Forget packing a whole slew of silverware when you head out into the wilderness — all you really need is this Ka-Bar Hobo Knife ($19). Like any quality transient tool, it packs multiple uses into a single punch, as it contains a fork, knife, and spoon all into a single stainless steel package, sliding apart for when you
find some excellent dumpster fare are ready to eat, and transforming back into a pocket-friendly shape when you're on the move. It even comes with a nylon carrying case to keep it safe when it's in your bag/bindle.
You never know when a situation will call for more than just your average pocket folding knife, and it's always better to come prepared than wish you had. The Emerson Multitasker EDC Multi-Tool ($185) is built with your every day carry in mind, so you'll never be caught wishing you'd packed something more substantial. It features a three-inch blade, phillips and standard screwdrivers, a punch, and more, all packed into an under seven-inch handle that weighs less than a half pound. An additional clip-on tool includes wrenches of various sizes, pry bars, scrapers, and a bottle opener.
When you're looking for a simple folder to carry in your pocket every day — something with a no-frills design, a sharp, well-made blade, and a mechanism that opens easily — you need a Svord Peasant Knife ($19). An extended tang means you can open the three-inch New Zealand tool-grade carbon steel blade easily with just one hand, while also functioning to keep the knife open while you hold it. Each one is hand made and, while we prefer the classic look of the wooden handle, is available in a range of colored polypropylene handles. Use it as your go-to carry piece, or for fine and rough work around the shop or your home.
Stainless steel is great and all — easy to clean, sharpens to a razor edge — but there's nothing quite like ceramic if you really want the edge to last. The Kyocera LTD Ceramic Chef's Knife ($120) keeps its Zirconia 206 ceramic edge ten times longer than steel, so you don't have to sharpen it nearly as often as the typical chef's knife. It has an ergonomic pakkawood handle with a stainless steel bolster and rivet that makes it easier to handle, and more comfortable to use. Hand-crafted by experts in Seki, Japan, this knife won't brown foods with use, and resists corrosion.
A good quality knife is about the most useful tool we can think of, and the SOG Gunny Fixed Blade Knife ($400) is built to the highest standards, making it as reliable as any knife available. These limited edition knives are built from materials made to last, like a high-end Japanese steel blade and a Cocobolo hardwood handle inlayed with stingray hide. Limited to just 1,000 pieces, these knives are carefully crafted down to the last detail, including the clip point blade shape, stainless steel guard, and pommel. Each knife includes a handmade leather sheath, and comes in a beautiful walnut box perfect for storage or display.
Regardless of whether or not you rescue people for a living, sometimes you just want to be prepared for whatever disaster life throws your direction. With the Spyderco Assist Knife ($85), you can quickly cut through just about any material — in case you need to help someone escape from a burning car, or get yourself out of a sticky situation. The nearly-four-inch blade is made from VG-10 steel, and features a blunt tip, and has both a toothed and flat edge. It's made to quickly cut through seat belts, ropes, or pretty much anything else that's holding you back.
This mega-minimalist knife is perfect for those of us who are sick of sharpening our blades after opening one too many Amazon shipments. Made of stainless steel, weighing only 2.2 ounces, and measuring just 2.4 inches when closed, the Gerber E.A.B (Exchange-A-Blade) Pocket Knife ($9) has a replaceable blade system that uses standard utility blades so you'll always be sharp and ready. It also sports a finger guard and a pocket clip that can double as a money clip.
Let's face it, most of us don't spend much time during the week out in the wilderness — making that serrated saw blade on your pocketknife pretty useless. The Victorinox Cybertool Lite Multi-Tool ($115) is intended more for the kind of guy who sees more keyboards than leaves day-to-day. With tools like multiple screwdrivers (including a mini flathead), a wire stripper, cutter, and crimper, hex sockets, a ballpoint pen, and a white LED flashlight, you're bound to find plenty of uses for this handy knife. And for the off-hours, it also includes a cork screw and a bottle opener (perhaps the most useful tools of all).
Survivalist icons like Bear Grylls make due in the wilderness thanks to their experience, their wits, and plenty of equipment. You might not have what it takes to rough it like Bear, but the Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Pack ($950) might make you feel like giving it a shot. The pack comes with every Gerber Bear Gryils product in existence, placed skillfully in his Commando 60 survival pack. So if you've got what it takes to turn off Survival programming and actually take on an adventure of your own, this pack should equip you for just about anything, except maybe drinking your own urine.
When you spend most of your time outdoors, there are few things more important than a good blade. The Joseph Bowen TAD Edition Micro Hatchet ($160) combines the small size of a knife with the tactical versatility of a hatchet into one useful cutting tool. In spite of its small size, it doesn't shy away from a serious task, thanks to a chisel-ground CTS-HXP steel blade. It includes a slip sheath designed to wear around your neck, making it as portable as it is stealthy.
We've seen some fancy knife handles in our day, but none more interesting than the ones you'll find on the ends of these Pearce Knives ($20-$75). Surprisingly affordable, these unique knives are made by a second-generation craftsman in the traditional manner of heating metal to high temperatures in a fire and then beating it with a hammer. The handles are made from all sorts of everyday objects, including horseshoes, bolts, rebar, railroad spikes, and even rasps, making them a nice mix of the old and new.
Looking for an all-purpose knife to carry on you pretty much everywhere? The Gerber Outrigger Knife ($35) should do just fine. Taking design cues from at least three prior models, the Outrigger features a fine edge blade, the company's Assisted Opening 2.0 technology for quick access, dual thumbstuds for one-handed operation, a pocket clip for keeping it handy, an open frame design to reduce the weight, a plunge lock for carefree closure, and a rubberized overmold for comfort. Also available in mini and XL versions.