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Published Apr. 14, 2021

If you enjoy the great outdoors and participating in a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, backpacking, fishing, trekking, climbing, hunting, and more, then one piece of equipment that could be a life-saver is a high-quality pocket knife. Most pocket knives are very portable, durable, reliable, and versatile. American-made pocket knives are constructed from durable materials that include scratch- and corrosion-resistant blades, along with extremely comfortable handles. The best pocket knives are built to withstand heavy usage, and they are extremely convenient, allowing you to easily travel with them in your pocket or backpack on overnight trips.

Whether you are looking for great value, durability, portability, or versatility, we took a look at the best American-made pocket knives currently on the market. Read on to see which product is the best fit for your next outdoor trip.

If you’re looking for an excellent all-around product, there may not be a better choice on the market than the Kershaw Knockout Olive Black Pocket Knife. This pocket knife is made from a high-performance steel with increased nitrogen for excellent corrosion resistance and hardness. The non-reflective stonewashed finish creates a fade-resistant, scuffed look that hides smudges and fingerprints on the blade itself. The opening system of this knife enables a smooth, secure, and fast one-handed blade deployment . To use, simply apply manual pressure to the flipper, or pull back to overcome resistance of the torsion bar, and the blade opens easily and locks into place. The handle of this knife is extremely durable, stain- and scratch-resistant, and is made from aluminum, coated with a protective layer for color, hardness and additional protection.

One downside of the Kershaw Knockout Olive Black Pocket Knife is that some customers have had problems with the knife upon delivery. Make sure to inspect your package as soon as it is delivered. If you notice any cracks, scratches, or other manufacturing defects, reach out to the company regarding a potential refund or replacement product.

The Case Amber Bone Pocket Knife is one of the best budget-friendly options on the market. This pocket knife is available at a great value, but it is still an excellent all-around knife. This model includes three blades in a convenient, yet still very practical pocket knife. Two blades sit inside the pocket end and one blade sits on the cap end. The stainless steel constructed blades include a clip, sheepfoot, and spey blade, along with a durable peach seed jig amber bone handle. This pocket knife makes a great option for everyday situations, as well as a variety of outdoor activities, like fishing, hunting, hiking, backpacking, and camping. This knife measures just 3.63 inches when closed and weighs 2.5 ounces. Perhaps best of all, a limited lifetime warranty is included with each purchase of this pocket knife.

One issue with the Case Amber Bone Pocket Knife is that some customers have reported manufacturing defects with their product. Make sure to inspect all three blades upon delivery. Some customers have stated that the two smaller blades closed on top of each other. If there are any issues, reach out to the company regarding a potential refund or replacement product.

Although it is priced at a premium, the Spyderco Para Military 2 Signature Folding Knife is one of the most reputable, well-made products on the market. This pocket knife features a 3.42-inch blade and an 8.24-inch overall length. The knife includes a patented Compression Lock, which uses the handle’s nested stainless steel liners, stop pin, and an upward-facing ramp to create a strong, user-friendly locking mechanism. A versatile, four-position clip and large lined lanyard tube are included with this knife. The innovative G-10 handle is slimmer at the grip position and wider at the pommel for stress-free, slip-resistant handling while in use. This product makes a perfect everyday knife, but it is also ideal for a variety of outdoor activities, like hunting, fishing, hiking, backpacking, camping, and more.

One downside of the Spyderco Para Military 2 Signature Folding Knife is with its price point and overall size. If you are comfortable with this knife’s larger size and premium price, then there is not a much better option on the market in terms of overall quality and reliability.

The Benchmade Bugout Drop-Point Blade Knife is an extremely versatile product that can be used in a number of different situations. It is available to purchase in a variety of different handle and blade options. This pocket knife is one of the most lightweight, portable options at a weight of just 0.2 pounds. It is incredibly strong for its size, with a drop point blade constructed from a durable alloy steel. The knife is ideal for a variety of activities, including camping, hiking, backpacking, biking, fishing, and more. The steel is completely weatherproof and corrosion-resistant. The handle has an ergonomic textured grip to prevent slipping while in use, and it is molded from a glass-filled nylon material for added durability. It is extremely easy to operate, open, and close, and there is even a lanyard hole to easily clip the knife to your belt or backpack while outdoors.

One issue with the Benchmade Bugout Drop-Point Blade Knife is with its size. While it is a great travel option, some customers have complained that the blade is a bit small if you will be using your knife often or for extensive, everyday use.

