No outdoor adventurer worth their salt will venture out without a decent backpacking knife. After all, a knife is a must-have accessory, coming to the rescue in multiple situations. Today’s best backpacking knife contenders are impressive because they deliver power and convenience.
But what’s the best backpacking knife you can get? Well, this is where this article comes in. Here, we’ll show you the cream of the crop, the most functional, durable, and practical knives. Each one has something unique to offer serious adventurers, you’ll just have to select your favorite.
The Quick Answer
We might as well tell you straight away which knife impressed us most. Having tried and tested all the knives, the Grand Way Multifunction Swiss Army Knife comes out on top thanks to its sophisticated style, excellent functionality, choice of components, and overall outdoor-type appeal.
Our Backpacking Knife Comparison
As a quick overview, we outline basic information about each top runner in the race for the best backpacking knife title in the chart below.
Backpacking Knife Reviews
Now for some more detail. In this next section, we review each of our favorites, listing features, functionality, and more besides, while also outlining the pros and cons. Finally, we’ll tell you, just what kind of an adventurer each knife is best for.
1. Grand Way Multifunction Swiss Army Knife (Best Ultralight)
This stylish knife will fit into just about any pocket. Still, it features all the components you’d expect to find in a best Swiss army knife for backpacking, including a cutting blade, scissors, file, saw, can opener, bottle opener, and Philips screwdriver. You’ll be well equipped with perhaps the best ultralight backpacking knife. Small enough to fit into your hand, this knife is made from 440C stainless steel, so durability won’t be an issue.
- Ultralight and ultra-compact
- 7 must-have components
- Made from stainless steel
Components not fitted as firmly as expected
Who Is It Best For?
The Grand Way Multifunction Swiss Army Knife delivers everything a good knife should despite its low weight and small size. This is the best backpacking knife for anyone looking for a lightweight, small knife that still features all the most important backpacking knife components.
2. Gerber Paraframe I Knife with Serrated Edge (Best Fixed Blade)
Made from titanium-coated stainless steel, this might be the very best fixed-blade backpacking knife. Though it only features one blade, this knife still deserves its place in our best backpacking knife selection.
For starters, the blade is ultra-strong and sharp, measuring just over 3 inches. When folded out fully, the total knife length is just over 7 inches. In addition, the blade features a serrated edge right where it meets the handle, allowing you to use this knife for sawing, too.
Conveniently, the Gerber also features a clip, so that you can attach it to your belt or trousers. While we struggled a little with the folding mechanism at first, it now is one of our favorite features. By pressing on the bar between the knives outer edges, you release the blade to fold it in. This is a little awkward at first, but you’ll soon get the hang of it.
- Fixed blade for extra cutting/sawing powerBlade folds into the handle when released
- Small and compact
- Made from titanium-coated stainless steel
- Folding mechanism is a little stiff at the beginning
- No extra knife components
Who Is It Best For?
The Gerber Paraframe I Knife with Serrated Edge boasts a powerful blade for even the toughest cutting and sawing jobs. The only thing is, it lacks all the other convenient components many other knives feature. If you’re looking for a neat fixed blade backpacking knife, you can’t go wrong with the Gerber.
3. Morakniv 11863 Companion – Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife
If you’re looking for the best backpacking survival knife, you can’t go wrong with a Mora knife. This is a serious knife with a very impressive carbon steel blade. What’s more, the blade is so firmly anchored into the high-grip handle, that cutting wood is child’s play.
The blade measures over 4 inches, giving this knife an overall length of 8.6 inches. Conveniently, the manufacturers have included a color-matching sheath for added safety during transportation. In addition, the handle also features a belt clip.
- Sharp, long fixed blade
- High-grip ergonomic handle
- Sheath included
- Belt clip
- Made from ultra-durable and tough carbon steel
- Features only one blade
- Doesn’t fold
Who’s It Best for?
The Morakniv 11863 Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife is a serious survival knife that can handle just about any cutting job. This is the best backpacking knife for anyone going out to cut wood. The only thing is, it doesn’t fold, so size cannot be an issue.
