What Are Quality Pocket Knives?

What Are Quality Pocket Knives?
Considered one of the essentials of backcountry travel, a quality pocket knife is essential. Here is some advice to use when researching and shopping for quality knives.

A Quarter Decade of Experience

Ken Wientjes, owner of the Jackson, Wyoming, Knife Shop, has been selling and collecting quality knives for almost 25 years. He says the steel of the blade is the biggest determining factor for quality. Knives that have a little carbon pumped into the steel are high quality. The carbon allows the edge of the blade to hold an edge and makes it easier to hone the edge during sharpening. Making sure the steel of the blade is stainless also makes the quality go up as well making it easier to sharpen.

Folding Mechanism and Safety

A quality pocket knife will have a mechanism allowing the blade to be in a locked position when open and in use that prevents an unwanted fold. This causes injury. Again, according to Wientjes, a good mechanism won't lose integrity when particles accidentally lodge in the knife.


A high quality knife should be easy to sharpen using a dedicated "diamond steel" sharpening tool. This tool is a file which has commercial grade diamonds mixed in the steel and works on high quality stainless steel knives.


Another factor in determining a knife's quality is the balance. A good knife should balance easily in the hand, with a fulcrum reached as the knife is balanced between the thumb and forefinger at the halfway point of the blade and handle.

Protect that Knife

With a quality knife, make sure you take care of it. Get a good snappable, closing sheath to protect this valuable piece of equipment.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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