Throughout the year, Gear Institute faculty field tested and reviewed scores of knives and multitools. From those, we’ve rounded up the Best in Class in a number of categories.
Leatherman Surge Multitool
Years ago, Leatherman stood as the Kleenex of the multitool product lime, a name synonymous with the novel wonders of carrying a bunch of different tools, all in one little package. And if the Surge is any indication, they may rise to that distinction again. With a robust 93 outta 100 rating, our tester described this as a bona fide toolbox–only lighter than the one he’d otherwise have to carry. It boasts bomber needle-nose pliers, large scissors, replaceable wire cutters, large knife blades, and a playful little blue chord. It may be too much for some–but if you’re an everything-and-the-tools-to-do-it kinda person, the Surge is tops. Read full review here.
Benchmade 300 Axis Flipper Knife
As you may have gathered, we at the Gear Institute take testing seriously. We toss stuff in streams and off cliffs. We live with the product for weeks. We get everything good and dirty. So, when a product gets perfect score of 100 points, it’s kind of a big deal. But TWO knives got perfect scores in our 2014 testing. Platonic ideals redefined! In the folding knife category, the 300 Axis impressed immensely thanks to its construction of 154CM steel and G10 scales (read: handles) as well as its smooth opening and incredible durability. And the one minor pet peeve (no lanyard hole) wasn’t enough to count as a mark against it. Read full review here.
Vulture Equipment Works Cholera MK1 Knife
On the fixed-blade spectrum of the … best … knives … ever sits the Cholera MK1, another recipient of the ultra-rare perfect score of 100. Our tester felt “like a warrior on the hunt” with the knife strapped to his leg, and describes it as the quintessential knife for survival and backpacking. The sheath design lets the knife be carried in any position, and a hefty 3/16-inch thick blade proved to be a serious workhorse. Only gripe? Not enough people know about the brand. Consider yourself educated. Read full review here.
Gerber Freescape Camp Kitchen Knife
While some of the other knives in our wider test pulled an astounding 100—meaning it’ll help you slice, cut, and survive pretty much anything, the Freescape should handle anything mere mortals encounter while camping (and a 90-point score ain’t shabby). This kitchen-specific camp boasts a sharp, clean Santoku blade, with a comfortable rubber handle to offer extra grip in wet conditions. Find your backcountry Benihana—and don’t worry about any cross contamination between the food and whatever you were cutting up with your other knife. Read full review here.