The Top 20 Best Pocket Knives For EDC: 2018 Folding Knife Reviews


Buying a knife used to be easier.  But now, whether you are buying a survival knife, pocket knife, or just looking at any manufacturer’s website to gather information, it can get quite confusing.

There was a time when most people’s idea of an “everyday carry” knife consisted of one of the many different types of traditional pocket knife patterns.  Their idea of a tactical folder was an Italian-style stiletto, not the modern looking EDC knives you see today.

These days, there seems to be a mass exodus away from the traditional pocket knife patterns of old to what seems to be a long line of various designs of tactical folders which can also serve very well as every-day-carry knives.

In this article, we will talk about both modern and traditional knife patterns because both forms of knives are completely viable options as knives that you can use and carry every day.

Below we’ve put together a comprehensive comparison chart of our top 20 picks.  Check out our reviews and buyer’s guide below that for more details to help along the way.

Pocket Knife Comparison Guide:

View on Amazon:Knife Type:Blade Material:Our Rating:
Kershaw Ken Onion Folding KnifeModern6061-T6 Anondized Aluminum
Benchmade 940 OsborneModernS30V Stainless
Spyderco Endura4ModernVG-10 High Carbon Steel
Benchmade 580 Osborne BarrageModernM390 Stainless Steel
Benchmade Mchenry 710 ModernD2 Stainless Steel
Spyderco Manix2 Translucent BlueModernBD-1 Carpenter Steel
Spyderco Delica4ModernVG-10 Steel
SOG Flash II KnifeModernAUS-8 Stainless Steel
Spyderco Tenacious ComboModern8CR13MOV Stainless
Spyderco Pacific Salt Knife ModernH1 Steel
Buck Knives Folding Hunter KnifeTraditional420 HC Stainless Steel
Buck Knives RangerTraditional420 HC Stainless Steel
Buck Knives KnightTraditional420 HC Stainless Steel
Case Cutlery LockbackTraditionalSurgical Stainless
Winchester 3 Inch FolderTraditionalSurgical Stainless
WR Case & Sons TrapperTrapperChrome Vanadium
WR Case Synthetic TrapperTrapperChrome Vanadium
Buck Knives 301 StockmanStockman420 HC Stainless Steel
Case Cutlery StockmanStockmanSurgical Stainless
Schrade Imperial StockmanStockman400 Series Steel

In the comparison chart above, you will find our knife selection sorted into the following categories:

1.View on Amazon: The brand & model of the knife – see user reviews & more at
2.Knife Type:  Pocket Knife Design
3.Blade Material: Blade Material each knife is made from
4.Our Rating: Self Explanatory – the rating we assign each knife at Wilderness Today

If you still need more help picking the right knife for your needs, our Buyer’s Guide & Advice section should help you along the way.

We’ve also broken each of our top 10 selections down in more detail which you can get to easily by using the menu below.

Pocket Knife Buyer’s Guide:

There are two schools of pocket knives (for the most part).  Some people would argue that you have a smaller subset of pocket knives that are considered more military style and tactical in use.  We stand by that most of the knives we’d recommend for military or tactical use should be fixed blade knives and not something that’s a basic EDC pocket knife.  Bushcraft knives should be shorter in nature and also have a fixed blade.

Today’s knives for the most part fall into two buckets which are Modern Pocket Knives and Traditional Pocket knives.  Let’s look at the basic differences and uses of each type in more detail below.

1. Traditional vs. Modern Folding Pocket Knife Patterns:

The Origins of the Traditional Pocket Knife Style:  Unlike the modern crop of folding every day carry knives, many traditional patterns were specifically designed to meet the needs of people in specific professions. For instance, the Stockman pattern was originally developed for use by farmers, ranchers, and stockyard workers who used their pocket knives to trim hooves and spay and neuter livestock.  The Pen Knife was originally developed for use by clerks, bankers, and layers to use when sharpening their quill pens.  Traditionally styled folding knives are also a favorite of knife collectors.

Another classic patterns is the Barlow (which is available in different sizes) because it does an excellent job of filling the need for an all-purpose knife.  Traditional designs would encompass all traditional folding knife patterns such as the iconic buck 110 Folding Hunter and the Buck 112 Ranger as well as all classic patterns such as the Barlow, the Stockman, the Sunfish, the Pen, ect.  Schrade does an excellent job in the video describing some the basic traditional knife models in more detail.

