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Survival / August 6, 2017

Can a $23 knife be any good?

Written by: Kevin Linderman

Since we started stocking knives in our shop, I’ve read a lot of knife reviews—enough to become really impressed with knife reviewers. These experts are nothing if not meticulous; they provide technical details about the steel used for the blade, the length of the tang, the balance of the handle, etc. They treat knives as something akin to high art.

But I’m not one of those people, and this isn’t one of those reviews. Because the Hultafors knife I’ll review in this piece is the furthest thing from a piece of art. It’s a utilitarian tool, and it’s priced accordingly.

Hultafors’ Serrated Outdoor Knife has a 3.6″ serrated steel blade housed in a grippy plastic handle. It’s a sturdy, lightweight knife designed for all-purpose use.

And it costs $23.

Is it the market’s best knife for filleting a fish? No. But it can do the job just fine. The same goes for cutting steak, trimming cords, whittling, or cleaning an animal. It also seems like a pretty reliable self-defense knife, though I thankfully have never tested it in that capacity.

Many cheap knives lose their foundations over time, and their blades start to wobble back and forth in their handles. But so far my Hultafors is as sturdy as the day I bought it. The blade is still sharp and shiny, too.

The knife is a workhorse, not a thoroughbred. It’s not likely to become a family heirloom, but you’ll be glad to have it in the shed, the trunk of your car or the gear box of your ATV or boat. And because it only costs $23, it’s pretty easy to keep one just about any place you think you’ll need it.

I’ve stocked our shop with a few variants of this knife. Hultafors’ $14 All-Purpose Knife uses the same blade and a similar handle, but it has a plain edge instead of a serrated one. The $32 Expedition Knife adds an engraved ruler on the blade; a recess in the handle is designed to house a spark rod.

All three knives come with a black polypropylene sheath, which is best used for storing them in a bag or box.

…and did I mention that the Serrated Outdoor Knife only costs $23?

Do you have questions or comments about this feature? Email them to [email protected]. 

about the author

Kevin Linderman

Kevin Linderman is the founder and Chief Adventure Officer for Shoulders of Giants. Kevin has spent his entire professional career in and around the field of information technology, but has always been an avid outdoor enthusiast and a seeker of knowledge.

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