Bonus Blades: 10 Essential Tools for Hunting, Fishing, Camping, and Survival
In the spirit of you can never have too many knives, here are 10 cool tools—each with a unique purpose—to add to your collection
Chances are, you already have a favorite hunting knife (or two or three), but there’s no reason to stop there, because there’s no such thing as having too many blades. With that in mind, here are 10 great “bonus blades” to add to your collection—unique knives and blades designed for foraging mushrooms, filleting fish, bashing windows, everyday carry, hacking through the bush, splitting wood, and more. Bonus points if you collect all 10.
It’s not just the rustproof nitrogen-infused H-1 steel that keeps this marine-worthy blade shining. All of the metal hardware is built of nonrusting alloys, and the bidirectional grip pattern stays sure when slimed with fish guts.
With an 18.5-inch handle, this is really a large hatchet made for whacking through not only wood but meat, and with a flat poll so you can use it to flay the hide from large game animals.
This pint-size machete works as hard as any full-size blade, thanks to its thoughtful design and build. The weight-forward cutlass-style blade helps you swing with authority, and the SK5 steel—a Japanese variant of 1080 tool steel—is juiced with vanadium for toughness.
These fillet knives are as subtle as bloody shark jaws painted on a boat bow. The flexible blade is coated to glide through meat, and thumb and finger pads in the handle give a sure grip no matter how many crappies you have to clean.
A sharp blade of superb CPM‑S30V steel plus a glass breaker plus a web cutter equals one serious rescue knife that can double as an EDC blade.
Whopper camp knives like this one are all the rage these days because they can handle all the varied tasks required of setting up a bush camp—slashing brush, splitting wood, digging trenches, drilling fireboards, skinning elk, and slicing cheese.
As folding knives became more technical, it was only a matter of time before knife makers began stuffing all those goodies into smaller packages. Thus was born the “mouse knife” (aka runt knife), a beefy blade that performs far above its weight class. Case in point: This studly folder with a 1.6-inch Wharncliffe blade, made of stonewashed AUS-8 steel.
Ontario Knife Co.
This is a next-level survival knife. A glass breaker/Plexiglas scorer rides on the pommel, and the saw teeth on the spine are made to slice open a plane’s aluminum skin. The handle is molded over the guard in case you cut a live wire.
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This is no gimmick but a credit-card-size knife built for hard use. Remove the clip and it’s only 3⁄16 inch thick. But even with the clip, this knife will slip into a wallet or purse.
Here’s your nifty foraging knife, designed for harvesting mushrooms but capable of far more. The curved blade loops around to the back of the mushroom stalk so you can snip it cleanly without disturbing the fragile mycelium, and the boar-bristle brush is just firm enough to sweep dirt from mushroom caps so it doesn’t lodge in the gills.
Four Top Survival Knives Reviewed and Ranked
Our team tested four popular fixed-blade survival knives to find out which ones have the edge.
Gerber Strongarm Fixed Blade FE
Score: 5 Stars
“This knife was razor sharp out of the box. It hacked, cut, skinned, smashed, and hammered with no discernible damage.” —Marvin
“Built to last. I particularly liked the knife’s balance.” —George
“The grip is superb. It never slipped under wet conditions.” —Jensen
“The modular sheath allows for horizontal or vertical carry.” —Stephens
Sog Seal Strike
Score: 4.5 stars
“This fit my hand so nicely, it actually made me smile. The blade on my test model was sharp out of the box and kept its edge during heavy use.” —Jensen
“Mine was not sharp out of the box, and the grip slipped when wet. But the knife is well made, and the sheath has a built-in line cutter, sharpener, and ferrochromium fire starter—all special and very useful features.” —George
“My test model needed constant resharpening in order to maintain its edge.” —Marvin
Benchmade 153BK Jungle Bolo
Score: 4 stars
“I chopped everything in sight and it never lost its edge. Great tool, but more like a machete than the others. Not for everyday carry.” —Stephens
“I never for a second thought about this knife failing or coming up short in anything I went after with it, and I really hammered it! It’s perfect for bushwhacking.” —Marvin
“The blade is thick and tough, and overall it’s a very well-made product. But this knife isn’t suitable for most survival situations, unless maybe you’re lost in a jungle somewhere.” —Jensen
Browning Black Label Committed
Score: 4 stars
“This knife may be indestructible. It was razor sharp out of the box, and the sheath is bombproof. I did not lose my grip when the handle was wet.” —Marvin
“The blade on my test knife lost its edge quickly. I also didn’t like that it takes two hands to remove the knife from the sheath.” —Jensen
“Good quality for a good price. Not sure the sheath’s locking tab would hold up to tough, sustained use.” —George
The Test Panel
➞ Age: 37 ➞ Home Hunting Area: Pennsylvania ➞ Days Hunted Per Year: 65
➞ Age: 37 ➞ Home Hunting Area: Minnesota ➞ Days Hunted Per Year: 90
➞ Age: 33 ➞ Home Hunting Area: Montana ➞ Days Hunted Per Year: 50
➞ Age: 34 ➞ Home Hunting Area: Missouri ➞ Days Hunted Per Year: 50