The Elk Ridge Personalized is our pick for the best pocket knife due to its unique personalization feature which lets you get your name engraved on it. The design is ergonomic and it can be used for various occasions. It can also be folded when not needed.
Our step-up pick is the Morakniv Companion and it has a fixed blade so it is stable to hold and comes with a sheath. It has a length of 4.1 inches and a thickness of 0.1 inch. With an easy to handle design, it is made with 12C27 stainless steel.
The budget pick is the MTech Ballistic MT-A705 and its blade has a thickness of 3 mm with a length of 3.75 inches. It can be folded when not needed and can also act as a multi-tool for opening bottles and the like due to its design.
- A Little Background
- How we Picked
- Our Pick
- Flaws but Not Dealbrakers
- Step-up Pick
- Budget Pick
- Best Pocket Knife for Hunting
- Best Pocket Knife for EDC
- Best Pocket Knife that is also a Multi-Tool
- Best Pocket Knife with a Keychain Design
- Best Pocket Knife for Tactical Use
- Best Pocket Knife that is Foldable and Locking
- Best Pocket Knife with a Thumb Hole
- The Competition
- Other Frequently Asked Questions
- Wrapping It Up
A Little Background
Pocket knives have their place in outdoor survival. A pocket knife is a kind of tool that you can carry anywhere for emergency purposes. They are great for those times when you are in the middle of nowhere and need to cut something like a rope, a piece of meat, some thin wood or other items. They are handy pieces of equipment that are indispensable to man when it comes down to survivalist and travelling alone.
They’re very portable and can be put in your pocket - hence the name. They can either be a single one or a multi-tool. The single one is much more ideal if you only need one sharp cutter for your travel or camping needs while the multi-tool is a good choice if you prefer to travel with many tools as much as possible and want to use different kinds of cutting tools as well to make repairs and the like.
Some of their uses include wood cutting, for self-defense purposes, hunting for food and various food prep tasks or even survival requirements. They are mostly used for camping, hiking and survival purposes. These are extremely helpful if you are off the grid because it can perform many important tasks such as food preparation, shelter building and even survival. With this kind of handy and portable pocket tool, you can stay prepared with any kind of danger lurking ahead.
These knives can be classified into the following: multi-tools and single foldable knives. There is also a defining property of a knife called the tang. This refers to the depth of the blade's bottom and how much it is connected to the handle. Having a full tang is important since it makes your handling much more stable.
They can also be used for self-defense or emergency purposes. If you went out of town or are walking at night or even jogging in the wee hours of the morning, you should at least arm yourself with a small defense weapon so that you can be able to retaliate and fight back for your life in case an evildoer tries to steal your money or do you harm on the way.
Remember that they can potentially rust if they are not taken care of properly. Rusting can occur with low quality knives made with substandard material, as well as with improper storage, usage and cleaning. You should also remember that the more humid your climate is, the more likely corrosion will happen, so people near the sea should store their knives well.
You need to know the laws in your state or area regarding these knives. Most of them may be okay for survival trips, but you should check with your airport policies if you intend to travel with them.
If you can't bring one to, let's say, the Amazon jungle, you may want to fly there and then buy a cheaper item in that country or area so you can leave it behind with no problem. After all, survival knives can be used and abused wrongly if it falls into the wrong hands.
How we Picked
If you do want the best pocket knife, here are some criteria you need to consider:
Size of the knife: The size is important because it will make it much easier to carry if it has a smaller size. However, a slightly longer and larger blade size will also make it much more useful as a cutting tool for various purposes. You should know what you are using it for in order to make it appropriate for its intended use with its size or length and width.
Sharpness: Sharpness is also important because this dictates how fast you will be able to work on your item with it. Sharpness can be much more if your steel quality is of a higher grade. Some may also have self sharpening qualities. In addition, some may be easier to sharpen or even sturdy enough to withstand years without sharpening. Not having to sharpen your tool makes it less troublesome in the long run.
Steel quality: The quality of the steel, when it comes down to durability and maintenance, should be high enough so that it will not easily rust or get dull. Having a dull tool is asking for danger so it is important that its sharpness is kept for a very long time.
