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If there’s a single piece of gear that epitomizes the outdoors person it’s the knife. Whether it’s as simple as a single-blade Barlow or as elegant and storied as a fixed-blade Randall, knives help farmers, sailors, ranchers, soldiers, hunters, and naturalists do everything from skinning deer to cutting summer sausage. If you spend any time outdoors, you’ve gotta have a knife—and you’re better off if you have more than one because different jobs require different blades. Fortunately for knife lovers, there are a lot of new choices in 2023. The question is which one—or two—is right for you?
Related: How to Sharpen a Knife
Buck Knives 622 Alpha Scout and 664 Alpha Hunter
For 2023, Buck has introduced more than two dozen new blades. We can’t cover them all but two that got our attention were the 662 Alpha Scout and the 664 Alpha Hunter. Both are fixed blades designed for hunters, with a blade and tang made from S35VN steel. Handles are either layered Richlite or Walnut Dymalux. The overall length for the Alpha Hunter is right at 8 inches with a 3.6-inch blade, but I really like the smaller 6.6-inch Alpha Scout with its 2.8-inch drop-point blade. Both come with a leather sheath and the Hunter has an MSRP of $250 and the Scout, $225. As you would expect, these knives are stout enough to cut through a car door or half a moose. —Richard Mann
The Pilar IV
The first new blade from CRKT is just as capable as a blade for a hunter as it is for everyday carry. The Pilar IV has a large, satin-finished clip-point D2 blade. It is easy to open, tough, and durable, and features a pronounced finger choil and a G10 handle, with an IKBS ball bearing pivot system. The blade is locked via a frame lock with a thick lock bar for increased safety, and the knife also features a low-profile pocket clip for ease of carry. If needed, there’s also a lanyard hole at the rear of the handle. The Pilar IV weighs 3.9 ounces and is 7.34 inches long with a 4.26-inch blade. MSRP is $90. —R.M.
The Definitive from CRKT is from designer MJ Lerch and is made in the USA. It’s also one of the first CRKT knives to incorporate a crossbar lock. This knife is fast smooth, and fully ambidextrous—you can open it with a flip of the wrist. It has a 3.7-inch drop-point, hollow-ground blade of 154CM steel for great strength and edge retention. It’s also fitted with a G10 handle. The Definitive weighs only 3.0 ounces and has an MSRP of $215. It is probably my favorite new folder for 2023. —R.M.
Diamond Blade Knives Fury
The new Fury from Diamond Blade Knives is available as an automatic or liner-lock folder. This is a trim, sleek-looking knife with either green or black G10 scales. It comes with a reversible tip-up pocket clip, has a closed length of only 3.9 inches, and a weighs only 2.2 ounces—making it an ideal knife for everyday carry. Like all Diamond Blade Knives, the 2.6-inch D2 high carbon tool steel blade on the Fury is made by friction forging, which means it will stay sharper, longer—as much as 10 times longer than conventional high-quality blades. As an EDC-style folder, this is one of the nicest knives I’ve wrapped my hillbilly paws around. Though not exactly a new design, this latest version of the Fury has a newly modified internal mechanism and a slide lock and will retail for $199. —R.M.
Knives of Alaska Professional Boning Knife
If you’re the kind of hunter who processes their own venison, you’re going to like this knife. It’s the new Professional Boning Knife from Knives of Alaska. It has a D2 steel 5.0-inch blade that’s only 0.045 to 0.050-inch thick, with a Rockwell hardness of between 59 and 61. The overall length is 9.62 inches, it weighs 4.2 ounces, and it’s available with either a black or orange Sure-Grip handle. The knife also comes with a Boltaron blade guard to protect you and the blade’s edge when not in use. The best part? At $54.99, this knife will not cost you a fortune. —R.M.
Taggedout Carbon Fiber
This year, Benchmade is bringing a collection of new nature-inspired colors to a lot of their perennial favorites like the Bugout, Mini Bugout, and Shootout. But what really caught my attention this SHOT Show was their new carbon-fiber Taggedout hunting folder. The original Taggedout is lightweight to begin with, but the carbon-fiber version takes weight reduction to another level. Benchmade is using CPM-MagnaCut steel for the blade on these, giving you a knife with exceptional edge retention and strength. The blade is also Cerekoted in orange so it’s easy to see and impervious to the elements. If you’re the kind of hunter who keeps track of every ounce, you won’t be disappointed with the carbon-fiber Taggedout. The knife should hit shelves this August and will retail for $375. —Matthew Every
This push-button automatic folder with an integrated safety and has a 0.11-inch thick, 3.4-inch long, drop-pint, CPM-MagnaCut steel blade (60-62 HRC) with a black DLC Battlewash finish. The white ivory G-10 handle makes this knife stand out and also makes it hard to lose if you lay it down in the shop or in the field. It has a closed length of 4.45 inches and weighs only 3.47 ounces. Its size, combined with its reversible pocket clip for tip-up carry, makes this an ideal candidate for use by any outdoorsman or hunter, and it would also serve well as an everyday-carry knife. The price is $450. —R.M.
This new fixed blade is a straight-up wilderness knife built for the survivalist, outdoorsman, or hunter. It weighs only 3.56 ounces and the 0.11-inch thick, 4.0-inch long, blade is made from CPM-S30V steel that has a hardness (HRC) of 63 to 65. The G10 handle is OD green with blaze orange accents, and a deep and ribbed finger choil to enhance your grip and keep your fingers away from the blade during intense cutting, like when splitting the rib cage of an elk. This rough-duty knife has an overall length of 8.9 inches and comes with an orange Boltaron belt sheath. The price is $300. —R.M.
