Accessories

Best Ultralight Backpacking Knives For Your 2021 Adventure

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Undoubtedly, 2020 was one of the most unexciting years for all the adventure and camping enthusiasts. So naturally, if you are preparing for your next big backpacking trip in 2021, you may want to find the best tools and essential items for it, such as a backpacking knife!

However, with the countless brands endorsing their own best backpacking knives, you may find yourself confused. And well, you might be running low on time. 

To help you out, we did our research and have come up with a list of the 7 best backpacking knives, having their own set of benefits and limitations. 

So, read on to save yourself some time and find the best match. 

7 Best Ultralight Backpacking Knives For 2021

1. Spyderco Delica 4

Spyderco Delica 4 is one of the best portable backpacking knives you could find. 

First of all, it is extremely lightweight and weighs only around 0.15 pounds because of the stainless steel material. Due to their lightweight nature, doing tiresome camping tasks may get effortless for you.

Moreover, they are extremely sharp which makes them capable of cutting through any hard object, be it wood or a rope! Another thing that we liked about it is how precise it is. You don’t have to worry about any sloppy edges that may cause an inconvenience. 

As for the grip, it comes with an ergonomic and slip-resistant handle. So, there’s almost no possibility of letting a knife cut ruining your journey. 

Lastly, it is easy to use and handle as well.

Pros
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Slip-resistant and firm grip
  • Perfect sharpness
  • Precise angle for cutting edges
  • Available in 8 different colors
Cons
  • May not be the best for cutting food items due to the short blade
  • May not open/close as swiftly as it should

2. Gerber Paraframe I

If you’re searching for an ultralight backpacking knife that is easy to clean, carry, and use in an emergency, then this is the one for you.

As it weighs only around 0.15 pounds, it is extremely easy to carry it in your bag or even in your pocket. Additionally, its frame lock helps in securing your knife and avoiding any accidents that may ruin your trip.

When it comes to the blade, then it comes out razor-sharp! So, there’s no need for sharpening it again. Moreover, the partial serration towards the end of the knife makes it ideal for cutting ropes and other textured objects.

Lastly, the design is quite minimalist without any complications!

Pros
  • Ultralight and pocket-friendly
  • Easy to use
  • Easy Cleaning
  • Razor-shape blade
  • Quite safe due to the frame lock
Cons
  • May get hard to open
  • Doesn’t offer the best ergonomic design

3. Spyderco Honeybee

For many buyers, Spyderco is one of the most trusted brands. So, there is no doubt that Spyderco Honeybee holds up to the standards and is one of the best ultralight backpacking knives

It merely weighs around 10 grams which makes it ideal if you don’t require a heavy-duty knife. Yet, its weight doesn’t compromise on its quality because this knife with its sharpness can still cut through some of the hardest materials. 

If you require a knife for your safety, you can depend on this one as you can simply hang it as a keychain or even wear it on your neck. 

You may face some limitations such as slow cutting speed due to its small size. Additionally, it also doesn’t have a locking mechanism which may make it a bit risky to use.

Pros
  • Ultralight in weight
  • Easily portable
  • Quick use for safety
  • Sharp and suitable for small tasks
Cons
  • Not made for tough tasks
  • May get risky due to no lock
  • Doesn’t offer a secure grip due to the size

4. Opinel No.8 

Opinel No.8 is one of the safest knives out there with itsspecial ‘Virobloc’ safety lock mechanism

This lock has a circular ring that helps in opening or closing the knife. Moreover, it also has a folding mechanism for added safety. 

When it comes to the sharpness of the knife, it can definitely cut through wood faster than plenty of other knives. However, it may not be the most stable of the lot. Additionally, it is definitely more ideal for cutting or slicing food items when you are camping. 

As the handle is made up of wood and the blade is made up of stainless steel, this knife offers durability if you take good care while washing it. Just like other knives on the list, this one is also pretty lightweight as it only weighs around 0.10 pounds.

Pros
  • Pocket-friendly
  • Extremely safe and secure
  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • Durable
  • Affordable
  • Best for simple tasks
Cons
  • Disappointing packaging
  • Doesn’t have a firm or stable grip

5. ESEE Izula-II

Enough about simple small task knives because if you are looking for a tough fixed-blade knife specifically manufactured for heavy-duty tasks, then this is the one. 

Unlike other knives with thin blades made for small tasks, this one comes with a thick blade that is suitable for daunting tasks. Yet, one special feature is how portable this knife is despite its robustness. 

It comes with a paper-cutting sharpness and thus, helps in effortlessly cutting through things. 

Two of the major limitations of this blade are the handles and the sheath covering that comes with it. First of all, the handle’s edges may get too sharp for some users which may reduce the comfort while using it. 

As for the sheath, it can hold the knife well but you may have difficulty in removing it from the knife.

Pros
  • Pocket-friendly yet sturdy enough
  • Multi-purpose knife
  • Great for heavy tasks
  • Perfect edge with great sharpness
  • Available in four styles
Cons
  • Uncomfortable handle
  • Low-quality sheath

6. Morakniv Companion 

For a versatile knife, go for Morakniv Companion. This knife also ranks first in the ‘Camping fixed-blade knives’ category on Amazon and thus, is definitely a customer favorite

How could it not be? This knife is suitable for all jobs, be it for carving/cutting wood or for cutting any food items! Moreover, with its amazing and firm hand, it also accounts for proper safety as well as a high-friction grip. 

As its blade is made up of stainless steel, it is sharp enough to cut through hard objects and at the same time durable. One more notable feature is the corrosion-resistance which makes it suitable for harsh camping conditions. 

Lastly, it comes with a sheath that can provide additional safety and security while carrying the knife in your bag.

