For people who are fond of the outdoors, whether it is camping, hunting, fishing or similar activities, the best hunting knife is an essential tool to bring along on your trip.
A good quality knife will also serve as your all-around tool when you need to prepare your food, chop some firewood, and basically just anything you to expect during hunting and spending time in the woods.
So, be sure to buy the right type of knife that meets your standards, which must be equipped with outstanding features typical in the best cutting tool.
Check out this guide on how to buy a good hunting knife including some recommended products to help you make an informed decision.
Top 5 Best Rated Hunting Knives
These hunting knife reviews offer insights on the different features, benefits, and limitations of each product. Read along and choose the best hunting knife based on your specific preferences and needs.
#1. Ontario 6504 OKC3S Marine Bayonet (Brown)
One of the best hunting knives in the market, the Ontario Marine Bayonet should be an item that offers the best value for your money. Among the great features of this product are the following:
- Zinc Phosphate for the blade finish ensuring optimum durability
- 1095 carbon steel blade
- Length of blade is at 8 inches and with a thickness of 0.2 inches (perfect for hunting purposes)
- Brown-colored handle
- Includes a tan sheath made of Hytrel, also MOLLE compatible
- Made in the U.S.A.
The Ontario Knife Company has built its solid reputation for years as the premier supplier of cutlery worldwide. In terms of exceptional materials, design and craftsmanship, the brand stand by its promise to deliver total satisfaction to customers. This knife, for instance, is renowned for its durability, sturdiness and outstanding performance, which makes it a primary choice of the U.S Marine Corps.
In fact, the blade is made of industry-standard carbon steel material with the right thickness. The Dynaflex handle fits perfectly on your hand for enhanced comfort, thanks to its remarkable ergonomics.
Going back to the blade, it has a partially serrated design and comes with 1.75 mission serration for maximum sharpness. The bayonet is also kept secure, all because of the stainless spring friction inside. The honing rod is coated with ceramic material, and it is found on the back portion of the scabbard. Lastly, its nylon sheath is glass-filled for that unbeatable durability.
After looking at the pros and cons, you will realize that the benefits still outweigh the limitations. It is only a matter of determining if the blade length, thickness and overall features of this knife suit your specific needs.
#2. Spyderco Sage Carbon Fiber Plain Edge Knife
Made with the outdoorsman in mind, this good hunting knife by Spyderco may be worth considering when you are in the market for a cutting tool to bring on your camping or hunting trip. Below are some of the specs of this product:
- Folding knife
- Blade is made of CPF-S30V steel
- Carbon fiber (twill-woven) material for the handle
- Great ergonomics for ease of handling
- LinerLock folding with a pocket clip of silhouette wire
- When closed, knife measures 4- 3/16 inches in length
- Lightweight, yet solid (3.2 ounces in weight)
Spyderco is known for its innovative design in knives, which allows users to open folding knives with just one hand. In particular, this knife features serrations on its folder, and you can simply secure this tool in your pocket with a clip that comes with it. This is what sets this Spyderco knife from its competitors in the market since its ergonomic design and functionality both add to the outstanding user experience you can expect from this product.
The sharpness of the blade is maintained using the company’s very own CATRA machine, which helps determine edge retention. Rust development and amount of force required to close and open the knife is also assessed carefully during the manufacturing of this product. So, once you find these knives in stores, you can be sure that the overall quality has passed strict standards from the design process to manufacturing and the moment it reaches your doorstep.
For a reliable pocket knife that will last for years, this product is a great option. Its ultra-sharp blade will never disappoint you, and it fits tightly to ensure you of a precise and solid cut.
#3. Buck Knives 0119 Special Fixed Blade Knife with Leather Sheath
Making its way in these hunting knife reviews, Buck has proven itself yet again of its remarkable quality that makes it one of the leading brands in the cutlery industry. This fixed blade hunting knife has these outstanding features:
- Length of knife is 10-1/2 inches
- Weighs 7.5 ounces
- Comes with a sheath made of genuine leather
- Handle material is Cocobola Dymondwood, equipped with solid brass pommel
- Clip blade made of 6-inc 420 HC steel
- Lifetime warranty
- Made in the U.S.A
Buck stands by its name when it designed and created this top-selling hunting knife that is perfect for a number of purposes. Known as a utilitarian and solid knife, you can expect this product to last for several decades. Although it may seem a bit too long or big for some, its overall design is simply what a classic hunting knife exudes. The leather sheath is also thick and durable, and it keeps your knife safe and secure from harsh external elements.
