Choose your Best Skinning Knife to buy
Are you into legal game hunting? We guess that you are already gearing up for the next hunting season, aren’t you? Do you have the right hunting gear – shoes, jacket, backpack, or skinning knives?
A skinning knife makes the difference between the best and the worst hunting expedition. What this means is you’ve got to buy the best skinning knife.
Whether you have a deer, a pig, or a bear as your target, you have to get the right skinning knife – skinning is the most important and the most critical part of slaughtering game.
So, if you are going hunting and you need to take care of your trophy, then you have to get an efficient knife that is flexible. It should also make precise cuts.
What is a skinning knife?
A skinning knife is the piece of equipment that will help you take care of the arduous task of removing the hide from a carcass with ease. Though ancient man used sharp stones (obsidian and flint) and other primitive metallic pieces to skin animals after harvesting, you do not have to; thanks to your high intelligence and technological capabilities which make for easier skinning.
Why do you need a high-quality skinning knife?
Even though some high-tech devices and applications make for design and development of various skinning knife designs, most of the knives don’t make the cut into the list of the best knives. Our insistence on the best piece is because; whether you are a professional in the hides and leather business or an amateur who hunts for fun, you’ve got to use the best knife. The benefits of the right skinning knife include:
- You will be able to skin big game animals. A skinning blade works such that you use the knife’s entire blade. This means that you won’t spend your entire afternoon skinning. Using whole blade speeds up the process.
- When using the wrong knife to skin an animal, there is a higher chance of damaging the meat. You can pierce organs of the animal meant to stay intact. Every hunter, professional or not knows that the hide/ skin shouldn’t be smeared with blood. It should be in perfect shape for whichever use intended. Only a high-quality skinning knife will do this.
- A skinning knife comes in a unique shape specific for skinning. Though you may use it for other purposes, it’s ideal for skinning.
- The best skinning knives come with high-quality and durable blades. This hardly applies to other forms of hunting or folding knives.
Best Skinning Knife Reviews 2017
Extra replacement blades
1. Elk Ridge Skinning Knife - aesthetic appeal, great quality knives for the price
If you’re getting ready for the next big outdoor expedition, you need to make sure that you parking list includes an important necessity – the best skinning knife.
While the market has a vast range of skinning or hunting knives, Elk Ridge makes it possible for you to get the best knife. Their ER-300CA Hunting Knife is a two-piece set with a straight edge knife and a gut hook blade. The straight edge blade is 17 inches in length while the gut-hook knife measures 6 ½ inches.
The knives are full tang knives featuring a black 440 stainless steel blade. The 440 stainless steel blades have a high concentration of carbon making the blade durable and with high edge retention. The green camo handles have a non-slip texture for a firm but comfortable grip.
The gut hook knife is 3 7/8 inch deep bellied knife has a gut hook, thumb jimping on the back of the blade and a finger hole giving you strong control when handling the knife.
On the other hand, the straight knife has a 3 ½ inch blade for easy skinning or hunting. The knife’s blade has finger grooves for ease of use. To affix any extra cordage with ease, you have the lanyard hole.
Safety comes first when outdoors. Your surrounding could be dangerous, but that shouldn’t be your immediate concern when carrying a skinning knife. Your biggest concern should be your safety when handling and carrying the knife. Elk Ridge had your safety in mind during the design process. Their knives come with two black nylon dual carry sheaths. The sheaths keep you safe when carrying the knives and also when using them.
Even though we hardly consider the color or the attractiveness of a knife intended for use outdoors, this set stops you in your tracks with its green handles and the black blades.
- They have a comfortable grip for easy handling.
- The sheath keeps you safe.
- The blade is strong and sharp.
- They are lightweight and easy to carry around.
- Aesthetic appeal
- They are dull when bought, and you have to sharpen them before use
2. Havalon Skinning Knife - highly recommend these knives to all hunters
The effectiveness of a skinning knife or a hunting knife lies in its strength, durability, and comfort when in use. An online search reveals a big number of skinning knives with these three important features, but they hardly make the cut to the list of the best knives. The uncertainty makes the search even more confusing.
While the confusion lurks, you may want to give this Havalon Piranta Z Folding Blade Skinning Knife a try because it is one of the good pieces on the market. Due to its razor sharpness, the blade of this knife can be said to have a surgical dependability.
The blade is a super-sharp 60XT, and it doesn’t require sharpening. All you’ll have to do is to snap on a new blade for a fresh start. The blade is replaceable and comes with 12 extra blades for replacement. It measures 2¾ inches in length.
The handle of a knife determines how useful the knife is when cutting down bigger or tougher barks/ branches. If your last folding blade/ hunting knife had issues with the handle, then you may want to get this knife. It has a long handle that is wide and easy to grip. This gives you total control when skinning.
The handle is black thanks to its design which make use of a black lightweight Zytel composite. It also features an orange plastic handle and plastic rubber side panels for extra comfort and a tight grip.
