The Best Knives of 2017 Tested by our Editors for Alaskan Hunters
DPx HEST/F 2.0 Olive Drab, RH Configuration
Our tester liked this folding knife. The blade is made from D2 tool steel for durability and edge retention and is combined with a titanium alloy frame and durable G10 scale. DPx designed this knife as a folding version of their HEST Original fixed blade and made some improvements to increase strength without increasing weight, as well as to improve opening, and the usability and strength of the lock. Our tester commented that it incorporates a sturdily designed safety latch, is easy to open and is a rock-solid and handy knife to carry.
Knives of Alaska Super Pro-Pack
Our tester found the Super Pro-Pack provided everything he needed in the field. The combination set includes the Bush Camp, a large drop-point blade, the unusually-shaped Muskrat for skinning and fleshing, the Cub Bear for caping and fine-detail work, a Hunter’s Hatchet and bone saw.
Work Sharp Combo Knife Sharpener
The Combo Knife Sharpener is a simple-to-use knife-sharpening system that will enable you to put a razor edge on all your knives, very quickly. There is no set or adjustment necessary at all—just take it out of the box, plug it in and turn it on. This machine only has one variety of belt, so you don’t have to change belts to finish the sharpening process. It also has a tapered ceramic honing rod to finish the edge and to sharpen serrations. Since it’s very compact, our tester keeps it plugged in on his workbench all the time so he can sharpen knives quickly, whenever needed. The unit is simple, effective and affordable.
Spyderco Sprig Plainedge
This is a great small game and fish knife. The blade shape makes it multi-functional: clean a salmon, field-dress a ptarmigan or snowshoe hare, fillet a northern—all easily accomplished with this superior knife. The 4.25-inch blade has a full-flat grind and distal taper and is made from CPM S90V particle-metallurgy stainless steel, which incorporates vanadium for wear-resistance and chromium to increase corrosion-resistance. The G-10 handle houses a full tang and features an integral guard that provides the user with a stable grip on the handle. The sheath is molded from Boltaron and incorporates an adjustable attachment that allows for multiple carry positions.
Bolduc Knives Caribou Hunting Knife
Gary Bolduc makes custom hunting and fishing knives that are works of art meant to be used in the field. Avid hunter Joe Gauges works at Frontier Outfitters in Fairbanks. He shared that Gary’s knives are best because of the high-quality crucible stainless steel he uses. Gary’s less friction edge holds itself sharp longer, as the heat-treating method he uses hardens and tempers the blade for maximum strength. Steve Meyer, long-time Fish Alaska and Hunt Alaska writer, added, “Two years, hundreds of small game, birds, fish and big game, and Gary’s offer of lifetime sharpening services has not been necessary. The perfect combination of beauty and utility that defines custom, Gary has set a new benchmark.” Gary has a long list of ringing endorsements and now you can add ours to it after testing his caribou model knife at moose camp last fall. His knives are sharp as all get-out and are first-rate tools to have along in the field.
Gerber Gator Premium Fixed Gut Hook
We found this to be a good knife for caping animals when field-dressing. It combines a gut hook and a 4-inch blade made from CPM-S30V steel, which holds an edge, is durable and corrosion-resistant. The knife has a full tang and front bolster to protect the hand from the blade. The handle is made from glass-filled nylon wrapped in rubber that provides for a solid grip in both wet and dry conditions.
Buck Knives 550 Selector 2.0
Our tester had this to say, “This folding knife with interchangeable blade choices is really good. The blades are very secure and easily changed-out. The blade used for skinning is really sharp and made for easy work. The change-out to a gut hook blade was very simple. That blade made it easy to carry a cut down along an animal’s leg or across the belly. The grip worked great and did not slip in wet conditions. It is a diverse knife for use in the field, with a handy sheath for safe storage.” The Selector includes three blades: drop point, drop-point serrated and gutting, which are made from 420HC steel for edge retention and corrosion-resistance.
Kershaw Taskmaster Saw
This folding saw is a good tool to carry around on camping, hunting and fishing trips and is capable of cutting up branches up to about 4 inches in diameter. We also used it while butchering when needing to cut through bone. It’s compact and light, with a blade length of 7 inches and a closed length of 9.25 inches. The rubber-coated handle is comfortable and molded to fit the hand and offers a good grip, while the pushbutton lock stops the blade from closing while in use.