There ere are six designs commonly used on traditional pocket knife patterns consisting of straight backs, clip points, drop points, spear points, sheep’s foot, spey, and Wharncliffe.  They can be combined with numerous different handle patterns.  A knife with a Clip Point, a Sheep’s Foot, and a Spey blade combined with a Serpentine handle design is always called a Stockman pattern.  Choosing a traditional pattern is really a matter of personal preference depending on how you intend to use it.

The Origins of the Modern EDC/Tactical Pocket Knife Style:  However, because so many of the jobs that once required a man to carry a “working knife” on a daily basis are no longer existent, the modern “everyday carry” knife has evolved from the traditional folding lockback to a much more tactical design.  The two patterns are very distinct from one another when placed side by side.

The more modern knife patterns are extremely popular due to technological advances in modern day design and these newer modern designs typically surpass more traditional knife designs depending on the intended use of the knife.  Your more modern looking knives typically stand up to abuse and serve really well in areas of labor that require a knife with more aggressive features.  This just means that someone who installs carpet may be more apt to stick to a Spyderco than a traditional folding Buck Knives model.

Modern looking tactical folding knives came about in the 1990s as more aggressive looking knives became popular.  We think these knives are a great option for someone that needs a good option for basic everyday carry, but we wouldn’t rely on them as a sole self defense knife.  For that purpose, we’d rely on a full tang fixed blade knife due to the durability and the lack of a break point that a fixed blade knife has.

2. Finding the Optimal Blade Size:  

Most modern folding knives are generally medium to large size, and traditional pocket knives are usually available in small, medium, and large sizes to meet various needs.

A “gentleman’s knife” is always small so that it will ride comfortably in a dress pants pocket and will be non-threatening to coworkers when you need to use it. Whereas, a working pocket knife is usually a large size knife so that the blades are easy to open and the handle fills your hand when you grasp it and thus, a medium sized knife is meant to be a compromise between small gentleman’s pocket knife and large working pocket knife.

Because most modern everyday carry folding knives feature pocket clips for vertical carry on the edge of a pocket, they do not require belt sheaths. Most traditional folding knives do require a belt sheath which some people like while others don’t.

3. Blade Design (Modern Everyday Carry, Traditional, Etc.):  

 Traditional vs. Modern Folding knife Designs Compared StylesWhen choosing either a modern folding knife or a traditional folding knife pattern, the first step is to decide whether your main purpose for the knife is work or self defense since the two blade designs are very different from each other.

Modern designs usually feature either a clip point or a drop point blade design because they place the tip of the blade closer to the center of the blade where the cross section is more narrow.  This makes the point sharper for easier piercing. It also notably limits the amount of sweep the blade has even if a deep belly is included.

Working knives are far more often used for cutting and slicing than piercing.  They generally feature blade designs with extended cutting edges and a mild sweep to the belly specifically designed to maximize the length of the cutting edge.  Blade designs with points that are located at or near the center line of the blade tend to be better suited for tactical use.  Blade designs with the tip located well above the center line of the blade tend to be better suited for general purpose use.

When choosing a traditional pattern, you have the choice between two, three, and four different blades contained within the same handle and each blade can be of a different shape.

Both the clip point and the spear point designs are meant to be general purpose blade designs.  The spey exhibits an extra deep belly for an extended cutting edge on the sweep which makes it good for slicing and whittling.  Sheep’s Foot and Wharncliffe blade designs provide a straight edge all of the way to the tip and thus, they provide a short, highly aggressive, cutting edge.

The Pen blade on a Barlow or a Pen knife is perfect for removing staples and other small jobs.  Many outdoorsmen favor the Muskrat pattern which features two large clip point blades or the Trapper pattern which has both a long clip point and a long spey blade.  The Stockman makes the ultimate working knife pattern with its clip point, sheep’s foot, and spey blade.

4. The Different Types of Blade Steels:  

Pocket Knife Getting Forged BladeWhen choosing either a modern every day carry knife or a traditional folding knife or modern pocket knife pattern, blade steel is something to consider.  Blade Steels are first divided into two categories consisting of stainless steels and non-stainless, high carbon tool steels.  Each type of steel has different properties.