If you’re looking for an affordable product for everyday use around the home or on outdoor trips, the Case XX WR Pocket Knife is a great choice. This pocket knife is available in small or medium sizes in a wide variety of color choices. The small blade measures 3.63 inches, while the medium blade is 4.25 inches. It is made from an extremely durable stainless steel, and it makes a great multi-purpose tool. The knife includes a safe, reliable locking mechanism that is easy to use, featuring a tumbler that is partially visible on the top of the knife. Pushing down on the tumbler releases it, and enables you to close the blade. The Case company is a very reputable manufacturer that has been in the hand-crafted knife industry since 1889. In order to prolong the lifespan of your knife, make sure to keep up with proper maintenance and cleaning. To clean, simply use a small drop of Case’s special honing oil to wipe down the joints, blades, and handles.

One downside of the Case XX WR Pocket Knife is that some customers have had issues with the roughness of their blade, or in some cases an uneven blade upon delivery. Make sure to inspect your knife once you receive it, and reach out to the company regarding any manufacturing issues.

The Spyderco Para 3 Lightweight Signature Folding Knife is another high-quality product, available to purchase with a plain knife edge or serrated knife edge. It features a 2.92-inch blade with a 7.21-inch overall length. This pocket knife includes all of the features of the Para Military 2 model in a lightweight, ultra-compact size. It is 30 percent lighter than the Para Military 2 model, with a total weight of just 2.6 ounces. This knife includes an easy-to-operate locking mechanism. The compression lock is located in the spine of the handle, which locks the blade securely open during use. It also allows it to be closed easily and safely with just one hand. A deep pocket wire clip and signature round hole are included to attach the knife to your pants, luggage, backpack, lanyard, and more while on an outdoor trip.

One issue with the Spyderco Para 3 Lightweight Signature Folding Knife is its handle. Some customers have reported that the weight of the handle is too light to handle the blade. If you order this product and are unhappy with the purchase, you can always reach out to the company regarding a refund or replacement product.

The Zero Tolerance Pocket Knife is another premium-priced, yet extremely high-quality product. This pocket knife features a 4.1-inch S35VN steel blade that is very strong and resistant to chipping and scratching. The ergonomic handle includes a carbon fiber front and titanium stonewashed back for an extremely comfortable in-hand feel. It has a safe, easy-to-use one-handed flipper. To operate, simply apply pressure with your index finger while the closed knife sits in your palm. The knife handle has two metal plates on either side of the blade, and when open, the lockbar butts up against the blade’s backend to prevent the blade from closing unexpectedly. This knife is extremely convenient, featuring a reversible tip-up or tip-down pocket clip to allow the user to change tip position according to your preferences.

One downside of the Zero Tolerance Pocket Knife is that some customers have had problems with their shipment. Make sure to inspect your product upon delivery, in order to ensure that there are no scratches or damage to the knife blade.

The Benchmade Griptilian 551 Knife is another reliable knife that can be used in a variety of situations. This pocket knife includes a strong stainless steel blade and a durable nylon handle. The blade is available to purchase as a plain edge or serrated edge, depending on your preference. It is rust resistant, comfortable, and ideal for everyday tasks around the home or a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, backpacking, fishing, or hunting. The knife is extremely easy to use and operate, as it can be opened and closed with just one hand. The reversible pocket clip provides added convenience and allows for ambidextrous use. The knife is produced by a trustworthy manufacturer, who offers a limited lifetime warranty, as well as a lifetime sharpening service, in case your knife ever needs repair or sharpening.

One issue with the Benchmade Griptilian 551 Knife that some customers have reported dull knife blades upon delivery. If your knife is not sharp enough, reach out to the company regarding a sharpening or replacement product.

Related: The best EDC knives worth relying on

Why should you trust us

Living in the mountains of Western North Carolina, I have spent plenty of time outdoors on long hiking, camping, biking, backpacking, trekking, climbing, or fishing trips. Trust me when I say, owning a high-quality pocket knife can be an extremely useful accessory for a safe, reliable outdoor experience. The best pocket knives are very portable, durable, versatile, and convenient to use in a variety of different situations and conditions. I thoroughly enjoy the outdoors and have written a number of other outdoor lifestyle products and camping equipment articles, including camping towels, hiking water filters, walking sticks, insulated coffee mugs, and more.

Types of American-made pocket knives

There are three main types of pocket knives. Each type of pocket knife offers its own unique set of features and advantages. Depending on your individual preferences, where you will be using your pocket knife, and the type of activities you will be participating in, you may require a different type to best fit your needs. Make sure to familiarize yourself with all of the different types of pocket knives before making a decision on your final purchase.