Nonslip grip: Ensuring a non slip grip makes it safer to use. The grip should be made of a material that provide you comfort and ergonomics that will not make you lose the grip of your tool. This will make it safer when you are handling it in any occasion.
Ease of folding or carrying: It should be easy to carry and fold so that it is truly a pocket tool to have for emergencies or for outdoor activities. Most of them are foldable in their design, anyway, so they should be easy to pack and unfold later on.
Half or full tang: Know if it is half or full tang. The tang refers to how much the blade is inserted into the handle. This is important because it dictates the stability of the tool. You should go for a full tang so that it will last for many years to come.
Included sheath: Some may have an included sheath so that you can protect it from ruining your pocket or other items. This is usually the case if it is not capable of being folded.
Weight: The weight should not be too much so that it will not be too heavy to carry as much as possible. Consider balancing the weight of the blade and its durability and you should not make it too lightweight such that it will show signs of wearing easily due to being flimsy.
For our top pick, the Elk Ridge Personalized is a unique way to have a personalized pocket knife in which the name is engraved on the handle for customization. It has a closed length of 4.75 inches and has a ballistic design for tactical usage.
Flaws but Not Dealbrakers
The only con with the Elk Ridge Personalized that is not a big deal is that the engraving may need to be darker, but nonetheless it is not a big issue.
The Morakniv Companion is our step-up pick, which has a length of 4.1 inches for the blade and 0.1 inch for the thickness. The grip is made of high friction material for ergonomics and Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel is used for added durability and sharpness.
The MTech Ballistic MT-A705 is our budget pick, which has a unique design, a tactical usage look ant has a thickness of 3 mm. It has a blade length of 3.75 inches and a closed length of 4.5 inches. It can also act as a glass breaker and be used for opening bottles.
Best Pocket Knife for Hunting
The Buck Knives 110 is well-suited for hunting, has a sheath included and comes with a beautiful finish and design for the handle. It can be used for other purposes and comes with brass bolsters. It has a walnut finish and weighs only 7 ounces.
Best Pocket Knife for EDC
The Kershaw Cryo is for everyday carry usage and is made with a full steel construction with carbonitride titanium finish. It is durable enough to withstand everyday use and has a 8Cr13MoV stainless steel blade that measures 2.75 inches long.
Best Pocket Knife that is also a Multi-Tool
The Victorinox Swiss Army is for when you need a multi-tool and a pocket knife at the same time. It is available in various colors and has a length of 91 mm or 3.58 inches. It is original and made in Switzerland and has a ton of blades and tools to choose from.
Best Pocket Knife with a Keychain Design
As a disguised tool, the Guardman Black Key looks like a regular key but is actually a tool for cutting. It can be a great gift or as a defense weapon, with a thickness of 0.5 cm and a length of 2 inches.
Best Pocket Knife for Tactical Use
For tactical purposes, the DARK SIDE Tac is a good choice due to its unique design and its durable components. It is also a good choice for hunting as well as camping and for survivalists. It has a grip that is easy to handle due to the shape.
Best Pocket Knife that is Foldable and Locking
For a foldable and a locking mechanism tool, the one that you might want to look for is the Gerber Paraframe Mini. It has a clip that allows you to attach it to your pocket or bag. The edge of the blade is fine so it is quite sharp and usable for an EDC tool.
Best Pocket Knife with a Thumb Hole
The Spyderco Delica4 is made with quality materials and has a thumb hole for easy unfolding when you need it. The drop point blade shape makes it suitable for various purposes and it has a blade length of 2.87 inches. The closed length is at 4.25 inches and the weight is just 2.5 ounces so it is not too heavy at all.
There were others that were not in this list because they rusted easily and were not that portable enough to be a pocket sized knife. It is important that it is not just portable but also safe to use and dependable to carry.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What does tang mean in knife terms?
A: The tang in the knife means how much it is connected to the handle. Here are the definitions of the different tangs of these tools:
1) Full tang – this indicates that 2 pieces of handles are put together using one piece to create a very durable and easy to handle tool that will not be easy to break.
2) Half tang – this is just half of the full tang, in which the end of the blade and the handle only go and meet halfway and not fully like the full tang.
3) Push tang – this one is where the handle secures the tang of the whole tool and can either be full or half as well.