High carbon tool steels are generally significantly tougher than stainless steels due their grain structure.  They are generally not as wear resistant as stainless steels and they are slightly more prone to corrosion.

Stainless steels on the other hand are generally not as tough as high carbon tool steels and they are more inclined to break under duress.  They are also significantly less prone to corrosion due to the inclusion of at least 12.5 percent Chromium and sometimes a little Nickel thrown in for good measure.  Stainless blades are more difficult to sharpen than high carbon tool steels and they won’t take quite as fine an edge.  They will however hold their edge longer than a high carbon steel of an equal Rockwell Hardness.

In fact, the Rockwell Hardness of the blade is another important consideration when choosing a knife.  This is important because the softer a blade is, the less it holds an edge and it’s less likely to break.  The harder a blade is, the better it will hold an edge but, the more inclined it will be to break.

Softer blades are easier to sharpen whereas, harder blades are more difficult to sharpen. Bladesmiths use something called the Rockwell Scale C to measure the hardness of knife blades. A tough knife blade would have a Rockwell Hardness of 50-53 HRC, while a hard knife blade would have a Rockwell Hardness of 58-62 HRC.  Knife blades with a Rockwell Hardness of 54-57 are a good compromise between toughness and edge holding ability.

All modern every day carry knives and most traditional pattern folding knives are made from stainless steel.  There are a few companies that still produce both types of pocket knives with blades made from high carbon tool steels.

The same is true for traditional pattern pocket knives and pocket knives with high carbon tool steel blades.  They are shinny when the knife is first removed from the box.  A couple of days of continuous carry in a pocket will cause the blades to develop a dark brown patina which actually helps to prevent corrosion.  This is normal and not something to worry about.

5. Pocket Knife Handle Design:  

Messer im Gegenlicht der SonneWhen choosing a traditional pattern, there are numerous different handle patterns to choose from.  There is the Swell End Jack, the Serpentine, the Peanut, the Sunfish, the Canoe, the Coke Bottle, ect.

In most cases, specific handle shapes are always paired with certain designs.  When choosing a traditional design, you first choose the type and number of blades you want and simply accept the handle design that accompanies it.  The Barlow with a Swell End Jack handle pattern and the Stockman with a Serpentine handle pattern are among the most popular designs.

Most modern designs are simpler and are made based on functionality and intended use, rather than sticking to a pattern that more traditional models have for years.

Traditional style handle scales range from many different types of synthetic materials such as Delrin, Mica Pearl, and Kirinite. There can also be many different types of natural materials such as exotic hardwoods, jigged bone, and Stag antler.  Your choice should depend on your intended purpose for the knife.

For instance, if you are purchasing a working knife, you would probably want a tough material such as Delrin.  If you are choosing a gentleman’s accessory, then you would want a decorative material such as Mother of Pearl or Abalone.

Best Modern Folding Pocket Knives: Our Picks For 2018:

Because the full list of modern knives is simply too extensive to list, we have instead listed out for you ten of the most popular modern pocket knives on the market today.

1. Kershaw Ken Onion Blur Folding Knife:

The Kershaw Ken Onion Blur Folding Knife is one of the most popular pocket knife selections on the market today, and also the best EDC knife for the money you can buy in our opinion.  Kershaw is known for quality, but this knife is also very budget friendly, while not ignoring quality.

While Benchmade should be your go-to if you have the money, the Kershaw Ken Onion Blur, gives you a sleek and simple design as well as comfort and utility all in one package.

Here are the Specs for the Kershaw Ken Onion Blur:

Kershaw Ken Onion EDC Pocket Knife• Overall Length: 7.875 Inches
• Blade Length: 3.375
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade Material: 14C28N Stainless
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: Aluminum
• Weight: 3.9 oz.

It’s practical design and additional safety measures make it a top pick for the cost.  It features a closed length of 4 1/2 inches and a length of 3 3/8 inches.  It has a thumb stud which helps assist in opening and closing the blade with one or both hands.

It’s made from 6061-T6 Anondized Aluminum and comes with a speed safe opener for additional safety.  This is important if you plan on keeping it in your pocket every day.

