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.

  • Lightweight
  • Magnesium fire starter
  • Waterproof flashlight
  • 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.

  • Long blade
  • Large flat screwdriver
  • Lock mechanism
  • 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.

  • Lightweight
  • Size
  • Sharp, high-quality blade
  • 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.

  • Lightweight
  • Stainless Steel
  • Corrosion resistant blade
  • 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.

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

Other Best Selling Options

SaleBestseller No. 1
Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops SWA24S 7.1in S.S. Folding Knife with 3.1in Serrated Clip Point Blade and Aluminum Handle for Outdoor, Tactical, Survival and EDC
  • Dimensions: 7.1 inch (18 cm) overall length with a blade length of 3.1 inches (7.9 cm) and a weight of 3.5 ounces
  • Durable: Blade is made of reliable 7Cr17MoV Black Oxide High Carbon Stainless Steel with a black, aluminum handle
  • Dependable: Quick and easy access with the convenient pocket clip, finger flipper and ambidextrous thumb knobs making it ideal for everyday carry
  • Secure: Have confidence that the blade will not slip with the security of the liner lock
SaleBestseller No. 2
Smith & Wesson SW7 10.6in High Carbon S.S. Fixed Blade Knife with 5.2in Tanto Blade and TPE Handle for Outdoor, Tactical, Survival and EDC
  • Dimensions: 10.6 inch (26.9 centimeter) overall length with a blade length of 5.2 inches (13.2 centimeter) and a weight of 8.5 ounces
  • Durable: Blade is made of reliable 9Cr17MoV high carbon stainless steel with a black, TPE handle
  • Dependable: Quick and easy access with the convenient ambidextrous, thermoplastic sheath
  • Secure: Have confidence that the blade will not slip with the security of the hand guard
SaleBestseller No. 3
Folding Knife with Half Serrated Stainless Steel Tactical Blade and G10 Handle Perfect for Rescue, Hunting, Survival, Fishing, Hiking, Camping, Climbing, Work, Self Defense
  • ▶ Gets The Job Done - Deploy the sharp semi serrated SWAT blade to cut through cardboard, rope, wood, fish, fishing line, deer, seatbelt, etc. Praised for its mission versatility, with this innovative design blade you won’t go unnoticed. With this knife, you don’t need to be a big fish to bite like one.
  • ▶ A Blade That Commands Respect - Made of 420B stainless steel and coated with a black oxide layer, this sharp blade is built to last. The fine edge will pierce through anything. The belly is perfect for precision slicing while the serrations will let you cut through harder material quickly and easily.
  • ▶ Confident And Swift Action - Altered to satisfy many national and international two hand opening regulations, you can flick open this folder ONE handed using the dual sided thumb studs. The liner lock system gives confidence during use. Watch:
  • ▶ G10 Performance Handle - Better grip than any metal handles. The beautiful skeleton style and textured G-10 handle ensures a secure and confident grip during use. It is light and very resistant. Multiple unique ergonomic features like a thumb groove, finger guard and multiple dented area. Made to be used in forward or reverse grip.
  • ▶ Lifetime Guarantee - Covered by a LIFETIME warranty, this blade is made for the long haul.

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


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.


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.


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

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