After looking into both positive and negative aspects of this product, you can still say that it gives a bang for the buck. With a solid and sturdy quality that you can vouch on for years, this hunting knife is a practical investment worth making.
#4. Ontario Black Bird SK-5 Knife w/ Sheath
Another hunting knife by Ontario makes it to this list of highly recommended cutting knives for your outdoors expedition. It is made of 154 CM high-quality steel, which is renowned for its top-of-the-line toughness, sharpness, and ability to resist corrosion. Although it may appear simple and basic for a hunting knife, this product will not disappoint because of its functionality and ease of use. Key features of the knife include the following:
- Plain edge blade measuring 5 inches
- Total length of the knife is 10 inches (open) or 4.06 inches (closed)
- Blade made of 154 CM steel
- Made in the U.S.A
- Comfortable and firm grip
The SK-5 Blackbird by Ontario was the brainchild of the designer Paul Sheiter. His main purpose when he came up with the design was to keep it simple, yet functional and solid at the same time. Hence, this product came to be, which is exactly what the designer had in mind. With a 0.13-inch thick blade that comes with a full-taper grind, this knife does well in various outdoor tasks that require a dependable cutting tool.
Moreover, the knife tang keeps the handle stable and secure, as it is held with stainless steel and note-worthy Allen screws. With a MOLLE compatible sheath equipped with a belt loop that comes with this product, you are ready to go on your trip with this excellent hunting knife.
If you are more interested in a highly functional, solid and large knife for your trip to the outdoors, this product is highly recommended. It does the job as it should, the sheath is durable, and the blade is beyond spectacular.
#5. Spyderco ParaMilitary2 G-10 Plain Edge Knife
Spyderco does it again when it comes to outstanding quality cutlery for the outdoors. The Para Military knife stands by its name, as it is built for tough conditions. As compared to the original Military, this product is two-thirds the size, and it is made of CPM-S30V hard steel for the blade.
What’s more, there is a 14-mm round hole that is suitable for people with larger hands, or those who prefer to use the knife with gloves on. Other features of this product include:
- Stainless steel liners for the handle
- Flat-ground blade made of S30V steel
- Blade locks come with a black shade, which is DLC-coated
- Ergonomic design for the handle
- Easy to carry and highly accessible
This great quality knife by Spyderco comes with an impressive and compact package that makes it easy to bring for your trip. The blade is thick and sharp, made of S30V hard steel and indexed round hole at 14 millimeters for people with larger hands. You will have no problem holding or having a firm grip on the handle because of the ergonomic curves it comes with.
Thus, you can expect optimum control while holding the knife, which ensures your precision and accuracy when you cut items with this tool. For your convenience, the knife has a pocket clip made of steel. So, you can carry the knife with you in a top-down manner for quick accessibility.With superior quality of the blade, compact design, steady grip, and functionality of the knife, this tool is a must-have for your trip to the outdoors.
How to Choose the Best Hunting Knife
As you go about searching for the best hunting knife to buy for your personal needs, you may find yourself overwhelmed with a number of options available in stores. In fact, there are various models of this type of knife, and it can get somewhat confusing to determine the one you should buy. If you are at this point of not knowing the right hunting knife to buy, then this practical guide should offer you useful and reliable tips to find out which item to purchase for your specific concerns.
Getting Down to the Basics
Naturally, you should first decide on a budget when it comes to shopping for a knife. For a basic cutlery used for outdoor purposes, you can get one for a cheap price of about $50 to $65. However, if you are more keen on buying something with top-notch quality, then you may be better off with pricier knives with a price range of $100 to even $1000 in some cases.
Still, there is no need to go beyond your budget if what you want is a quality knife. The most important thing is you know key features to consider, which should be more than enough when you want total satisfaction with your purchase.
A basic hunting knife set is useful for its standard purpose, which is to skin the animal or dress the game. With this in mind, you need a durable knife that can withstand abuse.
What’s more, a big knife does not necessarily mean it is always the best option. For instance, if you are supposed to dress a small game such as a rabbit, then it can be tough using a large knife for this animal. To stay on the safe side, you should be good with a blade length of about 4 inches. This is, of course, unless you are hunting much bigger animals that require larger cutting tools.