4) Rat tail tang – this one has a little more narrow design and is usually done by threading as well as welding. They are also often fastened using bolts for security.
5) Encapsulated tang – this one is done by molding or fitting in which the tang is the smallest of all the tang types, even smaller compared to the handle itself.
Q: Why do you need a pocket knife?
A: There are many benefits to owning this kind of tool, such as the following:
a) It’s great for emergencies as part of your first aid kit.
b) You can use it as a self-defense weapon.
c) Fishermen can also use it for cutting line.
d) You can use it for camping and it can be used for cutting up wood.
e) Food prep tasks such as peeling fruits can be done with this kind of tool.
f) Aside from fruits, you can also use it as an emergency can opener (with caution).
g) You can definitely use it to cut wire or rope when needed.
h) If you end up with boxes or packages wherever you are, you can use it to open them up.
i) For those who lost stuff in between cracks, you can use this tool to pick up objects.
j) If you ever have loose threads on your shirt or item of clothing, you can cut it safely with this tool.
Q: Are they allowed or not allowed in airports and certain locations?
A: There are many different laws governing the legality of knives. Here are the things that can make this kind of tool legal to carry, such as the following:
1) length of the blade – should be shorter than 6 cm or 2.36 inches
2) grip – the grip should not have a molded design
3) blade style – it should not be fixed or locking
4) widest point – it should not be more than 0.5 inch
Additionally, box cutters as well as razor blades are also not allowed by the TSA.
Q: What are the different kinds of locking blades out there?
A: Locking blades, where legal, can be great for self-defense as well as for camping and for survivalists. There are some different types of locking blades, such as the following:
a) Lockback mechanisms are those that are locked using a spring type mechanism.
b) Liner lock types are the ones that have a lining on the handle’s inside.
c) Frame locks are the ones that are a step-up versions of the average liner lock.
d) The AXIS lock is mostly found on high—end tools and can be ambidextrous using a spring tension bar.
e) The slip joint type is something you will see in a Swiss Army Knife and uses a spring bar.
Q: What are the advantages of fixed blade types?
A: The fixed blade types have their advantages when it comes down to usability in many occasions, such as with the following:
1) Size – the fixed blade is usually the type that gets a lot of bragging rights because their blade is usually bigger than that of the foldable ones. They are the ones that you can use for really tough situations and without failure. Size is important because it can help you cut through a lot of things without causing potential injury or failure to yourself. They’re crucial for those who need a lot of power and sharpness in cutting objects.
2) Durability – because they do not have any moving parts, this makes them much more reliable and less likely to break. In addition to the durability, they are also very stable as compared to that of a moving or foldable one. This means that they are steady in any position and in any situation so that you can definitely make use of them in any situation whatsoever while being ready, especially if you are in the wilderness.
3) Maintenance – there is no need for too much maintenance with a fixed blade as compared to that of a moving or foldable blade. The foldable ones may need to be taken care of much more due to the hinge part, which can get broken or stiff when the time comes. Cleaning both of these types of blades are important, but foldable or movable parts take a lot more effort than the one that has no moving parts at all.
4) Length – in addition to the size or width, the length can help you make it easier to use it a self-defense weapon. The blade length is usually longer with a fixed type, which is why it is not always allowed in airport security, which is why most people just resort to shorter blades that are foldable. If you really have to go for one that has a longer length then you should go for one with a fixed blade.
5) Tactical use – they are specifically meant for tactical needs when you need to survive out in the wilderness better than the foldable ones. While those that are foldable can pass airport security, they may not be that usable when it comes down to really tough situations out in the wild. This is why you should still carry along a fixed blade type in the event of an emergency to further protect yourself.
6) Multi-use – because a fixed blade can perform so many tasks, it is a great tool to take along with you. There are many really awesome things you can do with the blade, such as for first aid, for splitting apart objects, for digging, for food prep, for general cutting needs, for prying, for hammering, for hunting and many more. The endless usability of this kind of blade can make it much more suitable for survivalists.
7) Great outdoors – while it is true that when it comes down to the ease of concealment, the foldable blade takes the cake, in terms of the great outdoors or the wilderness, survivalists and rural area people or those who frequently hunt and go outside to do their stuff off the grid prefer the expertise of a fixed blade, simply because of its simplicity, straightforward design and durability – something that the foldable type won’t be supplying all the time.
