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The Blade in the Wilderness – Best Boot Knives

The Blade in the Wilderness – Best Boot Knives

Like me, the most of my friends are into some hobby. Of course, it would be a very long list to mention all the hobby varieties, but at some point, their hobby and my passion for hiking and camping have crossed roads. However it could sound odd or weird, my friend John is the collector and indeed know-all-about almost every single type of knife or blade.

There is no need to say that when I’m up to go outdoors and spend time in the wilderness, I need to be ready. When packing my hiking bag, I tend to bring simple, useful and durable gadgets. But also in my pockets, there are so many other little tools that will eventually be handy.

Somehow, one item on my buying list was always missing because I didn’t know anything related to the knives, except that they are sharp, large or small. Therefore, I’ve asked my friend for some basic info and guidelines when it comes down to the best boot knives, and this article represents my experience related to this little utensils.

Last update on 2018-07-20 PST - Details

The Past and the Present

Boot and Knife

When we look into the American history, we can see that some time ago people very often felt unsafe and they were in need of some small and compact tool that could serve them for protection.

Although the technology of that age did bring the usage of guns, they were often unreliable because using them was very risky. Unfortunately, the gun could easily explode in the owner's hand, and the small boot knife that could be hidden easily was the far better option.

Today, the boot knives are also considered to represent the form of protection, but their function also extends to the handy tool when it comes down to many other needs, including the hiking and camping.

Thus, it appears that the law recognizes the boot knife as something illegal regarding the length of the blade. Have in mind that in some states this tool is treated as the hidden weapon.

So, before going on a trip, be sure that you can wear the boot knife when visiting the designated place or area.

The Boot Knife Features

There is no doubt, the easiest way to acquire a boot knife is to visit the hardware store and buy the first one that you see.

The basics are simple, look for a small knife with sharp blade, and that is all.

In the other hand, if you tend to be a less straightforward person and surprise yourself with one handy and powerful tool, the road in that direction is very different.

Today’s blacksmith mastery goes together with the movement and technological innovation, and choosing the best boot knife can easily turn out to be something very close to the science fiction. Therefore, knowing what features the boot knife must have becomes the imperative.

Discover more: read my article on How to Wear a Boot Knife, I believe it will be useful.

Boot Knives Store

Now You See It; Now You Don’t

In the beginning, I was surprised that almost every talk about boot knives starts with the description that the boot knife must be small enough and easy to conceal.

It turns out that most of the people are considering this tool to be a hidden weapon in the first place, and not the useful utensil that you can use around the camp, or on a hiking trip.

But since we live in troubled times, the safety comes first. So, the ideal length of the boot knife that makes it easy to conceal is between 3 to 4 inches.

Of course, there are longer and larger models available at the market but have in mind that as bigger they are difficult it will be to hide them in your boot.

Look and Construction

From the variety of the boot knife products available today, you can see that there are mainly two types of blade design.

Although you may think that one has more advantages over the other one that is not true because both of the designs appear to be excellent and useful.

So, at the market, you will see that boot knife comes with double edge blade and has a spear point, or it comes with single edge blade and clip point.

I have mentioned that boot knives are considered to be powerful and yet compact self-defense tools, and therefore the construction of the blade must be resistible to any task. The blade must withstand any pressure, folding and countering any surface or material.

Knife Blacksmith

So, when I was into the research about finding the best boot knife, I’ve seen that the blade is built out of stainless steel, carbon and titanium alloys.

But somewhere at this point, it became apparent to me that the use of the knife will determine the construction of the blade. The main feature that the blade must provide is the ability to hold an edge and secondly to be firm enough to carry out any physical engagement.

Therefore, it’s useful to know that the stainless steel boot knives are excellently related to the edge holding abilities, but on the other side, they are not popular as the sturdy steel knives.

And the carbon steel blade offers the opposite to stainless steel. It is more sturdy and durable, but it won’t hold the edge very well.

The honest truth about knives is the fact that the blade will become dull after some time and that will be sooner or later with no matter how you will use them.

If anyone tries to convince you that their knife never gets dull, they either don’t tell the truth, or they don’t know how to maintain their knives. The bottom line is to know what you will use the knife and then make a choice of the blade.

The Thing about the Tang

So far it seems that the blade is the most sensitive and important part of the knife, but it is not.

The tang is the place where the holster ends and the blade begins, and this is the weakest and sensitive part of any boot knife. The market will offer you three types of the tang, and it’s evident which one is the best.

  • hidden tang

Partial Tang – it’s even more short and narrower than the hidden tang or full tang. Therefore, the boot knife with the partial tang is the weakest one, and you should avoid buying it.