2. Benchmade 940 Osborne Design Knife:

The Benchmade 940 Osborne is the cream of the crop.  In fact, we feature this knife in a detailed breakdown right here.  Benchmade has made it’s mark by having some of the top quality pocket knives on the market and the 940 Osborne is no different.  While price is always a factor, equally important is the quality of the knife.

Benchmade 940 Folding Knife• Overall Length: 7.87 Inches
• Blade Length: 3.4 Inches
• Blade Type: Reverse Tanto
• Blade Material: S30V Stainless
• Rockwell Hardness: 58-60 HRC
• Handle Material: G-10
• Weight: 2.65 oz.

The 940 is by far one of the higher quality knives on our list, but it comes with a higher price tag as a result.  It’s a premium folder that comes equipped with a pocket clip on one side, making it ideal for everyday carry.

It has a 3.4 inch stainless steel blade with an ambidextrous thumb stud which makes this a great option if you are a lefty.  When extended the knife measures 7.87 inches from top to bottom.

3. Spyderco Endura 4:

Like the Tenacious Combo Edge, the Endura 4 has a serrated edge blade and it’s made from VG-10 high carbon steel.  The blade itself is titanium carbonitride coated to help prevent against rust.

Here are the Specs for the Spyderco Endura 4:

Spyderco Endura 4 Folding Knife• Overall Length: 8.75 Inches
• Blade Length: 3.75 Inches
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade material: VG-10 Stainless
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: Fiber Reinforced Nylon
• Weight: 3.67 oz.

It has a lock on the rear side of the blade to ensure it doesn’t open easily and when completely open, the knife locks.  This helps prevent unintended closure.   It comes with a clip on the handle to make it easy to attach to your belt and the handle is also textured for optimal grip.

It’s also equipped with pocket clip on the handle, making it a great option for anyone that’s looking for a decent EDC option.

4. Benchmade Super Steel Barrage:

The 940 Osborne isn’t the only top tier knife that Benchmade is responsible for making.  The Super Steel Barrage is extremely popular with the higher end knife owning crowd.

Here are the Specs for The Benchmade Super Steel Barrage:

Benchmade 580 Super Steel Barrage• Overall length: 8.35 Inches
• Blade Length: 3.6 Inches
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade Material: 154 CM
• Rockwell Hardness: 58-61 HRC
• Handle Material: G-10/Aluminum
• Weight: 4.94 oz.

It’s a little pricey, but for the quality you expect from Benchmade, it’s well worth the cost. It’s made of M390 “super steel” and has a locking blade to help ensure that it won’t pop open at an unexpected time.  It has an ambidextrous thumb stud that will help with opening and closing the knife with one or both hands.

Again, the price tag is a little steeper, but when it comes to knife quality, you get what you pay for.

5. Benchmade 710 McHenry:

While the Benchmade 710 McHenry doesn’t have quite the same accolades as the 940 Osborne or the Super Steel Barrage, It’s still quite popular with outdoor enthusiasts due to the solid construction and overall length of the blade.

Here are the Specs on the Benchmade 710:

Benchmade McHenry 710• Overall Length: 8.80 Inches
• Blade Length: 3.9 Inches
• Blade Type: Modified Clip Point
• Blade material: D2 Steel
• Rockwell Hardness: 58-61 HRC
• Handle Material: Unknown
• Weight: 4.94 oz.

The blade is slightly longer than some of the others on this list, coming in at 3.9 inches.  When the knife is open, the entire knife is a total of 8.8 inches in length.  It’s made from D2/58-61 HRC Steel and has a fixed point blade.  It is also ambidextrous.

6. Spyderco Delica Lightweight FRN:

The Spyderco Delica makes our list as it’s one of Spyderco’s better selling models.  It has a 4 way clip with a screw together construction making it easy to take apart and clean up when needed.

Here are the Specs for the Spyderco:

Sypderco DelicaOverall Length: 7.125 Inches
• Blade Length: 2.875 Inches
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade material: VG-10
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: Fiber Reinforced Nylon
• Weight: 2.5 oz.

It has a textured handle making it easy to grip and it has an enlarged opening hole making it easy to pull it completely out and extend.  It has a 2.875 inch VG-10 Steel Blade and measures 7.125 inches when fully opened.  It’s a great value and won’t break the bank, making it a great choice for budget conscious shoppers.

