There are a lot of things that people really don't need to take in to the outdoors with them, and while some people will want to include a knife in this category, there are many uses for a good knife that make it, in my opinion, an essential part of any backpack. Of course there are many kinds of knives, and backpacking knives are s specific breed of knife.
Features of Backpacking KnivesAre you wondering what separates backpacking knives from other knives? Here are the essentials.
- Weight - First and foremost, backpacking knives are lightweight. There are all kinds of knives, big and small, but as with most other backpacking equipment, there is little point in taking a big heavy knife when you can make do with a small, lightweight knife.
- Sharp - With any knife really, you want to make sure that it is sharp. This is less about selecting the right knife and more about maintaining your knife properly. A dull knife, no matter how big or small it is, is not nearly as useful as a sharp knife. If your knife does not come from the manufacturer with a good, sharp edge, then you should sharpen it right away.
Examples of Backpacking KnivesHere are a few examples of good backpacking knives.
- Gerber E-Z Out Skeleton Knife - Gerber is a very well known knife manufacturer that make a lot of great knives, big and small. The E-Z Out is a great backpacking knife because of its small size and lightweight design. It's a folding knife, which some people prefer, and is made with 400 stainless steel. The weight is a very respectable 2.5 ounces, or 70 grams, so it's definitely not a knife that is going to slow you down. The blade is 3.5 inches long.
- Dajo Survivor Knife - It can be difficult to find a good, lightweight option when looking for a fixed blade backpacking knife, but the Dajo Survivor Knife does a good job of fitting that role. The blade is made with 57-HRC stainless steel, and is 3.6 inches long. The handle also has a special notch on the back, which doubles as a strike point for a fire starter. It weighs 6 ounces, which is 170 grams, so it's not the lightest backpacking knife, but for a fixed blade knife it's definitely not very heavy.
- Columbia River Peck in the Dark - If you want lightweight above everything else, the Columbia River Peck in the Dark is a great choice. It weighs a very slim .9 ounces, which is just 25 grams. The length is only 1.88 inches, however, so it is not the biggest knife either. If you want lightweight, however, it does not get much lighter than this.
- Benchmade 556 Mini-Griptilian Serrated Locking Knife - Benchmade is another very well known brand in the knife world. This particular benchmade knife features a coated, 154 CM stainless steel blade that is 2.9 inches in length. It's a folding knife, and weighs a very slim 2.5 ounces, or 70 grams. The high quality steel prices this knife a little higher than the competition, but if you want quality this is a good choice.
Alternatives to Backpacking KnivesA backpacking knife is great, but there are a few alternatives that you might consider if you're not entirely sold on the idea of a backpacking knife.
One innovative alternative that comes from the lightweight backpacking community is a a razor blade. If you want to be able to cut stuff, but you don't want to carry any extra weight, a razor blade is a great way to accomplish just that.
Another good alternative to backpacking knives is a multi-tool. The best multi-tools often feature a knife as well as many other tools and attachments that backpackers will find useful.