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Best Tactical Pocket Knife: Best Tool For Outdoor Survival

Best Tactical Pocket Knife
Bradley Page
Written by Bradley Page

We think you will agree with us when we say that surviving in the wild can be very difficult if you don’t have the necessary tools. When you’re in an emergency situation outdoors, don’t you think a good, reliable knife will serve you best? Backpackers and outdoorsmen know how important a knife is, even outside of emergencies and survival situations. In this case, getting the best tactical pocket knife might just be your best bet.

Pocket knives have come a long way from the standard “Swiss Army inches” version. Tactical pocket knives are more durable and built for hard use in the field with features designed with the outdoorsman or backpacker in mind. Aside from helping you cope in emergency and survival situations, a pocket knife can also become your first line of defense.

Folding Knife

Some wild animals for instance, are very territorial and a pocket knife can ward them away or at least give you time to escape. This is why you should choose a tactical pocket knife that can do the job day in and day out without fail, and we are here to help you make the right choice!

But before you hit the shelves, there are some features that you need to consider that can help you make the right choice. In this article we will not only tackle features you need to consider when purchasing, we will also present reviews of products in order to give you an idea of how these knives work in real life. Let’s take a look!

Our Top Picks

ProductBlade LengthBlade MaterialBest UsePrice
TAS Accessories Folding Pocket Knife3.4 inchesHigh Quality Stainless SteelEDC, survival, camping, backpacking, huntingCheck price on Amazon
Grand Way Spring Assisted Knife3.42 inches440 C SteelEDC, survival, camping, backpacking, huntingCheck price on Amazon
Columbia River Knife and Tool M16-14SFG Knife4 inches8Cr14MoV SteelEDC, survival, camping, backpacking, huntingCheck price on Amazon
Smith & Wesson SWMP4LS M&P Linerlock Knife3.6 inchesBlack 4034 Stainless SteelEDC, survival, camping, backpacking, hunting, combatCheck price on Amazon
KingCamp Stainless Steel Folding Knife3.34 inches5Cr15 Stainless SteelEDC, survival, camping, backpacking, huntingCheck price on Amazon
TAC FORCE Folding Pocket Knife4.5 inchesStainless SteelEDC, survival, camping, backpacking, huntingCheck price on Amazon
Hoffman Richter HR-15 Tactical Folding Knife3.75 inches440 C SteelEDC, survival, camping, backpacking, huntingCheck price on Amazon
Haus Summit Tactical Folding Knife3.75 inches8cr13mov SteelEDC, survival, camping, backpacking, huntingCheck price on Amazon

Things to Consider Before Buying

Buying survival and outdoor equipment can be exciting. But don’t just buy the first tactical knife you see. You need to consider these features so that you can make the right choice.

Here are some factors you need to consider before buying.

Blade Material

According to the experts, the best type of material for a tactical knife is Damascus steel. Finding this type of material is impossible because the process used to make this type of steel has long been lost. The current method of making Damascus steel is a new process aimed at duplicating the old forging process.

Best Tactical Pocket Knife: Best Tool For Outdoor Survival

However, this process is expensive and cost-prohibitive, making it inaccessible for commercial use. Good alternatives to Damascus steel include AUS-8, Cr17 High Carbon, Sandvik 14C28Nm. Some of these types of steel are even more reliable than Damascus steel.

Handle

There are 2 parts to a tactical knife, the blade and the handle. The handle is important because it makes the knife steady in your grip. It can also help to absorb moisture, sweat, gasoline or oil and prevent slip-ups.

Benchmade Knife

Good materials for handles include hard plastic, leather and stainless steel. These materials can last for years. However, it is also not uncommon for these materials to suffer shrinks, cracks and wear and tear. Ideally, you should look for a material that fits snugly and does not feel slippery and does not crack under pressure.

Size

Size matters because your tactical knife’s size should fit its purpose. For backpackers, it should be short enough to carry inside their pants pockets or backpacks. Shorter knives are also proven to be more effective in tight situations because longer knives are usually more useful for general purposes.