7. SOG Flash II Knife:

While SOG is notorius for their survival knives, they have a good reputation as an every day carrier as well.

Here are the Specs on the SOG Flash II:

SOG Flash II Tactical Folding Knife• Overall Length: 9 Inches
• Blade Length: 3.5 Inches
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade Material: AUS-8
• Rockwell Hardness: 57-58 HRC
• Handle Material: Glass Reinforced Nylon
• Weight: 3.10 oz.

The Flash II comes equipped with a 3 1/2 inch blade and the SOG technology provides an easy solution to open the blade with one hand.

The handle is made of nylon that’s been glass reinforced and the black finish almost looks like a little like a carbon fiber material.  The SOG flash is a solid everyday carry knife.

8. Spyderco Tenacious Combo:

The Spyderco Tenacious Combo is slightly different than many of the other models on this list.  It has screw together construction and an easy opening hole to make it easily accessible when it comes to taking it apart and cleaning it.

Here are the specs on the Spyderco Tenacious Combo:Spyderco Tenacious Edge with Belt Clip

• Overall Length: 7.76 Inches
• Blade Length: 3.39 Inches
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade material: 8Cr13MoV
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: G-10
• Weight: 4.1 oz.

The biggest difference is the serrated edge at the base of blade which makes this blade ideal for cutting small branches in the forest or while hiking in the brush.  The blade is 3 5/16 long and is a Flat Ground Blade.

The Spyderco Tenacious Combo edge also comes equipped with a pocket clip on the back, making it convenient if you need the flexibility of carrying it openly for any range of tasks.  The Tenacious Combination Edge is a great pickup for anyone on a budget looking for the quality that you’d expect from Spyderco.

9. Spyderco Pacific Salt Knife:

The Pacific Salt Knife is a mid sized folding knife which offers a serrated edge along the entire length of the blade.  The blade itself is 3.8 inches and is made of H-1 steel.

Here are the Specs on the Pacific Salt Knife:

Sypderco Pacific Salt Folding KnifeOverall Length: 8.687 Inches
• Blade Length: 3.812 Inches
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade material: H-1
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: G-10
• Weight: 3 oz.

When the blade is fully open it is 8.7 inches in total length.  Spyderco has some amazing knifes on this list, but this one breaks the top 20 due to the fact that it’s thinner than most and can be very comfortable as an EDC knife.  It’s more modern looking, which Spyderco is known for.

10. Gerber Swagger Assisted Open Knife:

The Gerber Swagger Knife is a great EDC knife that can be used for everyday tasks.  It makes for a great all-in-one utility knife and is engineered to stand up to serious abuse.

Here are the Specs on the Gerber Swagger Knife:

Gerber Swagger Folding Pocket Knife• Overall Length: 9.5 Inches
• Blade Length: 3.25
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade Material: High Carbon
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: G-10
• Weight: 5.9 oz.

When the blade is fully open it is 9.5 inches in total length.  Gerber has really stepped up their game over the years now making some of the most popular knives on the market in just about every category.  The Gerber Swagger comes equipped with G-10 composite handles that make gripping the knife a breeze.  It can be pocket carried or worn on your belt with ease.

Best Traditional Pocket Knife Picks:

Since we first broke down some of the more modern pocket knives in 2018, next we will cover our favorite traditional models.  Our modern models always seem to have a place in just about everyone’s lineup due to their modern styling and technological advancements.

It’s worth noting that we feel that Buck Knives dominates the traditional space.  There’s always a place in the lineup for some of the more traditional looking pocket knives which we will jump into below.

1. Buck Knives 110BRS Folding Hunter:

Buck Knives has been around a very long time.  They manufacture many different types of knives and the 110BRS Hunter is one of the more popular EDC knives for the cost.

Here are the Buck Knife 110 BRS Specifications:

Buck Knives 110 Traditional Folding Pocket Knife• Overall length: 8.5 Inches
• Blade Length: 3.75 Inches
• Blade Type: Clip Point
• Blade Material: 420HC
• Rockwell Hardness: 58 HRC
• Handle Material: Rosewood/Brass
• Weight: 7.5 oz.

Current pricing (this may vary) is usually less than 50.00 on, making this knife a bargain.

