Gear Institute Expert Test Menu

Knives

Hinderer XM-18 3.5” Flipper – Slicer Grind (Gen 4)

99

2017

Hinderer XM-18 3.5” Flipper – Slicer Grind (Gen 4)

This fourth generation XM-18 3.5” Flipper is the flagship hand-built midtech knife from Hinderer Knives with a titanium frame and hardware and premium stainless steel blade.

Spyderco Para 3

98

2017

Spyderco Para 3

The Para 3 is a compact, ergonomic, military-inspired folding knife suitable for every day carry.

Ontario Knife Company Carter Prime

95

2017

Ontario Knife Company Carter Prime

The Carter Prime from Ontario Knife Company is a robust, everyday carry utility flipper knife.

Helle Bleja

97

2017

Helle Bleja

The Bleja, from the nearly century-old Helle Knives, is a mid-sized folder utility knife with a triple-laminated steel blade, stainless steel liners and curly birch wood handles.

Benchmade 928 Proxy Flipper

94

2017

Benchmade 928 Proxy Flipper

The Benchmade 928 Proxy Flipper has a titanium frame, a glass-based epoxy resin laminate handle and features a steel alloy drop point blade.

CRKT Homefront Flipper

92

2017

CRKT Homefront Flipper

The CRKT Homefront Flipper is a folding knife designed for hard use that can be field-maintained without tools.

Spyderco Southard Folder

98

2016

Spyderco Southard Folder

The Spyderco Southard Folder is a curvy flipper-style knife with a thin profile and minimal pocket presence.

Benchmade Crooked River

94

2016

Benchmade Crooked River

The Benchmade Crooked River is a familiar looking, full-sized folder that features a 4” long CPM-S30V Clip Point blade which is ideal for hunting and long term excursions in the outdoors.

Chris Reeve Large Sebenza 21 w/ Insingo Blade

95

2016

Chris Reeve Large Sebenza 21 w/ Insingo Blade

The Chris Reeve Large Sebenza 21 is a premium knife made from titanium, carbon fiber, and  S35VN blade steel.

Lasky Pteryx L2

91

2016

Lasky Pteryx L2

The Lasky Pteryx L2 is hand-built off of two skeletonized stainless steel handle scales with a very sharp burly drop point blade and a unique approach to one-handed deployment and locking.

Opinel No. 8 Folding Knife

86

2016

Opinel No. 8 Folding Knife

Something of a cult-classic, the Opinel No. 8 folding knife features a wood body, patented Virobloc locking ring, and Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel blade for everyday use and ordinary adventures.

Boker Plus Coye Ridgeback Fixed Blade

95

2016

Boker Plus Coye Ridgeback Fixed Blade

The Boker Plus Coye Ridgeback is a compact fixed blade knife designed for inconspicuous belt carry. It’s made from 440C and features a drop-point style blade and contoured G10 handle scales which makes the Ridgeback easy to use for almost any application. 

Camillus Soar

93

2016

Camillus Soar

The Camillus Soar is a full-tang fixed blade knife designed to see you through to your next adventure. Featuring a drop-point 440C stainless blade with a Titanium Bonded cutting edge, spine, and belly; the Soar is an affordable production knife that performs like an expensive custom one.

TOPS Knives Tom Brown Tracker #1

94

2016

TOPS Knives Tom Brown Tracker #1

Designed many moons ago by outdoorsman and tracker, Tom Brown, the Tops Tracker #1 is a multi-function knife designed to chop, carve, split, skin, saw, plane, and ultimately help you persevere.

Helle Utvaer

98

2016

Helle Utvaer

The Helle Utvaer is the first full-tang construction knife offered by Helle of Norway. A modern take on the classic puukko style of bushcraft knife, the Utvaer has a modern and aggressive look, features a curly birch handle and comes with a leather sheath.

Spyderco Rock Lobster

93

2015

Spyderco Rock Lobster

The Spyderco Rock Lobster is a strange and wonderful, full-sized folding knife that not only carries well for every day use but can prove to be an added benefit in the kitchen.

Gerber Gator Premium Folder – Clip Point Blade

83

2015

Gerber Gator Premium Folder – Clip Point Blade

The Gerber Gator Premium Folder is based off of a fixed blade model converted to a folder for easier carry. It features Gerber’s “Gator Grip” which is great dry but poor when wet. This particular model features a clip point style blade making it shoe-in for hunting, fishing, and the like.

