Knife vs Multi-Tool. Which One to Choose and Why?

Humans have always carried knives for centuries and obviously, for different purposes. Hunters, soldiers, outdoor enthusiasts, and even office workers have a use for knives from time to time.

Knives come in various types, but the most common are the fixed blade and the pocket or folding knife.

However, the need for the use of multiple tools when camping or hiking in the wild has seen to the introduction of a hitherto new entrant: the multi-tool.

A multitool is a collection of different components that allow you to manage as many situations as possible whenever or wherever you are.

Most multi-tools usually come with a blade, a bottle or can opener, a file, pliers, scissors, wire cutter. All these gizmos make it pretty much versatile.

And the question regarding the functionality or purpose arises as a lot of people cannot determine which one to go for when planning for their outdoor adventures. Is it better to go for a knife or to purchase a multi-tool?

This is what this article will address. I hope that at the end of this article, you will make a pretty good idea what gizmo to opt in for.


The Knife

It is a tool used for cutting, and it can also be considered a cold or white weapon. The best knives out there are convenient and easy to use.

It’s a very crucial tool to have when camping or hiking as it has the potential of saving your life in countless different ways.

This is the primary reason why you should take a lot of care when the time comes for you to choose from.

Here are a few use-case scenarios of a knife, while being in the wilderness:

  • Cutting rope, string, and tags
  • Opening boxes
  • Picnic and camping
  • Slicing fruits.

It can also be employed as a weapon for self-defense if the situation requires it.

This article is not about whether or not you should go for long-bladed knives or for the compact and smaller ones. But the main idea is that knives are an important device that every outdoor enthusiast should have in their survival kit.

Top 5 knives that we recommend:

Here are the different types of knives that are available in the market today:

1. The Fixed-blade knife

brown handle knifeThis is a more compact version of the regular kitchen blade. It comes with a fixed 4 to 6-inch blade and is perfect for carrying out tasks outdoors such as prying things open, hunting, building shelters or for making a fire.

It is sturdy enough to be used for chopping branches or splitting wood and for spreading butter on your bread.

However, you need to be careful with some models out there, especially those with built-in compasses and hollow handles. These features can water down the strength of the handle.

A steel blade that extends through to the end of the handle is the best option to go for as it allows for a firm grip when in use. Non-slip handles are also good options to consider


2. The Multipurpose Folding pocketknife

black and gray knife dip-in brown wood near blue lanternThe multipurpose folding pocketknife – also known as the Swiss army knife – is a favorite among scouts and comes with several tools like tweezers, screwdrivers, blades, and can openers.

The only downside is that the blade folds easily especially when you are doing something with it.




3. The Lockback knife

The lock back knife comes with a single blade which you can use for a variety of tasks. The blade locks itself in place – unlike its counterpart, the multipurpose folding pocketknife – until you are done using it.

Then you can fold up the blade and put it back into the backpack.


4. The River rescue knife

This is a special type with a serrated blade that can be used to cut any rope quickly.


5. The Whittling knife

This is a specialized type of knife that is used for carving wood.


  • Lightweight;
  • More convenient and easy to use;
  • One he best tools for cutting things;
  • Thin design;
  • Portable;
  • Strong blades.


  • It can only be used for one singular purpose, and that is to cut things.


The multi-tool

A multitool is a compact, portable, and sturdy device which is a combination of different components or tools and is an instrumental part of any survival kit.

Top 5 multi-tools that we recommend:

This device erases the need for you to stock your backpack with several cumbersome tools which may be extremely burdensome. You can also apply it to many different situations and is not as limiting as owning just a knife.


It usually comes with a combination of the following, depending on the model or brand you go for:

  • Tweezers;
  • A file;
  • A bottle opener;
  • A can opener;
  • A knife;
  • Needle-nose Pliers;
  • Phillips screwdriver;
  • Scissors;
  • Wirecutter;
  • Window punch;
  • Flathead screwdriver.

The multiple options that it offers may blind you to the need to ensure that you will need those tools.

If you will need only two or three of the components, then it makes no sense for you to carry a heavy device on a regular basis.

It is also crucial for you to consider safety options when going for a multi-tool. Some of them come with liner-lock features that prevent any component to close or fold accidentally during use.

This feature helps to prevent bruises, cuts, scrapes, and other injuries.

You also need to consider the following before buying one:

  • Compact design;
  • Ease of use;
  • Functionality;
  • Durability;
  • Weight


Knife Vs. Multi-Tool: Which Should You Go For?

Before delving into which one you should go for, here are the primary differences:

  • Multi-tools offer a variety of options – i.e. a broad application – which will come in handy in many difficult situations while knives can be used primarily for slicing and cutting things;
  • Knives are lightweight while multi-tools are bulky and somewhat cumbersome to carry;
  • Knives come with stronger blades and are much more sturdy than the knife component on a multi-tool;
  • Sometimes, knives may not be the ideal tool to use for cutting things. But a pair of scissors from a multi-tool may be the perfect option to use instead;
  • The locking mechanisms that come with some knives are well-made and innovatively designed than the ones compared with a multi-tool;
  • The pliers’ function usually comes in handy for most outdoor enthusiasts. Carrying a knife will entail carrying an extra pair of pliers which adds more weight to your backpack;
  • Knives are much easier to use as a weapon for self-defense as against a multi-tool which may – or may not be – utterly useless in the face of danger;
  • Some states frown at carrying a knife on you, but there is no law anywhere prohibiting anyone from carrying a multi-tool;
  • Knives can be used with only one hand. But to use a multi-tool, you need to make use of both hands while sorting the component you need and pull it out;
  • Knives are not as versatile as a multi-tool;
  • Knives are safer to use as a result of its sturdiness.


Final verdict

These are the different functionalities, benefits, and differences between a multitool and a knife. By now, you should have an excellent idea of which one to go for.

If you are an outdoors person who carries out a lot of practical work like building fires, cutting ropes, hunting, fishing, etc. then you need a good blade to help you out in these activities.

But if you are always on the road – and no one knows what to expect since anything can happen at any time and unexpectedly – then the best option for you is to get a multi-tool.

However, nothing stops you from having both under your belt. Make sure the knife you go for have a sturdy handle and blade. Also, make sure that it comes with a useful lock mechanism that will come in handy when performing hard tasks.

You also remember to take time to sharpen your blade as a blunt one will not be useful in time of emergencies.

Then a good multi-tool can perfectly serve as a backup. There is also nothing wrong in combining the two and using them at the same time.

But remember that the most important thing you should always bear in mind when you’re in the market for a new survival tool is safety.

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