Why You Should Carry a Knife on Hiking? Know the Reasons Why

Hiking is an exhilarating experience, one that comes with its set of challenges and risks. From requiring optimal physical stamina to the right gear, you need to be packed for the worst when you are scaling through the depths of the mountains and hiking trails.

However, one of the most common questions that people have about hiking gear is, “Should I carry a knife?” Well, the answer is simple – Yes, you should.

Not only will it help you tread through those rough nights of packaged dinners but will also save your life, if such situations arise. However, it is also crucial that you carry a lightweight yet high-quality survival knife.

While many hikers understand that carrying a survival knife during a hike is part of the essential gear, they fail to understand the depth of benefits it provides.

This guide will discuss everything to know about carrying a knife on hiking and why you should do it.

What are the Ideal Traits you Should Consider in a Survival Knife for Hiking?

When picking out a survival knife for your hiking trip, there are a few quintessential factors worth considering.

Not just the quality and sharpness but also the build and weight of the knife play an important role in the decision.

To make the process of selection easier, we have sorted out the highlighted traits worth considering.

Consider the General Traits

The first and likely the most important factor worth considering when choosing a survival knife for hiking is the weight. It needs to be lightweight so you don’t add an extra burden to carrying it around.

If the knife is sharp, there is no point in it being heavy-weight. There are several brands of survival knives that weigh a fraction and get the job done.

Besides that, look into the practicality of the knife. When you are out in the woods and mountain, you don’t want to carry a fancy Japanese knife with illustrations. You want to carry one that will serve its purpose and get the task done at hand.

So, when it comes to considering the general traits, look for lightweight and practical options.

Quality of the Knife Blade

Another factor that determines the lightweight nature of the hiking knife is the blade in it. It is potent if you stick to more lightweight steel with a sharp end for superior results when you cut through cans, papers, or even tree branches that block your way.

Knife Blade

However, when choosing a lightweight and high-quality blade, there is a fine line between choosing the good ones from the useless ones. You want to stick to a blade with refined and superior edges, one that can withstand rough beatings through unfavorable and unexpected situations during the hike.

Two qualities that you need to consider when it comes to the quality of the knife blade are the durability of the spine and the full tang. Owning a full-tang survival knife is essential for added stability and strength when cutting down rough-textured items.

Potential of the Knife Handle

Also, avoid buying the options designed with hollow handles because it prevents the knife from being a full-tang option. And, you are irrevocably going to alter the integrity of the survival knife if you get one with a hollow handle.

There’s nothing worse than trying to cut through different items, only to end up losing grip on the handle. When choosing the knife with an ideal handle, look for one that provides a good grip and isn’t bulky when you hold it.

So, all in all, make sure that the knife’s handle is not just durable but well-designed with contoured edges for a comfortable hold.

Benefits of Carrying a Knife During Hiking

From a survival knife to a utility knife, the benefits of these protective gear during hiking are abundant. From tending to your survival needs to helping out with self-defense, you can do a lot with such equipment without any complications.

Whatever the type of survival knife you choose for your hiking trail, always ensure that you prioritize quality. Also, this section will discuss some of the most prominent benefits of carrying a knife with you during your hiking expeditions.

Situations of Survival

When you are out in the wilderness, you might end up finding yourself in positions where you need to act fast to survive. It can be a wildlife poking threat, or you can be a twig preventing you from crossing the trail. Survival knives are also helpful in helping shape branches or lighting a fire to combat the cold and the surrounding wildlife. It can be used to extract food from the pile of burnt branches and leaves or it can be used to cut down food items or other essentials that you are carrying with you.

Food Handling

Food Handling using knife

Many hikers prefer carrying canned items or even dried energy-inducing food items that can help them keep up their energy through the rough rides of the hikes. However, hikers also need to travel light. This means that carrying an unintentional amount of kitchen equipment and cutlery is out of the question because it increases the backpack’s weight. In such cases, a utility knife comes in handy. Several brands of such knives can be used to cut and score through foods before cooking, and they can even be used as a fork to eat the cooked meal afterward.

Woodworking in the Forests

When you are hiking steep mountains and hills, carrying a sharpened wooden stick every step of the way is not just for safety but to support you through the tedious and rough journey that follows. In such cases, carrying a knife ensures that you have the tools to shape and sharpen a wood piece in the forest whenever the need for it arises. You might need wood pieces to use as tent pegs, for fire, as a defense weapon against any lurking wildlife, etc.

Cutting Items

One of the most common benefits of owning a survival or utility knife during your hike is that it helps to cut down cords or ropes for your needs. If you think that you’d be able to cut through the cords or ropes with your bare hands, you are already mistaken. So, having a tool handy makes the process less laborious and more effective.

For Trimming Edges

How often do you find yourself with a deep cut while hiking, only for you to have no access to some band-aids that are big enough to wrap around the wound? Several experienced hikes have been in such situations at least once in their life. And, in such cases, you might have to consider tearing through the clean clothes you are carrying to help stop the bleeding. This is where a knife comes in handy. The knife can also trim edges off the tent for a more comfortable fit and set-up.

For Starting a Fire

Using Knife For Starting a Fire

Although not very unlikely, you will often find yourself having no access to standard utilities to start a fire, and in such conditions, a knife will make the process easier. However, you need to kickstart on the primitive way of starting the fire when it involves knives and stray leaves and branches. However, isn’t that where the fun is. Just remember that having a knife helps you out if you can’t seem to make do with the equipment you have on hand.

For Self-Defence

Let’s be honest here, having a utility knife with you isn’t necessarily close to having a gun or a stick of bow and arrow with you. However, having a utility knife on hand can help deter the animals and protect you in situations that are uncalled for. Since they have a shiny design with a sharp edge, it can help get rid of the animals that you often find threatened to.

First-Aid Needs

First-aid kit is an essential part of your hiking gear. However, when you can’t carry one, it is always better to have a knife with you. From helping tear down clean clothing to cover a wound to getting rid of splinters stuck to the skin. Utility knives are considered the best rescuer in such times.

Guiding Path on Trees

Remember Hansel and Gretel, where the kids left pieces of bread on the road to help them retrieve their path back home? In such cases, a knife helps carve out directions and important messages if you don’t want to get lost in the woods. These also come in handy when you leave SOS messages for someone to notice and get help whenever needed.

Building Camp

Building Camp with Knife

If you are planning a hike that will go on for days, you must have all the necessities you’d need to build a camp. Having a good and sturdy shelter helps protect you from the harsh weather and even from wildlife threats.


Which Knife is Better – Survival or Utility?

While survival knives are a lot sharper and more robust, utility knives are multifunctional. So, if you can carry one, we’d highly recommend choosing a utility knife over the standard survival knives.

Is it Legal to Carry a Knife while Hiking?

Yes, there aren’t any kinds of strict laws that suggest that you can’t carry a knife with you during your expeditions. However, if you are crossing through borders, we’d recommend that you clarify the legalities involved.

Is it Reasonable to Carry a Knife for Hiking?

Yes, it is pretty reasonable if you want to do so. However, if there are laws against carrying weapons in public in the country you live in, it is always better to have the permission sanctioned for your safety.


So, the next time you plan a hiking adventure, make sure you include a knife in your gear. Good quality and strong knives can do a lot more than you’d expect. Just ensure that the knife you invest in is a multipurpose one that will suffice all your needs and expectations during the hike.

There are many benefits to traveling with a knife for your hike, and we hope this article gives you a good insight into the same. In case you have any other questions, make sure you leave them for us in the comments.

Share it!