Tactical knives come in many sizes ranging from tiny 2-inch pocket knives to 7-9 inch foldable ones. A tactical pocket knife with 3.5 – 4.5 inch blade should suit your overall needs when you’re backpacking or camping.

Design

The design of the knife should directly address its purpose. For most backpackers tactical knives are used for small jobs like sharpen wood spears, slice food, cut ropes or clean fish or game.

Best Tactical Pocket Knife: Best Tool For Outdoor Survival

The knife you have in mind should be able to do all of these things when you’re outdoors. So ask yourself what you’re going to do with the knife. Is it a weapon back-up or is it part of your emergency kit?

Comfort

Backpackers and campers usually go to the wilderness with a limited amount of tools. They are usually using the same tools for different kinds of jobs. For example, you will be using the same tactical knife to cut up meat for your stew and peeling an apple and cutting the line on your fishing rod.

It is for this reason that your tactical knife should be comfortable to use for different or repetitive tasks. The handle should feel comfortable even when you’re using it under stress. There should be no pinch-points, sharp corners or unnatural feel to the handle. It should be comfortable in your hand when held in a forward or reverse grip.

Best Tactical Pocket Knife: Best Tool For Outdoor Survival

Now that we know what features we need to look out for, let’s take a look at some of the best products in today’s market.

Best Products on Today’s Market

Reading reviews about some of the best tactical knives available in today’s market will make it easier for consumers like you to make their choice. Reviews will give you an idea how the knife works in real life so that you can judge whether the product is suited for your lifestyle or requirements.

TAS Accessories Folding Pocket Knife

Price: Approx. $10TAS Accessories Folding Pocket Knife

Blade length: 3.4 inches

Blade material: High quality stainless steel

Specific features: Strong aluminum handle with holes, lightweight, safe locking mechanism

Best use: EDC, survival, camping, backpacking, hunting

The TAS Accessories Folding Pocket Knife is a good choice if you’re looking for a survival or camping knife. It has a multi-functional design that allows you to gather food like edible tubers, flay ribbons of inner bark of trees for tinder or use it to sharpen or make wooden spears. This knife from TAS Accessories is made with sturdy stainless steel blade with a serrated area to address your diverse outdoor needs.

The blade measures 3.4 inches with an overall length of 4.4 inches, making it just the right size to fit comfortably in your hand when open. It folds down nicely and features a belt clip so you can secure the knife on your belt or store inside your backpack. This foldable tactical knife also has a safety-lock mechanism but can be unlocked using just 1 hand for your convenience.

Overall, this is a good and affordable tactical knife that can get you through most tasks when backpacking, camping or hunting. It has a multi-function design so aside from cutting, chopping and peeling, this knife can also pry, drill, pick and make notches. At its affordable price, this product also makes a good starter tactical pocket knife.

PROS:

  • Affordable
  • Good size
  • Safety locking mechanism
 CONS:

  • Weak blade

Related: If you prefer, you can put this knife inside your Surviveware Small First Aid Kit so that you can be ready for any emergency. This kit is small enough to bring for backpacking or as an emergency kit to put inside your car or house.

Check the price on Amazon

Grand Way Spring Assisted Knife

Price: $12 – $20Spring Assisted Knife

Blade length: 3.42 inches

Blade material: 440 C steel

Specific features: Aircraft-grade aluminum handle, liner lock that’s resistant to dirt, monostatic deep clip, easy opening mechanism

Best use: EDC, survival, camping, backpacking, hunting

The Grand Way Spring Assisted Knife features a blade made with 440 C steel with aircraft grade aluminum handle for a comfortable and balanced rip. 440 C steel ensures long term operation without the need for sharpening with good resistance to rust and high durability. This knife has an easy open mechanism that discloses the blade when pressed. However, it also features a liner lock that prevents accidental disclosures for your safety.

