A multi-tool or fixed blade hiking knife is a must-have piece of equipment while in the wilderness.
A smooth, serrated, or locking bladed knife can provide a variety of practical functions and should be included on the list of essential hiking supplies.
Here are three popular styles of hiking knife:
Leatherman manufactures a series of multi-tools and knives which are perfect for use on the trails.
The multi-function Leatherman is a well-made and sturdy knife with extras like a can opener, types of screwdrivers, multiple saws, and pliers. Plus, for safety, the blades are designed to lock in place once opened to avoid closing down on the fingers (a spring mechanism is used to fold the blades).
While the Leatherman multi-tool can be a high priced piece of kit, it is certain to give versatility and plenty of functions in a small package.
Models can vary from those with one or two tools to others with twelve or fifteen. Also, the weight of this type of hiking knife can differ with the larger tools weighing up to 2 pounds.
Swiss Army Knife
A popular hiking knife is the Swiss Army Knife which is easily carried and compact in size. It varies in size with certain knives having 1-2 blades to those with 12 or more blades/tools.
This style knife has one negative and that being the inability to block the blades (light pressure will easily close a blade) which could lead to an accident.
Fixed Blade Knife
Fixed blade knives are more resilient and come with blades larger than what you have come to expect on the multi-tools.
This is a further popular hiking knife and perfect for those planning to explore the deep wilderness. Even though the fixed blade unit isn't complete with a selection of useful tools, it is a practical choice for those more interested in a dedicated knife and believes the other tools aren't likely to get much use.
A fixed blade knife is a preferred tool in the event of coming across aggressive animals in the wilderness. A fixed blade knife with a 5-6 inch blade is certain to give a certain degree of comfort compared to the 2-inch blade of a multi-tool knife.
However, encounters with large wild animals are quite rare and it is advisable to try and distance yourself from this type of situation.
A negative of the fixed blade hiking knife is the inability to protect the blade by closing, so extra care is needed. Plus, the larger knives can be quite bulky, especially for those planning on wearing it on the waist.
Don't let the young hiker use the fixed blade knives; instead, the Swiss Army Knife and Leatherman are more practical choices. For the older hiking, there is a great choice of locking blade knife, fixed blade knife, and multi-tools.
A preferred hiking knife comes down to personal preferred and the overall function it is expected to complete.