Whether you’re hunting, fishing, scouting, or just camping, having a good knife at your disposal can sometimes mean the difference between life and death. Or the difference between having sliced cheese back at camp or having to break it off the block (which is why its a staple on most bug out bag checklists).
Whichever camp you fall into, selecting the right hunting knife can be crucial to your success in the field. If you’re wanting a stainless-steel blade for use around the ocean, or you’re wanting a knife that will work for everyday use along with elk hunting, there’s a knife for you!
We’ve also included a buyer’s guide at the bottom of the article, with some more options to consider to help you find the perfect knife. It walks through a few things that are mentioned with the knives below, but goes into a lot more detail, so make sure to check it out!
Now, with that in mind, we’ve sorted through hundreds of knives out there to bring you some of the best; there’s a lot of variety in the knives below, but one thing is consistent, and that’s the quality of these knives.
1. Benchmade Hidden Canyon Hunter
For over 30 years, Benchmade has made quality knives, and the Hidden Canyon Hunter is no exception. With a full tang, stainless-steel bale and simple design, ti’s sure to perform in the field.
With its large-radius drop-point blade, it will excel at skinning and meat removal. Combined with Benchmade’s lifetime warranty, this is an excellent knife.
2. Havalon Piranta Z Folding Blade
With 2 ¾” replaceable razor-sharp blades, this is a great go-to skinner. Whenever it starts getting dull, simply replace the blade and get back to work! Features an open back design for easy cleaning, thumb studs and a liner lock. A good knife to have cutting gloves to use with; it’s that sharp!
3. Buck Knives Omni Hunter
For many years, Buck Knives has been at the top of the list of quality knife manufactures, making their knives in the USA. If you like your hunting knife with a gut hook, this is a great knife for you.
At 3 ¼”, this knife is perfect for skinning game animals, the steel blade has excellent strength and edge retention. With a curved, ergonomic handle with grip ridges, this knife is perfect to use in any condition. It also has a lanyard hole for easy securement.
4. Columbia River Knife and Tool Hunt’n Fisch
Designed by Larry Fisch, this knife is ready for your hunt. With spine ridges on the blade for blade control, 3” blade, and comfortable handle, this knife will help ensure you’re getting the most meat off your game.
It also features a lanyard hole in the handle. With a more stylish finish and handle than some other knives, it also comes with a great leather sheath that looks great with the knife. Perfect for someone who wants a great knife that also has some style.
5. Ka-Bar Becker Companion
Made as an all-around hunting and camping knife, the Ka-Bar Becker Companion is a tough knife that won’t disappoint. With a full tang blade, and an overall length of 10.5”, this is a robust knife that you can count on handling any camping and hunting tasks that you throw at it.
If you need a knife to make kindling with, or to just cut cheese around the camp, it’ll handle it with ease. It comes with a hard plastic sheath that’s MOLLE compatible.
6. Buck Knives Open Season
Another great knife from Buck, made in the USA. While sold as a small game knife, this knife with a 4 ¼” drop point blade would do just fine with big game as well.
Featuring a full tang stainless steel blade for extra corrosion resistance, with a thick tip for sturdiness and a drop point for puncture protection while skinning. The Open Season is a great option for any hunter, especially those who are looking for that perfect mid-size knife. Comes with a nylon sheath.
7. SOG HuntsPoint
As leader in the manufacturing of tactical knives and accessories for years, SOG knows how to make a great knife. The HuntsPoint skinning knife is no exception, and would make a great addition for any hunter.
With a beautiful rosewood handle with a lanyard hole, a grip point designed into the blade, it’s going to be an easy to use knife that gets the job done. Featuring a 3.6” stainless steel blade matched with a leather sheath, this knife is a great asset.
8. Gerber Myth
Gerber is one of the few companies that has managed to walk the line of quality and cost very well. While not the top-of-the-line gear, it has good quality for the low price. And for those looking for a high quality, low cost hunting knife, look no further.
The Gerber Myth has a full tang, high-carbon stainless steel blade for excellent corrosion resistance. It also has a softer rubberized handle for excellent grip in any conditions. Comes in a drop point or gut hook style. Comes with a hard plastic sheath that has a built in sharpener.
9. Benchmade Steep Country
With a well-balanced, full tang stainless steel blade, the Benchmade Steep Country knife is a great choice for any hunter. Featuring a drop point and a molded kydex sheath with a snap closure, it’s sure to be ready for any situation. With Benchmade’s unyielding quality and lifetime warranty, you can be confident purchasing this knife.
10. Knives of Alaska Suregrip Bush Camp
As a dedicated hunting knife manufacturing company, Knives of Alaska creates some of the finest hunting knives available. The Suregrip Bush Camp knife is a strong candidate for any hunter looking to purchase a knife.
With an overall length at 10 ½”, this is a large, heavy duty knife that you can count on. With a full tang, stainless steel blade and a rubberized handle, you can count on this knife to get the job done. Paired with a high-quality leather sheath.
Choosing the Best Knife for You
When purchasing a hunting knife, it’s important to look at the different factors, and there’s a lot to consider.
First, what will the knife be used for? Is it going to be your all-around camping/hiking/hunting knife, or will it solely be used for skinning game? Will it be your EDC knife? If it’s for camping as well, try to find a knife that is going to hold up well to a variety of chores. If you want a dedicated hunting knife, find one that is specifically made for the purpose you have in mind.
Will you be using it in saltwater areas? If so, you may want a stainless-steel blade instead of just carbon steel. Then there are different types of steel, and the Rockwell hardness scale. We won’t get into the types of steel, as there are many different types, and is an extensive subject. The Rockwell harness scale measures the hardness of metal.
A lower number is good for an ax or something along those lines, since there is a lot of impact on the blade. If the blade is too hard, it will become brittle and can shatter easily. So for a camp knife, look for a RHC number that’s medium. For a hunting knife, it’s recommended to go higher, but not too high.
For a quality knife, find one with a full tang blade. A full tang blade runs the length of the knife, even through the handle. This prevents the handle from breaking off the knife, and gives the knife added strength. Also, consider the sheath that comes with the knife, as this is one of the main ways that you will interact with your knife. Leather sheaths are a premium sheath and typically are high quality and hold up well, but they have their drawbacks as well. They don’t weather as well as plastic, and may wear out sooner.
Hard plastic is very durable, holds up against the elements well, but typically doesn’t have a snap closure to keep the knife from coming out. So over time, the knife may start to come free from the sheath more easily. A nylon sheath would be one of the worst sheath options, as they are neither durable or aesthetically pleasing.
One option for replacing a cheaper knife sheath is to have a custom one made, but this can also be costly. A low quality sheath will be frustrating to deal with, and can be unsafe. Keeping these factors in mind will help ensure that you buy a quality knife that’s suited to the right purpose the first time!
In summary, look for a knife with high quality materials, a hardness rating appropriate for the job at hand, a full tang blade, that comes with a great sheath.