The blade is a 3 3/4 inches 420HC steel clip blade.  The added cool factor of getting a free leather sheath with purchase on makes this little knife quite a bargain.

2. Buck Knives 112BRS Ranger Lockback Folding Knife:

Another stalwart for Buck Knives, the 112 BRS Ranger is one of the top traditional pocket folding knives on the more compact side.  With .75 inches less than the 110 Folding Hunter, the Ranger is the ideal pickup for someone that wants the quality that Buck provides but still sticking on the smaller side of the knife spectrum.

Here are the Buck Knives 112BRS Lockback Ranger Specifications:

Buck Knives 112 Ranger• Overall length: 7.75 Inches
• Blade Length: 3 Inches
• Blade Type: Clip Point
• Blade Material: 420HC
• Rockwell Hardness: 58 HRC
• Handle Material: Rosewood/Brass
• Weight: 5.6 oz.

If you are trying to limit the size of the knife you are carrying for everyday activities, the Ranger fits the bill.  It’s one of the smaller knives on the list and quality wise, there’s just nothing quite like owning a buck knife.

The blade is a 3 inch 420HC steel clip blade.  The added cool factor of getting a free leather sheath with purchase echos the big brother for the 110.  It’s another added perk for a folding knife that’s a little lower on the price spectrum.  If you are looking for a smaller knife, the Ranger is our top choice for a compact model.

3. Buck Knives 505RWS Knight:

Small and compact, the Buck Knight is a great knife in a smaller stature.  It’s perfect for carrying everyday around your house or cabin for basic uses.  As typical, the Buck warranty is hard to beat and the Knight does a great job of keeping cost in check while not sacrificing the quality that Buck is known for.  Keep in mind, this knife is a small knife and will fit in the palm of your hand.

Here are the Buck Knight 505RWS Specifications:

Buck Knives Knight• Overall length: 4.5 Inches
• Blade Length: 1.85 Inches
• Blade Type: Clip Point
• Blade material: 420HC
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: Rosewood/Brass
• Weight: 7.5 oz.

If you are looking for a quality knife that comes in a small package, the Knight is sure to get the job done.  It makes for a great keychain knife or one for the 5th pocket of your jeans as you stroll around the house.

For the small size, the price is a little higher than some of the Knight’s competitors like the Schrade Imperial, but you do get the warranty and piece of mind that comes with it.

4. Case Cutlery Lockback Red Bone:

The Case cutlery Red Bone is a fine choice for someone looking for a US made lifetime warrantied knife.   The Old Red Bone Lockback is a classic knife offering from Case.  The quality is on par with Buck and this is another knife that will last you a lifetime.  This is a smaller knife that will fit in the palm of your hand and is on the same playing field as the Buck Knight.  Case has a long tradition of making quality knives, and this is no different.

Case Lockback Red Bone HandleHere are the Case Pocket Worn Lockback Specifications:

• Overall length: 5.5 Inches
• Blade Length: 2.75 Inches
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade material: Surgical Stainless
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: Rosewood/Brass
• Weight: 1.9 oz.

Overall, the Case Lockback is a good option for anyone looking for a companion on their next outdoor tent camping or hunting trip.  Case hangs in there with Buck from a quality perspective and case specifically takes extra steps to break in their knives to make them feel a little more “worn.”

If you are considering the Knight from Buck, the Lockback Red bone should be one of the knives in your list of considerations.

5. Winchester Traditional Folding Knife:

Winchester provides a budget friendly option with a genuine wooden handle.  The quality on this knife is solid for the price.  Winchester is not particularly known for their knife production, but this traditional folding knife has enough quality for the price to make our list.

Here are the Winchester Specifications:

Winchester Original Wood Handle Knife• Overall length: 6.75 Inches
• Blade Length: 3.875 Inches
• Blade Type: Clip Point
• Blade material: Surgical Stainless
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material:Genuine Wood
• Weight: 3.8 oz.

Winchester has been an American icon since it was founded in 1866 and is a mass producer of many different firearms and ammunition.  Winchester does outsource their knife manufacturing overseas while other companies like Buck and Case manufacture in the USA, so that’s worth noting if that’s important to you.

