Which boning knife for outdoor use is best?
If you’re a hunter, you’ll need a trusted blade to clean your kills. There are few better choices for that application than a good boning knife, specifically one made from materials that can withstand regular exposure to the elements.
Boning knives are thin, razor-sharp blades that can easily slide over and around bones and cut cleanly through connective tissue. They come in stiff and flexible options, the latter of which you can also use for filleting fish. The Huntsman Fish Fillet Knife is one such model. It stands out for its rust-resistant construction and included sheath that locks securely into place over the knife.
What to know before you buy a boning knife for outdoor use
Boning knives for outdoor use must use durable materials to stand up to the elements. This means avoiding blades made from high carbon steel, as these are prone to rust. Instead, look for knives crafted from stainless steel or other corrosion-resistant alloys.
It is also essential to look at the materials of the handle. Wood is prone to degrading over time or absorbing moisture, especially if not coated properly. Instead, it is best to look for models with handles made from plastic, rubber and similar materials.
Boning knives for outdoor use generally have blades between 5 and 7 inches long. Shorter blades can be more convenient to carry. However, longer blades can be easier to use on bigger cuts. You’ll have to decide which aspect you find most important.
Boning knives may be flexible or stiff. Stiff blades are better for making extremely thin and even cuts, but flexible boning knives are easier to glide around bones. They also work better for filleting and skinning fish. If you think you’ll be using your blade for filleting just as often as deboning, it is generally best to opt for a flexible option. However, if your sole use is deboning, a semi-stiff blade is recommended.
What to look for in a quality boning knife for outdoor use
The blades on boning knives may be mostly straight with a slight taper towards the tip, or they may have a gentle backward slope running from the base to the tip. Neither shape is inherently better than the other, as it is all about personal preference. Some find they have more control with a straight blade, while others feel that a curved blade works better for trimming the fat. There are also some models on the market with thick or unusually shaped blades. While these look attractive, they often lack functionality.
Along with the construction of the knife and the blade material, the handle is one of the most important aspects of a boning knife to consider. This is doubly true if you expect to use it with wet hands, where slippage could be a real issue. The handle on an outdoor boning knife should use a high-friction material to withstand exposure to the elements. Rubber and plastic are two of the best choices.
The handle should also fit comfortably in your hand. Most people will find a boning knife with a contoured handle and at least one dedicated finger well to offer the best combination of control, grip and comfort.
Since outdoor boning knives are designed to take them on the go, it is best to choose one that comes with a sheath if possible. Ideally, the sheath will use rugged materials like nylon, rubber or plastic to stand up to the elements. Look for a knife that includes a sheath with a pocket clip or belt loop for the most convenient carrying.
How much you can expect to spend on a boning knife for outdoor use
Boning knives for outdoor use are generally cheaper than those you would use in your home kitchen. Expect to spend $10-$30 for one of decent quality.
Boning knife for outdoor use FAQ
Can you use your outdoor boning knife in your kitchen?
A. Other than aesthetics, there is no reason you can’t use an outdoor boning knife in your home kitchen. That said, many boning knives designed for indoor use are of better quality and have a more attractive design.
How often do you need to sharpen your boning knife?
A. There is no set time frame for how often you’ll need to sharpen your boning knife, as it is all dependent on how and how much you use it. Your best bet is to go by feel. Whenever you begin to notice that it isn’t slicing through things as smoothly or cleanly or that it requires more pressure to cut, it is time to pull out that sharpening stone.
What’s the best boning knife for outdoor use to buy?
Top boning knife for outdoor use
What you need to know: Although technically a fillet knife, this model from Huntsman is equally well suited to deboning cuts of meat, making it a versatile addition to your field tools.
What you’ll love: It clips securely into the included sheath for safety, and the bright colors on the handle make it easy to spot in a cluttered pack or if dropped accidentally in the brush.
What you should consider: Many have received blades that are a bit dull, so they may require some sharpening before use.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top boning knife for outdoor use for the money
What you need to know: An affordable and durable fixed-blade knife, this one is great for the outdoorsman on a budget.
What you’ll love: It has a well-balanced, full-tang construction and a rubberized handle for a secure grip even with wet hands.
What you should consider: It doesn’t come with a sheath.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Thanks to a folding design and included sheath with a belt loop, few options are more convenient to carry in the field than the Outdoor Edge Fish & Bone.
What you’ll love: It has a lightweight construction, so you’ll barely notice it on your belt or in a pocket, and the 5-inch blade comes razor sharp.
What you should consider: The openings in the handle can be difficult to clean thoroughly.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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