submitted by Jonathan Tayag
The first everyday carry knife carried by someone in the field was likely a hunting knife. While the blades of old have fallen by the wayside, the venerable hunting knife still has a place in modern EDC usage. That’s especially the case if you hunt or fish regularly. But the practical and convenient design of hunting knives makes them a solid choice even if you don’t stalk down the food you put on your table. The best hunting knives have quality blade steel and a focus on design fundamentals that allow them to pull dual-duty as outdoor knives. And you can rely on these blades to get you through an emergency.
Most of the best hunting knives feature a reliable fixed-blade construction with a full tang that can take more abuse than a folder. Those hunting knives that opt to keep a folding design have an overbuilt locking mechanism that can keep up with rough use. Unlike most tactical and survival knives, the best hunting knives feature strong ergonomics because they’re built around you breaking down and preparing meat after a kill. Hunting knives are meant to be used and relied upon constantly. The best examples feature a quality steel stainless or tool steel blade with a sharp edge that can cut through hide and fillet freshly-caught fish. And some of the best modern hunting knives leverage premium materials to create lightweight knives that perform above their weight class.
Our Top Picks
The Best Hunting Knives
Hunting knives are an essential EDC companion out in the field. While you’re likely not hunting with only a hunting knife in hand, having one is critical to being successful while you hunt or fish. Aside from the more obvious tasks of cutting a deer open to dress it or preparing it for later, a hunting knife comes in handy when setting up baits or traps. The best hunting knives also work well for tasks an outdoor camping or survival knife can do. And even if you aren’t a hunter or outdoors enthusiast, a hunting knife’s unique design and aesthetic appeal can find a home in your EDC. As with other everyday carry knives, there are many options out there, and in this guide, we will introduce you to some of the best hunting knives you can buy right now.
1 – The Best Overall Hunting Knife: Benchmade Altitude Carbon Fiber2 – The Best Hunting Knife on a Budget: KA-BAR Little Finn Hunter3 – The Best Hunting Knife for Skinning: TOPS Muley Skinner4 – The Best Gut Hook Hunting Knife: Gerber Moment Gut Hook5 – The Best Bushcraft Hunting Knife: ESEE-4 3D6 – Fallkniven F1 VGWOL Hunting Knife7 – Buck 113 Ranger Hunting Knife8 – Spyderco Siren Hunting Knife9 – Morakniv Garberg Hunting Knife10 – Victorinox Hunter Pro Alox Hunting Knife
The Best Overall Hunting Knife: Benchmade Altitude Carbon Fiber
The Best Hunting Knife on a Budget: KA-BAR Little Finn Hunter
The Best Hunting Knife for Skinning: TOPS Muley Skinner
The Best Gut Hook Hunting Knife: Gerber Moment Gut Hook
The Best Bushcraft Hunting Knife: ESEE-4 3D
Fallkniven F1 VGWOL Hunting Knife
Buck 113 Ranger Hunting Knife
Spyderco Siren Hunting Knife
Morakniv Garberg Hunting Knife
Victorinox Hunter Pro Alox Hunting Knife
Now that we’ve gone through and shown you our picks for the best hunting knives you can pick up today, it’s essential to mention some knives that deserve honorable mention. The following knives are highly regarded in the EDC community. For many, they are the best game animal knife you can EDC. They are great alternatives if you want something different from our favorite picks.
Gerber Vital Big Game Folder: The Gerber Vital features a razor-sharp replaceable blade system with a rubberized handle that makes it easy to keep a sharp edge by simply replacing it when needed.Benchmade Meatcrafter: The Benchmade Meatcrafter is a kitchen butchering knife that can handle being taken out in the field with its larger CPM-154 stainless steel blade.Buck Knives 656 Pursuit Pro: If you’re a fan of CPM-S35VN stainless steel, the Buck 656 Pursuit Pro is made for you.Benchmade 15006 Steep Country: The high-visibility Benchmade Steep Country features an S30V stainless steel blade and a Santoprene handle that’s easy to hold even when your hands are wet.KA-BAR Becker BK2 Campanion: The KA-BAR Becker BK2 is an overbuilt heavy-duty hunting knife that you can pack when your hunting knife also needs to be your survival and bushcraft knife.Buck Knives 110 Folding Hunter Knife: If hunting isn’t your primary use, but you want a pocket knife with the same heritage and inspiration, the folding Buck 110 is one of the community’s favorites.Benchmade Hidden Canyon Hunter: The Benchmade Hidden Canyon hunter features a handle that evokes the traditional wood grain of old while being more durable, with a USA-made S30V or a super-premium S90V stainless steel option available.Buck 192 BRS Vanguard: If you’re into traditional hunting knives, the Buck 192 has everything going for it, with the walnut wood grain handle and genuine leather sheath at a competitive price point.Spyderco Bill Moran Drop Point: This collaboration knife features a unique handle shape that’s easy to manipulate through rough material, even if you find yourself in a weird position with a large animal that’s hard to move.
Frequently Asked Questions
We know that finding the best knife can be an adventure in and of itself, and we’re here to answer any questions you might have about EDCing a hunting knife.
How do you sharpen a hunting knife?
While you can use a sharpening stone or whetstone to sharpen a hunting knife, a pull-through sharpener can work in a pinch. You can also opt for a machine sharpener like a Work Sharp if you’re looking for an easy option with versatility and highly-repeatable results regardless of the blade shape.
What is the best hunting knife brand?
Some of the best hunting knife company brands include Buck Knives, Spyderco, Morakniv, Gerber, KA-BAR, Benchmade, Kershaw, CRKT, and more. Be on the lookout for knife companies that stand behind their hunting gear with good lifetime warranties for peace of mind.
What makes a good hunting knife?
A good hunting knife has quality steel for a sharp blade and a design with good handle material that makes it easy to cut meat, poultry, and fish after a catch. Good hunting knives feature either a fixed blade construction with jimping. For a folding blade, a good camp knife comes with a quality locking and folding mechanism that you can rely on.
Can I carry a hunting knife on my belt?
You can carry a hunting knife on your belt with the right sheath. You can find a nylon sheath or one made of Kydex with good retention on your blade. If a traditional look is important to you, leather sheaths are great options too.
How should I care for or clean a hunting knife?
Because you tend to use a backcountry hunting and skinning knife for cutting through meat and small game, you will want to regularly wash your knife with soap and hot water to ensure it stays sanitary. This is especially the case near the handle, as you don’t want rotting food material in direct contact with your hands. You should also thoroughly dry your hunting knives to prevent rust and corrosion. Even if your blade says it’s stainless steel, you should assist its corrosion resistance by taking good care of it. Treating your hunting knife with food-safe oil is essential because you will end up eating the result of your work.
How we picked
Decades of experience and deep connections in the everyday carry industry give us a unique viewpoint on the market to inform our product recommendations. We have the depth of information for thousands of products that have come before and an extensive eye on the market to see what’s new and trending for each piece of gear. The result is a buying guide that we feel is informative and useful for EDCers of every trade, industry, and budget.
What is Everyday Carry?
Everyday Carry is both the concept of what people carry in their pockets and the process of picking out gear that thoughtfully considers what one wants or needs in their daily lives. It encompasses everything from style to preparedness to utility, meaning an entire industry full of valuable tools and essentials to choose from.
Why you should trust us
Our team has decades of combined experience in all aspects of everyday men’s essentials, from wallets to pens to bags and everything in between, and we know where to find great gear ideas that you may not come across at your local stores or when shopping online. Our expertise with the industry and familiarity in design, materials, and usability help you make more informed choices when it comes to picking up your next piece of gear.