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Best Backpacking Knife of 2024

Maya Rivera

Written by Maya Rivera

From Utah canyons to Thailand cliffs, Maya is a rock climbing aficionado who enjoys a bit of camping and hiking in the off-season.

This post was last updated on April 22, 2024.

Best Backpacking Knife of 2024

Welcome, adventurists! When you're out in the great outdoors, having the right gear is crucial. Especially when it comes to a tool as indispensable as your backpacking knife. Whether you're prepping a camp meal, recovering from a misstep or just whittling by the fire, a sturdy, reliable blade is essential.

That's why, after several camping trips and countless rope lengths, we've concluded that the Benchmade 15031-2 North Fork is a must-have in your kit. With its outstanding blade material, durability and comfort, it’s an investment that’s more than worth it. And trust us, it lives up to the Benchmade name.

Of course, we understand that everyone's needs and budgets differ. So, we’ve got some rock-solid runners up and the top picks for the budget-conscious, the weight watchers, and the climbers among us. Along the way, we’ll also highlight related reads for your convenience, like our guides on the Best Backpacking Hammocks, the Best Backpacking Backpacks for Women, and the Best Ultralight Backpacks.

Our Top Recommendations

Our Top Pick

8.0 /10
Benchmade 15031-2 North Fork Backpacking Knife
Benchmade 15031-2 North Fork
Blade Quality
8
Ergonomics
8
Locking System
9
Value
7

The Benchmade 15031-2 North Fork takes the top spot because users rave about its razor-sharp blade that stays keen during heavy use, coupled with a comfy grip handle that prevents slipping even in rainy conditions.

Runner Up #1

8.8 /10
Benchmade 535 Bugout Backpacking Knife
Benchmade 535 Bugout
Blade Quality
8
Ergonomics
9
Locking System
10
Value
8

The Benchmade 535 Bugout nabs our runner-up spot thanks to its exceptionally sharp blade and impressively lightweight design, which real users love for its portability and reliable performance on the trail.

Runner Up #2

7.3 /10
Gerber Ultimate Survival Fixed Blade Backpacking Knife
Gerber Ultimate Survival Fixed Blade
Blade Quality
8
Ergonomics
8
Locking System
6
Value
7

The Gerber Ultimate Survival Fixed Blade is our top pick runner up because users rave about its exceptionally sharp serrated edge, sturdy design, and bonus firestarter feature - a tool pack that adds a true edge in any survival situation.

What you should look for

(and what we test for)

Size

Opt for a knife that's not too bulky or heavy, making it manageable to carry during hiking, climbing, or camping without sacrificing its functionality.

Safety

Choose a design that prioritizes safety features such as a trustworthy lock mechanism to prevent accidental closure when in use and an easily accessible sheath or cover for safe storage.

Durability

Ensure the knife you select has a robust and durable design made from quality materials that can withstand the harsh, outdoor conditions you might encounter during your backpacking trips.

Versatility

Look for multifunction features, such as built-in fire starters or bottle openers, in order to maximize utility while minimizing the number of tools you have to carry.

8.0 /10

Benchmade 15031-2 North Fork

$198.00
The Best Backpacking Knife

Based on our research and testing, we think the Benchmade 15031-2 North Fork is the best Backpacking Knife on the market right now, for anyone looking to play hard outside.

Benchmade 15031-2 North Fork Backpacking Knife
Blade Quality
8
Ergonomics
8
Locking System
9
Value
7

Reasons to Buy

  • The blade stays sharp for a long time
  • The Dymondwood handle makes it comfortable for prolonged use
  • The folding mechanism makes it secure and easy to carry
  • Benchmade's reputation for quality products

Reasons to Avoid

  • The price point may be high for some
  • Lack of a pocket clip can be inconvenient for some hikers
  • May be considered heavy by ultralight backpackers

The Benchmade 15031-2 North Fork is an excellent addition to the backpacking knife market. This knife holds its own with its sturdy yet compact design that is perfect for everyone, from the newbie camper to the seasoned wilderness explorer.

The North Fork brings a lot to the table, but let's start with its most standout feature: the blade. It's made from high-quality stainless steel, ensuring it has impeccable sharpness and durability. Even after tons of use, buyers have remarked that the sharpness holds up, making it reliable for every adventure.

