GearTools & Tech

The 5 Best Knives and Multitools

Take them from the kitchen to the backcountry

Knives from the kitchen to the backcountry. (Photo: Hannah McCaughey)
Knives from the kitchen to the backcountry.

Whether you're a chef, handyman, or backcountry survivalist, a good knife is an essential tool. 

Best For: Fine Chopping

Orchard Steel 5
Orchard Steel 5" Petit Chef's Knife (Photo: Orchard Steel)

Orchard Steel 5" Petit Chef ($350)

This small chef’s knife was forged in Burlington, Vermont, by Moriah Cowles and has a thick maple handle and carbon-steel blade that stays sharp through a year of daily use. It’s our go-to for slicing fruits and veggies. 


Best For: Fast Action

Kershaw Launch folding knife
Kershaw Launch folding knife (Photo: Kershaw)

Kershaw Launch 1 ($150) 

This automatic blade opens with a surprising burst of power and speed. The 3.4-inch knife has a unique black oxide finish and is easy to sharpen, while the anodized-aluminum handle balances well in your hand. Made entirely in Oregon. 


Best For: Keeping It Simple 

James Brand Chapter folding pocket knife
James Brand Chapter folding pocket knife (Photo: James Brand Knives)

James Chapter ($275)

This small and elegant folding knife slips easily into your pocket, making it perfect for everyday carrying. And with a stainless-steel blade just under three inches, a titanium frame lock, and few moving parts, it requires almost zero maintenance. 


Best For: Everything

Leatherman Signal Multi-Tool
Leatherman Signal Multi-Tool (Photo: Leatherman)

Leatherman Signal ($120)

Leatherman keeps coming up with new ways to fit handy tools into a unit the size of a Snickers bar. The Signal has a 2.7-inch blade and a set of wire cutters tucked beneath the pliers, plus a detachable diamond-coated sharpener. Nice: the carabiner doubles as a bottle opener. 


Best For: Survival 

Tops Knives Black Rhino Survival Knife
Tops Knives Black Rhino Survival Knife (Photo: Tops Knives)

TOPS Black Rhino ($200)

With a sturdy 5.5-inch blade and a handle of rugged Micarta, the burly Black Rhino is a force in the field. A pry bar built into the end of the handle can get you out of sticky situations. Like all of TOPS’s fixed blades, it was hand-made in Idaho. 

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From Outside Magazine, October 2015
Filed To: Multi-ToolsKnivesSurvival
Lead Photo: Hannah McCaughey
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