The Handle

Finally, the last but not least is the question about the handle of the boot knife.

The handle must represent the balance between comfortable but tight grip, and maneuverability of the blade.

At this point the full or hidden tang attribute becomes significant, and it makes that the boot knife stands out.

Regarding materials, there are several options to consider, and they all work well. So, always look for the Zytel, Krayton, G10, canvas Micarta and linen Micarta handle materials.

Well, I think that this info covers the basics, and now it is time to take a look at the knives that I’ve picked from the market.

Discover more: While spending the day in the wilderness, there is a chance that you will end up with the burrs on your clothes. Removing the burr from clothing can be quite simple if you follow some rules.

Melanie’s Top Five Picks

Let’s talk about the products themselves; here’s how the top boot knives on the market coped with my tests:

Smith & Wesson H.R.T. SWHRT9B

- Guns and Knives -

Smith & Wesson SWHRT9B 9in Stainless Steel Fixed Blade Knife with 4.7in Dagger Point Blade and TPE Handle for Outdoor Tactical Survival and Everyday Carry
  • DIMENSIONS: 9 inch (22.9 cm) overall length with a blade length of 4.7 inches (12.1 cm) and a weight of 7.7 ounces
  • DURABLE: Blade is made of reliable 7Cr17MoV High Carbon S.S. with a black rubber wrapped handle
  • DEPENDABLE: Quick and easy access with the convenient belt or boot sheath
  • SECURE: Have confidence that the blade will not slip with the security of the hand guard
  • BE PREPARED: Knife features a blood groove and lanyard hole

Last update on 2018-07-20 PST - Details

Everyone knows that the Smith & Wesson Company makes the weapons, but it turns out that they have a quite developed knife department.

It quickly became apparent to me why the people so adore this knife. This boot knife comes with the 440c stainless steel double edge blade with a spear point. Also, the handle is made of black rubber for a supreme grip and on the end of it there is a hole drilled for a paracord to secure it through or just a piece of thread to keep it securely around your wrist.

The length of the blade is 4, 74 inches and the approval of the maximum durability test means that this knife will come to you with the lifetime warranty. The overall length of the SWHRT9B knife is 9 inches which makes it one of the longest at the market.

If you think that the price will come with the famous name, well you are slightly wrong because this boot knife comes as the mid-priced product. It is better to say that you will pay the quality, not the brand.


  • The SWHRT9B boot knife is a versatile, durable and resistible tool.
  • Lifetime warranty.
  • Mid-price.
  • This blade is designed for the wilderness usage.


  • With the length of 9 inches, it can be very uncomfortable and hard to conceal within the boot.

MTech USA Xtreme MX-8059

- More Action -

MTech USA Xtreme MX-8059BL Fixed Blade Tactical Knife, Two-Tone Half-Serrated Blade, Black/Blue Handle, 9-Inch Overall
  • Tactical fixed blade knife sized just right for carrying in your boot
  • Two-tone, double half-serrated blade made of 440 stainless steel
  • G10 handle offers a superior grip in even the wettest of conditions; lanyard hole on end
  • Includes leather sheath for easy and safe carry
  • 9-inch overall length

Last update on 2018-07-20 PST - Details

In front of you is the military grade boot knife that comes with similar attributes as the competition, but this one tends to do some serious damage.

With the overall length of 9 inches, it appears that is very similar to the SWHRT9B boot knife.

The MX-8059 also comes with the 440c carbon stainless double edge steel blade, but the main feature that differs it from the S&W boot knife are the half-length serrations on the both sides of the blade. In other words, it means that it will cut through the hardest materials.

While being in the wilderness, it inevitably means that you will encounter many difficulties and you will need a reliable and comfortable utensil. Therefore, even in wet conditions, the G10 handle will provide you with the excellent but comfy grip. It’s non-slippery and it worked well even while left out (forgotten) outside for a while.

The handle also features a hole on the end of it to secure a string through it so it can be hanged or held around the wrist.

Take notice that if you choose this knife, you will need to buy more quality sheath because the one that comes with the knife isn’t reliable.


  • The MX-8059 is military grade boot knife.
  • The double serration attribute means that you will get more versatility.
  • Sturdy blade and comfortable grip.


  • The length of the 9 inches appears to be large for some wilderness enthusiasts.
  • You will need to buy additional knife sheath.

Gerber Ghoststrike

- Pricey Boot Knife -

Gerber Ghoststrike Fixed Blade Knife Deluxe Kit with Ankle Wrap [30-001006]
  • Compact, skeletal 420HC steel frame.
  • Black ceramic coating for minimal reflection + corrosion.
  • Diamond texture rubber handle for superior grip.
  • Modular sheath system for concealed or open carry.
  • Always on hand. Always ready. Never unprepared.

