For the untrained eye, all knives look very similar, but the best outdoor knives are designed to help you in a multitude of situations. The best outdoor knives serve as a survival and a multipurpose tool, all in the same package.

There are many types of outdoor knives, from dedicated fishing and hunting models to almost anything you can imagine. Obviously, when choosing from the best outdoor knives, you must know exactly what you’ll be using it for. Selecting the proper tool for the job is important, but when it comes to outdoor survival, it’s crucial.

The best outdoor knives are basically survival knives and this is a niche in which one can find a plethora of knife models, from cheap, saw back and hollow handle “Rambo” types, which are basically junk to excellent blades. Don’t get me wrong, there are high quality “Rambo” knives on the market, like those made by Chris Reeves, but beware of those cheap “Made in China” blades from your local flea market, they aren’t any good.

So, when choosing the best outdoor knives, you should be careful and assert your needs in a realistic manner and never go for dirt-cheap models.

If you’re the outdoors type, a high quality survival knife is an essential item to carry with you at all times, because it may save your life some day. Let that thought sink in for a minute.

Reading this will definitely help you in the quest for choosing the best outdoors knife to suite your needs. When you have hundreds of knife models available, sticking to only one is no easy task, at some point it’s a matter of personal taste and preference.

Also, there is a thin line between a good survival knife and a general -camping model. For example, the ideal survival/outdoors knife should be larger and stronger than your regular camping knife, because it may be used ft hard chores like chopping wood and the like.

You should know the difference between good blade design and a bad one, what to look for in a good knife etc.

So here we go, I will explain the must-have qualities of the best outdoors knives in just a few, easy to comprehend steps.

  1. Size does matter, like in bigger is better. The best outdoor knives should be large enough to perform well in any task imaginable, but you must have experience in using it for various jobs i.e. digging, building a shelter, batonning, chopping-wood working and also for tasks which require more detail. You must choose the biggest knife you feel comfortable carrying around with you and also pay attention to your local laws. You should not mistake an outdoors knife for a bushcraft blade, the latter ones tend to be smaller, because they’re designed to be used for fine tasks.

  2. Strength is another essential feature in an outdoor knife. The best survival knife features a full tang blade. A full tang means that the blade of the knife extends the length and the width of the handle, and the knife is made from one piece of steel. This is what gives it strength and resistance to wear and tear. You should stay away from partial tang models, they are prone to failure when pushed hard and that’s the last thing you need when confronted to a real life-survival situation. You should trust your knife with your life, that’s the best approach when choosing a good outdoor knife.

  3. The best blade profile in the best outdoor knives is a flat grind blade design. A picture is worth 1000 words, so I will show you how a grind blade looks like:

A hollow grind blade is easier to sharpen and it also gives you the option of a razor sharp knife, but it’s not that strong as the flat grind, especially when it comes to hard tasks like wood work. Basically, any type of blade design would do the job, but for the best results when it comes to a survival situation, one should go for the flat grind.

Now, let’s talk about the optimum size of the best outdoor knives:

  1. The large survival knife is the ideal solution, if you can handle it and also if the conditions are right to carry it. The blade size should be 9 inches long or more, making it ideal for hard tasks like batonning and chopping. To gave you a few examples of excellent, large outdoor models, we have the Becker BK7/BK9, the Ontario Rangers,the Cold Steel Trailmaster/Recon Scout, the Ka-Bar Large Heavy Bowie, those are in the “best bang for the buck” category and also easy to find and readily available knives.

  1. The mid-size outdoor knife is designed for those of you who don’t enjoy carrying Crocodile Dundee’s blade, for a multitude of reasons, varying from legal issues to personal preference. The mid size blade is between 4 and 6 inches long and it’s capable of doing most of the jobs required from an outdoor knife. There are tens of models available on the market, let me give you a few examples, the best in their price range : the Bark River Knives, ESEE and Falkniven are in the upper bracket, for the knife-aficionados out there. The budget friendly ones are Cold Steel SRK/Master Hunter, the Buck Pathfinder/Special, the Becker BK2, the Frost Mora/All-around.

  1. Neck Class and Folding Knives are the smallest of the bunch. Obviously, the neck knife is a highly portable- fixed blade to carry around your neck. A fixed blade, unlike the folder, it’s more durable, usually bigger and much stronger.

These two types are the small class of the best outdoor knives, with blades usually no more than 4 inches long and due to their portability, the most probable items you will carry in all situations. They are not large enough to do the hard jobs required from an outdoor knife, but they are definitely better than nothing. Some of the best Neck knives are the Becker Necker, the ESEE Izula and the BarkRiver. As for folders, I would go for Spyderco Delica/Endura, Victorinox Rucksack/Trekker/Farmer/Pioneer, there are good folders from Cold Steel, Ka-Bar and Kershaw also; you must keep in mind that folders are weaker than fixed blades so you should go for a high-quality one, which may cost you.

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