Camping Survival

The Best Backpacking Knife Under $100: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

We Look at some of the industry’s best backpacking knives under $100 and pick the top 5 along with full reviews of each with Pros & Cons

When preparing for your hiking adventures, a backpacking knife is one of those tools that is a must-have.

There is so much that can be accomplished by using a backpacking knife, and it is very beneficial. However, the challenge is to find the best backpacking knife for you. Many tools come with multiple features, while some are only an individual knife.

Prior to making a purchase, you should decide what specific features you are looking for in the knife. In most cases, it is advisable to keep away from knives that are loaded with features especially for those who have limited requirements.

There is a lot of variation among different people when it comes to the suitability of this accessory. We took a look at some of the industry’s options for the best backpacking knife under $100 and here are our Top Picks.

Our 5 Best Backpacking Knife Under $100

1. SOG SLPRO SLP2 Knife – The All-Round Option

Considering all factors, the SOG SLPRO SLP2 has the best combination for outdoor expeditions. It is packed with a lot of features including s loud whistle, a fire starter and an excellent flashlight.

The knife is foldable which makes it easy to carry, and saves on storage space. In addition, the knife is lightweight weighing at only 4.3 oz. Thus, there is no need to carry it with other luggage and it can be kept within your pocket.

It has a belt clip for clipping the knife in an easily accessible place. Its loud emergency whistle gets you feeling safe when you are out camping or hunting. You can quickly alert your troops if you’re left behind for some reason or if you’re in danger.

Furthermore, the knife can be used single-handedly. This is particularly useful when doing something with one hand and the other hand is free for you to operate the knife.

Its other excellent feature is its magnesium fire starter making it even more ideal for hunting and camping. All you have to do with the fire starter is remove the protective coating making it easy to ignite a spark.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Magnesium fire starter
  • Waterproof flashlight
Cons
  • Low range of flashlight
  • The whistle is not very loud

2. Swiss Army Adventurer Swiss Knife – The Away-Kitchen Choice

Victorinox is known to make an array of quality products one of them being the Swiss Army Adventurer. For the hiking enthusiasts and adventurous people out there, this knife was made with you in mind.

Despite its small package, this knife packs almost everything you need when away from your kitchen. Some of its small contents include a toothpick, screwdriver, tweezers, locking blade, and a cap opener.

Its blade is long enough and excellent in handling different tasks including trimming loose strings. Its side-button lock mechanism can easily be locked by one hand.

When you are away from home and if you might need a screwdriver, this knife conveniently has one. Its screwdriver is able to perform the roles of a chisel and prying tool.

The Swiss Army Adventurer backpacking knife is strong and even if the prying is tough, you will not break it. This backpacking  knife is also equipped with a toothpick and tweezers.

Pros
  • Long blade
  • Large flat screwdriver
  • Lock mechanism
Cons
  • Small size
  • Serrated edge

3. Cold Steel Recon 1 Folding Knife – The Spear-Like Option

Thanks to its 4-inch blade, the Cold Steel Recon 1 is suited to perform a wide range of tasks. Its length is particularly useful in performing serious tasks as well as leisure tasks such as fine carvings.

For those with long hands, the knife’s long blade makes the handle fit perfectly in your hands. In addition, its handle has an aggressive texture, which works best for your hands grip.

It has two grooves for the middle and primary fingers making it more comfortable to hold and use. The knife is also equipped with a belt/pocket clip which provides you with an array of options on how to carry it.

You can choose to carry it right or left, up or downside, and its solid and sturdy lockup system will make you feel safe regardless how you choose to store it. This is an important feature considering you might have to carry it differently for multiple outdoor activities.

The blade has a hollow grind, which is an advantage to its spear-like shape when it comes to performing different tasks. Additionally, it has enough cutting surface, its blade is razor-sharp, and it stays like this for a long time.

The blade on the Cold Steel Recon folding knife is thick, so breakage wouldn’t be an issue. This backpacking knife is excellent for all cutting tasks including opening cans.

The Recon 1 is strong enough, generally durable and reliable, as well as very sharp. In addition, it is extremely rugged and is effortless when re-sharpening.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Size
  • Sharp, high-quality blade
Cons
  • Low-quality Tri-ad locking system
  • Higher cost

4. Buck Knives 0119 Fixed Blade Knife – The Lifetime Warranty Option

With a lifetime warranty attached to it, you can be sure that you are getting a high-quality knife in the Buck Knife 0119. By getting this knife, you would have done yourself a great favor as it has all the features you would want in a knife and more.