Gerber 39 Series Micarta

86

2015

Gerber 39 Series Micarta

The Gerber 39 Series Micarta is a lightweight, classically designed gentleman’s utilitarian knife that features premium materials. For Gerber, this is about as good as it gets in a pocket knife.

Boker Plus S2 by Sniper Bladeworks

92

2015

Boker Plus S2 by Sniper Bladeworks

The Boker S2 is a big folding flipper knife made of common 440C knife steel which blurs the lines between every day carry and survival knife.

555HG Benchmade Mini-Griptilian

96

2015

555HG Benchmade Mini-Griptilian

The Benchmade 555HG Mini-Griptilian is an all-around, well-balanced everyday carry pocket knife designed to withstand use and abuse and still be a reliable too for years to come.

Spyderco Rubicon C187CF Flipper

98

2015

Spyderco Rubicon C187CF Flipper

The Spyderco Rubicon Flipper is an extremely lightweight pocket knife comprised of premium materials. 

Zero Tolerance 0450

92

2015

Zero Tolerance 0450

The Zero Tolerance 0450 Flipper is a more accessible and affordable version of a knife designed by knife maker Dmitry Sinkevich and previously offered by ZT.

Spyderco Manix 2 Black Lightweight Folder C101BK2

99

2015

Spyderco Manix 2 Black Lightweight Folder C101BK2

The Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight is an ergonomically superior, lightweight folding knife. This full-sized blade is designed to be ambidextrous and features Carpenter CTS BD1 Specialty Alloy Stainless Steel. It is almost impossible to find a knife that feels and functions like the Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight, for under $150.

Kilimanjaro Gear Morsa Flipper 910028

94

2015

Kilimanjaro Gear Morsa Flipper 910028

The Kilimanjaro Gear Morsa flipper is an elegant pocket knife designed with a beautiful balance of form and function.

Kilimanjaro Gear Firma Folder 910016

95

2015

Kilimanjaro Gear Firma Folder 910016

The Kilimanjaro Gear Firma Folder is an ergonomic wonder of an every-day carry folding knife.

Kershaw Link Flipper Knife

90

2015

Kershaw Link Flipper Knife

When Kershaw was challenged to make a folding knife that boasted the quality, features, and materials common to their usual suspects—and make it affordable—they responded with the Link flipper. 

Helle Dokka Knife

94

2015

Helle Dokka Knife

The only folder in their line-up, the Dokka opens up to be a full-sized powerhouse of a blade, boasting Helle’s proprietary knife steel blend and Curly Birch handles.

CRKT Hootenanny Flipper Knife

87

2015

CRKT Hootenanny Flipper Knife

The CRKT Hootenanny is slim and stylish, affordable folder designed by renowned knife maker, Ken Onion.

Helle Eggen

97

2015

Helle Eggen

In a market saturated with synthetic handle and complex blade materials, Helle harkens back to days gone by with their Eggen. A traditional Norse hunting knife by design, the Eggen relies on Helle’s “triple laminated blade steel” and a Curly Birch handle to deliver a lightweight, blade-balanced tool that excels in both function and form.

Camillus CK-9 Review

96

2015

Camillus CK-9 Review

The Camillus CK-9 is a battle-ready centurion-type of fixed blade knife. Complete with a multi-faceted sheath and survival whistle, the CK-9 is made from black traction coated 1095 high-carbon steel and features high-grip Micarta handles. This knife was built to last but it might be a little too rich for your wallet.

Spyderco C186TIP Slysz Folding Bowie Review

95

2015

Spyderco C186TIP Slysz Folding Bowie Review

The Spyderco Slysz Folding Bowie is a fine example of what happens when you take premium materials, a classic design and excellent craftsmanship: you get a knife, which you seek out and keep for a lifetime.

Boker Plus Impetus Flipper

94

2015

Boker Plus Impetus Flipper

The Boker Plus Impetus’ sheepsfoot blade style really shines for utility work.

Benchmade North Fork

98

2015

Benchmade North Fork

Although I felt the Benchmade North Fork was a little small for bigger jobs—especially when out hunting—it’s a fine pocketknife that can handle any daily task or a few days in the woods.

