The Top 5 Folding Knives for Everyday Carry

Updated on January 26, 2018
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I have spent many nights camping in remote areas as part of my research projects. I have learned the importance of having reliable gear.

Why I Use a Buck Knife

For many years I have spent time in remote and sometimes hostile environments as part of environmental research projects. Most of this work involves assessing insect life -- beetles, moths, as well as some scorpions and spiders -- and requires me to be awake and busy for much of the night.

When I arrive at a site I need to quickly figure out where to set up camp, where to set up traps and collection sites, and how to keep everything powered and functioning. I learned very quickly that the simplest tools are often the most useful, and that's one reason my buck knife sees so much use. I have at least 5 Leatherman-type multi-tools, as well as enough folding saws and pocket clippers to supply an army of campers, but my buck knife is what I reach for first. It can cut through small branches, slice up any kind of rope or cord, and dig into hard-packed Sonoran desert dirt with no problem. I put my buck knife through a lot, but these things are tough as nails.

Number 1: Buck Knives 110 Famous Folding Hunter Knife with Genuine Leather Sheath

I love this buck knife, and I use my own buck more often than I do my Leatherman multi-tool, even though the multi-tool has all of the screwdrivers and pliers I typically need for camping, and has a decent blade that comes in handy when I'm setting up the traps that I use in the course of my research projects. The buck knife has the kind of quick, razor-sharp blade that means I don't have to mess around with a dull or weak blade. Just flip it and it's out, sturdy, thick steel that can cut through just about anything. I often need to clear small branches, for example, and the buck is more than up to the challenge.

Buck Knives 110 Famous Folding Hunter Knife with Genuine Leather Sheath - TOP SELLER
Buck Knives 110 Famous Folding Hunter Knife with Genuine Leather Sheath - TOP SELLER

My experience with Buck knives has led me to choose them when I'm gearing up for field work. Since I use a camping hammock and a tarp, there's a lot of rope to tie and cut. The Buck is sharp, opens and closes easily, and doesn't corrode. The point is tough enough to pry open sterno cans and sharp enough to dig small beetles out of hardwood (mt field work involves studying insects). All around a great blade.

 

The Buck's Features

These features are a combination of those mentioned by the manufacturer and my own observations:

-- Razor-sharp blade. The Stainless Steel Clip Blade is strong, as stainless is known for over carbon blades. The controllable point is a salient feature of the clip-blade design.

-- This knife is easy-open with a nail notch on the blade. The blade locks solidly and is both strong and reliable.

-- The beautiful walnut handle and brass bolsters make this one of the most handsome knives available. This is one of America's best selling knives, worth handing down from generation to generation.

-- This knife includes a high-quality leather sheath with a snap fastener and integrated belt loop for safe and secure carry on your belt for easy access.

-- Perfect as a hunting tool as well as fishing and general outdoor use

-- Make in the USA with a “Forever Warranty.” Buck knives have been an American icon since 1902.

Knives and Personal Security

Since I only carry a folding knife when I'm out in the wilderness, I think of it more as a tool to help get things done than as a means of self-protection. But many people who decide to buy a quality folding knife or give one as a gift, especially some of the more technical spring-assisted blades, want and need a weapon like a knife to stay safe. Security professionals, law enforcement, and other professions may carry a tactical folding knife as part of their everyday gear, while students and people who work nights could carry one for protection.

There's also the off-chance that you'll encounter a dangerous animal while camping or hunting. If you're hunting, I'm going to assume you have a gun and can deal with the issue that way. Campers, fishermen, and researchers may wish they had some kind of weapon when there's something big rustling in the bushes around the tent in the middle of the night...

Number 2: 8" US Navy Sailor Tactical folding knife

This is a pretty cool blade that I could see giving to a starting camper or hunter. It's flashy enough that it would appeal to someone concerned about the looks for their blade (that's not me, but I do understand where they're coming from), and it has excellent cool features that suggest there's more to this blade than just a pretty face.

  • Great Quality Pocket knife For Every Day Carry! Smooth and Quick Operation!!
  • 440 Stainless Steel Blade. Liner Locking System.
  • Navy Emblem. Full Aluminum Handle.
  • Pocket Clip. Glass Breaker Stub.
  • Seat Belt Cutter Slot. Overall Length 8" inches. Blade Length 3.25" inches.

As the manufacturer notes, this is a good, mid-level blade for every day carry. It has a good locking system and a glass-breaker stub that could conceivably save your life some day. It's a good size, too, with a 3.25-inch blade.

Number 3: Tac Force Digital Camo Spring-Assist Knife

I like this folding knife mainly because it has a spring-assist opening mechanism. In the field I rarely have both hands free, and it is admittedly something of a pain to have to open up a folding knife when you need it. Also, if I'm being honest, I think the black-and-white digital camo look is pretty cool. I'm not sure when you'll ever wish your folding knife had better camouflage against digital drone surveillance, but it's good to be prepared.

Features:

  • Spring assisted quick-open blade
  • Stainless steel black blade
  • Cool snow/black digital camo design
  • Glass breaker and seat belt cutter

Number 4: The SOG Key Folding Knife

I recently bought one of these sharp little beasts, and I already wonder how I lived for over forty years without one. I have had a mini Swiss Army knife on my key ring for a couple of years, and the blades on that are seriously sharp, almost like scalpels, but the design is awkward and too bulky for a key ring.

The SOG Key Folding Knife, on the other hand, is so slick that it looks like a real key -- same size, same metal finish, same weight. Bt hidden in the genius design is a strong, wickedly sharp blade that is perfect for almost any use. I use the knife on my key ring more than I use the little light. Both light and blade just make life easier.

Features:

  • Blade hidden in a key shaped handle
  • Lock back with handle the size and shape of
  • Great for everyday carry on a key chain
  • Key chain tool conceals a compact blade in the size of a standard house key so you are always prepared
  • Straight edge, folding 1.5-inch stainless steel blade has a drop point shape with a hard cased black finish
  • Lockback provides additional safety while the knife's in the open position
  • Black key handle is made of stainless steel that's shaped like a house key
  • Comes with a limited lifetime warranty

Notice that this folding knife has over 2,500 reviews on Amazon, and an impressive 4.5-star rating.

Number 5: Boker 112004ST Stag Lock Blade Hunter Pocket Knife

I owned a beautiful red-handled Boker knife for awhile, and I have seldom found a better balanced or more artistic folding blade. This knife is a classic stag-handle folding knife with Boker's typically elegant look. Boker makes knives that are collectible as well as useful, though it would be perfectly understandable if you elected to keep yours in pristine shape rather than use it on your next fishing trip.

Features:

  • Straight edge blade constructed of 440C stainless steel
  • Lock back safety mechanism to prevent accidental closing
  • Nickel silver bolsters add style
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Resources

The following sources were consulted for this guide:

gearjunkie.com/folding-knife-review-best-blades

bladereviews.com/folding-knives

wildernesstoday.com/best-pocket-knife

Questions & Answers

    Comments

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      • teaches12345 profile image

        Dianna Mendez 4 months ago

        Good article on the importance of safety with knives. So many different options to choose from but you have given people good tips to help decide.

      • clivewilliams profile image

        Clive Williams 4 months ago from Jamaica

        cool knives

      working