The handle with coverings made from aircraft-grade aluminum is comfortable to hold in forward and reverse grip. The knife has a sharp straight edge, making it a good choice for hunters, fishermen, outdoorsmen and backpackers. It weighs just 125 g or 4.40 oz so you can easily carry it inside your backpack or use the clip for concealed carrying.

This is a good pocket knife with good design and aesthetics. It looks professional and feels comfortable to grip. It is a good choice for many outdoor activities or for EDC. This product is affordable and another good choice for people who are looking for a good “starter inches knife.

PROS:

  • Affordable
  • Sharp straight edge
  • Strong blade
 CONS:

  • Clip is hard to use for clipping to belts or loops

Related: If you’re having a hard time clipping this product to your belt, consider the Red Deer Genuine Leather Pouch Case for easy storage and transport for your knife. This is a tough case made with genuine leather to keep your knife safe in style.

Check the price on Amazon

Columbia River Knife and Tool M16-14SFG Folding Knife

Price: Approx. $50Columbia River Knife

Blade length: 4 inches

Blade material: 8Cr14MoV steel

Specific features: Automate liner safety, dual hilt blade guard, smooth 1-handed operation, limited lifetime warranty

Best use: EDC, survival, camping, backpacking, hunting

The Columbia River Knife and Tool M16-14SFG Folding Knife is a very versatile tactical knife. It features dual grind Tanto blade and full-size handle with butt pommel. The blade and frame are painted a non-reflective black with titanium nitride coating for maximum corrosion resistance. It also has automated liner safety so it is less likely to disengage during use. The M16-14SFG is also equipped with clip options that allow four-position carry on belts or webbing.

This knife is designed by Harold ‘Kit’ Carson, a retired Sgt. Major and high profile member of the Knifemakers’ Guild. He designed this knife with function in mind so you’re sure that it can handle most of your backpacking and camping requirements.

The knife is designed for military for Special Forces use and utilizes expensive 8Cr14MoV steel, making it out of reach for some buyers.

However, it is a good and sturdy knife that will make many camping and backpacking chores relatively easy. The blade feels strong and sharp while the handle is comfortable to the grip.

PROS:

  • Sturdy and durable
  • Strong blade
 CONS:

  • Expensive
  • Long and a bit bulky

Related: Keep all your folding knives in one holster with the Nite Ize Tool Holster Stretch. This product is a universal hostler that can carry up to 3 knives of different sizes. It is made with strong ballistic nylon for durability and longevity.

Check the price on Amazon

Smith & Wesson SWMP4LS M&P Linerlock Knife

Price: Approx. $35Smith & Wesson SWMP4LS M&P Linerlock Knife

Blade length: 3.6 inches

Blade material: Black 4034 stainless steel

Specific features: Aluminum handle with rubber inlay, safety lock, pocket clip, ambidextrous thumb plate

Best use: EDC, survival, camping, backpacking, hunting, combat

The Smith & Wesson SWMP4LS M&P Linerlock Knife looks very intimidating and very solid. This combat folder features a glass breaker tip and a tip-up pocket clip. It is powerful and has super-fast M.A.G.I.C. assisted opening mechanism that is activated by a pulling the lever (resembling a gunsight) or pushing up on the thumb stud, springing the blade open. M.A.G.I.C. is short for Multipurpose, Assisted, Generational, Innovative Cutlery, meaning that this knife can be used in many different situations from personal safety, breaking glass or cutting an apple.

Press the button and the blade snaps to attention immediately. It is built like a rock but the rubber inlay on the handle feels comfortable to hold. The rubber also makes it hard for the knife to slip especially if your palms are wet. This product has a pocket clip so you can clip it easily on your pocket or your belt.

If you have approximately $40 to spend on a pocket knife, this product is a good buy. It is very durable, reliable and multi-purpose. The blade is 3.5 inches with overall length of around 8 inches and a standard width of 3.6 inches and weighs 7.5 oz, making it a good choice for a backpacking knife.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
 CONS:

  • Expensive

Related: Chopping meat and veggies can be hard without a chopping board when camping. But don’t worry because the FLIP SNACK BOARD- Camping Plate and Cutting Board is multi-purpose and makes chopping and storing easy. Click open to use as a chopping board or plate and then click close to store inside your backpack.