Zero Tolerance 0560

85

2014

Zero Tolerance 0560

Based solely on materials used, Zero Tolerance 0560 could be considered one of the best folding knives tested. However, the issues I had with the Frame Lock concern me.

Zero Tolerance 0350

90

2014

Zero Tolerance 0350

The Zero Tolerance 0350 is a perfectly balanced knife and works well as an EDC knife or as a backpacking knife. 

DPx Gear HEST 2.0

93

2014

DPx Gear HEST 2.0

The compact design of the DPx Gear HEST 2 folding knife, which can be transformed into a fixed blade knife, proves how confident DPx is with their products. 

Victorinox Swiss Army Junior

93

2014

Victorinox Swiss Army Junior

The Victorinox Junior 09 is the knife that you could get into a Cub Scout’s hands and they could use for the rest of their lives, or it could serve as a capable adult daily-carry pocketknife for light duty tasks.

Victorinox Swiss Army RangerWood 55

95

2014

Victorinox Swiss Army RangerWood 55

The Victorinox Swiss Army RangerWood 55 is a full-sized knife, so I wouldn’t recommend you choosing it as your everyday carry in your pocket. Pop this tool into your backpack and have the warm feeling inside your soul that you will be able to rely on it for anything you need in the wild.

Kershaw Rake

75

2014

Kershaw Rake

The Kershaw Rake excels in its construction and quality of materials, edge retention. Overall, we believe the Rake will make a great everyday carry or even backpacking blade.

Benchmade 484 Nakamura

93

2014

Benchmade 484 Nakamura

Knives like the Benchmade 484 Nakamura are rare. This knife is both an everyday-carry knife and one you can wear with a nice suit.

Vulture Equipment Works Cholera Mk1

100

2014

Vulture Equipment Works Cholera Mk1

The Vulture Equipment Works Cholera was designed for experienced users who understand and respect their knives. The Cholera is durable, dependable and highly functional. I felt like a warrior on the hunt with it strapped to my side.

Spyderco Clipitool

82

2014

Spyderco Clipitool

I truly love the design of the Spyderco Clipitools as they are compact and effective. They make a great pocket tool, but you’ll want something more substantial for any long-term outdoor adventures.

Spyderco Para-Military 2

98

2014

Spyderco Para-Military 2

The Para-Military 2 is made of high-end materials, right in our backyard, and I know I can rely on it for anything. After more than 3 weeks of it in my pocket, I am still intimidated by the viciousness of the blade, but am welcomed by the sleek style lines and ultra-thin frame. 

Gerber Freescape Camp Kitchen Knife

90

2014

Gerber Freescape Camp Kitchen Knife

I really like that companies like Gerber–known for multi-tools, pocket-knives and Bear Grylls—are venturing into the kitchen knife sector and the Gerber Freescape Camp Kitchen Knife represents that sector well. 

Ka-Bar Becker BK 2 Campanion

94

2014

Ka-Bar Becker BK 2 Campanion

The Ka-Bar Becker Campanion Bk-2 is a heavy beast, but that’s the trade-off when you get into a “chopper” or a camp knife. It’s still lighter and less bulky than having to carry a hatchet and possibly a machete along with you as well. 

Emerson EDC-2

95

2014

Emerson EDC-2

Rugged individuals who puts a lot of demand on their knives and tools will benefit greatly from the Emerson EDC-2.  Someone looking to just put a nice knife in their pocket to open mail from time to time should keep moving—nothing for them to see here.

Esee Izula-II

98

2014

Esee Izula-II

I have carried the Esee Izula-II on me for the past five years and it has become a reliable friend in many situations–around the house, in the office, and especially out in the woods. For the fast-packing and light weight gear fans, this little bastard fits right in.

Spyderco Sage 1

93

2014

Spyderco Sage 1

I think the Spyderco Sage 1 would make a great pocket knife for the average user. In my mind, this knife is a pretty but tough S.O.B!

Spyderco Delica 4

99

2013

Spyderco Delica 4

The Spyderco Delica 4 exemplifies what an outdoor, backpacking pocketknife should be. It is user friendly and will become the knife you depend upon for years to come. 

Kershaw Thermite

97

2014

Kershaw Thermite

After forcing myself to use the Kershaw Thermite as an every day carry–it initially felt too big for that–I found knife doesn’t impose on my back pocket as much as I thought it would.

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