Finding the Best Pocket Knife for You

OUTDOORS

   02.02.21

Doesn’t it always seem like you never have a knife on you when you need one? Having a pocket knife with you is one of the more handy things you can do, so you might as well carry one all the time. As long as you know what your budget is, and what features you really want, finding the best pocket knife for you is much easier. As the old motto goes, “always be prepared.” Here are a few that we really like that you might find to be just the right pocket knife for you:

1. CRKT Homefront – Editor’s Pick

We first got our hands on this knife at SHOT Show. It has AUS 8 blade steel with 6061 aluminum handles making it a very durable, sharp and lightweight pocket knife. What truly sets it apart is the Field Strip system. Designed by legendary knife designer Ken Onion, the Field Strip system allows you to take the knife apart without tools and in a matter of seconds. You flip the lever, rotate the wheel and the knife comes apart for cleaning. This makes it the perfect knife for everyday use because if you’re like us, you are always doing something fun where your knife could get filthy. This system solves one of the major issues with folding pocket knives. And being from CRKT, you know the quality is there, too.

Pros/Easiest folding knife to clean. Period.

Cons/We haven’t found one yet.

Bottom Line/A great buy and the easiest knife to keep clean.

2. Benchmade Boost 591

Benchmade is one of our favorite knife makers. They work with custom knife makers and designers for every knife offered by the brand. One of our newer favorites for an everyday carry pocket knife is the Boost 591. The 591 has what Benchmade calls comfortable, dual-durometer ergonomics. A practical knife with the quick action of the Axis Assist mechanism, ambidextrous access and strong CPM-3V steel with opposing bevel and blunt pry-tip blade. It is just 4.83 inches long when closed and 8.26 inches when opened. A great multi-purpose knife and tool.

Pros/An extremely high-quality and multi-purpose knife.

Cons/It’s a little pricey.

Bottom Line/A perfect, everyday pocket knife that is American made and very high quality.

3. Case Stockman – The Classic Pick

How could we talk about pocket knives and not include a Case? Case knives are the quintessential pocket knife. The Stockman is one of their best models, and there are many options available for the handles. We like the black laminated canvas handles that is scratch resistant and textured for grip. The Stockman has three distinct blades. The Clip blade is commonly used as a multi-purpose blade and preferred for detail work. The Sheepfoot blade allows for added strength at the point making it great for carving and achieving a clean cut. The Spey blade is commonly used as an all-purpose utility blade. These knives are about as classic as they are functional. You need to get one for yourself, and maybe one to pass along to a friend, spouse or child.

Pros/An American-made classic pocket knife.

Cons/Being a three-blade folder, it can be a little harder to clean.

Bottom Line/You’ll want to own one, and buy one for a loved one, too.

4. Ontario Knife Company Rat 1A Folding

Ontario Knife Company (OKC) took their top-selling RAT1 folding blade and updated it to include OKC’s patent-pending Tactical Assisted Opening (T.A.O) system, designed by Joe Pardue. The RAT 1, with its aggressive yet practical design, can be used for everything from emergency situations to everyday carry. The durable, textured G10 handle provides your hand a firm and stable way to grip the knife. OKC has been around for over 100 years and still operates from their original upstate New York location.

Pros/One of the best buys for the money.

Cons/Some places don’t allow assisted opening knives.

Bottom Line/You get a lot of knife for the money with the OKC Rat 1A.

5. CRKT Minimalist Cleaver – The Little Knife You Didn’t Know You Needed

While not a traditional pocket knife, this sweet little blade is just too cool to leave off the list. It fit perfectly in the hand and the grooves are so well placed that the knife sits right in the grip and doesn’t slip well. The satin, bead-blasted blade is durable 5Cr15MoV steel. The shape is unconventional, but once you use it, you’ll find it to be extremely handy. The knife is not a folder, yet is small enough for your pocket. The sheath also has a lanyard so you can hang it around your neck.

Pros/Small and extremely handy. Amazing price!

Cons/Belt loop on the sheath is a little small for bigger belts.

Bottom Line/A great knife for carrying in your pocket, or elsewhere on your body.

What we look for in a pocket knife

There are so many good knives on the market today, it’s rather hard to pick the best ones. When thinking about what we’d look for in a pocket knife there are two main factors – usability and cleaning.

Usability and functionality are key. Pocket knives get called into duty for many different things, so it simply has to be able to get the job done. For this, we look at how sharp it is and how well it retains the edge. Dull knives are worthless. Quality steel that holds the edge and can be readily sharpened when needed is a must.

A good pocket knife also has to be easily cleaned regularly. All kinds of stuff gets into your pocket, and that can settle into the handle and mechanism of your pocket knife. Plus, if you’ve ever forgotten your hunting knife and had to dress a deer with your pocket knife, you’ll be glad you bought one that can be cleaned easily.

How long can my pocketknife blade be?

This varies by state, so check your local regulations before ever leaving your house with a knife in your pocket. Some states allow for no longer than three inches, and other restrict how the knife can open.

About the Author

Derrek Sigler has been a professional outdoor writer for more than two decades since earning his Master’s Degree in creative writing with a thesis about fishing humor. But if you ask anyone that knows him, he’s been telling fishin’ stories since he was old enough to hold a pole. He has written for Cabela’s and served as editorial director for Gun Digest books. Over the years, he has also written for Petersen’s Hunting, North American Whitetail Magazine, Wildfowl, Grand View Media, and has worked with Bass Pro Shops, Hard Core Brands and Bone Collector. Successful Farming had him write for their magazine and he has appeared on their TV show to discuss hunting and ATVs on multiple occasions. He writes about the things he loves – hunting, fishing, camping, trucks, ATVs, boating, snowmobiles and the outdoor lifestyle he enjoys with his family in their home state of Michigan and more as they adventure around North America.

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