Customers love the depth and width of the blade which not only makes it great for slicing, but it also has the strength for some tougher tasks, like chopping up small pieces of wood for kindling.

The wooden handle of the North Fork is not just a pleasing aesthetic touch to the knife, it also brings practicality into the mix. The handle gives a firm yet comfortable grip. Users love how it feels in their hands; sturdy enough for gutting fish or cutting twine but not bulky or uncomfortable.

Another feature that buyers have praised is the Axis Lock mechanism. This guarantees that the blade stays securely in place when in use, and is easy and safe to fold away when you're done. It's a fantastic addition that contributes to the overall safety of the knife.

It doesn't stop there. Reviewers have lauded the versatility of the North Fork. Its combination of build and design make it suitable for various tasks, not just restricted to backpacking. It's equally useful while fishing, hunting, or even just general household duties.

Some negatives have also been highlighted by purchasers. One concern has been the knife's price. It is considered a bit steep compared to other models in the same bracket. And though most praise the wooden handle, a few users have reported that it can become slippery when it's wet.

Additionally, while the strength of the blade is generally praised, a few buyers have reported that it can be a bit difficult to sharpen. And, as nice as the wooden handle is to hold, some users have nervously remarked that it might not be as durable as a synthetic or metal handle over time.

Overall, the Benchmade 15031-2 North Fork is generally met with high praise by its users. With a few minor setbacks, such as price and potential difficulties with sharpening, it's still unanimously acknowledged as a reliable partner for outdoor trips. Its superior blade quality, comfortable grip, and safe lock-in mechanism make it a fan favorite among both occasional backpackers and wilderness enthusiasts.

8.8 /10

Benchmade 535 Bugout

$180.00
Runner Up

Based on our research and testing, we think the Benchmade 535 Bugout is a great choice if you're looking for a backpacking knife to go play hard outside with, if our top pick isn't quite what you're looking for.

Benchmade 535 Bugout Backpacking Knife
Blade Quality
8
Ergonomics
9
Locking System
10
Value
8

Reasons to Buy

  • Ultra lightweight and portable design
  • Highly durable material
  • Comfortable to grip
  • One-handed opening mechanism

Reasons to Avoid

  • A bit pricey for some backpackers
  • Lacks multi-tool functionalities
  • Blade may be too long for some tasks
  • Lack of minor accessories, like a sheath

The Benchmade 535 Bugout is a standout performer in the crowded space of backpacking knives. Its slim and lightweight design beguiles an impressively tough and efficient blade, making it an ideal companion for your wilderness adventures. The beautiful blend of simplicity and functionality gives this knife the edge over its competitors.

One of the first things to notice about this knife is its feather-light, almost non-existent weight. Weighing in at just 1.85 ounces, it barely registers on the scales. However, it's impressive how this does not compromise its sturdiness. You can perform a variety of tasks from basic camp chores to food preparation without any hitches.

The blade is made of premium CPM-S30V stainless steel. This super durable blade ensures sharp edge retention giving you hassle-free cutting, everytime. And if that’s not enough, it also features a Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) coating, which further improves its durability and resistance to corrosion – crucial for a tool expected to endure rough outdoor conditions.

The handle is equally impressive, made with a material known as Grivory. Users appreciate how the lightweight glass-filled nylon handle ensures easy grip and comfortable use. The whole knife has a nice feel in the hand and seems to be thoughtfully balanced.

One point commonly noted by people who bought this product is its versatility. The Benchmade 535 Bugout really shines in a wide range of applications - whether that's slicing up food for a wilderness feast, preparing kindling for a campfire, or a host of other backpacking essentials. Users also love that it's straightforward to open and the Axis Lock mechanism keeps the blade firmly in place.

And what about the price? Well with Benchmade 535 Bugout, the saying 'you get what you pay for' springs to mind. It's not cheapest option out there, but customers agree, its performance justifies its higher price tag. They appreciate the solid construction, the impressive blade, and the general ease of use.

So if you're after a high quality, versatile and durable backpacking knife, the Benchmade 535 Bugout is one to seriously consider - it's a crafted tool that delivers above and beyond its compact size.

