The best do-it-all knives for Canadian outdoorsman

A pocket knife is one of those tools you didn’t know you needed, but once you have one, you’ll find yourself using it every single day. We’re not talking about multi-tools, like the classic Swiss Army Knife, here. Those have their place of course, but the knives themselves tend to be hard to use, are generally made of cheap steel, and are just not as useful as a proper knife. Here’s a look at some of the highest-rated pocket knives out there.

Benchmade Mini-Barrage 585

Benchmade’s knives consistently get great reviews—just keep in mind that great quality comes at a cost. If you want to invest in a good knife—and by “invest,” we mean “spend at least $100”—the Benchmade Mini Barrage is a great option, featuring a blade made from M3990 Super Steel, one-handed opening, a safety lock, free sharpening, and a lifetime guarantee. Treat it as carefully as you would your cellphone and you’ll have a knife for life.

Spyderco Paramilitary 2

The president of Spyderco, Sal Glsser, is in Blade Magazine’s Hall of Fame, which is a good indication that this company is serious about knives. The Paramilitary 2 (which has unanimously positive reviews on Amazon) offers you the ability to reposition the clip on this knife, and offers a 14-mm hole in the blade so you can engage it easily with gloved hands. It’s an investment, but the quality of the blade steel and the ergonomic design make it worth it.  

SOG Access Card 2.0

This is a tiny, thin (3/16ths of an inch) knife that slides nicely into your pocket but doesn’t sacrifice quality. Made with high quality VG-10 steel, a strong lock, and a comfortable handle, this minimalist knife is perfect for sliding into your pocket or wallet, or wearing around your neck. Nicely, its safety lock will withstand more than 1,000 pounds of force—plenty strong for cutting open a box or, well, just about anything else. And at about $60, it won’t break the bank, either.

Columbia River Knife and Tool (CRKT) M16-04S Classic

This is a great everyday carry (EDC) knife that’s priced reasonably enough that you won’t cry if it gets dropped in the river. It’s also tough enough to stand up to being worked hard. CRKT’s Carson Flipper allows you to allows you to get the blade out and acts as a blade guard when its open.

Kershaw 1660CKT Ken Onion Leek

Reasonably priced, with a blade that’s particularly suited to cutting tasks (and a good option if you want to cut wood), this knife has a reversible pocket clip and offers easy one-handed opening. It’s three-inch blade makes it big enough to be effective, but not bulky.

Spyderco Assist

This knife was designed for emergency personnel to use, but you don’t have to be a paramedic to appreciate its features. The blunt-tipped blade has an 80-20 serrated/plain edge, perfect for cutting through rope or seatbelts, or more detailed cutting work. Squeeze the blade while in the closed position, and a glass-breaker pops out of the base. Plus, it also has a shrill whistle in the handle’s spine. What more do you need?

Zero Tolerance Hinderer Blackwash

This is a great knife, but it’s the finish that makes it look super cool—kind of like your favourite pair of well-worn black jeans. According to legend, Chuck Norris carries one of these. But you don’t have to be invincible to appreciate the ELMAX powdered steel blade, or its deep-carry clip that allows the knife to sit low in your pocket.

SL Pro 2 Tactical Knife

A detachable, waterproof flashlight, a firestarter, and a signal whistle—plus a three-inch razor sharp blade—makes this a great knife to carry while camping, hunting or hiking. And the hole in the blade makes it easy to open, even with gloves on.