This article was provided by The Smoking Barrel USA, which is a resource for people who want to find the best in gun accessories, tactical gear and everyday carry equipment.
A good knife is something that if you look after it, can be handed down to your kids one day as an heirloom. A knife is not just a tool, but also a constant companion for those of us that carry a pocket knife with us every day. Unfortunately there are a lot of cheap and flimsy knives flooding the market these days that promises to be the greatest knife you will ever own! So what makes a good knife and which knife is the best folding hunting knife out there?
5 Great Folding Hunting Knife Options
Greg has pointed out a few key considerations that you need to keep in mind when choosing the best hunting knife for your needs. These include things such as a fixed blade knife vs a folding knife, blade size, blade material and blade shape. Keeping these points in mind, as well as the size and weight of the knives, we look at 5 great folding hunting knives.
First on our list is a knife from Zero Tolerance, which measures in with a blade length of 3 ¾ inches and weighs approximately 8.6 ounces.
The blade is made from S30V Stainless-steel, which usually means the blade will not hold its edge very long. However this blade is coated with Tungsten Diamond-Like-Coating (DLC) coating. The DLC coating is supposedly as hard as diamonds (which would explain the name…). Besides the DLC coating, the blade is made to look even more “tacticool” with its non-reflective Tiger-stripe camo look.
Grip on the body of the knife is enabled through the Ranger Green G-10 scales, which were 3-D machined.
The knife is designed to be easy to use. Have your hands full? The SpeedSafe® manual assisted opening helps you deploy the blade one handed instead of having to fiddle with a stubborn blade! The knife also includes a quad mounting system for tip-up, tip-down, left- or right-handed clip carry.
Overall, this is a tough knife that comes with a really sharp blade. The blade deploys very smoothly and is hassle free. We like that this is a low maintenance knife that you can just wash off if you get blood and guts all over it. It is a very expensive knife though, and you should be able to get a really good hunting knife for a lot cheaper.
Next up is a great knife from Ontario Knife, who are well known for their knives and supply to the US Government and Military. The knife measures in with a blade length of 3 ¼ inches and weighs approximately 5.4 ounces. It is also a LOT cheaper than the Zero Tolerance knife, which makes it a much better option as an everyday carry knife that you will not feel bad putting to hard work.
The blade is made from AUS-8A steel, which will make it resistant to rust but it will not keep its edge as long as some other carbon blades might. AUS-8A steel is a high carbon, low chromium stainless steel which is a compromise between toughness and strength, edge holding and resistance to corrosion.
The blade is reasonably broad for a folding knife and has a sharp point that will make it very useful for skinning. It does not have a saw edge, so you will need to make sure you keep it sharp if you plan to do a lot of skinning with it. Of course the ergonomical Zytel grip will also make gripping the knife comfortable and allow you to exert power when using it. If you are not familiar with Zytel, it is a composite material that is made up of fiberglass and nylon. It is strong and lightweight, while also offering excellent surface grip.
As you would expect from a quality folding knife, it has a thumb-stud to allow one-handed opening of the blade that also has a Liner Lock locking system for safety.
Overall, if you plan to use your knife a lot in wet conditions, the AUS-8A steel along with the rubber grip will make this the best folding hunting knife for your needs. With a retail price in the $25-$30 range, this knife offers really good value for money.
This knife from Spyderco measures in with a blade length of 3 13/16 inches and weighs approximately 3.6 ounces. It is a lot more expensive than the Ontario, but still in a price range that you would expect to pay for one of the best folding hunting knives.
The blade is made from VG-10 steel, which is a stainless steel with a high carbon content. This steel is a favourite among Japanese knife makers as it holds its edge very well while still being able to withstand rust. The shape of the overall blade is a bit different from the usual folding hunting knives, as it has a hook and a slip-resistant jimping on the blade’s spine. The hook on the blade is meant to allow for easy blade opening by catching your pocket’s edge when you take the knife out of your pocket (we first thought the hook was meant to be a bottle opener…but it is not!). It might take some getting used to, but once you have mastered how to use the hook for opening, you will love it! Of course the sharp point of the blade will make piercing skin easy when you have to do skinning. The blade is very sturdy thanks to the shallow relief edge, which makes it an excellent hard working knife.
The grip of the knife is made from fiberglass reinforced nylon, which has bi-directional texturing moulded into it for extra grip. The grip itself is also moulded in such a way to produce the ideal ergonomics for your hand when you grip the knife.
