How to Choose a Knife for Walking, Climbing, Mountaineering, and Expeditions

On every rock climbing instructor course or mountain, moorland, hill, or lowland leader course, at some point, someone will ask the most sensible question, “do I need to carry a knife?’ The answer is maybe.

A knife is an outdoor tool, and knowing the uses will help you decide on the best one for the job. So we will be examining several activities that you might be engaged in, the situations you may need to carry a knife, and the perfect knives for such situations.

Walking and Hiking

When going wild camping, backpacking, or on overnight trips, you need a knife to pull through. One knife you should get is the Swiss Army Knife, and it is the best overnight camp cooking knife. Durable, sharp, small, and light. I bought one of these Swiss tools over 30 years ago, and it still functions perfectly.

You can also get the Victorinox Spartan model, similar to the real Swiss Army Knife, such as an essential corkscrew, bottle opener, tin opener, and two blades.

If you are not a fan of two-blade knives, you should get an Evolution X which is a perfect knife. Unusual of any Swiss Army Knife, it features a locking blade.

You can also get an Opinel No8 Slim to chop up your food ingredients, and it is light in weight, just 28 grams, and a very sharp knife.

Image via: Global Gear

Climbing and Mountaineering

Those who love mountaineering and multi-pitch climbs need to get sharp handy knives before climbing. The knife is useful for cutting abseil cord.

Should you carry a knife as a rock climbing instructor? Yes, you should; however, it shouldn’t be on display. You can stash it in your pack. When mountaineering during the winter period, you need a multitool featuring a plier. This comes in handy when repairing the crampon. Here are some handy knives for your climbing and mountaineering.

1. Opinel Outdoor

You will find this knife mostly on Chamonix Guides. It is the perfect round outdoor knife. Tough and light with a very sharp blade (8.5cm blade) locks open and closed.

You can also opt for the Coup du Savoyard, and it features a whistle and a beautiful lanyard.

2. Petzl Spatha

This knife is specially made for climbing. It is a very sharp knife and opens effortlessly. It features a locking blade which is an improvement over older models, and a carabiner hole. It is less sturdy when compared with the Whitby or Opinel but lighter.

Whitby Rescue Knife

You can get this knife for half the price of the Petzl Spatha and the Opinel Outdoor. It is the best essential knife for emergency cutting situations. It isn’t a pretty knife, but it is strong, locks securely, and cuts through ropes and tapes like butter. You can easily open it with just one hand, and it’s big enough to use even when wearing thick gloves.


This expedition involves an extended objective and journey, which comprises numerous nights away from roads and good infrastructures. It might be an expedition to the Himalayan mountain, a Kilimanjaro trip, a trek, or any adventure which puts your equipment at the risk of excessive wear and tear. Rucksacks rip, crampons break, and stoves malfunction. When going on this type of expedition, you should get a multitool like a Leatherman. Select one with different screwdriver sizes, scissors, and pliers. You can choose either the Leather Wingman and Leather Skeletool.