It can withstand any task you throw at it. It is razor sharp out of the box and is made in such a way that there is no need for re-sharpening it even after many years of use.

The 0119 has a corrosion resistant blade. This is particularly useful for those who plan to use it in wet conditions. Many knives are said to be resistant to corrosion, but with time they prove otherwise.

For those who like staying with knives for very long periods, with some even going for more than 50 years, this is the knife for you. Other than the sheath, this knife is manufactured in the USA therefore, you are getting a quality piece.

The handle of this top bowie knife is made of pommel, polish brass guard, and cocobolo wood. Even with an excellent blade and awesome features, the blade would prove useless if it did not feel comfortable when using this tool.

The manufacturer of the 0119 knife wanted the user to have the best holding experience thus instilling exceptional balance, a great handle, and a stylish look. This backpacking knife comes with a high-quality sheath which has similar durability as the knife.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Stainless Steel
  • Corrosion resistant blade
Cons
  • Low-quality rivets
  • The balance seems off

5. Gerber Strongarm Fixed Blade Knife – The Military Grade Alternative

The design of the Gerber Strongarm fixed blade backpacking knife copies that of the military survival training essentials. Everything about the knife assures you that this product will not disappoint, whatever the mission.

Gerber is known for their very tough and fixed blades and you are assured of success regardless of whatever you plan to use the knife for. Its modular sheath makes it ideal for those planning to use it under various circumstances.

In addition, it sheath can be mounted on a belt, traditional drop or MOLLE meaning that you will be able to access it regardless of the position you will be in. The sheath also has snap-together components making it even more desirable.

The last thing you would want on a good knife is a shaking grip, especially when handling tough tasks. A shaking grip translates to more time being spent on a single task. With the Gerber Strongarm fixed blade knife, you get a good solid grip.

The pommel at the base of the handle is meant to break through many hard surfaces for a more efficient rescue operation. The knife’s blade is coated with ceramic meaning that its use is subtler even under low visual profile. The ceramic coating also prevents it from corroding even after many years of use.

Pros
  • Stainless Steel
  • Adjustable strap
  • Full tang 420HC steel blade
Cons
  • Poor balance & design
  • Tough construction

Other Best Selling Options

Bestseller No. 1
Coleman Camp Chair with 4-Can Cooler | Folding Beach Chair with Built In Drinks Cooler | Portable Quad Chair with Armrest Cooler for Tailgating, Camping & Outdoors , Black, Roomy seat: 24"
  • Built-in cooler: Keeps up to 4 cans cold and easily accessible
  • Hours of comfort: Thanks to fully cushioned seat and back
  • Convenient features: Side pockets, mesh cup holder, adjustable arm heights
  • Dimensions: 24 inches wide; 18.1 inches high
  • Built to last: Strong steel frame supports up to 325 pounds
SaleBestseller No. 2
Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD Pocket Knife, Red ,58mm
  • A CUT ABOVE THE REST: Compact, agile and ready to face any adventure head-on. Our range of Swiss Army Knives have been established since 1897 and continue to be an icon of utility and smart design.
  • DURABLE CONSTRUCTION: Swiss made stainless steel construction encased in our popular scales offers a slimmer profile and is extremely resistant.
  • COMPACT CARRY: Bring this knife with you on your daily adventures without sacrificing space. It makes a great gift for any occasion or stocking stuffer for Christmas.
  • FIT FOR ALL TASKS: At their heart, all our pocket knives are a survival tool; multitaskers that deliver in any situation. At their most evolved they have surpassed basic function to pioneer space travel and restart engines.
  • TRUSTED QUALITY: Made in Switzerland; Victorinox provides a lifetime guarantee against defects in material and workmanship. Making a lifetime commitment has never been so easy. No assembly required, money back guarantee.
Bestseller No. 3
JUKMO Tactical Belt, Military Hiking Rigger 1.5" Nylon Web Work Belt with Heavy Duty Quick Release Buckle (Black, Medium)
  • QUICK RELEASE BUCKLE UPGRADED VERSION:The crafted heavy-duty buckle, made of aluminium alloy, has very strong load-bearing capacity, which can meet your different wearing requirements. The upgraded part is that it is more convenient to adjust the length to perfect fit more than you can imagine. If you want to understand more intuitively how to be more convenient, you can watch our short tactical video
  • HIGH QULITY STRETCH NYLON:We intent to make the strap be stretch. The strap is made by special stretch material which is more solid than regular belt. More than that, it is very sturdy as well as stretch, which make your waist be more comfortable as well as stay tight, when you take large range of activities. Anyone who do physical activities for a long period of hours will get a great use out of the tactical belt
  • FOR SPECIAL YOU: Our solid belt suits for military, SWAT, fire fighters, work, sport and other tactical users. Anyone who need to take any activity will be in harmony with the belt
  • AS A PRESENT: Our elaborate belt is enclosed in an elegant gift box for you giving whoever you love, or yourself
  • SHOPPING GUARANTEE:If you meet any problems after purchasing the belt, please don't hesitate to contact us. We promise to provide you 100% satisfying guarantee

