A knife or multitool is a versatile and essential piece of equipment for preparing meals, fixing gear and even splitting wood for the fire.
On multitools and some pocket knives, it’s common for the main blade to be accessed with one-hand – just use your thumb to slide it out of the handle.
Handles are ergonomically designed to naturally fit your hand for a comfortable grip. When using a knife or other implement, the tools not in use should not protrude into the hand. Some handles also offer a textured surface for non-slip grip.
Most folding blades, especially those that can be opened one-handed, will lock into position so they can’t accidentally fold onto your fingers when pressure is applied in the wrong direction.
Serrated versus plain blades
Straight-edged blades provide accurate and clean cuts – perfect for slicing anything from rope to cheese. Serrated blades are for more vigorous cutting and for tackling tougher materials, sometimes even wood. A single blade that combines a plain and serrated edge provides the best of both worlds.
If you’re buying for a tramping trip, choose a model with fewer functions. If it’s a multi-tool to complement your toolbox, then it’s a case of the more the merrier.
Cared for properly, your chosen knife can last a lifetime. Keep it clean – use a damp cloth (for more stubborn sticky substances use a mild mix of detergent and water or even mineral turps). Keep it dry and lubricated – if you use your knife to prepare food, use a cooking oil. If your knife is exposed to saltwater, clean, dry and lubricate it as soon as possible.
Use a whetstone, rod or specific sharpening kit. Serrated blades should only be sharpened on the edged side and a specific tool may be required to maintain the curvature of the serrations.
Leatherman Wave+ from $269.99
Includes 18 tools featuring replaceable wire cutters, 420HC knife, 420HC serrated knife, saw, diamond-coated file, small and large bit driver. All locking blades and tools. Made in the USA, 25-year warranty. 241g. www.leatherman.co.nz
Leatherman Skeletool $189.99
Clip-on multi-tool with pliers, locking combo knife, wire cutters, carabiner clip/bottle opener, large bit driver for included screwdriver and other bits. Stainless steel with 6061-T6 aluminium handle insert. Made in the USA, 25-year warranty. 142g. www.leatherman.co.nz
Deejo Tattoo 37gm Coral Wood Trek $99
Stainless steel blade and solid wood handle, liner lock system secures the blade when open, 9.5cm blade. 37g. www.bobo.co.nz
Morakniv Kansbol $99.99
Swedish-made all-round knife with heat-treated 12C27 stainless steel, spine designed for use with a fire-starter, symmetrical design for left or right-handed use, 109mm blade, polymer sheath with belt loop. www.ampro.co.nz
Victorinox Soldier $99.99
The latest standard issue Swiss Army Knife to many armed forces around the world. 10 functions including a large one-handed opening blade, grippy two-component scales on handle. 131g. www.ampro.co.nz
Victorinox Huntsman $79.99
The classic Victorinox Officers knife with 15 functions including scissors, blades, wood saw, corkscrew, screwdrivers, wire stripper, toothpick, tweezers, parcel hook and bottle/can openers. 97g. www.ampro.co.nz