Winchester has been producing knives for many years but it is not their primary profit makers like Knives are for Buck.  With that being said, if you are on a really tight budget, the Winchester makes a great budget friendly option that may not last forever.  It will however, get the job done for at least a few years of heavy use.  Winchester finishes it off with a clip on the blade that allows you to attach it to your belt for daily wear.

6. WR Case & Sons Trapper Design Knife:

The WR Case & Sons is our first Trapper knife on our traditional design list.  We’ve talked about Case as a manufacturer and the fact that they produce very quality products with the Red Bone Lockback, but the Trapper knife is a popular traditional model and Case hits the mark with their 2 blade trapper.

Case & Sons TrapperHere are the Case Cutlery Trapper Specifications:

• Overall length: 7.25 Inches
• Blade Length: 3.25 Inches
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade material: Chrome Vandium
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: Amber Bone
• Weight: 4.0 oz.

Trappers are a common type of popular knife and a lot of cutlers mass produce them because of their popularity.  This knife is a true trapper as it has both a clip and spey blades and nothing else.  Case stays true to the original model and does so with an excellent design and bone finished handle.

7. WR Case & Sons Stainless Trapper:

Smaller than the Traditional trapper, this Case model has a 3.25 inch blade bringing the overall length of the knife when fully extended to just over 7.3 inches.  This trapper knife is just as good as the Bone handled version, but it’s cheaper due to the synthetic handles versus the bone handled trapper listed above.

Synthetic Handle Trapper Knife by CaseHere are the Case Cutlery Synthetic Handle Trapper Specifications:

• Overall length: 7.25 Inches
• Blade Length: 3.25 Inches
• Blade Type: Drop Point
• Blade material: Chrome Vandium
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: Synthetic
• Weight: 4.8 oz.

The Case synthetic handled trapper does what it’s meant to do and does it on a pretty decent budget.  As with all Case knives, it’s manufactured in the USA.  The trapper blade is one of the oldest knife designs out there and it’s one that you can’t go wrong with.  If you are considering a trapper knife and want to save a few dollars to go without a real bone handle, then this should be at the top of your list.

8. Buck Knives 301 Three Blade Folding Knife (Stockman Design):

As we jump into Stockman territory, the Buck Knives 301 Stockman is our top selection for the money.  It’s elegant, classic and has the quality that you’d anticipate from a Buck product.  This is also Buck’s largest traditional folding multi-purpose knife that they offer.

Buck Stockman KnifeHere are the Buck Knives Stockman Specifications:

• Overall length: 6.5 Inches
• Blade Length: 2.75 Inches
• Blade Type: Clip Point
• Blade material: 420HC
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: Rosewood/Brass
• Weight: 2.9 oz.

The 301 Stockman comes equipped with three blades.  It has a clip point, spey and sheepsfoot blade.  It’s made from the standard Buck 420HC Steel which holds an edge very well on top of being extremely corrosion-resistant.  It’s a perfect knife for just about everything you can throw at it.

It’s perfect for skinning, pruning, whittling and just about anything else you can think of in a traditional every day carry pocket knife.

9. Case Cutlery Medium Pocket Knife (Stockman Design):

Stockman again makes the list for a quality knife design in the Stockman category.  It has 3 blades, the standard clip point, spey and sheepsfoot that all Stockmans carry.  It has an Amber Bone handle which gives it a nice vintage look while remaining durable.

Case Cutlery StockmanHere are the Case Cutlery Medium Stockman Specifications:

• Overall length: 6.5 Inches
• Blade Length: 3 Inches
• Blade Type: Clip Point
• Blade material: Surgical Steel
• Rockwell Hardness: Unknown
• Handle Material: Amber Bone
• Weight: 7.5 oz.

Like the trappers that Case does a great job with, this Stockman is a fine offering.  They do a great job of serving up a Stockman in a more compact version.  This knife is an ideal size for daily carry at right around 6.5 inches, similar to the Buck Stockman.  The bone handle is a nice touch that offers the knife a vintage feel and like their other knives, this Case model is also made in the USA.

This Stockman is ideal for hunting, fishing, hiking, or anything you need to use it for as an every day knife around the house or cabin.