Q: What are the pros and cons of having a pocket knife compared to using a multi-tool?
A: Pocket knives can have different pros and cons and here are some of them as compared to a multi-tool:
These knives are most ideal for simple tasks such as opening packages, cutting bits of food, sharpening pencils, trimming items and other very small tasks that do not need to do other things with it.
This is much more ideal if you also want to do other things, such as loosen screws, open cans or corked bottles, perform wire twisting other than cutting, do some nail filing and many other tasks that a single blade type may otherwise not adequately provide you.
This one tends to be lighter because it is only a single tool that does not come with any other tool.
This one tends to be heavier because it is a pack of multiple tools in just one single tool.
Ease of setup or readiness
When it comes down to readiness, this one is the best way to go because it can be just deployed without much hassle, even if you do have a folding one, but more so if you do have a fixed type.
This one takes some hassle to unfold because you need to know exactly where your tool is in order to pull it out and unfold it, which takes some time to do, and is not ideal for emergency and quick responding situations where time is crucial.
The single blade type is very useful when it comes down to having a proper grip so it is important to have this if you consider the grip of your hands or fingers much more for safety purposes and for easy gripping.
For easy gripping, this can be a problem because the typical position of the multi-tool with regards to the blade may not be that ergonomically positioned or properly spaced.
There are more knives out there that you can pick depending on the type of blade and other factors that you want from it, simply because it is a handy tool that has always been there in the market for years.
Because they are not that popular amongst common people, they tend to be less popular so not a lot of companies make them, so you do not have a lot of choice when it comes down to which is better.
The price for a single blade is, of course, a lot cheaper because it is only just one blade.
The price of a multi-tool is expected to be somewhere in the higher price range because it already contains a lot of tools in one, especially if the multi-tool that you buy is an original Swiss Army Knife (e.g. not the knock-offs that run cheap).
Since it is only a single blade, it can only be used for specific purposes and therefore does not have a lot of uses compared to the multi-tool.
The multi-tool has a ton of uses because it gives you a plethora of options and tools for you to choose from, depending on the situation that you are in.
Q: What are the differences between fixed blades and folding types?
A: There are many differences that you can tell between the folding type and the fixed type, such as with the following:
They are mostly used for those opportunities when concealment is very important because people in the urban areas can get alerted when someone is carrying a weapon.
Since weapons are not much of a deal in the wilderness, they can be used mostly in the rural areas where concealment is not very much of an issue with the surroundings.
The weight of the foldable type is usually much more than the fixed type, but this can vary depending on the model that you have.
The weight can usually be lighter than the folding type, although that still depends upon the size and the length of the blade.
Ease of setup or readiness
The readiness factor of the foldable one is less or inferior to the one that is already fixed, so it is not that good when it comes down to self-defense and emergency situations.
When you’ve got an emergency situation at hand, it is far much better to use something that you do not need to unfold for you to readily use it right away.
The ergonomics of the foldable one may not be as good as the fixed one because the blade needs to be folded in some manner so it is not properly and ergonomically placed.
The ergonomics of the fixed type is usually the better of the two because it has been custom made to make sure that it is ergonomic to handle and to use.
The availability of the folding type is usually not that much compared to the fixed one because they tend to be much more available in specialty shops and not in regular shops.
They can be bought nearly everywhere and anywhere due to their simplicity as well as their easy market value and availability.
They tend to be much pricier because they have more moving parts and joints. Some of them even have a locking mechanism to keep them as steady as possible.
They tend to be on the cheaper side of things so they are the best to go with if you are on a budget or if you will have to leave it behind to avoid airport security issues.
When it comes down to versatility, the folding one has some with moving from a rural area to an urban one, since it can be dangerous to wield around a weapon that is not properly concealed unlike the fixed one.
The fixed types are usually not that good in concealment but they are versatile in another way – they can perform really tough tasks that the foldable one cannot possibly do due to its limited size.
Length of the blade
The length of the blade of the foldable type is usually smaller or shorter so that it can meet TSA guidelines and airline policies.
