1. Gerber Spine
A multipurpose utility knife, the Spine shines whether it’s slicing onions for a camp dinner or cutting the backstraps off a tasty doe. A full tang and thick 3.7-inch drop-point blade allows this durable knife to handle nearly any task you can throw at it. The textured rubber grip keeps it from slipping, and the included glass-filled nylon sheath is purpose-built to attach to your pack’s waist belt. MSRP: $40; gerbergear.com.
2. Camillus HT-8.5
This wicked-looking fixed blade fits the hand as if it were molded from it. It sports a 3.25-inch deep-bellied, full-tang blade that is ideal for skinning big game. The long ergonomic handle is rubberized for a no-slip grip, and the blade sports grooves on the spine for controlled and detailed cutting. The carbide-titanium blade is durable and nonstick so it’s easy to clean. MSRP: $47.98; camillusknives.com.
3. Buck 110 Slim Hunter Pro
The classic Buck 110 folder receives an upgrade you’ll come to love in the new Slim Hunter. As the name implies, the new 110 Slim is on a pocket-perfect diet and sports a thin Micarta handle, a removable pocket clip and a blade stud for one-handed opening. The knife has a 3.25-inch blade and folds to a 5-inch package. MSRP: $110; buckknives.com.
4. Bear & Son Damascus Pro Skinner Drop Point
If the genuine stag-bone handle isn’t enough for you, check out this American-made knife’s beautiful 7-inch Damascus steel drop-point blade. It’s well-balanced at just more than 4 ounces. Silver bolsters and a leather sheath round out the package. It’s a knife that you’ll proudly pass on to the next generation—but not just yet. MSRP: $207.99; bearandsoncutlery.com.
5. Leatherman Charge Plus Multi-Tool
Along with the usual suspects like a plain-edge blade, pliers, scissors, saw and file, the Charge Plus comes with a serrated blade, wire cutters, screwdrivers and an extra set of bits and punches, among other tools. The new camo-clad Charge Plus places a hunter-handy set of more than 19 tools in a small nylon sheath that rides on your belt. MSRP: $139.95; leatherman.com.
6. CRKT Monashee
Designed by North Dakota hunting guide Russ Kommer, the Monashee folder was built for field duties. At nearly 3.5 inches, the high-carbon stainless steel blade takes an edge easily and holds it well. Rubber handle and Field Strip design allows you to disassemble this knife for cleaning. Plus it’s lightweight, and has a liner lock and pocket clip. MSRP: $79.99; crkt.com.