Check the price on Amazon

KingCamp Stainless Steel Folding Knife

Price: Approx. $15KingCamp Stainless Steel Folding Knife

Blade length: 3.34 inches

Blade material: 5Cr15 stainless steel

Specific features: Clip, hallowing out handle with holes, non-slip and comfortable, durable

Best use: EDC, survival, camping, backpacking, huntin

The KingCamp Stainless Steel Folding Knife can be easily opened and closed. The blade is made with 5Cr15 stainless steel for sharpness and durability. The handle is made of aluminum with titanium plating, which makes this knife really sharp and textured. The blade measures 3.34 inches with overall length of 7.67 inches when unfolded. When folded, it packs down to 4.33 inches for easy transport and weighs just 180 grams.

The aluminum handle features serrated edges to prevent slips and for a more stable grip. The hollowed out design saves weight, making it a good choice for backpackers and campers. It also features a lanyard hole so you can opt to put in a lanyard for easy carrying or storage.

It also has a metal clip buckle so you can hang the knife easily on your belt or clip on your pocket. This product comes with a plastic covering for the edge of the blade for added safety and to protect the blade from dings.

The knife is nicely designed with space and weight savings in mind. It is ready for any challenges you face in your campsite or while you’re on the trail. However, the hollowed out handle is actually quite uncomfortable to hold despite the streamlined handle. With no rubber to cushion your grip, doing repetitive tasks with this knife can be painful especially on your palms.

PROS:

  • Affordable
  • Strong blade
  • Lightweight
 CONS:

  • Uncomfortable handle. Hallowed out design can become pinch-points

Related: Now that you have a knife to slice and cut your food, you also need utensils to make eating easier. The Tapirus Spork To Go V8 Set is a great way to make eating on camp a hassle-free experience. This product will help you enjoy your food so you have energy to explore nature.

Check the price on Amazon

TAC FORCE Tactical Rescue Folding Pocket Knife

Price: Approx. $13Tac Force Knife

Blade length: 4.5 inches

Blade material: stainless steel

Specific features: smooth and assisted operation, rubberized inlay, full aluminum handle, belt clip

Best use: EDC, survival, camping, backpacking, hunting

The TAC FORCE Tactical Rescue Folding Pocket Knife is the perfect tool to carry in your pocket. With its sharp and durable half serrated stainless steel blade, this knife is sure to get the job done.  This knife is not just for rescuers, it is also for backpackers and campers who are looking for a good and reliable knife to help them survive outdoor situations and emergencies.

With a 4.5-inch blade that springs smoothly thanks to its assisted operation, it also comes with rubberized inlay and full aluminum handle for a comfortable non-slip grip. This product also has a belt clip for easy access and storage inside your pocket.

This is a good product for people who are looking for affordable and reliable all-around camping or backpacking knife. It can do a lot of jobs ranging from chopping food to cleaning small game. It feels solid and comfortable to hold.

PROS:

  • Affordable
  • Sharp strong blade
 CONS:

  • Paint on the blade and handle can chip after repeated use
  • A bit long for backpacking use

Related: Slicing food in a dark campsite can be hard. Light up your campsite kitchen with Etekcity Portable LED Camping Lantern. This is a good companion for your knife when camping or during an emergency situation.

Check the price on Amazon

Hoffman Richter HR-15 Folding Knife

Price: Approx. $20Hoffman Richter HR-15 Tactical Folding Knife

Blade length: 3.75 inches

Blade material: 440C steel

Specific features: Titanium coated steel blade, 300 lbs. cord tie and glass breaker, spring assisted opening, liner lock safety switch

Best use: EDC, survival, camping, backpacking, hunting

The Hoffman Richter HR-15 Folding Knife is big, beefy and can get you out of any jam. The HR-15 can stand up to various camping and backpacking tasks easily and fold up to store neatly inside your backpack, purse or pocket. With its 3.75 inch 400C titanium coated steel blade, this handy folding knife can go anywhere with you. Aside from stopping attackers from its tracks, it can also be used as a tactical tool for any camping or survival situation.