Since they are usually meant for the wilderness, they are usually longer with a longer reach so that they can be used well to work on really rigorous tasks that the foldable one cannot otherwise do its best for.
The stability of this type of blade can be questionable at times, although there are now new models that have a locking mechanism so you can still stay safe while you are holding it.
Most people agree that when it comes down to stability, nothing beats the usage of a regular and fixed type blade.
Q: Which is more optimal for carrying: a multi-tool or a pocket knife?
A: For the general public, there can be different ways of carrying things. For instance, one person may carry a multi-tool but the other may carry pocket knives or weapons instead. Here’s when to carry them the best:
a) Carrying pocket knives: they are much more ideal to carry if you need to conceal your item from the general public but you just need something that is lightweight and simple enough to use. There are also two types: the fixed blade and the foldable blades, so you can go for a fixed blade if you want a ready to use type instead of having to fiddle with unfolding the blade.
To make the story short, they are the best for most urban situations and casual use when multi-tools might not be that needed, such as with opening boxes and cutting things.
b) Carrying multi-tools: they are much more ideal for when you don’t really care much about the weight and you have a bag with you. They are ideal for those times that you need a bottle opener, a pair of scissors, a nail file and many other necessities that a simple blade cannot just supply. They are the best for parties when you need to do a lot of stuff and simply cutting is not the solution.
To make the story short, they are the best in some urban situations and in some camping use when you need to open a good bottle of beer or do other things other than cut your fishing line.
c) Carrying both: there is also the option of carrying both of these tools for the best of both worlds. While they may take an extra weight for your bag or pocket, they are handy if you want to do things that the single blade can only do (e.g. perform hunting or food prep tasks without injuring yourself) and the things that the multi-tool can only do (e.g. open up a bottle of beer).
To summarize that, you may want to carry both of these tools if it bothers you that you are going out in the wilderness and you need something to defend yourself with right away and also open a can of sardines without hurting yourself. Moreover, the single blade can also be a great backup blade in case your multi-tool fails on you.
Q: What exactly is EDC? What are the common EDC?
A: EDC or everyday carry is a kind of survivalist term that refers to things that you should carry every single day in order to protect yourself or to use for everyday activities. Among the most common EDCs are the following:
a) Wallet or purse – your wallet or purse is important because it contains money! Without money, it will be hard for you to survive anywhere, whether you’re in an urban city or in a deserted island (e.g. there’s probably a food shop there). It is important that your wallet is not very heavy to carry but has all of the important information that you need, such as your ID cards, credit cards, address, emergency numbers and the like.
b) Main folding blade – this one is mostly used for self-defense purposes in case an attacker might get in your way. In addition to that, it can also be used in situations when you need to clear the path from certain objects such as vines, thorns, plants or even ropes. It is important to have an emergency folding blade that cannot be seen or confiscated by the authorities to help protect yourself in dangerous situations out there.
c) Smaller fixed blade – it doesn’t hurt to have an additional or backup smaller fixed blade. This is because folding blades may also tend to get into trouble if the joints do not work properly. Therefore, having a fixed blade is still an important thing. You should pick one that has a small height or length so that it does not get questioned by the authorities and can be used for traveling. Check with your local policies for these EDCs.
d) Flashlight – this is important for when you get lost in the darkness, have to walk at night or early in the morning, or simply just want to use it to illuminate dark areas to find people or objects. The flashlight needs to have enough lumens as well as beaming power in order to shine brighter in the dark path. A tactical flashlight will be less likely broken and can be adjusted with its width.
e) Ballpoint pen/pencil – this helps if you need to write down something, even on the palm of your hand or on any leaf. It may also help if you have a piece of paper from sticky notes that you can carry in your purse or bag so that you can take down notes wherever you go, especially if they are important. Having hardcopy notes of anything is important in case the notes on your mobile phone runs out of battery.
f) Keys to your car or house – this is also important in case you are leaving the house without anyone and locking it up. Consider bringing your house keys as well if you are on a faraway trip and never lose or forget them. Car keys should also be strategically placed in your bag or jeans.
g) Wristwatch – if your phone’s battery dies, you can always look at the time with the use of the wristwatch, so it is still important to have this kind of EDC with you wherever you go. In case you are going outdoors and you expect to get wet, it is important that it is water resistant or waterproof.
