Buying Guide

A hunting knife can serve as self-defense from wild animals that may attack and also gives you the ability to skin and process most types of animals. However, there are many varieties of knives and each one is made for a specific purpose. Some knives fall under the ‘general purpose’ category and these knives can be versatile to have and use when spending time outdoors.
To help you find the right hunting knife that suits your need or perhaps guide you in making your first purchase, below is a quick 5-step guide you can use to make a confident decision.

Step 1: Decide on The Purpose of the Knife

Are you a camper, a hiker or a hunter?  A hunter may choose a different type of knife to a camper. A bush walker or hiker may choose a knife with a machete blade or an axe to assist when the trail is covered by brush.
The term ‘Hunting Knife’ covers a good many makes and models so if you are a camper, don’t be daunted by the general term ‘hunting knife’.
It's important to understand that hunting knives have distinct characteristics and uses - a knife used to cut through brush will have different design features compared to a knife used to skin animals. If you are hunting in a group but need to split up, you may need both knives to make your hunting efficient. Whilst having a multi-purpose hunting knife on hand at all times is advisable, you may want to consider buying a few specialty knives that can provide your specific needs.

Step 2: Select a Size

Buying a hunting knife is not like buying a television, bigger isn't always better. Before making your purchase, is important to consider the type of animal (if any) you will be hunting or the type of things you will use it for (see step 1).
If you are hunting for big animals like deer or feral pigs, a large knife will be a good fit but for hunting and skinning small animals it is ideal to use a smaller and lightweight knife which can be kept in your pocket. It’s also worth noting that there are some very good skinners on the market which are well worth your time.

Step 3: Choose the Right Handle

When choosing the right hunting knife, it's important not to compromise quality and usability for a nice looking design and appearance. Some knifes have both looks and function, but not many.
Processing the meat can be a messy affair, so be prepared with the right hunting gear for this.  Synthetic handles can be easy to clean, and wooden handles are the traditional choice. Common handle types are made from wood, leather, bone, bamboo and sometimes with a touch of brass.

  • G-10
    G-10 is a very durable reinforced material that is made up of fiberglass soaked in resin, then highly compressed and baked. This process makes it impervious to liquid and physically stable under extreme temperature fluctuations. G-10 is most commonly black but is available in various colors, and typically includes a non-slip finish.
    Micarta is created from soaking layers of linen cloth in resin, then pressing them together, much like G-10. It is available in various colors and can be worked to a very smooth finish.
    Natural Materials include bone, wood, leather, and more, offering a more traditional look. These are typically applied directly onto the liners of the knife.

Step 4: Understand the Blade Design

Hunting knives are either available with fixed blade or folding blade but there are several blade designs to choose from. Depending on what you need the knife for, your blade will be the most important consideration.
It is important to understand their differences to make the right decision. The blade design should be tailored based on the type of hunting you will do. This article on knife tang is a good one to read so you can understand a bit more about how the knives are crafted.

Here is a bit of a guide to blade design:

  • A Drop Point Blade features a very strong and thick blade which is highly recommended for hunting and skinning larger animals. It can also be an alternative blade to use in splitting the ribs of the animal as a replacement for hatchet or saw.
  • A Clip Point Blade has a thinner, flatter and more pointed blade than the drop point blade. It can’t be used for skinning animals and splitting ribs because it’s specifically designed for outdoor activities. A hunter can carry this high quality multi-purpose knife and use it for other tasks on a regular basis.
  • A Skinning Blade is designed for an easy skinning process be it for medium or large size animals. This blade can help you separate the meat from the skin and can also be useful for other tasks related to hunting. You can use one hunting knife for skinning any type of animal but another option is to purchase a specialised skinning knife in order to save time and effort.