Nothing can beat a fixed blade hunting knife. It is large, sturdy, and able to support you in all kinds of situations. Sure, it does require a sheath and it could be a bit in the way while hanging there by your waist. Luckily, there is a lighter and more convenient alternative to this knife – the folding option. There are lots of folding hunting knives out there in the market.
Choosing the best folding hunting knife depends on more factors. While it does fold, a professional knife will still be sturdy and stable. The good news is you don’t need a sheath for it. It can hang by the belt as it is or you can store it in your pocket or your backpack. But, you need to ensure the knife is suitable for the type of game you are after.
All in all, here are some of the best options you have on the market based on professional hunters’ recommendations and reviews.
2020’s 5 Best Folding Hunting Knives
Spyderco Byrd Cara Cara 2 BY03PS2
Blade – Byrd knives provide similar features, with small differences. When it comes to the Cara Cara 2 folding knife, you can get the blade in two different options. For example, you can get it with a perfectly straight edge, as well as a combination edge – meaning half the blade is serrated close to the handle.
Sizing and build – The edge measures 3.75 inches. It is excellent for hunting and comes with a slightly longer handle. It has a small hole for clips or hooks, but it also has a slight guard to protect against unfortunate accidents. Other than that, it is worth noting that the blade is made of 8Cr13MoV steel, which is likely to resist rust and corrosion in the long run.
Design and looks – The knife comes in one full color. You have two options when making the purchase. You can keep it in an original shiny design – stainless steel. You can also opt for a less reflective option. The black alternative is coated and likely to maintain its looks, yet it could scratch if you fail to look after it.
Professional lock – There is one risk associated with folding knives. What if you accidentally open it in the pocket? Luckily, Byrd has already thought about it. The locking mechanism is located at the back of the handle. It relies on a rocker arm that moves towards the middle. Once opened, the blade will be locked.
Convenience – The back of the handle features a belt clip. It is excellent to avoid storing the knife is hardly accessible places. After all, you want access to it right away while on your hunting trips. The clip is durable and flexible and can go anywhere. The pocket clip can also be moved on different locations on the knife, only to ensure more convenient use.
- Available in a few different colors and two different blade options
- Solid stainless steel design that will last and resist corrosion and rust
- Easy to open and locks in position when fully opened
- Good balance between the blade and handle length
- A bit heavier than other units in this price range
Buck Knives 112
Ease of use and reputation – The 112 model is one of the best folding hunting knives according to most hunters out there. It is one of the most reputable options on the market, as well as a common recommendation. Even if there are better options out there, every professional hunter has had this model in the past and can recommend it further. Being so popular, you could just go with the flow.
Blade and sharpness – The blade is based on S30V. However, there are more types of S30V out there. You could find a few negative reviews about it, but Buck Knives has a different heating treatment for it, so you can get great durability. The advanced Edge2x blade technology is flawless, while razor sharpness and edge retention will surprise you. It measures three inches in length.
Handle – The handle could make the difference between a failed hunting experience and a great one. Imagine a handle slipping out of your hand all the time – the stress on your palms and the pains. This unit features a G10 handle. It has nickel silver bolsters. It is black and comes with a nonslip surface. It is thick enough to guarantee a good grip.
Extras in the package – When you order a knife, you expect to get a knife and an invoice. Buck Knives has taken this to another level. The manufacturer will also send a professional leather sheath. It is perfectly made for this knife. It will hold the knife while folded, so you cannot use it for a fixed blade knife.
Safety and maintenance – In terms of safety, you have a solid lock bar design to ensure a prolific operation. The maintenance is fairly simple. You should not clean this knife in a dishwasher. Instead, wash it manually after every hunting session. Throwing it in the dishwasher could cause the blade to go dull.
- Excellent grip for the handle
- Comes with a matching leather sheath
- Cryogenically treated blade to retain the edge for ages
- Great lock and safety measures
- The blade does not have a thumb stud
Ka-Bar Dozier 4062FG
Build – Ka-Bar is one of the leading names on the market when it comes to hunting knives. This unit can certainly stand out in the crowd. It is built to last, but it also features a simplistic mechanism and some great safety features. The handle is slightly longer than the blade and comes with a hole for clips or rings. You can get the knife in more color combinations.
Blade quality – The blade is made of AUS 8A SS. It says everything about quality. This type of stainless steel can easily withstand corrosion, high stress, and rust. The blade is straight on one side. However, the top of the blade has a few serrations for situations that require some rough cutting.
Sizing standards – The blade measures three inches. While you can find larger hunting knives from Ka-Bar, this size is ideal for basic hunting necessities. The handle, on the other hand, measures 4.25 inches. When unfolded, you get a pretty large knife that can help in all kinds of situations. Other than that, the knife weighs 2.4 ounces.
Comfortable handle – The handle features two bolsters. It is well stuck to the blade, so the knife feels pretty stable as you use it. The handle is textured. Even if your hands are wet or sweaty, it is less likely to slip out. The small hole at the top makes it great if you want to clip it to a keyring or other types of rings.
Safety and maintenance – In terms of safety, you will find this knife a little more difficult to open up than other knives. It is not a flaw, but a safety measure to prevent accidentally opening it. However, it is still easy to deal with it. As for looking after it, make sure you never clean it in a dishwasher but do it manually.
