Top Qualities to Look for in a Knife for Your Hunting Adventures

Buying a hunting knife is an easy process – just go to a local or online specialized store, pay a couple of bucks, and you will have one. Buying a good hunting knife? That’s a different thing.

Hunting knives are essential tools to have in your gear when out in the woods. Having the best hunting knife for your needs will simplify everything for you – from field dressing to cutting branches that might get in your way. However, finding a good knife, especially one that won’t break your bank, can be pretty challenging. The truth is that you can find knives online and offline in just about any price range, but the cost is not always the issue – knowing what to look for is the obstacle most folks face. If you are in the market for a hunting knife, here is what you need to know to get a quality knife that will serve you for years.

Fixed Blade vs Folding Blade

When shopping for hunting knives online or at your local store, you will have two choices of blades to choose from – fixed and folding. Folding blades are often the ideal choice for everyday use and bigger convenience. Their small size allows for easy portability and because the blade isn’t exposed, they are also safer to carry than fixed blades. The negative side of these blades is the fact that they aren’t as durable as fixed blades. Plus, it can be pretty annoying when you have to use the release-latch on locking-blade versions while using your other hand.

Fixed blades are better-suited for cleaner skinning jobs and other heavy duty work. Because the blade runs through the handle, they are less likely to break or become loose. This makes them strong enough to perform tasks like skinning and cleaning. They are also easier to clean than smaller folding knives. The downside of these blades is that, due to their size, they are not safe to put in your pocket and usually need to be carried in a sheath hung from your belt.

Size Matters

When it comes to knife size, you will want to choose something that’s best suited for the type of prey you usually hunt. Some think that the bigger the knife the better, but that is not always the case. Bigger hunting knives are best suited for bigger game (think buffalo, elk, etc.) and small hunting knives are better for smaller game.


Type of Game Blade Length
Big 6+ inches
Medium 4 to 5 inches
Small 3 to 4 inches

Blade Material

The steel the blade is made from plays a great role in how it performs in the field. Here are the best steel materials to consider.

  • S30V Steel – a high-end material that has great resistance against wear and rust, and it keeps sharpness better than most of the other blade materials.
  • VG-10 Steel – a high-wear stain steel that has corrosion resistance and a long edge retention.
  • 154CM Steel – a medium-carbon stainless steel that’s highly resistant to corrosion. Due to its medium edge retention, it is easier to sharpen than the other types.

Types of Blade Points

There are three main blade designs: clip point, drop point and skinning. If you regularly hunt big game, consider a drop point hunting knife as this type has a thick curved blade that allows skinning food in a flash. For general use, choose a clip point blade, which is flatter and thinner, and has a more defined point. Skinning knives are mostly used for skinning medium to large prey.