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Choosing a hunting knife

Q. I’m going on a camping trip with my troop, but my hunting knife broke. I see a lot of different hunting knives advertised. How do I know which one to buy?

Knifeless Neil, Summerville, S.C.

A. The best type of knife for camping trips — and most any other outdoor activity, for that matter — is a short, fixed-blade knife with a beefy handle.

Folding pocketknives can fold up on your hand while cutting. Not fixed blades. And remember: When it comes to blades, bigger isn’t always better. Avoid blades longer than four inches. A small, sharp blade can cut just as well as a long one, but it’s safer to handle and easier to maneuver in tight spots. With a good fixed blade you’ll be set for most anything the outdoors can throw at you — whittling, cutting, notching, butchering, filleting, even speading peanut butter.

Here are two of my favorite fixed-blade knives:

  • Buck Diamondback Guide ($27;
    This knife has a 3 1/8-inch-long drop-point blade with a texturized rubber handle.
  • SOG Field Pup ($60;
    A four-inch stainless steel straight-edge blade with an easy-to-grip handle and nylon sheath.

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11 Comments on Choosing a hunting knife

  1. just get a spyderco they won’t let u down

  2. I use the kabar zk acheron skeleton for a fixed blade but for a great folding knife get a spyderco knife

  3. Survivalist101 // August 1, 2014 at 8:47 pm // Reply

    I would recommend the Gerber Bear Grylls Paracord Fixed Blade Knife. Small, but strong that keeps it sharpness and comes with extra paracord.

  4. AdmiralPankake // May 5, 2012 at 8:25 am // Reply

    sheath knives are the best, but my troop doesn’t allow them, so i go for the closest thing, a lock blade folding knife!

    • Master Chief // November 29, 2013 at 4:41 pm // Reply

      you should get a Buck 119 Sheath Knife, or if you can’t have those get a Buck 110 Folder, and then I recommend making your own leather sheathe with the Leatherworking merit badge or something, because it looks cooler.

  5. Backwoods&Swamps // January 30, 2012 at 1:24 am // Reply

    i would have to say that both styles of blade have their place in the woods. However as a hunting knife I would stick to the fixed blade, because as stated by someone else already. They have less places for sand and dirt to hide and are just plain easier to clean up after skinning and dressing you game. As well as why ruin a good folder batoning wood to cook some of that game while you’re out on that camp and hunt. I say get a fixed blade and carry a locking folder as a back up. Really who doesn’t carry a back up into the woods with them? Be prepared!

  6. Knife Xpert 157 (aka Chad 101) // October 16, 2011 at 10:53 am // Reply

    I use the Gerber LMF II fixed blade. It has a half fine half serrated edge,a glass breaker/skull crusher on the end and a pull thru sharpener built it to the sheath. here in the Idaho mountains you don’t rely on a folding knife when you go hunting! It is my hunting,jogging,survival,camping and scouting knife! Forever ready with Gerber!

  7. In my experience, a bigger fixed blade, along the lines of cold steel trailmaster or Ontario rtak II, would almost always be better in a cold winter snowy environment, especially for firemaking and splitting wood, batoning, chopping, etc. Etc.

    Granted, a smaller blade does have ts place, tinder and kindeling, but I prefer larger blades.

  8. When I was in Scouts in the early 1960’s, we were allowed to have either type. Many boys had the scout version of a Swiss knife, with fork and spoon. But almost everyone had a fixed blade, some bought in Scout shops. I had both.

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