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Survival Lab Knife Test–The Final Cut

Can your keychain knife hack through rope? Wood? Bone? Didn’t think so. We tested 14 packable blades to find the toughest, most versatile survival tool for hikers.

BEST FOLD-UP
Tec X Inceptra
Power: This tough stainless steel blade (with aluminum handle) is the rare folder that won’t crumple when you hit it with a hammer to split logs. The ratchet-tight lock didn’t buckle when torqued.
Precision: A thinner tip (due to the dramatic drop point) drilled holes better than the Gerber, but this knife shined at making feather sticks (below). The superior edge easily shaved a branch into quick-ignite ribbons.
Verdict: Simple, sharp, secure: This blade nails all three. A hollow core saves weight, the blade stayed hair-splitting through our tests, and the anodized grip looks uncomfortable but actually nestles into the palm, thanks to a perfectly placed finger notch. Bonus: It’s more compact than a straight blade, without shorting strength. Bummer: Only two extras: a pocket clip and a landfill-worthy hanger.
$25; blade: 3.5 in., 4.3 oz. (no sheath); tecx.com

Runners-up Read reviews of other blades—including our favorite ultralight, ultraluxe, and multitool knives Click Here.

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