4. Armory Replicas Mini Hunter Paracord Survival Knife (Best Survival)
This has got to be a strong contender for the best backpacking knife title, no doubt, it’s also in the running for best backpacking survival knife accolades.
Measuring a whopping 5.25 inches, the stainless-steel blade with the black anodized finish doesn’t just look impressive; it features a partially serrated sharp edged, as well as a partially serrated knife spine. The somewhat unusual handle is made of aluminum, covered in paracord for user comfort.
No doubt, this knife will do any cutting job efficiently. Designed as the ultimate survival knife, the manufacturers have added a survival kit. On purchase, you get a compass, needle, flint, match sticks, cotton string, fish hook, and fishing string. A nylon sheath is also included.
- Ultra-sharp knife
- Partially serrated blade
- Strong aluminum handle with paracord cover
- Survival kit included
- No other components
- No folding mechanism
Who’s It Best For?
The Armory Replicas Mini Hunter Paracord Survival Knife makes for the perfect companion on any camping, hunting, or fishing expedition, in fact, it may be the ultimate survival knife. This knife is suitable for anyone looking for an army-type knife for cutting, sawing, and digging. The blade will do all jobs without issue.
5. Benchmark B003WKNFHU Backpacker (Best Compact Backpacking Knife)
This is also a strong contender for the best backpacking knife title. Measuring a mere 6.2 inches, including the handle, this knife is conveniently small yet delivers plenty of cutting power.
The blade is ultra-sharp and made from 420 stainless steel, while the handle features black micarta. Overall, this knife will provide adequate cutting functionality, even though it is smaller than most fixed blade knifes. A belt clip and nylon sheath are also included.
- Compact size
- Sharp short blade
- Ergonomic shape
- Ergonomic handle
- No other components
- Doesn’t fold
Who’s It Best For?
The Benchmark B003WKNFHU Backpacker is a simple, convenient, and compact knife that makes easy work of most cutting jobs. This could be your best backing knife if you’re after simplicity and power. This knife delivers both in spades.
This is our best backpacking knife list, with each knife delivering unique benefits. But how do you choose the best one for you? Read our buying guide to find out.
Backpacking Knives Buying Guide
Before you choose, you’ll have to ask yourself several questions:
Do I Need a Knife or a Multi-Component Tool?
To begin with, you’ll have to decide whether you simply want an EDC knife or would prefer a backpacking knife featuring different components like a Swiss army knife.
What Jobs Will I Need the Knife For?
The blade will be at the center of your decision-making process. Therefore, you should identify the jobs your knife will have to handle. Once you’ve answered that question, you can choose.
What Size Do I Want?
For backpackers, the size of everything matters. Make sure to pick a knife that goes well with the rest of your outdoor gear, and one that can be stowed away safely.
What Style Do I Like?
Some people prefer army type knives, while others seek elegance. Even with a knife it’s important that you like the design.
What Knife Can I Handle?
The size of your hand matters! Choose a knife that will neatly fit into your hand.
Backpacking Knife FAQs
To finish, we provide you with a few FAQs:
Are Swiss Army Knives a Better Choice for Backpackers?
The answer to this question depends on what kind of adventures you go on. Certainly, for backpackers, it’s convenient to have all the different components hidden in a small knife handle. However, you may not need them all and require a bigger knife instead.
Can I Sharpen the Blade?
Most knives are suitable for sharpening, though you may need the help of a professional. Even serrated edges can be sharpened, it just takes more time and patience. If the blade is made from a durable, rust-free material, sharpening is possible.
How Do I Transport My Knife Safely?
Transporting folding knives is easy, but it’s a little trickier to stow away your fixed-blade knife. Use the sheath provided by the manufacturer and carry it on your belt clip. When packing it away in your backpack, you could wrap it – sheath-fitted on – in a piece of cloth for added safety.
The Final Word
We’ve listed and reviewed the very best, compared features and functionality, and also selected our favorite. To give you even a little more info, we created our buying guide and FAQ to help you narrow things down.
Now, you’re ready to make your choice. All the knives featured here deserve a spot on the best backpacking knife list. Then, you’re set for your great big adventure!
Want more backpacking gear? Check out our other reviews on: