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The trapper knife has a self-explanatory name. It is designed for those who trap small game. It is lightweight and features a clip point blade and a spey blade.
Now, choosing the best trapper knife could be a bit tricky. First, you need to become familiar with its features and characteristics, understand its main uses and capabilities. Second, you will have to explore the market. There are a bunch of brands that dominate the market and each of them has multiple products in their portfolio. Here is everything you have to know before making a final decision.
What are Trapper Knives?
Trapper knives come in many blade shape combos, handle shapes, or sizes. Initially, this knife came out of a tiny dogleg jack, but these days, you can also find banana-shaped frames, beefier dogleg jacks, and so on. When it comes to sizes, a classic trapper knife goes between 3.5 and 4.5 inches, but you can also find smaller or larger options out there.
Your options are just as diversified when it comes to the pattern, combos, and styles. The classic design is the best selling one – you get two blades. One of them is a clip point, while the other one is a spey blade. The clip point is great for all kinds of applications, yet you may also find knives without it – instead, they get a rounded tip.
The spey blade was initially added for trapper and hunters – while also used for castrating animals, it is more common for skinning now, as the risks to pierce the guts are quite small. Just like you have probably guessed already, blade shapes can be just as diversified.
With all these variations, it is perfectly normal to feel a bit confused. Then, what is a proper trapper knife? Thinking about all the variations out there, it is hard to define it by the book. It is obviously a jackknife, meaning its blades will fold out and in. Besides, it is less likely to come with a simple straight blade as the main one.
With these aspects in mind, trapper knives overlap with other categories, so many options can actually go in the trapper group.
Now that you have an idea about these knives, what is the best trapper knife on the market based on the manufacturer’s reputation and customer reviews? What kind of features does it come with and what are its pluses and minuses?
2021’s 5 Best Trapper Knives
Case XX WR
Durable and well put together – Made in the USA, this Case trapper knife is designed with durability and versatility in mind. The Case company is one of the top manufacturers in this range anyway and each of its products is well-reviewed, so there are no issues in terms of quality. The knife is only available in a blue pearl kirinite design, but you can find similar options in other patterns and styles.
Classic blades – Blades are classic for a trapper. You have the clip and the spey. Each blade is around four inches in length. In fact, the whole knife barely measures 4.125 inches when closed. Designed like a pocket knife, the blades must be taken out manually. There are no thumb studs, so you have to do it with your fingernails.
Good looking handle – The handle is not just good looking, but also solid. It has three rivets to keep the mechanism in place. Blades are tightly kept in. While it takes some effort to open, it is perfectly safe to carry around in your pocket. You know, it will never open up accidentally, hence not prone to injury.
Versatility and maintenance – Case’s best trapper knife is great for all kinds of projects. You can use it for any type of application inside your house, but it is just as useful as an outdoor knife. It is great when you go out hunting or camping. When it comes to looking after it, clean it manually, and let it dry before closing it. The dishwasher is not recommended.
- Versatile applications
- Well put together
- Good value for money
- Durable blades
- Ambidextrous uses
- Blades are sharp, but not razor-sharp
Buck Creek Trapper
Versatile applications – Buck’s best trapper knife will not let you down. Buck is one of the most reputable names on the market when it comes to knives and its trapper knife is worth the recognition. This trapper is ideal for any kind of situation. It is great around your home – both indoors and outdoors. It is also suitable for camping, hunting, or survival adventures.
Durable design – If properly looked after, a Buck knife can last for a lifetime. This Buck trapper knife will not disappoint in terms of durability. Made in Germany and crafted from high-quality materials, it can withstand lots of stress and applications without showing any signs of wear and tear. Blades are made of stainless steel – rust and corrosion resistance.
Sizing and blades – Overall, the handle is about four inches. The blades go in the same sizing range. They are classic in design, meaning you get the spey and the clip. Since the operation is manual, there are no thumb studs. Blades must be pulled out manually, which makes the overall design pretty safe – no risks of accidental injuries by opening up in your pocket.
Handle and maintenance – The handle features a redbone appearance. It has a few rivets to keep the blades in place. It is textured, so it is less likely to slip out of your hands. It can be used by both left and right-handed people. As for caring for this knife, make sure you only do it manually and never in a dishwasher. If you wash it, let the blades dry before putting them back in.
- German engineering
- High-quality materials
- Classic design
- Good value for money
- Multiple applications
- Not available in other colors
Case XX WR Pocket Knife 31048
Value for money – This Case trapper knife is cheap. It is quite basic and unlike other trappers, it only comes with one blade. It is more simplistic, hence the low price. It is suitable for all kinds of everyday activities, pretty much like any other pocket knife. It can be used indoors, outdoors, while camping or hunting.
Classic blade – The blade is classic. You no longer have the traditional spey and clip. Instead, you have a clip blade only. The handle measures 4.125 inches – the overall length when closed. The blade is about four inches long. Other than that, it is worth noting that it is made of chrome vanadium steel. It is super durable and features great edge retention – not to mention the chrome appearance.
Ergonomic handle – Made in the USA, this knife must adhere to the high local quality requirements. While the blade stands out in the crowd, the handle is not to be overlooked either. You can only find this knife in a yellow design. The handle is synthetic and features a slimline appearance – it is ergonomic and easy to hold, whether you have small or large hands.
Care and maintenance – Last, but not least, make sure you look after this knife if you want it to last for ages. There is not much to look after when considering the maintenance. There are no treatments required for the blade or handle – not even oiling when not in use. Instead, make sure you clean the knife manually and never in a dishwasher.
- Simplistic design
- Comfortable handle
- High-quality blade
- Takes a very sharp edge
- Multipurpose tool
- Sharp, but not razor sharp out of the box
Old Timer 97OT – Cheap Trapper Knife
Made to last – Old Timer is one of the most respected names on the market when it comes to trappers. It has a good range of products and lots of positive appreciation. The 97OT is probably its best trapper knife if you want quality and versatility at a cheap price. Not only is it built to take a good beating, but it can also be used everywhere – indoors, outdoors, out camping, survival adventures, and so on.
Unique blade system – Blades are a bit different than what you might expect from a trapper. First, you got the classic clip point blade – super sharp and versatile. You do not have a spey though. Instead, you get a saw blade with super sharp serrations. Both blades are made of super-strong 7Cr17MoV high carbon stainless steel, which is known for being able to take an incredibly sharp edge.
Sizing standards and operation – Both blades measure 3.7 inches, pretty much like the handle too. Overall, this knife weighs around four ounces. There are no thumb studs, so its operation is manual. You can safely store it inside your pocket without risking accidentally open it. The main blade has a nail pull. It feels tight in there, but at least you know it is safe.
Handle and maintenance – The handle features a few bolsters for durability and strength. It is large and will never slip out of your hands. It comes with heat treated back springs that can block blades. The handle has a pick and tweezers too. On another hand, high carbon steel is known for its exquisite sharpness, but it is not rust and corrosion resistant like stainless steel. When the knife is not in use for long periods of time, you should just oil the blades and mechanisms. Moreover, make sure you never clean it in a dishwasher – but manually only.
- Super sharp blades
- Features a saw instead of the classic spey
- Pick and tweezers included
- Great for numerous applications and uses
- Safe to carry around
- Blade centering feels a bit off, but not enough to scratch blades or cause any discomfort
Lightweight and versatile – Weighing just under a couple of ounces, this Boker trapper knife looks good and could become your best friend for a series of applications. It has a folding design and it is only available in one style – brown and gray. You can use the knife for random applications around your home, but also outdoors while camping or hunting.
Professional blade – The blade will surprise you. It is based on the world-renowned Solingen steel. It is stainless steel, so it can resist rust and corrosion with no problems at all. It measures just under four inches in length, so it is larger than other units in this segment. It is super sharp out of the box, so be careful when you unpack it.
Comfortable handle – Made in Germany, this Boker trapper knife boosts quality from all directions. The handle is made of bone. It has a rugged mix of brown and gray and it features more bolsters to keep the blade in place. There are no thumb studs, so opening and closing the knife is a manual operation. It may take longer, but at least it is safe – no risks to accidentally open in your pocket. The handle measures four inches in length.
Care and maintenance – The stainless steel is durable and will never rust or corrode. Unlike hard steel, it does not require oiling when not in use. Make sure you clean the knife manually and never in a dishwasher – also, let the blade dry before folding it. Sharpening it is fairly simple – use a classic sharpener or a stone.
- Well put together
- Bone handle
- Sharp blade
- Durable materials
- German quality
- Takes a bit to open up
Frequently Asked Questions
Who are trapper knives recommended to?
Trapper knives are extremely versatile and can be used for pretty much everything. They make good tools indoors and outdoors. They can be used for small things around your home, as well as camping and survival experiences. In fact, the trapper is one of the most popular configurations in pocket knives.
Other than that, it is worth noting that the trapper knife is mostly preferred by hunters and fur traders. It is convenient, easy to carry and use, and designed for those who trap small games.
What is the spey blade used for?
The spey blade is part of the game when it comes to trapper knives, but not a general rule. You may find trapper knives without this blade – they come with other types of blades instead, designed for other purposes.
Decades ago, the spey blade was mostly used to neuter livestock. With time, its uses have diversified a little. The blade became popular among fur traders and hunters. It has a curving point and a dull tip, meaning you are less likely to puncture.
Can trapper knives have more blades?
Generally speaking, trapper knives come with two blades. One of them is specialized for particular operations, while the other one is more general. But then, the number of blades is not a general rule. In other words, you may find trapper knives with one single blade, yet they are not too common. You can also find trapper knives with up to five blades.
What is the ideal blade length for a trapper knife?
While not a general rule, trapper knives usually come with blades between 3.5 and 4.5 inches. You will also find trapper knives with longer or shorter blades. Longer blades are more common among trappers, as they are suitable for skinning animals.
Choosing the best trapper knife asks for a bit of research. It is important to understand your needs and expectations before making a decision, especially if you know precisely why you want this knife. There are a few reputable manufacturers and brands out there and their knives are extremely well rated.
Make sure you get a well-reviewed knife. If it works for hundreds or thousands of people, chances are it will work for you too. Blades can be quite diversified, as well as the overall sizing standards. In terms of durability and efficiency, you simply cannot go wrong with a top-rated product.
Hi, I am Jay. I am the creator of Knife Guides, your one-stop site for everything related to knives. I am a computer engineer by profession, knife aficionado by passion. Here I work with a group of people who’ve always had a passion for knives and blades. Over the years we’ve kind of become experts and decided to share our knowledge and ideas. I am also an avid hiker and enjoy offshore gamefishing.