Last update on 2018-07-20 PST - Details

This piece is great for open and concealed carry due to its sheath system included.

It’s very lightweight thanks to the skeletal design of the handle. It has a better grip than most of the compact knife handles due to the rubber coating provided. The handle also has a texture to it for a better grip and to prevent slipping.

The sheath is able to be mounted in a vertical as well as horizontal position, so you can strap it to the leg or to a belt.

I found this blade very easy to maneuver and to carry on me. I made a great use of it on fishing trips and camping, it does the job, although you cannot cut everything with it, like branches or sticks.

The small dimensions of the knife make it perfect for concealing and maybe the best backup knife you can carry on you.

It came very sharp but it went dull pretty quickly, and later I found out why. While pulling it out of the sheet, I noticed that the edge goes over one of the metal posts on the sheath, dulling it over time.

Everything else – perfect! Easily the best knife for concealed carry for a bit higher price.


  • Very lightweight
  • Compact and easy to carry
  • Good grip, great handle design
  • Easily concealed
  • Razor sharp blade


  • A bit pricey
  • The sheath makes the blade go dull over time

MTech USA MT-20-14

- The Smallest Boot Knife -

MTECH USA MT-20-14GY Fixed Blade Neck Knife, Black Blade, Black/Grey Handle, 6-1/2-Inch Overall
  • 6.5" Overall
  • Black Stainless Steel Blade
  • Black & Grey Plastic Handle
  • Includes Sheath
  • Hidden Neck Knife

Last update on 2018-07-20 PST - Details

This super small knife is great to be used as a well hidden self-defense blade.

You can hang it around your neck with the sheath and chain that come in the package. It’s one of the cheapest options out there, so the handle is made of plastic with a bit of rubber, no surprise there. Although it’s made of plastic, it has a nice texture to it for a better grip.

The blade itself is a black stainless steel made, very short and very sharp.

Overall length of the knife is 6.5”, it’s very easily concealed anywhere. The small dimensions of the knife, might be a problem for people with larger hands.

The sheath is great and the knife snaps right into it so the knife won’t come out by accident. The super lightness of the knife makes it almost unusable for anything than self-defense. I tried cutting different things with it on a camping trip, and the lightweight of the knife doesn’t give him much power at all.

It might be the best choice for a budget self-defense concealed weapon.

I would like the handle to be a bit longer, I kind of had an issue holding it properly due to its extremely small dimensions.


  • Easily concealed, great self-defense option
  • Comes with a sheath and a chain
  • Lowest possible price for a knife like this
  • Super small and compact


  • Might be too small for people with larger hands

Tactical Warrior Tanto

- Light and Compact -

Last update on 2018-07-20 PST - Details

Breaking the price tag low limit once again, this tanto knife is super cheap, the cheapest I was able to find. You also can find another cheap boot knives here.

The build quality is surprising for the price of six bucks. It has a tactical skeleton handle design, cutting the overall weight of the knife.

It came with a sheath that can be held around the neck or tied around the ankle.

The neck option is probably the better, since you have to tie it with the string around your ankle, which is not the most comfortable option.

Not the sharpest knife I used, I had to sharpen mine a bit once I got it.

The sheath can also be used as a whistle, so it might be best used by hunters. Originally it’s made to be carried on the front of the boot (hence the angle of the knife) but I found it to be extremely uncomfortable option, so I just hung it around my neck.

The grip was ok, but not that great, since it has just a little coat of plastic on the sides, which is uncomfortable because you’re mostly holding the steel. The tip doesn’t have an edge and the first time you try to get it out of the sheath it might be a bit tricky.


  • Super cheap
  • Comes with a sheath that can be used as a whistle
  • Good build quality considering the price
  • Very lightweight and portable


  • Not that sharp
  • Tip doesn’t have an edge

Final Verdict

Out of all of this fine picks I made, one did stand out of the rest. It deserved to be the chosen champion of the boot knives because it’s a versatile, resistible and durable knife that can be used as a great tool in the survival situations and outdoors activities.

It offers the best quality and usability for the price out of all other picks. Although it might require some skill to conceal it within the boot, the best boot knife title in this review got Smith & Wesson H.R.T. SWHRT9B.

The Blade in the Wilderness – Best Boot Knives
4.6 (91.11%) 9 votes
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I am Melanie Campbell, an outdoor and professional camping enthusiast that will give you the best expert advice when it comes to camping and outdoor trekking. I’m here to give you expert advice and proven tips on how to make the most out of your camping adventure.

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