and fishing. I began writing as a side hobby while camping. Very happy to be working with the guys here at Outdoor Command and look forward to providing best in class outdoors content for you.