Best Backpacking Knives of 2019 – Ultimate Round-up

Finding the best backpacking knife can be a challenge. But if you have a good idea of how a knife works and what they are used for, then the search process may be a little easier. If you’re backpacking or hiking in the outdoors, you need a knife that is sharp, reliable, and will have its uses while you’re out in the great outdoors. Not only that, you’ll want something that will fit in either a backpack or a tactical belt (if you so choose).

To help you find the best backpacking knife that works best for you, we’ve listed five of the best backpacking knives that are currently on the market. Before we unveil the list, we’ll quickly discuss whether or not knives are important while you are backpacking and what characteristics make one stand out among the rest of the pack. 

Comparison Chart of the Best Backpacking Knives

Product

Rating

Price

ESEE Knives Izula-II

Best Overall

Spyderco Delica 4

Runner-up

Opinel Stainless Steel Folding Pocket Knife

Best for the Money

Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool

Spyderco Dragonfly

Are Knives Important While Backpacking?

The short answer: yes. Especially when you’re outdoors for most of the day. You’ll need a knife that will cut through soft materials and some tough materials. It will usually depend on what you might need to cut.

You may need to cut some branches to clear off a path or set up temporary shelter if you somehow end up getting lost and you need a place of shelter. Knives will have their uses when you’re outdoors. It’s important to know which ones will be best for a backpacking knife.

Characteristics of Our Favorite Models

Knowing what characteristics and features that consist of a great knife are important. It will also help you distinguish a great quality knife compared to one that is considered crappy in quality or unreliable in particular. If you need a good knife to invest in, you’ll need to find one that is built to last and reliable each time you use it. Here are some characteristics to look for:

Price

If you are a budget shopper, it is important to know that the price tag is not the only thing you need to look at. Granted, you are on a budget. So it’s important to find the best quality and features that you can afford. The last thing you need to do is throw money away on a model that is considered unreliable and cheap in quality. Even if it means paying slightly more than you expect, it’s the value that matters most.

Quality and Materials

High-quality materials will always determine the overall quality and longevity of a backpacking knife. The better the material, the better the chance you’ll be able to make sure it will stay with you for a longer time. Just because it is durable in quality, doesn’t mean you need to be complacent. You still need to maintain and take good care of it as often as possible.

What Purpose Do You Want it to Serve?

A lot of backpacking knives that will currently serve a general-purpose. However, one knife might excel at one specific purpose or another (i.e.--a backpacking knife for cleaning hunting kills). This will come down to knowing some of the specific qualities and characteristics that make a knife excel at one application or another. 

Quick Take | Best Backpacking Knives

Before diving into our review of the best backpacking knives, here is a quick take of our top 3 picks:

Review of the Best Backpacking Knives

The following is a list of the five best backpacking knives that are currently on the market as of today. You will need to make a note of the characteristics and features that might match your ideal backpacking knife. Once you find one that matches your exact description, you know that it might be a winner in your eyes. Let’s take a look at the first backpacking knife on our list:

Best Overall:
ESEE Knives Izula-II

Pros

  • Sharp right out of the box
  • Excellent for most applications
  • Fit and finish look perfect and flawless
  • Durable and tough. It can take on impact and abuse
  • The sheath does a good job of protecting the blade and keeping secure

Cons

  • A little pricey for most budget shoppers
  • The blade may be a little too short for some users

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new users found this to be one of the sharpest backpacking knives on the market. They were able to cut through many soft materials and also used it as a whittling knife for firewood as well. One user said the fit and finish looked great and kept sharp for a long time.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This knife has a stainless steel type look to it. But it’s a dang good knife to have on hand while you’re venturing in the outdoors. The knife’s blade is made from high-quality steel that is sharp right out of the gate. So you don’t have to sharpen it with a tool before initial use. The cutting is smooth like butter and will go through all kinds of small materials. The sheath does a good job covering the blade and keeps it secure. Furthermore, the sheath doesn’t cut or tear easily.