Now that you know these practical things to start with before you go shopping for a hunting knife, you are all set in going through various features to take into account to get the best value for every dollar you pay.
Types to Choose From
A hunting knife comes with two different types. You can find either a folding or fixed blade knife, and your choice depends on the features you need. Here are some important details about each type.
1. Folding Knife
In terms of versatility, a folding knife is a better choice simply because of the fact that it is more lightweight and much easier to bring along (just secure it in your jeans pocket). However, you have to realize some aspects to keep in mind if this is the type of knife you wish to buy.
A cheaper brand or model is NOT the best way to go since you are basically just throwing away your money since the product will never last a long time. Consider the company behind the product, and it must be one that is known for its range of cutlery spanning decades of exceptional quality.
In addition, the blade must be thick enough to ensure durability, and the handle must be easy to grip. It is also important that the lock-back is strong to keep the blade secure when the knife is closed. Lastly, choose a folding knife with a partially serrated blade, since you can count on this tool for precision cutting through an animal’s tendons and cartilage.
2. Fixed Blade
Most hunters go for fixed blade knives because of the stronger and more reliable quality of blades. This knife also comes with a more solid blade, which is perfect for tough and heavy duty tasks that a folder may not accomplish. Just be sure to buy a knife with a lightweight and durable blade that is corrosion-resistant and easy to sharpen. This way, you will find no problem in using the knife for several purposes while keeping it in excellent condition all the time.
Blade Material and Quality
There are different materials used on hunting knives, and this aspect makes a huge difference to your overall satisfaction and level of comfort in using the tool. Regardless of the material, though, it is a wise choice to opt for a full tang design for the blade since this is considered as more solid.
With a full tang, this means the blade and the handle are constructed from a continuous and single piece of steel. When used correctly, you can expect a knife with this blade design to last for years since it is relatively much stronger than partial tang ones.
As for the blade material, you can come across blades made of either stainless or carbon steel. If you are looking for something more expensive, however, carbon stainless steel is also available – and this should provide more benefits you can expect from a hunting knife.
Knives made of carbon steel are easier to sharpen, rugged, and more inexpensive. While this material is susceptible to rust, you can prevent this issue through proper maintenance such as by putting some wax with silicon component over the blade. As you can see, carbon steel knives are high maintenance tools, but the fact that you can sharpen them easily (plus they are cheaper) should balance the scales out.
Stainless steel, as the name suggests, is corrosion-resistant. Sure, sharpening this type of blade may not be that easy, and you may have some trouble with the fact that it does not hold an edge too long. However, you will have no problem with the maintenance because oiling the blade is no longer necessary.
For comfortable handling and steady grip on the knife, choose a handle that helps you meet all these goals. You need to look for a handle that can keep the grip nice and firm even when your hand is wet, and be sure the material holds up well even when exposed to humid or harsh conditions.
Leather material for the handle may look elegant and dressy, but it is most likely to deteriorate easily. Wooden and bone handles are not great options, as well, since these can get slippery once wet.
So, you are better off with nylon, polymer or other similar synthetic materials for the handle. Just make it a point to have a feel of the handle first before you decide to purchase a knife. You should experience comfort while holding it, and the handle should feel heavy, solid and strong.
Years back, you can only find a regular blade design for a hunting knife. However, things have changed, and there are now different styles to choose from. For small punctures, clip-point blade is suitable to use because of its fine point with a concave design for the back, which comes in handy for cutting around the animal’s anus for removing the rectum.
Although a drop-point blade is also useful for making finer punctures, the convex back prevents it from going too deep from the top to the bottom. This blade design is perfect for skinning, and you can prevent puncturing the hide.
Othe blade designs available include the spey, sheepsfoot and pen. For skinning purposes, the spey blade is excellent to use. You cannot count on this, though, when your intention is to field dress a game. Much finer than other blades, the pen blade is outstanding when you need to gut smaller games because of its pen-pointed blade. As for the sheepsfoot, you can use this for cutting various items placed on a flat surface. The only problem is, you cannot clean a game efficiently with this tool because of a rounded point.
These are what you need to keep in mind when it comes to choosing a great quality knife for hunting purposes. Although there are expensive and cheaper ones available, the choice still depends on your budget and the features you need. Just think about the quality instead of compromising this aspect since the last thing you want is to waste your money on a tool that does not meet your expectations.