Essential Hunting Knife Qualities

History shows us that knife-like-tools used for cutting have been around for millions of years in some form or another. The oldest knife-like tool was the Oldowon used by the homo sapiens around 2.5 million years ago.

Knives are the ultimate survival tool, and even at this modern tech age, we still rely on them for an infinite number of tasks in our planetary system, from backcountry to a space station.

Hunting knives are engineered for tough conditions, to help make the kill, and come to the rescue in survival situations. Any man prepared to gather food in the wild will need a hunting knife.


You may well be thinking, “What is the true purpose of one?” Well, try skinning an animal or stripping a branch with a penknife!

A good hunting and survival knife will make a mockery of these tasks. The ideal blade size is 4-5” with a curve to the point. The curved point will make skinning and slicing easier with the natural cutting motion.

Some hunting knives sport both a curved and a straight edge. Many fishermen are inclined to blades that incorporate the ‘Gut hook’.

The ‘Hook’ - Fishermen’s favorite

Hunting knives vs. Other knives

Hunting and survival knives do the things that ordinary knives just can’t do.

Survival knives are designed to be sharp, solid over a short distance yet allowing the user maximum cutting power, exertion and above all else, safety. This is achieved with the balance of weight, blade and handle, shape and size.

Which type of knife?

Both ‘Hunting knife’ and ‘survival knife’ are loosely termed these days. I’ve seen several sites where fruit knives have been tagged as #huntingknife #fishingknife #tacticalknife and so on.

So, let’s see what attributes qualify a knife as a hunting knife and what to look for.

The best place to start is with fixed blade knives. They are the strong, reliable and most suitable for hunting as they have no moving parts.

Take into consideration the tang, full tang knives are the sturdiest. While they are not your apocalypse survival knife, they are your best companion in the backcountry for dressing games or cutting up kindling for a campfire.

Fixed blade pro-hunting knife

If you like the look of a folding knife, they will also do the job but aren’t as strong or as reliable due to the folding mechanism. A folding knife should realistically be your second knife as they can break or get jammed with sand, dirt or even animal flesh.

However, they could suit your needs if you need it to fit one into your back pocket whilst you wait for the hunt.

A good hunting and survival knife should feel solid and sturdy in your grip. If it feels like it might slip, it probably isn’t the best investment. Make sure to purchase your knife from a reputable brand that offers a warranty.


Quality is important when choosing your knife. Good quality blades are generally either carbon steel or stainless steel. Stainless steel is more popular for the anti-rust feature. However, they need sharpening more often than their carbon steel counterparts.

Quality only goes so far, you must also maintain your knife with the right care. Cleaning both the blade and handle after each use is recommended while keeping the blade sharp to avoid accidents.

If you’re unsure how to sharpen the blade, there are plenty of tutorials and videos to guide you.


Folding hunters

While a hunting and survival knife has its purposes out in the wil, they can also look dope.

With a variety of different handles, shapes and sizes, they cater to each and everyone’s preference and personality. Names can be engraved on the handle or blade making them the perfect gift.