Pros
  • Versatile as it can be used for many tasks
  • Corrosion-resistant and durable
  • Excellent grip
  • Precise razor-sharpness
  • Affordable
  • Comes with a protective sheath
Cons
  • Finishing of the blade may not be the best
  • The small size may be a limitation for harder tasks

7. Kershaw Clash

Kershaw Clash is an excellent knife that can fit in your pocket and also help you in making any type of cuts with the proper precision.

However, the commendable feature here is that despite its pocket-friendly size, its nylon handle offers a grip and control over the blade like no other. Moreover, it comes with a one-handed flipper opening system. This makes it quite convenient to use even if your hands are full with other camping equipment.

Lastly, it has a sleek design and as it only weighs around 68 grams or 0.14 pounds, it is extremely portable and easy to hold too. 

Pros
  • Has a great and firm hold
  • Durable and wear-and-tear-resistant
  • Easy opening/closing
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight and portable
Cons
  • Blade requires sharpening
  • Size may get small for some users

Buying Guide to Find the Best Backpacking Knives

If you are confused about which knife will suit you and be the most helpful, it is best to consider reading this buying guide. It will help you understand the types of backpacking knives available and on what basis, you should choose them. 

Types of Backpacking Knives

Before you choose any blade, you may want to know about the two types of the best backpacking knives.

Fixed Blade 

This type of knife is very strong and durable. It is heavy in weight and the blade reaches all the way to the end of the knife’s handle. 

This one is ideal for heavy usage and it is very useful for survival mode. 

Folding Blade 

On the other hand, folding knives are more practical and recommended for most backpacking usage. 

Even though they are relatively less durable than fixed blade knives, they are safer to carry and they can get the job done for most tasks. 

They are compact and much lighter in weight. You can throw them in your backpack and totally forget about them. 

Factors To Consider Before Buying a Backpacking Knife

These are the main factors to consider when buying your backpacking knife:

1. Lock

One of the first things to look at when you buy your backpacking knife is the lock. A lock that retains the blade in the open position properly adds an extra layer of security to your knife and keeps your fingers safe. 

Here are the 5 types of locks: 

Back Lock 

This type of lock is a piece of metal located at the back of the knife. You can release the blade by pressing on the back of the handle. It is very secure and stable., however, it requires you to use both hands to close the knife.

Frame Lock 

The frame will slide around the blade to keep it open. To open it, you need to press the frame lock with your thumb to the side to release the blade. You can close it with only one hand. 

Liner Lock 

The mechanism of this lock is very similar to the frame lock. A metal liner keeps the blade secured in place. The opening technique is the same as the frame lock. 

No Lock 

Some small lightweight knives simply do not have enough space for a lock. Such knives usually lack stability and durability and they require you to be very careful when you use them. 

Custom Lock 

Some brands use their own type of unique locks. For example, Opinel No 8 created a lock in the form of a metal ring to hold the blade in place and prevent it from closing.

2. Material 

The ideal knife blade should be strong, durable, keeps a sharp edge with consistent use, resists corrosion, and could be sharpened easily. 

Yet, there are certain limitations to consider. Harder steel has the sharpest edge and the best durability but it is very hard to sharpen. On the other hand, softer steel is easier to sharpen and has a much higher corrosion resistance but it does not keep a sharp edge for long. 

Here are the two types of steel used in most backpacking knives stainless steel and carbon steel:

Stainless Steel 

Stainless steel is popular for its high ability to resist corrosion and rust. It is used in most backpacking knives. Stainless steel is available in so many options ranging from affordable and cheap ones to the most premium ones. 

High-Carbon Steel 

This type of steel offers exceptional hardness and keeps a sharp edge for a very long time. However, it is more prone to corrosion than stainless steel.

3. Handle

The ideal handle feels comfortable to hold, has a good texture to grip, and is aesthetically pleasing to look at. 

Here are the pros and cons of each type of handles:

Wood Handles 

Wooden knife handles have the best authentic and aesthetic looks. They have a perfect texture to grip. However, they are prone to water damage. 

Rubber Handles 

They have excellent water resistance and feature a great grip but they are not durable enough. 

Plastic Handles 

Such handles are very affordable and they resist water perfectly. Yet, they can feel slippery in your hand. 

Stainless Steel Handles

They offer the best durability and water resistance. However, they can feel slippery and cold in your hands. 

Lastly, you may also want to consider secondary things such as budget, company, appearance, etc. 


What Are The Benefits of Backpacking Knives?

Backpacking knives are much more than just a safety measure. 

So, before you buy any backpacking knives, you may want to know why you need one in the first place. 

Unwrapping 

You may need to open wrappers and packages in the wilderness. A sharp knife will come in handy. 

Cooking 

Some campers enjoy cooking and preparing their own food. A good backpacking knife will make the task much easier for you. You will be able to cut your food, clean fish, or even spread peanut butter on a sandwich. 

First Aid 

In first aid situations, you will desperately need a knife to treat wounds such as blisters or removing splinters. It can also help you open bandages and medicine packages. 

Cutting 

A sharp backpacking knife will help you cut through anything easily. It will help you with cutting cords, cutting tapes, slicing ropes, opening dehydrated camp meals, etc. 

Emergency 

You never know what you will face out in the wild. You need to keep a knife with you all the time for your own safety. It can also be useful for fixing essential gear. 

Starting a Fire

You will need to start a fire on a cold dark night in the wilderness. A sharp knife is useful to make sparks and start a fire. 


Final Thoughts 

Finding the best backpacking knife is definitely a tough job. You need to keep in mind a lot of things, from the blade material, to the handle grip and durability. 

For instance, some blades are made for simple tasks whereas some, such as ESEE Izula-II are more suitable for hard tasks. 

Yet, with our buying guide and suggestions, we hope that you will be able to make a wise choice that will provide you with the best backpacking experience. 

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