- Good size for a perfect balance
- Available in more color combinations
- Textured handle to avoid slipping
- Durable stainless steel blade
- The pocket clip is so tight that you will need a bit of pressure to fit it on
Grand Way FL 140106
Convenient operation – Grand Way’s best folding hunting knife comes with a pocket clip, so it can go anywhere. The spring-assisted opening blade makes it easy to open up in no time. Also, it has a reliable liner lock, which will resist dirt and grime. It will also prevent unexpected closure situations. Moreover, there are thumb studs on each side, so you can use it with any hand.
Versatile – The knife is suitable for all kinds of situations. While advertised to be a hunting knife, it will back you up on anything. It is great for hiking, bush crafting, or fishing, not to mention DIY or military activities. It is just as handy for self-defense, emergencies, and survival. Simply put, you will get a knife for everything you might need.
Durable blade – The 3.5-inch long blade is made of stainless steel. 440C stainless steel is extremely hard. It will also resist rust and corrosion, not to mention retaining the edge sharpness. The knife is razor sharp out of the box, so make sure you pay attention when you unbox it. Plus, the blade is black coated. The coating will resist for ages.
Handle – The handle is ergonomic and features finger notches and grooves. Not only do they make it look better, but they also add to your grip – slightly textures. You will benefit from a stiff grip, even if your hands are sweaty or wet. There are two studs for ambidextrous uses, as well as a pocket clip for extra convenience.
Cleaning and maintenance – The knife features a few parts that can resist dirt and grime with no problems at all. You will only need to clean it after you use it. Make sure you do not clean it in a dishwasher though. Instead, do it manually – soap and water. Cleaning it in a dishwasher will get the blade dull.
- Easy to fold and unfold
- Hard and corrosion-resistant build
- Slightly textured handle to prevent slipping
- Can be used with both the left and right hand
- Heavier than other knives in this range
Buck Knives 110
Quality standards – Buck Knives 100 is one of the many folding hunting knives created by the prestigious manufacturer. Differences between one model and another are relatively small – mostly a matter of sizing. Just like Buck Knives 112, the 110 model benefits from an impressive reputation of buck knives all over the world. A simple search over the Internet will bring in lots of recommendations and positive words.
Solid blade – The blade feels extremely stable. When unfolded, the knife feels like a straight blade unit. It is stable and less likely to rattle. All in all, the blade is made of 5160 carbon steel. It is made in the USA and likely to surprise you with its sharpness. It is razor sharp out of the box, so be careful when you unbox it.
Sizing standards – The blade measures 3.75 inches. Overall, the knife measures 8.5 inches when fully open. It is quite large and feels like a fixed blade knife. It is a bit heavier than other similar knives in this range, but a bit of extra weight makes it feel stable as you use it. It will not put any strain on your arm though.
Handle – The handle is just as important when you consider buying a folding hunting knife. You want a durable piece that will never slip out of your hands. This handle is made of charcoal Dymond wood. It feels good and while it does not have any textures on it, it is stable in the hand and does not slip.
Extras and maintenance – In terms of extras, Buck Knives will also include a leather sheath in the package. It is designed to hold the knife when folded. You cannot keep it continuously open, as there will not be enough room inside the sheath. The maintenance is simple – just wash it after each use. Do not clean it in a dishwasher.
- Made of durable and solid carbon steel
- Leather sheath included in the package
- Good looking classic appearance
- Feels well balanced when in use
- Opening spring might feel a bit stiff during the first few days
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the perfect blade size for a folding hunting knife?
It is hard to determine the perfect size of the blade because different people have different needs. Generally speaking, it depends on the kind of game you go for. If you are after deer or other medium-sized game, the blade length should be anywhere between 3.5 and five inches. If you are after the smaller game, such as rabbits or squirrels, you could do with a blade under 3.5 inches.
How does a folding knife work?
The classic folding knife works on some basic principles. The blade will swing or pivot at about 180 degrees from the folded position – hidden inside the handle. As it fully opens, the spring will keep it open by pushing against it. A locking mechanism will also prevent the knife from closing out of nowhere. However, more and more reputable manufacturers take safety measures to another level by implementing all kinds of small features.
Should I go for a coated blade?
Some manufacturers cover their blades in various coatings. Most commonly, they are black. Then, some brands never touch the blade – it is smooth and shines. From some points of view, a coated blade could be better. It does not reflect light, so you could be invisible to your game. But then, that coating will scratch eventually. You will notice fine scratches with time. They will not affect the quality of your knife through.
Is it legal to carry a hunting knife?
It depends on where you live. Different countries, states, or counties may have different rules. In many countries, carrying knives is illegal, unless they are pocket knives. Just like you have probably guessed already too, it depends on the length of the blade. Double-check the rules and regulations in your area before investing in one.
You do have many options when it comes to choosing the best folding hunting knife. There are lots of knives out there that many professional hunters recommend. Different knives come with different particularities, so you need to ensure you think about your personal needs and expectations. What works for some hunters may not always work for you too. We recommend going with the Buck 112. The brand value, build quality and extras are unmatched in our opinion.