Who Would Use This Most

This will be an excellent knife to have on hand if you need something for camping, hiking, or any other outdoor activity that might allow the use of a knife. If you want something sharp, tough, and reliable this is the knife you may want to have on hand for the long term.

Bottom Line

The ESEE backpacking knife is probably the best of the best on the market when it comes to backpacking knives. If you want an excellent tool that will work in more ways than one on your next backpacking or outdoor adventure, this might be the kind of knife that will be useful for you.

Pros

  • Easy to sharpen and re-sharpen
  • Cuts through materials without any issue
  • Great for many applications for the outdoors
  • Super durable. It can take on impact and scuffs
  • Not too light or too heavy. Easy to carry around all day long

Cons

  • The clip might be a little flimsy and cheap
  • May rust over some time if it doesn’t get taken care of
  • Knife lock might be a little stubborn when you try to lock the blade

What Recent Buyers Report

This knife was impressive according to a lot of users. They were able to easily fold and unfold the knife without any kind of issue. One user said that when the blade was deployed, he was able to lock it in place without any issues. Other than that, the knife was sharp and was used for most purposes like cleaning out fish or game kills and other outdoor activities. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This knife has a high-quality blade that is made of steel. It’s sharp right out of the gate and can carve and whittle wood like nothing else. Not to mention, it has a grip that is made from high-quality material that allows for better grip and ergonomics. Simply put, you’ll have a knife that will be comfortable to use and built simply for extended use. 

Who Would Use This Most

This knife will likely be useful if you’re more of a whittler or carver. But it can still be used as a simple camping or hiking knife. So if you need to cut some paracord or use a knife to start fires or maybe trap your dinner (if you get lost), then this knife might be of great use in some way or another. 

Bottom Line

The Spyderco Delica 4 Lightweight Knife will probably be your best possible choice if you’re in search of a knife that is sharp, reliable, and has a multitude of uses. If you need something that will get you through every outdoor excursion, this knife might just be your best possible option. 

Pros

  • Best for EDC purposes
  • Affordable for most budgets
  • Great for almost any outdoor activity
  • The handle is durable and ergonomically friendly
  • Blade length is perfect. Not too long or too short

Cons

  • The blade may chip over time
  • May need to be sharpened before initial use
  • May rust easily if you’re not taking care of it regularly

What Recent Buyers Report

This knife was impressive by a lot of new user’s standards. A lot of them were impressed with the overall quality given the fact that it was considered a budget knife. One user said the blade was nice and sharp once he was able to sharpen it with a stone. It cut through soft materials like butter and was proof that it can handle all kinds of purposes while in the great outdoors.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This knife has a solid stainless steel blade with a wooden handle, making it look like the closest thing you can get to an authentic outdoor knife. The grip is excellent and doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable when you’re using it for extended purposes. The blade itself is anti-corrosive, so you are looking for something that is completely durable and will stand the test of time and impact.

Who Would Use This Most

This will be likely used by those who want a starter knife for their backpacking and outdoor adventures. The design is simple and therefore the use is simple as well. If you want something easy and straightforward to use, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything else quite like this knife.

Bottom Line

The Opinel Stainless Steel Folding Pocket Knife is not that expensive. And it’s not cheap either (in the quality sense). But it does its best in delivering you a high-quality performance like no other. If you want something that will have the potential to become a really good backpacking knife for outdoor use, the Opinel could be right up your alley.

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • Excellent for EDC carry purposes
  • Does a good job of staying sharp
  • Most of the tools are easy to pull out and retract
  • Great as a beginner’s knife for backpackers and outdoor activities

Cons

  • The pouch may not stay closed for long
  • The carrying case may not be the best in quality
  • Some tools might be a little stubborn to pull out at first

What Recent Buyers Report

As expected, many recent buyers were quite satisfied with the knife itself. The tools were reliable and the blade was nice and sharp right out of the box. One user said that he once had a knife like this growing up and had bought this one for his son. Neither he nor his son had any complaints with the quality and operation.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is the tried and true Swiss Army Knife. It works it’s magic in so many ways. Even after so many years and generations, this proves itself as the ultimate backpacking knife. If you want a knife that you want to pass down to another generation when the time comes, the Swiss Army Knife is the perfect gift for an important member of your family.

