No matter what activity you are enjoying on or around the lake, a quality pocket knife can be the single most handy tool you can carry on you. It can even be a life saver on occasion. Preparedness leads to peace of mind when having fun, and a pocket knife is the cornerstone to being prepared.
I really can’t say enough about pocket knives. They can be small and lightweight enough to be on your hip, but not be a bother at all. When you need a knife, having a pocket knife within reach is such a relief.
If you are looking for a really good pocket knife, there are a few brands that stand out above the rest: Benchmade, Zero Tolerance and CIVIVI. From those brands, here are my selections for the best pocket knife this year (2022):
Benchmade 535BK-4 BUGOUT®
- Action: Spring Assist
- Blade Steel: M390
- Blade Length: 3.24″
- Weight: 2.50 oz
- MSRP: $300
The Benchmade BUGOUT series of pocket knives is the gold standard for an everyday carry pocket knife. American made, tight functionality and extremely durable materials work together for a fantastic piece.
Now I picked this particular spec because it’s new this year, and it’s a pretty remarkable look. I’m more of a simple man and wouldn’t be likely to carry a piece this flashy, but I have to admit that the art-deco look on the 6061-T6 Aluminum handles would fit in a pair of Levis just as well as a James Bond tuxedo, especially when paired with the matte Cerakote finish on the M390 blade.
If I’m shooting holes in the BUGOUT, the only thing that I really don’t like is the lack of a finger flipper. I really like the confident no-look one handed opening option of using my index finger versus a thumb stud.
Buy this beautiful knife well under retail price here.
Zero Tolerance 0762
- Action: Manual Bearings
- Blade Steel: CPM 20CV
- Blade Length: 4.75″
- Weight: 2.90 oz
- MSRP: $440
Zero Tolerance lives up to its name yet again with this new knife. Released in 2021, it’s had a breakout this year, and it’s no wonder with the unique blade profile and fast action. The carbon fiber handles are super light weight, and a really cool contrast to the blue anodized aluminum showing through the handle windows, behind the stonewashed / satin finish combo on the blade itself. I don’t have an official hardness rating on the steel, but ZT is a brand that is not to be messed with, so you know that the heat-treated CPM 20CV steel is ready to work and hold an edge.
The 0762 is a flipper, meaning that it takes a manual motion to open it just like any other action, but there aren’t any springs. It rides on ball bearings, for a silky-smooth and fast opening action without all of the delicate internals.
This is the only knife featured on this list that does not have a deep-carry pocket clip, going with the “standard” carry style, meaning that you can expect the butt end of the handle to stick up a little out of your pocket or waistband.
Although the most expensive on our list, last we checked you can save a good $100 on the 0762 right here.
- Action: Manual Bearings
- Blade Steel: Damascus
- Blade Length: 3.7″
- Weight: 5.02 oz
- MSRP: $117
CIVIVI makes some really fun knives that are a lot easier on the pocketbook, thanks to them being made overseas (read: China). Despite this heavy mark against them in the knife nerd community, they are very well crafted, and it’s hard to turn your nose at a $300-caliber knife for just over a hundred bucks.
The Sinisys is also a flipping knife, which means fast and smooth opening action, without as much maintenance or risk of failure.
This is not your cheap so-called “Damascus” steel that has flooded the market, it is a legit Damascus with a 58-60 hardness rating. You have to love the look, and feel like a Samurai with this thing in your pocket.
The scales look great, but are not carbon fiber all the way through – hence the discounted price when compared to ZT. They are actually carbon-overlayed G10, which is definitely contributing to the weight, making this the heaviest knife on this list by far.
Other features that I like on this one are the finger flipper and a deep-carry pocket clip.
Without a doubt, the CIVIVI Sinisys is a great buy. Find the best price online here.
What Is The Best Affordable Pocket Knife?
I have been releasing a series of videos on the LakeHub YouTube channel about the best pocket knives for different lake activities. So far I have covered fishing, camping, hiking and hunting. For these videos, I have shared my favorite knives for very practical use, and many of them are well under $50. You can catch up on these videos below: