Whether you're into fixed blades, folders, or replaceable-blade knives, we've got the latest hunting and outdoor blades
By Richard Mann | Published Dec 30, 2022 2:00 PM Metal Spheres
If there’s a single piece of gear that epitomizes the outdoors person it’s the knife. Whether it’s as simple as a single-blade Barlow or as elegant and storied as a fixed-blade Randall, knives help farmers, sailors, ranchers, soldiers, hunters, and naturalists do everything from skinning deer to cutting summer sausage. If you spend any time outdoors, you’ve gotta have a knife—and you’re better off if you have more than one because different jobs require different blades. Fortunately for knife lovers, there are a lot of new choices in 2023. The question is which one—or two—is right for you?
The Montana Knife Company Speedgoat is made from cryogenically treated 52100 high carbon ball-bearing steel, and the blade is Parkerized with a matte black finish to minimize rust and glare. The blade is ultra-thin measuring 0.095-inch at the spine, and the tang of this fixed blade knife is skeletonized and then wrapped with seven feet of emergency 550 paracord. The overall length of the Speedgoat is 7.75 inches and the blade measures 3.75 inches. This knife is ultra-light at only 1.4 ounces, and it comes out of the box sharp enough for surgical work. A Kydex sheath is included at an MSRP of $225. The Speedgoat is pricey, but if I could only have one of the new 2023 knives I’ve handled, this is the one I would spend my money on.
The Razor Pro S is Outdoor Edge’s latest edition to the RazorPro/RazorSafe family of replaceable blade hunting knives. The RazorPro S includes a bone saw made of 65 MN spring steel. Combined with its 3.5-inch replaceable drop point blade, this is the ideal field dressing knife for the hunter. The RazorPro S should be available in the Spring of 2023 and comes with its own Kryptek camouflage sheath. Old timers are slow to warm to replaceable blade knives, but this one would probably get your grandad’s attention. It has a suggested retail price of $89.95.
This new knife from Smith & Wesson is not what I would call an outdoorsman’s knife, but it is too cool not to mention. The Big Benji is a multi-tool, similar to the original Benji but with a 2-inch longer blade. The 8Cr high carbon stainless steel tanto-style blade is 3.5-inches long, and the multi-tool features include a bottle opener and a money clip. The Big Benji also has a finger flipper and frame lock that can be easily unlocked with one hand. And the knife uses Smith & Wessons Ultra-Glide system for faster deployment. It’s the perfect blade for carrying your cash and opening beers at the campfire.
The Smith & Wesson Unwavered is configured as a traditional outdoorsman’s knife. It features a modified, 3.25-inch drop-point blade, and finger flipper with a spring-assisted opening for quick and easy deployment. It also has a liner lock for easy one-hand closing, and there’s a pocket clip and some tasteful scrollwork on the bolsters and wood scales. With all of that, the knife is affordable with an MSRP of around $40.
Maybe the biggest knife news for 2023 is that Shrade has collaborated with Rage broadheads to offer a new series of knives they’re calling the Enrage series. There are three new offerings in Schrade’s budget-friendly, Delta-Class line that includes the forged-carbon-handled Stryche Enrage 7 ($74), the carbon-fiber-handled Phantom Enrage 6 ($49), and the non-slip neon green handled Isolate Enrage 7 ($39). All three of these folders accept Rage 420A razor sharp replacement blades, and sizes vary from 6.0 inches for the Phantom, and 7.25 inches for the Stryche and Isolate, which come with a belt pouch for the knife and extra blades.
Good blades can be expensive, especially those that are purpose-built for a specific task. How much would you be willing to spend on a well-made blade explicitly designed for caping? How about $25? The new Isolate Caper is a Delta-Class Schrade fixed blade with a three-inch, drop-point, hollow-ground blade made of AUS-10. This is a full tang knife with a green over-molded handle and black-oxide-coated metal surfaces. Overall, the length is 7.5 inches and the knife weighs only 2.8 ounces. It also comes with an injection molded sheath.
Another new Delta-Class blade from Shrade is the Isolate Large Bone Saw. It comes with its own injection-molded sheath, and at only 4.3 ounces, it won’t weigh you down. The 5.0-inch long, 0.063-inch wide blade is perfect for opening a rib cage on a whitetail or splitting the pelvis of an elk. It’s made of SK5 steel, coated with black oxide, and comes with a comfortable neon-green handle that’s easy to see on the ground. At only around $25 this tool is also affordable.
The LeafJumper was designed by Spyderco co-founder Sal Glesser and based on user feedback regarding their popular RockJumper folder. This knife has the same ergonomic handle as its predecessor, including the skeletonized stainless steel liners, fiberglass reinforced nylon scales, non-slip texturing, four directional pocket clip, and the stout back lock with a positive self-close function. The 3.09-inch, flat-ground, leaf-shaped blade is made of VG-10 stainless steel, and plain and serrated edge versions are available. This should make a great EDC pocket blade for just about any outdoorsman.
The original Lil’ Temperance folder was considered a compact but heavy-duty knife suitable for defensive use. Over the years, Spyderco founder Sal Glesser refined the design, emphasizing the knife’s utilitarian application without compromising strength. This latest lightweight version replaces the G10 scales with lighter fiberglass reinforced nylon, and the knife has a versatile pocket clip that will allow for tip-up or tip-down carry on either side. The 2.92-inch, flat-ground stainless steel VG-10 blade can be had with either a plain or serrated edge.
Uncle Henry has three new fixed blades for 2023. The first is the 8.5-inch Next Gen Staglon, which features a high carbon stainless steel 4.25-inch blade with a stain finish. Then there’s the 8.4-inch Next Gen Staglon Elk Hunter with its 3.8-inch drop point high-carbon stainless steel blade. And finally, there’s the Next Gen Staglon PH1N Pro Hunter. It has a 4.5-inch high carbon stainless steel blade and an overall length of 8.1 inches. All three of these fixed blades have a brass finger guard, come with a leather belt sheath, and have an MSRP of $49.99.
Richard Mann was born and raised in West Virginia and has hunted from the Montana mountains to the green hills of Africa. In 2015, Mann began contributing to Field & Stream to cover guns, ammunition, ballistics, and hunting. In 2022, he was named as the brand’s Shooting Editor.
What's the best 6.5 Creedmoor bullet to use for your hunting? In this edition of F&S Bullet Lab, we test Hornady's new Outfitter CX to help you decide
Here are the latest rifle scopes for hunters...
The latest crop of bow sights make dialing...
Want more of the Great Outdoors?
Sign up for the Field & Stream newsletter and get the latest intelligence straight to your inbox.
Articles may contain affiliate links which enable us to share in the revenue of any purchases made.
Balls Of Steel Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service.