I need a knife? But what type
So you've come to that time when, depending on what you're doing, maybe you need a hunting type knife or a multipurpose type or maybe just a pocket knife for peeling that orange or apple while out on a walk.
If I keep saying this, it's because it's makes sense. Ask others what they use and why they use that type of knife. Experienced hunters have had years to try this knife over that one and they will come to the conclusion that this works best because...... and that's why they use the one they have.
A sheath knife with steel would be an ideal hunters set up.
So first off, let's look at a knife for a hunter. There are just thousands of different types, makes and models. Like most things not all knives are made equal and really you get what you pay for. Buy good quality and that's what you'll get. There are different types of blade sizes, shapes, weights, thickness, steel quality, fixed blades or folding blades. From pocket knives to sheath knives and there's probably lots of other factors that can and could influence you on what you buy and why you buy that particular knife.
A range of different knives, There are thousands to choose from.
Is there one knife that can do it all? well you could probably get away with using one knife for most hunting situations, as long as you know how to use it and it is kept sharp. However some will say this type of knife is best for this and that type of knife wouldn't be any good in this situation. But really it comes down to knowledge on how to use that knife and for what it is being used for.
I have one knife that I use for all my hunting use. In the field I can use it to skin or gut a deer, completely break down an animal and de-bone. However that said I use good quality 'chefs' knives to clean up and cut steaks etc. I also might use a small very sharp knife for head-skinning. The particular knife I use is the German made 'Mercator' which, in my opinion, find perfect for everything I do hunting wise. The Mercator holds a very sharp edge, is light weight and a folder so takes up little room whether carried in your pack or pocket.
My German made Mercator and diamond sharpening steel. Works for me.
Other hunters might use a sheath type knife. Again look at quality. they are strong and robust. A good quality sheath knife will do everything a folder can and more. It can even be used to split wood in some circumstances. The only slight negative, in my opinion is that they can be alot heavier to carry and if carried in your pack take up a bit more room. A sheath knife, all up might weigh 350 grams where as a folder might be 75grams. But the end of the day comes down to person preference.
Blade wise, there are different types of steel, whether very hard or soft, very hard will hold its sharpness longer but can be very hard to sharpen. Soft metal can still be sharp but can lose their sharpness quicker due to the softer metal so you have to sharpen it more often. Blade length, look for about 10-12cm or 4-5 inches and that size should cover you for most of your hunting needs.
Keep an eye out at second hand shops, car boot sales, garage sales, all good places to pick a a bargain, someones hunting knife that is no longer used or needed, could be a deceased estate.
There are a lot of 'Gimmicky' knives 'Out There' with things on them you will never need or use. One I saw awhile back had a attachment that allowed you to cut barbed wire. I don't think I'll need that feature. Camouflage knives look cool until you put them down on the grass or drop it. Suddenly you've just lost you're knife. If you did have a camo knife, put a coloured lanyard to it so that if you did drop it the coloured lanyard allows to spot it easily. Knives with serrated sections will just get caught in hair or sinew.
One of those 'Gimmicky knives' full camo. Put it down on the ground and it suddenly is hard to find.
There are a lot of specialty type knifes on the market and as a rule they are used by people that are experienced and know the place to use that type of knife. For a new hunter, keep it simple, buy a good quality either folder or sheath type knife and you will probably find it will last you for many years. Look at buying something with a bright red, orange or yellow handle, easy to see if dropped.
A classic example of a bright handled knife, You'd be hard pressed to lose this.
Then there is your every day 'pocket knife' something all back country users should have. And whether it's carried in the pocket or the pack it is a multipurpose type knife. It may be a Leatherman type or Swiss Army or just a small sharp lightweight folder. Buy good quality. Again put a bright coloured lanyard on it to prevent losing it. You might even want to write your contact phone number on it.
My back up knife.
Whatever you decided to use and for whatever reasons, whether for hunting or back country travel, look after it, keep it sharp. I carry two knives, one is my main hunting knife the other a small lightweight ceramic Gerber folder as a backup knife in my first aid kit. It's better to have the extra one and not need it than to possibly lose your main knife and then have nothing. I know I've got my backup if needed.
Don't rush out and buy anything, do some homework and buy a good quality knife.