7.3 /10

Gerber Ultimate Survival Fixed Blade

$62.00
Runner Up

Based on our research and testing, we think the Gerber Ultimate Survival Fixed Blade is a great choice if you're looking for a backpacking knife to go play hard outside with, if our top pick isn't quite what you're looking for.

Gerber Ultimate Survival Fixed Blade Backpacking Knife
Blade Quality
8
Ergonomics
8
Locking System
6
Value
7

Reasons to Buy

  • Versatile for various camping tasks
  • Durable blade material
  • Comfortable handle even with extended use
  • Great value for quality and performance

Reasons to Avoid

  • Bulkier than other backpacking knives
  • Fixed blade may be inconvenient
  • Not the lightest in its category

The Gerber Ultimate Survival Fixed Blade is a hard-hitting, reliable knife that proves itself to be a worthy companion in the great outdoors. Crafted from high quality materials, it's designed to withstand the elements and demands of backpacking expeditions.

One of the main highlights of the knife is its sharp, long-lasting edge. Multiple buyers have praised its superior edge retention, indicating they've used it extensively during trips without needing to resharp. Its stainless steel construction not only promises durability, but also ensures resistance against rust and corrosion.

In terms of handling, the rubber grip is a standout feature for many users. It provides a sturdy but comfortable hold, reducing slip-ups and accidents, especially in wet or damp conditions. This means that whether you're filleting fish or constructing a shelter, this knife's got your back.

The inclusion of a fire starter and a diamond sharpener in the sheath has also been appreciated by customers. These additions increase the knife's efficiency and survival capabilities, providing crucial tools in emergency situations.

Although mainly positive, some reviews do raise concern over the bulkiness of the knife. It's important to be aware that, despite its excellent functionality, it might be a bit hefty for lightweight backpackers or for those dedicated to ultralight kits. This aside, its robust build seems meant for rigorous tasks, which can be a huge plus point for many.

Finally, a few buyers have mentioned slight difficulties in pulling out the knife from the sheath. However, they remarked that with a little practice, they were able to draw and replace the knife more easily. It's something to consider, but doesn't seem to detract from the overall high performance of the Gerber Ultimate Survival Fixed Blade.

6.0 /10

Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade

Best Budget Backpacking Knife

Based on our research and testing, we think the Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade is a great pick if you're looking for a backpacking knife that is more budget friendly, without sacrificing too much in quality.

Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Backpacking Knife
Blade Quality
7
Ergonomics
8
Locking System
0
Value
9

Reasons to Buy

  • Durable and sharp blade
  • Comfortable grip handle
  • Affordable pricing
  • Highly versatile
  • Excellent outdoor survival knife

Reasons to Avoid

  • May need frequent sharpening
  • Less suitable for heavy duty tasks
  • Plastic sheath may not last long

The Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade is a magnet for outdoorsy types seeking high-grade performance without breaking the bank. Boasting of Swedish steel construction, this blade holds its own and is a clear example of Scandinavian functionality at its finest.

When it comes to design, the Morakniv Companion has a visual simplicity but reveals its durability in practice. The sturdy 4.1-inch-long blade enables efficient cutting, carving, food prep, and fire-making. Its colorful, rubberized handle provides reassuring grip and stands out, making you less likely to lose it amidst your camping gear.

Many buyers rave about its impressive sharpness straight out of the box, with several noting how it remained razor-sharp after heavy-duty use. Others commend it for the ample slicing power it provides, despite its modest size.

Where this knife truly shines is in its versatility. Whether you're a beginner backpacker or a seasoned outdoorsman, the Companion is reliable for camping, hiking, or even survival situations. Its hard plastic sheath, while not the most premium-looking, is practical and includes a belt clip for easy accessibility.

Some online reviews mention potential issues with the knife's corrosion resistance when exposed to the elements for extended periods. Its steel blade may require some upkeep to prevent rusting over time, so be aware if you camp in damp or salty environments regularly. To ensure longevity, a simple wipe down and occasional oiling is recommended.

For the budget-conscious, the Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade unquestionably provides a lot of bang for your buck. Its performance, durability, and versatility make it a popular choice among the camping and backpacking community. Despite a few minor potential issues, most owners remain satisfied and vouch for its overall top-dollar value.

No prices found. Check back later!