The ultra-tough titanium coating ensures that it will last a lifetime and has perfect balance of edge retention and ease of sharpening. This product has a half-serrated blade so that you can also use it to slice and cut even through the toughest materials.

The HR-15’s spring assisted lightning opens quickly; so this tool (or weapon) at the ready in just seconds. If you get into an emergency, the 300-lb rated cord tie and glass breaker on the handle could help you out.

Getting a HR-15 is one of the smartest ways to make sure that you are never caught unprepared, no matter where you are or what you do for a living. It is highly versatile so you can use it for survival and emergency preparedness.

PROS:

  • Strong blade
  • Glass breaker feature
 CONS:

  • Heavy at 0 grams

Related: Keep your tactical knife sharp with the BlizeTec Knife Sharpener. Sharpen your HR-15 with this product before leaving for camping and backpacking trips to ensure their sharpness and reliability in the wild.

Check the price on Amazon

Haus Summit Folding Knife

Price: Approx. $20Haus Summit Folding Knife

Blade length: 3.75 inches

Blade material: 8cr13mov steel

Specific features: Tactical/outdoor hybrid, smooth opening with liner lock, glass breaker and cord cutter G10 handle

Best use: EDC, survival, camping, backpacking, hunting

The Haus Summit Folding Knife features a 3.75-inch, 3 mm thick stainless and black anodized blade with a 5-inch black G10 handle. This smooth opening folding knife locks securely into place using a reliable liner lock system. You can safely and easily secure the knife to your belt or pocket thanks to the sturdy belt clip included.

Another great feature is the glass breaker and cord cutter for any emergency situation. This pocket knife has a sleek, tactical style and the comfortable G10 handle makes this knife perfect for any tactical situation.

This knife has a clean and simple design but with a full range of functionality. The top of the blade has a sharp edge for flint striking. You can use it as an all-around knife when you’re backpacking or camping but it is also small enough for everyday carry inside your pocket or purse. Use it for sharpening stakes outdoors or as a weapon for self-defense. You won’t be disappointed with this product.

The smooth G10 handle is easy on the grip and feels goon on your hand. It won’t hurt your hand or slip during repetitive tasks. This is a good knife for cutting, stabbing, gouging or using the knife for its intended purpose.

PROS:

  • Flint striking option
  • Strong blade
  • Smooth opening
 CONS:

  • Blade sometimes gets stuck during opening
  • Handle can feel too hard for a novice

Related: A knife and a fire can greatly improve your chances of survival in the wild. Pair the Bayite Ferro Rod Kit with your tactical knife so that you can make fire anytime using these tools. Waterproof and weatherproof to work in any condition.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

You’ve arrived at the end of the reviews. Tactical knives have become a standard part of an outdoorsman’s survival kit. A good tactical knife is not just for chopping meat and veggies for cooking. It is also used for cutting rope and fishing lines, preparing stakes for traps, dressing small game and as a weapon.

This multi-purpose feature of the tactical knife makes it an indispensable tool when you’re hiking or backpacking since it will help you prepare for different kinds of situations.

Benchmade Knife

Choosing the best tactical knife is an important decision and a lot of it will depend on its intended purpose. Evaluate your purpose first before looking for the right design, size and materials so that the knife you choose is best suited for your requirements.

What do you think about our tactical knife selection? Do you think you will be buying any of these products? Tell us by leaving your comments below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bradley Page

Bradley Page

With several decades of experience as a backpacker and outdoor adventurer, Bradley is an open encyclopedia when it comes to gear, clothes, and other items that matter on the trail. He tested hundreds of shoes, pants, jackets, and backpacks in his long career and is always up to date with the new appearances in the niche. His experience makes him one of the authority figures in backpacking and he can help anyone to get prepared for a great adventure!