If you’re new to fishing, camping, or hunting, the chances are you need to buy a knife or two. Knives are useful for many tasks, from setting up camp to cutting up meat or fish. So, having the right blade is essential.
The first thing is to consider how you will use the knives you want to buy. Different types of blades are used for various tasks, if you are hunting, there are specific knives for that, and fishing has distinct edges as well.
So, how do you know what to buy?
If you’re trying to decide on a knife for fishing, hunting, or hiking, here’s everything you need to know about how to choose a knife.
How to Select Knives
Choosing a knife is easier when you break it down a bit, and it’s not a good idea to select a blade based on someone recommending it.
A knife that suits one person doesn’t necessarily suit someone else. So, do your research and window shop before settling on the knife to buy.
There are three distinct categories of knives and tools:
- Individual blades – in fixed and fold-out designs for general or precise uses
- Personal tools – in small and large sizes designed for a specific purpose
- Multi-tools – a knife and other instruments in one compact, fold-out configuration
Knives have a variety of uses outdoors, so they’re your most essential tool without a doubt.
Types of Knives
There are generally two types of knives; the first is the general, multi-purpose knife used for camping or hiking mostly. The second type of blade is for specific uses like fishing or hunting. It is critical to choose the right knife for your activity.
A fishing knife or knife set is explicitly designed for fishing. They are excellent for:
- Cutting up live bait
- Cutting and preparing lines
- Preparing lures and jigs
- Filleting freshly-caught fish
You want a comfortable hunting knife, made from high-quality materials, and easy to control. Look for blades that have a large, thick blade, a gutting hook, and has a blade guard to shield your hand.
Survival Knives are the knives you can rely on any time and anywhere. When you are looking to buy a survival knife, Aside from price, you should consider the sheath, blade steel, and accessories like fire starters, for example.
A survival knife:
- Can be large or small
- Has a serrated edge for sawing
- Could save your life by helping you stay sheltered, safe and fed
- May have a hole in the handle to hang around your neck, wrist or belt
Tactical and combat knives are the knives that are made for the military, law enforcement, or anybody that requires a sturdy blade they can rely on when in stressful situations.
A tactical knife:
- Is meant to be tough enough for combat
- May be large or small
- May have a sheath for safety/carrying.
Sometimes it is more practical to consider buying a knife set rather than individual knives.
A knife set will contain a few types of knives, and due to this, they are cost-effective; for fishing, for example, they give you all the blades you need. Definitely worth checking into knife sets for your needs.
Fixed or Folding Knives
Among the options, there are fixed knives and folding knives, and each type has its unique advantages and disadvantages. Some of them include:
- The blade and handle remain in the same position and are therefore securely attached
- They are much stronger and more ergonomic to use than folding knives
- Are able to be used for heavy-duty cutting
- They are often heavier or bulkier than folding knives
- You must them put back into their sheath after use to avoid the edge of the blade cutting you
- Are more compact than fixed knives since the blade folds back into the handle and are suitable for lightweight cutting when strength isn’t required (for fish, veggies, etc.)
- It will not be as firm to use as fixed knives because of the folding mechanism
- The blade is protected when it’s in the folded position and won’t get blunt or cut your hands
- Come with either a:
- Lock to prevent the unfolded edge from closing back onto your fingers
- Button on the side for one-handed operation
- Spring-loaded hinge making the knife spring open when you start to open it
What Steel is Better for Hunting or Fishing?
At its essence, basic steel is iron and carbon, but there are hundreds of alloys. Understand that the more carbon a knife has, the harder the blade, and the better it holds an edge, is critical. However, too much carbon can make a blade brittle.
When chromium is added, it prevents rust. Generally, stainless steel usually has at least 12 percent, but it can make the steel soft. It’s a bit of a balancing act.
Here’s a breakdown:
Non-Stainless Steel: It rusts easily but makes an excellent blade if you take care. High-carbon examples (1095, D2) especially hold an edge. Some can be both hard and tough (A2, CPM 3V, 8670M).
Stainless Steel: If you want a low maintenance blade, this is the way to go. Still, low-carbon variants can be too soft to get or keep a precise edge. More carbon or a harder alloy is more dependable.
Powdered Steels: The latest stainless alloys (like S30V, Elmax, M390) come from powderlike granules that are heated to make hardened steels that have a wicked edge. All-in-all, they have everything you’d look for in a knife—corrosion resistance, hardness, and strength. Of course, you pay for it.
How do You Choose?
Buying a knife is simple, stop by your local sporting-goods store, drop two twenties on the counter, and you will get a knife in return. When you want a good knife? That’s another thing entirely.
Think about what you need and what you want and then supply yourself with what you need to know. Then you should be able to find a blade that will last your lifetime.
Are you planning to perform different outdoor activities, such as camping, hunting, or fishing? Then choosing the right knives should be your priority. For more information about the blades and their maintenance, read more.