Camper

The camper pocket knife is also known as the multitool pocket knife. This type of pocket knife is well equipped with a number of different tools, including screwdrivers, can/bottle openers, scissors, pliers, nail files, toothpicks, tweezers, and more. This is by far the most versatile type of pocket knife, especially if you plan on using your pocket knife for several different purposes. Camper pocket knives are available in a number of different shapes, sizes, styles, colors, and price points. If you do decide to purchase a camper knife, make sure that the blade is strong enough and durable enough to fit your individual preferences. 

Canoe

The canoe pocket knife is named after its canoe shape when it is closed. This type of pocket knife includes two blades of different shapes or sizes. The blades collapse on opposite ends, but on the same side of the knife handle. It typically carries both a pen blade and a drop point blade. The pen blade features a thin narrow blade, while the drop point blade has a straight spine until the very tip of the blade. Canoe pocket knives are generally safe to use, and they can safely fit in your pocket for everyday use or for use while on outdoor trips.

Pen

Pen pocket knives are one of the oldest types of knives. This type of pocket knife was named after the type of pen that needs to be dipped into a container of ink, typically a quill pen. The pen knife includes a thin, narrow blade with a sleek tip that closely resembled the famous ink and quill combination pen. This type of pocket knife is extremely comfortable, but it can be slightly larger than some of the other types of pocket knives. It is available to purchase in a variety of different price options, depending on the construction quality and design.

What to consider when buying American-made pocket knives

For this article, we extensively researched and tested a wide variety of different types and brands of American-made pocket knives. These included camper, canoe, and pen pocket knives of all brands, models, and styles. The pocket knives were all tested for reliability, durability, portability, and versatility. They were all tested in a number of different situations, locations, and in a variety of different conditions.

The results of this thorough research and testing can be found throughout this article. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the different types, brands, and features of each type of pocket knife before making a final purchase to best fit your needs for your next outdoor trip.

The advantages of owning an American-made pocket knife

There are several key advantages to purchasing and using a pocket knife for your next outdoor adventure. The most obvious benefit is that it can be used in a variety of everyday situations, as well as a number of outdoor activities, including camping, hiking, fishing, backpacking, trekking, climbing, hunting, and more. Most pocket knives are extremely portable, durable, reliable, and designed for use in a variety of different conditions and situations. American-made pocket knives are available in a variety of different styles, models, designs, and brands, and some models are even designed to hold up in all types of conditions and extreme weather.

Most pocket knives are very lightweight, user-friendly, and versatile, able to be used in a variety of situations, activities, or different settings. Pocket knives make a great option for a reliable, safe outdoor experience, allowing you to have a versatile tool on hand when needed.

  • One of the most obvious benefits of a pocket knife is that it is an extremely convenient tool. Pocket knives are extremely portable tools to carry with you on camping or hiking trips for use at a moment’s notice.
  • Another key benefit to pocket knives is that they are extremely versatile. Some pocket knives include multiple blades or several different tools. They can be used for a variety of outdoor activities, cutting items, as well as handling and preparing food.
  • First aid/protection pocket knives can also come in handy for various first aid and protective uses. Pocket knives can be used to cut off clothes, remove splinters, and can be a life-saver in a variety of situations.

Pricing ranges for American-made pocket knives

  • Under $50: Pocket knives in this price range are available at an excellent value. Make sure to thoroughly read the reviews before making a purchase to ensure that the knife is strong enough and durable enough to withstand the outdoor activities where you plan on using it.
  • $50-$100: This is the most common price range for American-made pocket knives. These pocket knives are typically very reliable, and they are available to purchase in a variety of types, models, and sizes. You can typically find a fairly high-quality pocket knife in this price range.
  • Over $100: American-made pocket knives in this price range are priced at a premium. Products in this price range are typically of the highest quality, featuring multiple tools, blades, and they are made from the most durable materials. The blades of these knives are usually scratch- and corrosion-resistant, built to withstand extensive use.

How we chose our top picks

When reviewing new outdoor products, we much prefer to go the hands-on route, but sometimes a lack of resources may prevent us from trying out the outdoor equipment in person. To make sure we don’t let you down, we take the time to thoroughly research and review other professionals who have hands-on experience with the equipment, combing through extensive reviews on Amazon, professional publications, outdoor enthusiast blogs, and more to bring you the best information available. For this review, we found the information at Hi Consumption, All American Reviews, American Gear Guide, Blade Reviews, and Home Stratosphere to be extremely helpful when shopping for the best American-made pocket knives for your next outdoor trip.

Related: 9 of the best survival knives worth carrying

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