10 Knife Types: Outdoor Blades

From the humble pocketknife to serious “survival” blades, this tutorial breaks down 10 common (and some not so common) types of outdoor blades. Daggers, throwing knives, and the classic Bowie knife are just a few included in the mix.

#1 — Assist-Opening
Don’t call it a switchblade. But assist-opening blades flick open on springs. They require manual initiation of the blade before the spring or other mechanism takes over to flip it up. One example, the Buck Paradigm pictured below, opens with a “slight glide of the bolster and flick of the finger.” See an example of this knife type via Cabela’s ‘Knives & Tools’ section.

Buck 337 Paradigm.jpg

#2 — Bowie
This large sheath knife was popularized by 19th-century American pioneer Jim Bowie. The main distinguishing features are a cross guard, sheath carry, and often a clip point. See an example of this knife type via Cabela’s ‘Knives & Tools’ section.

Bowie knife.jpg

#3 — Clip Folder
A folding knife with a clip mounted to the handle that enables user to attach to a pocket or belt for easy access. These are super popular for daily carry and a must-have for most outdoors lovers. We feel naked without ours! See an example of this knife type via Cabela’s ‘Knives & Tools’ section.

Pocket clip.jpg

#4 — Dagger
Double-edged knife with central spine, full-length, sharpened edges. If you don’t plan on hiding one in your boot or getting in a knife fight, a dagger isn’t particularly useful in the outdoors. See an example of this knife type via Cabela’s ‘Knives & Tools’ section.

dagger.jpg

#5 — Machete
Equipped with a long, heavy blade and used to cut a path through thick vegetation. It’s the pocketknife of the tropics, where everybody’s got one and many workers carry them every day. No good for detail work, but man can they slash through the brush! See an example of this knife type via Cabela’s ‘Knives & Tools’ section.

machete.jpg

#6 — Multitool
Self-contained folding tool including blade(s), pliers, drivers, files, and more. There are designs for nearly every outdoor endeavor, from skiing to fishing. See an example of this knife type via Cabela’s ‘Knives & Tools’ section.

#7 — Pocketknife
Also known as a jackknife. May include several folding blades and other implements. Sit back on the porch and get whittling with a model like the Buck 505 Knight, pictured below. See an example of this knife type via Cabela’s ‘Knives & Tools’ section.

Buck Knight.jpg

#8 — Survival
Fixed blade (commonly). Made for “survival” scenarios in wilderness, including cutting wood for fire and fashioning shelter. Some have hollow handles with survival items stocked inside. Quality designs like the 119 Special, below, have a full tang (steel blade extends through handle) and are very strong. See an example of this knife type via Cabela’s ‘Knives & Tools’ section.

Buck 119 Special.jpg

#9 — Swiss Army
Originally commissioned design by Swiss Army (in late 1800s). Multiple implements fold into handle for storage. The most well-known and authentic Swiss Army knives are made by Victorinox. See an example of this knife type via Cabela’s ‘Knives & Tools’ section.

swiss army.jpg

#10 — Throwing
Weighted for spinning on a throw; solid construction, blunt-end handle butt. Some throwing knives come as a set for multiple throws. See an example of this knife type via Cabela’s ‘Knives & Tools’ section.

throwing knife.jpg

—Patrick Murphy is assistant editor at GearJunkie.

Comments