Montana Knife Company Speedgoat
The Montana Knife Company Speedgoat is made from cryogenically treated 52100 high carbon ball-bearing steel, and the blade is Parkerized with a matte black finish to minimize rust and glare. The blade is ultra-thin measuring 0.095-inch at the spine, and the tang of this fixed blade knife is skeletonized and then wrapped with seven feet of emergency 550 paracord. The overall length of the Speedgoat is 7.75 inches and the blade measures 3.75 inches. This knife is ultra-light at only 1.4 ounces, and it comes out of the box sharp enough for surgical work. A Kydex sheath is included at an MSRP of $225. The Speedgoat is pricey, but if I could only have one of the new 2023 knives I’ve handled, this is the one I would spend my money on. —R.M.
Outdoor Edge Razor Pro S
The Razor Pro S is Outdoor Edge’s latest edition to the RazorPro/RazorSafe family of replaceable blade hunting knives. The RazorPro S includes a bone saw made of 65 MN spring steel. Combined with its 3.5-inch replaceable drop point blade, this is the ideal field dressing knife for the hunter. The RazorPro S should be available in the Spring of 2023 and comes with its own Kryptek camouflage sheath. Old timers are slow to warm to replaceable blade knives, but this one would probably get your grandad’s attention. It has a suggested retail price of $89.95. —R.M.
Smith & Wesson
The Big Benji
This new knife from Smith & Wesson is not what I would call an outdoorsman’s knife, but it is too cool not to mention. The Big Benji is a multi-tool, similar to the original Benji but with a 2-inch longer blade. The 8Cr high carbon stainless steel tanto-style blade is 3.5-inches long, and the multi-tool features include a bottle opener and a money clip. The Big Benji also has a finger flipper and frame lock that can be easily unlocked with one hand. And the knife uses Smith & Wessons Ultra-Glide system for faster deployment. It’s the perfect blade for carrying your cash and opening beers at the campfire. —R.M.
The Smith & Wesson Unwavered is configured as a traditional outdoorsman’s knife. It features a modified, 3.25-inch drop-point blade, and finger flipper with a spring-assisted opening for quick and easy deployment. It also has a liner lock for easy one-hand closing, and there’s a pocket clip and some tasteful scrollwork on the bolsters and wood scales. With all of that, the knife is affordable with an MSRP of around $40. —R.M.
Maybe the biggest knife news for 2023 is that Shrade has collaborated with Rage broadheads to offer a new series of knives they’re calling the Enrage series. There are three new offerings in Schrade’s budget-friendly, Delta-Class line that includes the forged-carbon-handled Stryche Enrage 7 ($74), the carbon-fiber-handled Phantom Enrage 6 ($49), and the non-slip neon green handled Isolate Enrage 7 ($39). All three of these folders accept Rage 420A razor sharp replacement blades, and sizes vary from 6.0 inches for the Phantom, and 7.25 inches for the Stryche and Isolate, which come with a belt pouch for the knife and extra blades. —R.M.
Good blades can be expensive, especially those that are purpose-built for a specific task. How much would you be willing to spend on a well-made blade explicitly designed for caping? How about $25? The new Isolate Caper is a Delta-Class Schrade fixed blade with a three-inch, drop-point, hollow-ground blade made of AUS-10. This is a full tang knife with a green over-molded handle and black-oxide-coated metal surfaces. Overall, the length is 7.5 inches and the knife weighs only 2.8 ounces. It also comes with an injection molded sheath. —R.M.
Isolate Large Bone Saw
Another new Delta-Class blade from Shrade is the Isolate Large Bone Saw. It comes with its own injection-molded sheath, and at only 4.3 ounces, it won’t weigh you down. The 5.0-inch long, 0.063-inch wide blade is perfect for opening a rib cage on a whitetail or splitting the pelvis of an elk. It’s made of SK5 steel, coated with black oxide, and comes with a comfortable neon-green handle that’s easy to see on the ground. At only around $25 this tool is also affordable. —R.M.
The LeafJumper was designed by Spyderco co-founder Sal Glesser and based on user feedback regarding their popular RockJumper folder. This knife has the same ergonomic handle as its predecessor, including the skeletonized stainless steel liners, fiberglass reinforced nylon scales, non-slip texturing, four directional pocket clip, and the stout back lock with a positive self-close function. The 3.09-inch, flat-ground, leaf-shaped blade is made of VG-10 stainless steel, and plain and serrated edge versions are available. This should make a great EDC pocket blade for just about any outdoorsman. —R.M.
Lil Temperance Lightweight
The original Lil’ Temperance folder was considered a compact but heavy-duty knife suitable for defensive use. Over the years, Spyderco founder Sal Glesser refined the design, emphasizing the knife’s utilitarian application without compromising strength. This latest lightweight version replaces the G10 scales with lighter fiberglass reinforced nylon, and the knife has a versatile pocket clip that will allow for tip-up or tip-down carry on either side. The 2.92-inch, flat-ground stainless steel VG-10 blade can be had with either a plain or serrated edge. —R.M.
Uncle Henry Next Gen Knives
Uncle Henry has three new fixed blades for 2023. The first is the 8.5-inch Next Gen Staglon, which features a high carbon stainless steel 4.25-inch blade with a stain finish. Then there’s the 8.4-inch Next Gen Staglon Elk Hunter with its 3.8-inch drop point high-carbon stainless steel blade. And finally, there’s the Next Gen Staglon PH1N Pro Hunter. It has a 4.5-inch high carbon stainless steel blade and an overall length of 8.1 inches. All three of these fixed blades have a brass finger guard, come with a leather belt sheath, and have an MSRP of $49.99. —R.M.