h) Mobile phone – you should never forget this at home, because you can be missing out on important texts and emergencies. Even if it is not from people you know, there can be certain advisories that can pertain to weather forecasts and other dangers that might be important news for you. If you do have a smartwatch or fitness band that integrate with your phone, that’s a better option.
i) Multi-tool – this is important for both survivalists and EDC enthusiasts. You can have a can opener, a bottle opener, a cork bottle opener, a nail file, a pair of scissors and many tons of blades for you to choose from in order to work on the specific situation or task that you are currently in.
j) Legal firearms (where applicable) – if it really gets dangerous in your neighborhood and safety is a must, and if you do have the funds to get a licensed firearm, you should do it because you are doing it for self-defense, especially if you have a family or need to protect yourself from threats. If they are not applicable in your situation, electric tasers and sprays can be an alternative.
Q: What are the advantages of having an EDC?
A: There are many advantages to having an EDC, such as the following:
1) It allows you to do more stuff on the go.
2) They are super convenient to carry around.
3) You can save more if you invest on quality gear.
4) It can be used for self-defense as well as maintaining emergency preparedness.
5) It also helps you feel more comfortable for your suited lifestyle.
Q: What are the functional forms of knives?
A: Knives can have many different functional forms, in which some of them include the following:
makes it a weapon, so it should be sharp enough
makes it useful or otherwise versatile, such as folding and locking
how much easier it is to simply pull out and use
how ready it is for emergency situations
when you need to use it to defend yourself from attackers
shape of the blade
can determine the sharpness and durability
makes it much more ergonomic to hold while keeping you safe
found on most foldable types and can make it secure
readiness or preparedness to be taken out and used
whether it is legal as an EDC or not in your country
Q: How can pocket knives be able to start fires?
A: You can make fires with these pocket sized tools by:
1) Cutting dead branches, wood or cardboard boxes
2) Gathering them in a spot
3) Rubbing stones together to make fire or using a lighter/match
Q: Which is more applicable for war: multi-tools or knives?
A: In terms of the war aspect, it is more applicable to use a multi-tool because it is much better to use it for various war tools, such as for cleaning guns and fixing items. If you just carry knives, they cannot provide a lot of usability and versatility in the long run.
Q: How are flat edge and serrated edge types different?
A: There are two types of edges for blades, such as with the following:
These ones are the best for cutting wood because of its simple shape. They can be the most ideal for outdoor use.
These ones are the best for those who want to cut brittle items such as rubber, plastic or bread items.
Q: What are the different blade profiles to choose from?
A: There are many blade profiles to choose from, such as the following:
1) Normal profile
2) Trailing point
3) Drop point
4) Clip point
5) Spey point
6) Spear point
7) Needle point
9) Tanto or chisel point
Q: What are the ways you can sharpen the blades of knives?
A: Some of the tools that you can use to sharpen blades are:
1) Knife sharpeners
2) Sharpening stones
3) Nail files
4) Leather belts
5) Honing steel
7) Smooth stone
Q: How do I sharpen knives without making mistakes?
A: In sharpening them, you should consider the following:
a) Get in the right angle
b) Don’t do it too much
c) Get a nice sharpening stone
d) Test your blade sharpness
Q: What is the purpose of the sheath?
A: A sheath is important because it will protect the blade from getting dull and it will also protect your pocket, bag, purse or surrounding area for when it is not currently in use. It will be the protection to keep your tool in tip top shape for a long time.
Q: Why is self-defense important?
A: It is important because it will help you have a sense of safety, gain more power, have more awareness about yourself and your surroundings and also to defend others other than yourself, and this is why EDC items can be important with self-defense.
Q: What basic survival skills are the most important of all?
A: In terms of survival skills, you need to learn the following basics:
1) Know how to purify water sources
2) Make your own shelter from raw materials
3) Create fire with raw materials
4) Navigate by yourself when you get lost
5) Signal others that you need to be rescued
Wrapping It Up
In the long run, the Elk Ridge Personalized is our pick for the best pocket knife because of its engraving and customization option and the ease of folding it back into place.