As hunters and fieldsmen, one of the most vital pieces of kit in our arsenal is a dependable knife. Quarry prepping tasks – like paunching rabbits, breasting-out woodies and tailing squirrels – require a solid, sharp blade. A knife is also invaluable for general fieldwork, including clearing foliage and hide building. But what constitutes an acceptable blade for the kitbag?
Some airgunners are loath to spend large sums on a general utility tool, preferring to grab something cheap and cheerful – but still sharp and reliable. Others, particularly seasoned all-weather hunters, swear by the performance and endurance of top-grade stainless steel, which stays sharp and will not deteriorate over time. More expensive knives also tend to include luxury materials, such as wooden handles and leather sheaths, where cheaper tools will have synthetic handles and, at most, a belt clip or loop – but it’s also worth considering the weight that a blade will add to your kit. A knife may seem like a small item, but a heavy metal blade can add a noticeable burden, especially if you’re moving over long distances.
At the cheaper end of the spectrum, a knife like the Kershaw DWO Classic 3000X is a superb little tool. At only 45 grams, with a foldaway 82mm blade and a ribbed synthetic handle, the Kershaw is a light and compact option – perfect for prepping small quarry, or as an all-purpose utility item.
A slightly more expensive option, the Buffalo River Grizzly Bear, has a larger, but more rugged design. It has a heavier, thicker blade and an ergonomically shaped handle, with grippy synthetic panels on the all-metal construction. It’s a perfect all-rounder for the field. At the upper end of the spectrum, a blade like the ENZO PK70 really delivers the goods. It’s relatively small and compact, with a contoured handle (available in several materials), belt clip and lanyard loop. The real differential here, though, is the CPM S30V steel used for the blade. This is considered to be one of the most hard-wearing knife materials in the world – so it won’t let you down on any fronts, or in any conditions.