What would a list of the best folding hunting knife options be without a Buck knife on the list?! Buck is a well-known American knife brand that has been making top quality knives for a very long time. They are so confident of the quality of their knives that they give it what they call the Buck Forever Warranty.
This knife from Buck measures in with a blade length of 2 3/8 inches and weighs approximately 1.9 ounces, making it the smallest and lightest knife on our list.
The blade is made from 420HC steel, which is stainless steel with high carbon content (the HC actually stands for High Carbon). This steel is known to be a rugged steel that can withstand constant use, while also being easy to sharpen. The shape of the blade itself is very traditional with a clip point that makes piercing skin easy when skinning.
Differing from the other knives on our list, this knife’s grip is not made from a fiberglass and nylon material, but rather from a classy looking American Walnut and brass bolsters. Of course it means grip is not as good on this handle as it is on the other knives on our list. It also does not have mechanisms in place to make one-handed easy opening of the blade possible.
While this is a classy looking quality knife, it is perhaps just a bit on the small side to be a true hunting knife. Add to that the grip and opening mechanisms, we think there are better folding hunting knife options available. However if you want a good looking everyday carry type of pocket knife, this might be the best folding hunting knife for you.
The last, but not least, knife on our list comes from Cold Steel. This knife measures in with a blade length of 5.5 inches and weighs approximately 6.5 ounces.
Similar to the Ontario knife’s blade, this blade is made from AUS-8A steel which is a high carbon, low chromium stainless steel. It is a compromise between toughness and strength, edge holding and resistance to corrosion. Different to the other knives on our list, this knife has a Tanto blade. The thick construction of the blade makes it nice and sturdy. Along with its sharp edge it makes it ideal for shearing. Also a bit different about this blade is the finish. It is not a shiny polished finish like you would usually expect, but rather it has a stone-wash type of finish on it.
The handle of this knife is what we really like. It is textured and moulded to provide the maxim grip. Because of the groovings in place for your fingers, you can be sure this knife will be sturdy in your hand when you have to exert a lot of power into it. The handle has the Tri-Ad lock mechanism in place to keep the blade in place. However opening the blade is still solid and smooth.
Overall, this is a big folding knife. If you want a small-ish knife that you can easily carry concealed in your pocket every day and which looks nice and shiny, then this is perhaps not best folding hunting knife for you (rather look at the Buck then). However if you are looking for a solid and sturdy knife that won’t break the bank, then you should really consider this knife.
Which folding hunting knife would we choose?
There are a lot of great folding hunting knives out there. But which knife would we choose if we were in the market for a folding hunting knife? Let us recap our options and see which knife is the best folding hunting knife option:
The Zero Tolerance knife is nice, but very expensive. It has some fancy features like its blade being coated with DLC to make it super hard, while also having Tiger-strip camo. It will serve you well and be nice to use, but we feel there are cheaper knives that will also get the job done.
The Ontario knife is a very affordable knife with a nice broad blade. The materials used with this knife makes it an ideal knife to use in wet weather conditions, however while it has a good blade the other knives have better blade offerings in terms of materials used.
The knife from Spyderco is a good knife and comes at a price that you would reasonably expect to pay for one of the best folding hunting knife options out there. It has an excellent blade that is made from top quality Japanese steel. The blade has some designs that might take some getting used to (specifically the wave/hook), but once you do you will be a true believer!
The Buck knife is a nice looking knife that comes in at a very affordable price. However it is much smaller than the other knives and do not have the same features that you would like in a true hunting knife (such as a very grippy handle, easy blade opening mechanisms, etc).
The knife from Cold Steel is also really affordable. However it is a big knife that is not ideal for everyday concealed carry in your pocket. It probably has the best grip of all the knives on our list though, with its grippy texture and grooved finger indentations.
So which knife do we think is the best folding hunting knife?
Obviously what you think the best folding hunting knife is will depend on your own tastes and needs. However, if we had to fork out our hard earned cash for a folding hunting knife we would likely go with the Spyderco knife. It is not too expensive, has a good blade and is a good size for a folding knife. Sure the wave/hook might be a bit annoying at first, but we are sure when you get used to it it is great!
What Do You Think – What Is The Best Folding Hunting Knife?
Hunting knives and EDC knives tend to make a lot of people passionate. It is something you carry with you and on which you rely heavily. For that reason people will have opinions on what they think the best folding hunting knife is, but which perhaps is not on our list. So, if you have some thoughts on the subject of what the best folding hunting knife is please share it in the comments section below!