It is easy to use with its thumb studs which make for fast one-handed opening – you don’t have to lay down your backpack to use this knife making it even more convenient. Your safety when handling this knife comes with the liner lock, the pocket clip, and the lanyard hole.
When open, this knife measures 7¼ inches and 4¼ inches when closed. It is, therefore, easy to carry around in your pocket.
- It comes with 12 extra replacement blades, and the blades are also cheap and easily available.
- It is easy to swap the knife out.
- It is easy to clean.
- It is strong.
- It is pricey.
- Switching the blades may be a little difficult.
3. Winchester Skinning Knife - Upswelt design
This all-black skinner knife with a fine edge is the ideal knife for an old school rugged cowboy or a stalwart horse. It was prevalent in the Wild West, and if you have always felt a sense of association with the Winchester heritage, then this is the knife for you.
It has a surgical stainless steel blade that measures 4.74 inches. The blade and the handle measure 10.43 inches. This surgical stainless steel blade is full tang ad creates excellent cuts. The other important feature of the blade is its upswelt design which makes it possible for you to reach the tightest places quickly and confidently.
Its textured handle gives you a maximum grip when handling it. This handle also gives you complete control when handling it.
For protection when using this handy and versatile knife, you have the nylon sheath with a removable plastic insert that covers the sharp blade making it easy for you to carry the knife around.
All these features of this Winchester knife make this a reliable hunting or skinning knife. The engineering assures you of its strength and reliability.
- It is cheap.
- It has a sturdy design.
- It is safe thanks to the sheath and the belt loop it comes with.
- It has a good and a comfortable grip.
- Upswelt design makes it the best skinning knife for tight spots.
- It has a high-quality design.
- It is not the strongest skinning knife on the market.
4. Outdoor Edge Skinning Knife - nonslip handle
Finding the right folding blade or knife for hunting, skinning, or camping is a big challenge to most outdoor lovers. In most cases, the blade warps after a few uses, and you feel a big loss having spent a significant amount of money buying the piece. It is for this reason that we recommend the Outdoor Edge Razor-Lite EDC Folding Knife. This piece is worth every dollar.
It has the strongest and the sharpest replacement blade knives for every day carrying. It comes with a removable pocket clip. You can open it with one hand. You get the knife with six replacement blades.
The other beautiful and functional feature of this folding knife is the ease with which you can replace the blades. To replace the blade, simply push the lock button located on the handle. Once you push this lock button, you can safely remove the old blade and replace it with a new razor sharp blade. You’ll need to exercise caution when replacing the blades because of the sharpness often compared to that of a surgeon’s scalpel.
This folding knife derives its strength from the black oxide coated blade holder. This handle supports the blade and makes it easy to skin the toughest areas. The material used in the design of the handle is grivory, a mix of nylon and glass.
There’s also a rubberized color TPR inserts which not only enhances comfort when handling but also prevent slipping when in use. The anti-slip feature is reliable even in a wet environment. You can get the handle in blaze orange, gray or blue.
The blade is 3.5 inches in length while the overall length of the knife is 8 inches. It weighs 2.8 ounces. This size and the weight mean that this knife is super light and very easy to carry around. Talking about carrying, this knife comes with a belt clip which secures it in place when not in use.
- The blade is sharp and strong.
- It has a nonslip handle.
- Simple blade replacement process.
- You’ll have to replace the blades often if using them frequently and on heavy substances or pieces.
5. Mossberg Fixed Skinning Knife - ergonomic design
Do you the love the outdoors and are in the market looking for an elegant and a handy skinning knife? Have you tried your hand on the Mossberg Fixed Skinning Knife? This knife comes with a high rating because of its all-in-one skinning knife features and the presence of a gut knife.
This knife has a non-glare blade made of stainless steel. The blade is 3 ½ inches while the whole knife measures 6¾ inches.
The use of stainless steel in the design makes the knife strong and durable. It can withstand the toughest conditions upon exposure. The handle offers a tight but a comfortable grip, and it is camouflaged.
This knife’s quality is trustworthy and the manufacturer’s limited lifetime warranty makes this a knife you can trust and depend on for all your outdoor tasks.
For safety, this skinning knife comes with a ballistic cloth sheath. It is also lightweight; weighs 7.2 inches.
- It is sturdy.
- It is lightweight.
- It has an ergonomic design for a tight but a comfortable grip.
- Needs frequent sharpening.
- Preferable for users with small hands.
- It is made in China.
What do you need to consider when buying a skinning knife?
The types of skinning knives
Every professional knows that finding the best skinning knife is easy once you figure out the type of the knife. Fortunately, this guide isn’t specific for pros; we wish to make the search for skinning knives easier for newbies. The main types of skinning knives include:
- Fixed blade knives
Perhaps you’ve already come across this sort of skinning knives – they are the most common on the market. To identify a fixed blade knife, look out for a fully exposed blade that sticks to a handle. It is not the most versatile knife for skinning because you cannot fold it back into the handle. To use it, you’ll have to apply the right kind of pressure. It has a stronger grip though.
