There’s nothing quite like having a pocket knife to hand if you’re someone who enjoys the great outdoors – whether it be a spot of fishing or moving livestock around the ranch. A good, multipurpose pocket knife is an accessory that the modern man just shouldn’t be without and here we are going to look at exactly why – whilst showing you the best pocket knife brands around today.
How to choose your the best pocket knife for you
Getting the right pocket knife for your daily or casual needs is essential. There are plenty of price points, designs and styles depending on where and why you need them. Are you going to be using your pocket knife somewhere where it will need to access super quick, or tucked away in your top pocket when traversing the wilderness? These factors might determine whether you need a fast opening mechanism or something easier to fold away and store.
Different types of pocket knives
Here we take a look at a few different designs for cool pocket knives that you might want to consider before making your first purchase.
Locking Mechanism Pocket Knife
A locking mechanism pocket knife has a type of pin that stops it from closing onto your fingers when in use. It’s a classic American design made for everyday carry and can be used for a variety of situations. It folds, meaning that it can be easily stored, but the lock ensure maximum safety when in use. There are stainless steel blade options that come with aluminium or fibreglass handles depending on your preference.
EDC Folding Pocket Knife
A standard folding pocket knife can be opened and closed with your fingers and doesn’t usually feature a lock. These are handy if you just need something around occasionally that doesn’t require quick and urgent access. Swiss Army knives are a good example of a type of EDC, but if you’re using them for something a little more rigorous there is a risk the blade can close when you don’t want it to. The good thing about these knives also is that when they are folded in your pocket you don’t need to worry about blade exposure.
Drop Point Pocket Knife
If you aim to be doing some real cutting, skinning or carving, then the Drop Point pocket knife is an ideal option. The drop point blade is particularly thicker and is a favourite for hunters and those who like to whittle wood for camping or hunting tools. They are typically a little more expensive than other pocket knives, but that’s because they are made to last and serve you well over time.
Let’s have a look at some of the best pocket knife brands around right now. From classic Schrade and Swiss Army options to more modern, lightweight designs – they’re all here.
Karl Esener founded his cutters workshop, Victorinox in Switzerland back in 1884 when the country was one of Europe’s less well-off nations. But it was in 1891 when asked to develop a multi-purpose pocket knife for the Swiss Army that his company took off. Today, the Swiss Army Knife is a household name, and still one of the coolest (and most practical) pocket knife options on the market.
Caterpillar is a pretty big name in the world of construction, providing everything from workwear to tractors. It’s listed as a Fortune 100 company and has managed to walk the line between industrial manufacturing and high-end fashion. They also have a stellar range of folding pocket knife options that act as stand-alone accessories for camping and working. Or multi-tool designs such as the XL to fix on the fly.
Horace Smith and Daniel B Wesson originally founded their self-named company in 1852, creating firearms from their workshop in Springfield, Massachusetts. Over a century later, once the company had changed ownership several times, the business moved into law enforcement equipment like knives, flashlights and handcuffs. Today, their small and practical pocket knife range is filled with knives that are super useful for tradesmen and adventurers who love the great outdoors.
Pete Kershaw started his self named Oregon brand over 40 years ago, with an onus on producing high-quality knives for the wilderness. The company merged with Japanese blade specialist Kai in the 1990s to create the first liner lock knives that are still highly popular today. Their current base in Tualatin is considered one of the most innovative pocket knife factories in the world, collaborating with some of the biggest names in knifemaking.
To get your hands on an original Old Timer Knife these days you will either have to get a hand-me-down or visit a vintage e-tailer. The company stopped production in 2004. But Taylor Brands now own the intellectual property rights and are producing versions of the classics again. So, whether you’re after one of the more traditional folding designs or a Gunstock Trapper lock blade, you can still purchase these reboot versions.
Buck is the original pocket knife for the man on the ranch. The company have over 110 years of experience making blades and are so confident in their end product they offer a lifetime guarantee. From 3-blade folding knives to ball-bearing flippers, they have a wide range of designs that are as easy on the eye as they are to use. Their knives are made to last and to serve you right in every situation.
Since 1994, CRKT (Columbia River Knife and Tool) have strived to put innovation and integrity at the forefront of all their designs. Believing that strength is built in numbers, they frequently collaborate with the best designers to give their customers something unique that will never let them down day today. They boast a great single folding pocket knife selection that all feature a modern, military look.
Tac Force design and produce a wide range of high-quality knives at an affordable price. Whether your passion is hunting, river fishing, climbing or just passing time in the country, chances are they’ll have a pocket knife for you. From fixed blades and liner locks to frame locks and assisted openings. Everything you need for a safe trip to the wilderness.
Whether you’re whittling your way through wood in the outdoors or cutting through your rope cord on the ranch, Grand Way has a custom design for you. They may have only been around for the past 10 years but already they’ve built a trustworthy reputation on the global market.
M Tech is heavily inspired by Japanese steelmakers who make blades for both everyday use and self-defence. Their huge pocket knife range is ideal for just about everything like camping, hunting and even everyday carry. Their prices are extremely competitive and their selection has you covered for just about any colour you could wish for!
Gerber first came to light back in 1939 with a clear objective, to create problem-solving, life-saving knives when tackling the great outdoors. Their clients include everyone from servicemen and hunters to tradesmen and explorers thanks to their innovative purpose-built designs. They have a wide range of folding, fixed, assisted and automatic knives that sit in the high-end price bracket. With Gerber, you certainly get quality for your dollar.
When talking about iconic pocket knife brands it would be impossible not to mention Schrade. The man whose name the company still adorns to this day started in 1892, brought us the first-ever switchblade, a design that would be later used by soldiers in world wars. Today Schrade is still going strong, with a modern selection of fixed blade and folding knives to choose from at affordable mid-range prices.
If you’re looking for a decent piece of metal for an outdoor adventure, but you’re running a tighter budget, CIVIVI is a great option. Just because their range of Liner Lock and Fixed Blade knives are price friendly doesn’t mean they lack overall quality. Their high-performance range is built to last and serve you well over time, with their designs a little more vintage than cutting-edge.
Imperial Schrade knives are a cheap alternative to the company they share their name with. Their products look the business and are made for those on a cheaper budget. That shouldn’t take away from the fact that they are very practical, and a great option for someone who wants to test whether or not they need a pocket knife before splashing out.
Based in Golden, Colorado, Spyderco are specialist knife producers and sharpeners. They have pioneered many features we just accept these days with knives like pocket clips, serrations and opening holes. Their designs include carbon fibre handles making them super lightweight. They may sit in the higher price bracket but what you’re getting is pretty much a pocket knife for life.
Case Knives have been a manufacturer of some of the best, handcrafted knives on the planet. They have been around since 1889 and provide the type of hunting and fishing knives that are handed down through generations. These include folding pocket knife styles, fixed blades and a whole heap of limited edition specials. They also have a great collection of oils and accessories to keep your pocket knife safe and in peak condition when on the move.
Kizer is a relative newcomer to the pocket knife market, setting up trade in 2012. But what they lack in terms of experience, they make up for in quality. Kizer’s selection of Liner Lock Knives and Front Flipper blades are ideal for getting yourself out of a tricky situation - whether on an adventure or working on site.
If you like getting lost in nature and are looking for a real sturdy pocket knife that won’t let you down, you could do a heck of a lot worse than Ruike. Their affordable range is built to last and stands up to all weather. A trusty companion on every adventure. They make everything from lock knives to Liner Lock blades. Their handles are also ergonomically pleasing and light in hand.