Choosing the Best Backpacking Knife Under $100

A backpacking knife is definitely a crucial addition to your overall survival gear. Even better when you can find a solid and reliable option for under $100. When looking to buy one, there are certain factors you ought to consider.

The Tang

This is a part of the blade that attaches to the handle. These extensions are all made of the same material as the blade, in most cases steel.

The best tangs are the ones that extend into the handle’s base as this provides the strength required. Low quality and cheaper knives normally have their tangs attached to the top of the handle. Thus resulting into a more fragile backpacking knife.

Tang extends down the handle
Tang extends down the handle

The Handle

Handles for backpacking knives vary widely as they are made out of various materials including hard rubber, polymer, and others. The majority of the handles are made out of excellent high-quality material thus you ought to look out for what to avoid.

It is advisable to keep away from knives with hollow handles for storing or keeping things. This is because most knives with hollow handles lack a full tang, which is not a good thing.

In addition, if it’s used in the storage of matches and you happen to lose it, you would have lost all the matches and you won’t be able to light a fire. Also, avoid handles with compasses in the middle which is the case with most novelty-survival backpacking knives.

A compass may sound like a good feature, but it messes up your grip. This is crucial since in survival situations anything that could compromise one’s mission is unacceptable.

The Blade

Most backpacking knives have blades made of two different types of steel, mainly stainless and carbon. There is a great difference between these both materials.

Stainless steel is durable, indestructible, doesn’t easily rust, and can withstand tough usability. However, stainless steel can loose an edge more quickly than carbon.

On the other hand, carbon steel holds a good edge for extended periods compared to stainless steel, but it can rust faster.

A Range of knives
A Range of knives

Sheath

The sheath of a backpacking knife may feel less important, but there are things you should look out for in an ideal knife sheath.

It should have a belt and lanyard attachment on the knife’s handle. It should also have a hole or some attachment piece at its end where you can strap the knife on your leg or belt.

You should also pay attention to how the sheath holds around the knife. A good strap crosses over where the handle meets the sheath. Straps that are on the base of the handle, usually have the knife sliding out most of the time.

Sharp Pointed Tip

Backpacking knives have all sorts of tips including rounded, hooked, straight cut flat, and angled. A sharp pointed tip is particularly helpful when it comes to self-defense against man or beast.

Size

You should get a knife that is of perfect size to meet most of your needs especially if you are planning to use it often. Pay close attention to its length. The longer it is, the better as shorter ones pose difficulties when it comes to cutting things.

Conclusion

A backpacking knife under $100 is a must have for anyone planning an outdoor expedition without breaking the bank. However, you ought to have the best backpacking knife prior to embarking on your expedition.

The best backpacking knife is the one that works perfectly in many environments, and can easily take on the toughest tasks with exceptional results.

We carefully selected the best backpacking knives above. Be sure to consider all of the main factors of what you need for a quality knife. Any of these choices will be a great option and will be useful for any outdoor trip.

Jake is an explorer, he loves all types of outdoor pursuits such as hunting, fishing & hiking. Jake has been a full-time writer & blogger for many years now and he's here to share his passions with the BeActiveOutdoors readers. Contact Jake@beactiveoutdoors.com

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