Who Would Use This Most​

This will be another beginner level knife for the outdoors. Especially for the young Scout that is starting with how knives work. If you want a knife for yourself or your child or grandchild, the Swiss Army Knife and multi-tool are exactly what you’ll want for the outdoor activities that matter most.

Bottom Line

The Victronix Swiss Army Multi-Tool is your go-to knife for all your outdoor activities. Whether if you’re young or old, this knife is a timeless classic with a design that will never change.

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • Excellent for EDC purposes
  • Sharp right out of the box
  • Easy to grip. Very comfortable
  • Compact in size. Easy to conceal with the right shift

Cons

  • Screws may get loose at times
  • The locking mechanism may be stubborn at times

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new users were quite happy with this knife. They were able to tuck it away in a more durable sheath that won’t cut easily. Other than that, the cutting ability was easier than most pocket knives best designed for outdoor use.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This knife is another straightforward design that might be one of the easiest to use knives for outdoor purposes. The blade is sharp right out of the gate and makes carving, whittling, and cutting more effortless. The knife also does a good job keeping the blade locked in place each time you deploy it.

Who Would Use This Most

This is great for every day carry and use. So if you need a knife for whatever purpose (be it outdoors or just for opening a package), this knife will serve a purpose one way or another. Don’t be surprised if this knife will last you a long time through many outdoor uses.

Bottom Line

The Spyderco Dragonfly is a knife that proves to be reliable, sharp, and useful the minute it’s placed in your hand. For something solid in construction and useful for any outdoor and indoor purpose, this knife might be your cup of coffee.

Types of Backpacking Knives

There are a few types of backpacking knives that stand out as some of the most popular on the market. But which one is the best type for you? The following are the types of backpacking knives that are currently on the market as of today:

Fixed Blade Knives

Fixed blades are non-foldable knives. Meaning you don’t need to fold out or retract the blade. For the most part, the blade is tough and will stay in place. Depending on the material used, the blade won’t wiggle or chip even after long time use.

Folding Knives

These have blades that you can fold out and retract when you are finished. Folding knives generally have a locking mechanism that will keep the blade in place when it’s folded out. It will keep the blade secure and ensure that the blade will not wiggle around while you are making your cuts.

Multi-Tool Knives

Not only will these consist of your standard knife blades, but they will also have extra tools for any other purpose (be it for the outdoors or EDC purposes). Some of the tools include a pair of tweezers, a bottle opener, a screwdriver, and even a lock pick among some other useful tools.

Why Should I Get a New Backpacking Knife? 

There are a few good reasons why it’s important to get a new backpacking knife for your use. Having a knife for outdoor use is essential, so you shouldn’t write them off as useless by any stretch of the imagination. Here are a few reasons why you should get one:

Great For Not Just the Outdoors

Do you think backpacking knives are only for the outdoors? You thought wrong. Most of these are useful in an EDC situation than with camping. You can use this for just about any menial task that will be appropriate for a knife to use. Whether it’s cutting open packages, cutting paracord, or just using some additional tools, you’ll need a knife that goes beyond the outdoor use.

Reliable in the Times You Need it

There will be times when you’ll be outdoors and you’ll need a knife that will allow you to cut through bushes, shrubs, and small branches. You can use the vegetation as a possible shelter should you get lost. Or you can whittle some kindling to ensure that you get a warm campfire going if you’re out in the woods and want to keep warm.

Sharp Right Out of the Box

These knives will usually be sharp right out of the box. If not, then they can be quickly sharpened using some kind of sharpening tool. Either way, it will be ready for action no matter how often you use it. More importantly, it should be sharpened often so you can be able to keep it long-lasting for years or even decades.

Conclusion

The best backpacking knife is out there. If you don’t know which one to choose, consider one of the five as one of your best possible options. You’ll need one for whatever the outdoors or everyday tasks can bring. Find one that will last you a long time and provide you with excellent reliable cutting every single time.

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