8.0 /10

Spyderco Para 3 Lightweight

$214.00
Best Ultralight Backpacking Knife

Based on our research and testing, we think the Spyderco Para 3 Lightweight is a solid choice for those looking for a lightweight backpacking knife option to go play hard outside with.

Spyderco Para 3 Lightweight Backpacking Knife
Blade Quality
8
Ergonomics
8
Locking System
9
Value
7

Reasons to Buy

  • Ideal size for backpacking
  • Versatile usage
  • Good value for money
  • Durable material
  • Comfortable handle
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to open

Reasons to Avoid

  • Slightly pricey
  • May be too small for some tasks
  • Blade can be tough to sharpen

The Spyderco Para 3 Lightweight has quickly emerged as a favorite among the backpacking community. Its popularity lies in its versatile use, from slicing an apple to whittling some firewood before setting up camp.

The core feature of this knife is undoubtedly its weight. Weighing in at an impressively light 2.4 ounces, it's easy to add into any backpack without increasing any noticeable weight. This lighten weight makes it ideal for longer trips where every ounce counts.

In terms of design, the Spyderco Para 3 Lightweight boasts a flat-ground blade crafted from CTS-BD1N stainless steel. This steel choice retains sharpness for a good amount of time, and when it does come time to sharpen, users find it genuinely zips back to life with limited effort.

The bi-directional textured FRN handle ensures a firm and confident grip, even in the worst weather conditions. It's a feature highly praised by users. Moreover, the grip's contours and design translate into ease and comfort during prolonged use, reducing the risk of hand fatigue.

One more thing to point out is its compression lock feature, well-loved for its solid lock-up and smooth operation. This feature has been hailed for giving the knife an extra layer of safety, especially when it comes to deploying and storing the blade.

As far as convenience is concerned, the Spyderco Para 3 Lightweight is also equipped with an ambidextrous clip placement feature accommodating both left and right-handed individuals alike.

On the downside, the price point may be a bit steep for some. Another issue some users have found is that despite its impressive sharpness, the blade can chip if it hits something hard, so it might be best to avoid heavy-duty tasks.

Finally, the open construction does make it easy to clean, but it can also get filled with pocket lint and debris if carried in a pocket without any additional case or cover.

7.5 /10

Petzl Spatha

$39.95
Best Backpacking Knife for Climbing

Based on our research and testing, we think the Petzl Spatha is a solid choice if you want a backpacking knife that's really well suited to Climbing.

Petzl Spatha Backpacking Knife
Blade Quality
9
Ergonomics
8
Locking System
6
Value
7

Reasons to Buy

  • Reliable blade lock
  • Compact design
  • Versatile

Reasons to Avoid

  • Lacks a clip
  • Not the easiest to clean

The Petzl Spatha is a charming beast that marries function and lightness with ease. It's designed for climbers, but it's also a fantastic companion for any kind of outdoor adventure. This knife is compact and lightweight, yet incredibly sturdy, satisfying any backpacker by covering all the bare essentials on the trail.

The construction is top-notch, the icing on the cake being its high-quality stainless steel blade. It's not only robust but also quite sharp which is always a plus when you need to slice through items like ropes or food. The knife has a carabiner hole which is a thoughtful touch, allowing you to attach it to your gear for quick-access.

Many users online have praised the Spatha for its ease of one-handed opening, which can certainly be a boon when you're hanging off the side of a cliff or when you're multitasking at the campsite. However, some users point out that this feature can also be a drawback, as the knife tends to open quite easily in the pocket if not stored properly.

The Spatha's textured wheel around the hinge is a standout feature that gets a thumbs up by virtually all users. It provides good grip even with gloves on, a detail that outdoor enthusiasts find invaluable when temperatures start to dip. But despite this design win, few customers have mentioned that the blade may lose some of its sharpness over time faster than similar models.

One issue that a few customers noted is that the locking mechanism can be a little bit difficult to manipulate, especially in cold conditions or when wearing gloves. However, this seems to be a minor inconvenience for most, rather than a deal-breaker.

In summary, the positive remarks heavily outweigh the minor drawbacks. The Petzl Spatha has won a loyal following thanks to its simple, yet reliable design, lending credibility to its selection as one of the best products in the climbing sector.

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