10. Schrade Imperial Stainless Steel 3 Blade Knife (Stockman Design):

The most cost friendly knife on our list is made by Schrade.  It’s a smaller knife in stature but it still gets the job done for basic tasks.  This is a small, compact Stockman knife which features three stainless steel blades and is in the traditional Stockman format.  It’s perfect for fishing, recreational use and small daily tasks.

Schrade Imperial StockmanHere are the Schrade Imperial Specifications:

• Overall length: 5.9 Inches
• Blade Length: 2.5 Inches
• Blade Type: Clip Point
• Blade material: 400 Series Stainless
• Rockwell Hardness: 58 HRC
• Handle Material: Celluloid
• Weight: 2.5 Ounces

If you are strapped for cash, the Schrade Imperial does a great job of filling the budget friendly bill.  Typically when it comes to quality – you get what you pay for.

With that being said, this little knife outperforms the price tag and will be a good reliable knife for basic tasks and should last for several years of abuse.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What is the top brand of pocket knife?
A: This is somewhat subjective, and depends on what your needs are.  There are many great brands, but the ones that stand out are Benchmade, Spyderco and Kershaw for modern designs.  If you are looking for a traditional design, Buck or Case Cutlery are hard to beat.

Q: What’s the best way to clean a pocket knife?
A: There are many ways you can clean a folding knife, but all of them will require some type of debris and/or possibly rust removal as well as proper lubrication.  Rather than reinvent the wheel, here’s an excellent article by Boys Life on how to properly clean and restore a dirty knife.

Q: Is it legal to carry a pocket knife?
A: This is a complicated Answer.  It truly depends on your state.  Different states have different laws, and knife laws are generally governed at the state level because knives are tools.  If you want to be safe with what you carry, find a knife that is more of a utility knife (think stockman or traditional design) and not something that looks like a tactical knife.  Here’s a good article by Gizmodo that breaks down what most states restrict when it comes to knife types (switchblades aren’t popular).

Q: How do I sharpen a pocket knife?
A: Sharpening any blade is pretty standard.  While it may be different based on the size or length of the blade, you can follow the guidelines we have outlined here that will walk you through how to properly sharpen any knife.  You’ll want to make sure you pick up a pocket knife sharpener that you can carry with you if you plan to spend time out in the wilderness and want to be able to sharpen your blade on the go.

Q: How can you improve a cheap pocket knife?
A: Rather thank improving something that was low cost to begin with, we recommend that you save your money and purchase something that will last a long time.  Some of the editors on staff at Wilderness Today have had the same knife for 10+ years because they spent a little more on a premium brand/model.

Q: What’s the best “outdoorsy” folding pocket knife?
A: This is subjective, but really any knife can function in the outdoors.  If you are looking for something that you can carry with you while you camp, just make sure you get something with a pocket clip so it doesn’t fall out while you are managing tasks around your campsite.

Q: What’s the best EDC pocket knife that’s light weight?
A: This is relative to both the size and materials the knife is made of.  Typically speaking, handles made from some type of carbon or high grade plastic will be lighter than handles made from bone.  If you want something that’s extremely light weight, look for a smaller knife that can fit in the palm of your hand.

Q: What’s the best folding knife for a boy scout?
A: Typically boy scouts will use more traditionally designed knives.  You’ll want to look at a stockman model that has multiple uses.  Swiss army knives are also good for boy scouts because of the multiple utility tools they carry.

So What’s the Best Pocket Knife for the Money?

Let’s start off by saying that any knife on this list should be completely sufficient for any task you throw at it.  It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a modern every day carrier that looks more tactical in nature, or are just looking for a traditional Stockman.  All the knives on this list are solid choices and will function well for whatever your needs are.

It’s safe to say that after all of this we’ve come up with a few of our favorites which we will list below in order of styles:

Modern EDC Knife Choices:

Top Modern Folding Knife Choice:  Kershaw Ken Onion Blur

Top Choice if You have a healthy Budget:  Benchmade 940 Osborne

Traditional Pocket Knife Choices:

Top Traditional Lockback:  Buck Folding Hunter Knife

Top Stockman:  Buck 301 Stockman

As you can see, when choosing a pocket knife, there many different types to choose from and each one features a different number of blades with different blade designs combined with different handle patterns in different sizes.

Regardless of your intended purpose for the knife, there is undoubtedly a modern or traditional pocket knife pattern that will suite your every day carry needs.

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