- Folding blade knives
As the name suggests; the blade of this knife folds back into the handle when not in use. It is, therefore, safe when camping and when moving around looking for game. These are the most portable knives, but unfortunately, they don’t work too well when exposed to extreme pressure during use.
- Gut hook knives
These are skinning knives with an added feature for skinning or even opening up an animal’s abdomen fast. The blades of such knives feature a small hook-like part which slices through the skin. There also are hybrids. The hybrids feature a folding blade with a gut hook.
- Swingblade knives
These are the most versatile kinds of swing blades. Unfortunately, they are relatively expensive, and they aren’t as stable as other skinning knives.
Even though you have the option of picking any one or more of these skinning knives, you may want to pick the model that makes skinning easy, safe, and fun. Note that these types of knives have different features and they will deliver different results.
The type/ size of game
The kind of knife you buy depends on the type of game you’ll be hunting. You need a stronger knife for bigger animals and animals with thicker hides. Skinning should be fun and easy, get a knife that will make skinning a rabbit or a deer easy.
Skinning knives blades are entirely steel. The knife’s blade should hold an edge because you don’t want to stop skinning midway because the blade is suddenly blunt. You may want to consider getting a knife with a hard steel blade rather than a strong steel blade.
At the same time, you should keep in mind the fact that a blade that is too hard will bring with it sharpening difficulties. If too hard, then it could be brittle breaking or shattering when dropped. But, if it comes with replacement blades, then, go for it.
The edge of the knife shouldn’t dull after a few uses.
There are two main kinds of blade steels; stainless steels and high carbon tool steels. The difference between these two is that stainless steels have designs to resist corrosion while carbon tools steels are tough. A high concentration of carbon and chromium in stainless steel knives makes the blades brittle though highly resistant to corrosion.
The type of construction varies in all kinds the skinning knives you’ll come across online and offline. So, you should look for a knife that will last a long time. When searching for information on the durability of a piece consider the construction information and then looking at the user reviews. Though some reviews may feel as though biased, you’ll realize that there is some truth and helpful bits of information about a knife. As mentioned above, hard steel blades are preferable and long lasting as long as they aren’t too hard and brittle.
This is an important factor to consider when buying a skinning knife. Consider the size of the blade in relation to the size of the animal you’ll be skinning. A blade that is 3 ½ inches long is ideal for a rabbit. On the other hand, you’ll require a blade that is about 8 ½ inches long for large game.
Different animals call for different skinning techniques. Therefore, you have to get the right knife for every animal and every technique. A sharp knife is ideal for skinning hides loosely attached to the animal’s body with a thin membrane; as is the case with deer, sheep or antelopes. The thin membrane requires a sharp knife with a sharp tip.
Animals with thick subcutaneous layers under their skin need strong knives with trailing blades to cut through that fibrous layer.
The handle determines how easy you will skin the hide from that rabbit or the antelope. You have to buy a knife whose handle has an ergonomic design for comfort and a tight grip. The best handle will enable you to skin the hide with the knife’s edge up or down.
While some hunters prefer to extend the index finger along the blade’s spine or others wrap the index finger around the knife’s handle. Regardless of the position of your index finger, the handle must be comfortable.
Regarding the handle’s material; look for one that marries aesthetics and functionality.
This takes you back to the type of skinning knife. A folding knife is better than a fixed knife because the blade folds into the handle when not in use and you can walk for miles without having to look for it. Knives with blades that snap into the blade may also have locking mechanisms enhancing your safety – your child will also be safe if he or she accidentally holds the knife.
Now that we have given you a solution to your primary problem in the search for the best skinning knife, we are going to simplify things further. How? We will do this by concluding which one of the five best skinning skinves you get to choose from.
The line between an incredible hunting experience and regrettable lies on the quality of the skinning knife you choose. As you already discovered in your online search, there are many confusing skinning knives on the market. Even so, our guide and our review of the five best knives will help in making you a pro.
Why you ask? Well, as it turns out, the difference between a hunting aficionado and an amateur is that a pro knows that the list of high-quality, reliable, and well-designed skinning knives is small.
This is why we only have five. On the list of these five knives, we have one skinning knife that comes highly recommended – the Elk Ridge ER-300CA Hunting Knife Two-Piece Set.
This two-piece set has an attractive design – camouflaged green handles with black streaks and a black blade. However, this outward appearance isn’t all that this set boasts of, by having one knife with a straight blade and the other knife with a gut hook blade, it means simple and efficient skinning.
The blades are hard and durable; thanks to the use of 440 stainless steel in its design. The edges do not dull. Handling the knives is comfortable with the camo ABS handle that comes with a finger hole and a lanyard hole (in the gut hook knife). The dual black nylon sheath is durable and keeps the knives safe when not in use. These are the features that make this our best skinning knife.
Which would be your preferable skinning knife?