Whenever it’s time to head for a hike or set up camp, we always hedge our bets by going for a scout carry knife over a vertical carry.
We aren’t fans of vertical carry blades, seeing as they always rub against our legs, causing discomfort and irritation. Granted, vertical blades do look cool on a pair of denim jeans, but they’re just irksome and not very practical.
What we love about scout carry knives, also known as horizontal carry knives, is that they’re versatile when it comes to carrying positions. Not only can you sheath your scout blade at a 90-degree angle, but you can also carry them under your belly button or slightly above your hindquarters.
Also, scout knives are more about comfort and practicality than they are about aesthetic appeal, which is precisely why we constantly reach for our scout blade for all outdoor expeditions.
If you’re in the market for a scout blade, you ought to stick around, as we’re about to shed light on some of today’s best scout carry knives with horizontal sheaths, including our go-to blade!
At a Glance:
- Benchmade Hidden Canyon Hunter – Best Overall
- Bradford Knives Guardian 3 – Runner-Up
- Gerber Gear Ghoststrike – Best for Budget
- ESEE Knives 4P – Premium Pick
- Buck Knives Selkirk – Best Value
The 5 Best Scout Carry Knives in 2023
For blades fanatics like ourselves, rounding up a list of the five best scout carry knives was mission impossible, but we can gladly say that we’ve done it. And the following five scouts carry knives that are the cream of the crop in terms of durability, ergonomics, and convenience. We’re pretty confident that one of our picks will meet your needs and budget.
1. Benchmade Hidden Canyon Hunter – Best Overall
Kicking off our list of the best scout carry knives is our go-to blade, the Benchmade Hidden Canyon Hunter. Not only do we consider this the best horizontal carry blade on the market, but we also view it as one of the finest fixed blades, period!
As stated by the manufacturer, this blade is built for the hunt, boasting a high-end CPM-S30V stainless steel construction that’ll last for many years to come. In addition, it’s highly resistant to corrosion and wear, so you don’t have to worry about having to replace it anytime soon.
Moreover, the blade features a stunning wooden handle that guarantees a firm grip. And the handle is outfitted with a thumb ramp and an index finger choil that help reinforce sturdiness and grip.
And the Hidden Canyon Hunter is American-made, flaunting a design that channels efficiency and simplicity quite beautifully. As a result, it’s perfect for virtually all outdoor activities as well as everyday carry.
One thing we don’t like about this blade is that it comes with a not-so-secure leather sheath. So, it isn’t as secure as Kydex sheaths. Also, the Hidden Canyon Hunter isn’t your average, wallet-friendly fixed blade. It costs quite a bit, but it’s well worth it. After all, quality comes at a price.
- Resistant to wear and corrosion
- Simplistic yet efficient design
- Top-notch ergonomics with a firm grip
- Suitable for all outdoor activities
- Excellent edge retention
- Not the most affordable option
- Could use a more secure sheath
Ultimately, the Benchmade Hidden Canyon Hunter is your efficient, durable pick with a firm grip. And you can use it for hunting, other outdoor activities, and all outdoor activities.
2. Bradford Knives Guardian 3 – Runner-up
The Bradford Knives Guardian 3 is another well-rounded blade that’s perfect for everyday carry. Like the Hidden Canyon Hunter, the Guardian 3 is a top contender in all blade categories, no matter how specific.
For one, the Guardian 3 is built from N690 steel, which is extremely hardy and tough, more so than other steel grades. N690 steel has a reputation for lasting long and is highly resistant to rust and corrosion. And the belt loop is snug and sturdy!
In addition, the overall length of this knife is around 6.75 inches, whereas the length of the blade itself (minus the handle) is about 3.5 inches. So it’s pretty compact compared to most options.
Also, this American-made, spear-pointed blade features a G-10 fiberglass handle, flat grind, and leather sheath. Thanks to the combination of the flat grind and the spear point, sharpening this blade is a walk in the park, not that you’ll need to sharpen it anytime soon. It’s a blade’s sheath, though. So, that may or may not appeal to you.
- Compact and sturdy construction
- Great rust and corrosion resistance
- Textured G-10 handle for extra grip
- Can double as a hunting knife
- Convenient belt loop on the sheath
- The handle isn’t suitable for large hands
- Questionable edge retention
Overall, the Guardian 3 is an excellent survival knife that’ll appeal to anyone who champions simplicity and convenience over anything else.
3. Gerber Gear Ghoststrike – Best for Budget
Names like Ghoststrike are an instant buy for us. We were also sold on the way the Gerber Gear Ghoststrike looks. It’s one of the most unique-looking scout carry blades we’ve ever come across. And we can say that the Ghoststrike isn’t all looks with no hooks. We’re surprised that such a budget-friendly blade can provide this much value.
Additionally, the Ghoststrike features a skeletal high-carbon steel frame that’s remarkably durable. The blade itself is covered with a black ceramic coating to minimize reflection and resist corrosion.
Moreover, it’s fitted with a diamond-textured rubber handle that provides a great deal of grip and firmness. And the overall length of the knife is around 6.9 inches. The steel blade itself is 3.3 inches.
What we love the most about this knife is that it comes with a modular sheath system that you can wear vertically or horizontally, sparing you the hassle of buying two different knives. The one downside of this blade is that It doesn’t have the most comfortable handle out there, but it’s adequate.
- Aesthetically appealing design
- Durable high-carbon steel build
- Excellent corrosion resistance
- The versatile modular sheath system
- Small and compact construction
- Not the most comfortable handle
- Wouldn’t recommend it for hunting
If you want a budget-friendly scout carry blade, the Gerber Gear Ghoststrike is the one for you. It’s durable, corrosion-resistant gives you a firm grip, and can be worn vertically and horizontally.
4. ESEE Knives 4P – Best Build Quality
The ESEE Knives 4P is marked for its outstanding build quality and long-lasting blade retention. You can use it as a bushcraft, survival, or tactical knife.
The 4P is one of the most durable knives you’ll ever use, and you can use it A LOT! This doesn’t come as a surprise, though. After all, it’s built from 1095 carbon steel, which happens to be the number-one material for creating professional, heavy-duty cutlery.
Durability aside, we’re in love with this knife’s ability to tackle just about anything we throw at it. The blade is around 4.5 inches, with a drop point shape and a flat edge for easy sharpening.
We also adore the Micarta handle. It’s super comfortable and can fit your hands firmly. The great thing about this handle is that it’s removable, so you can easily replace it with a different aftermarket handle if it isn’t a good match for your hands.
In addition, we like the sheath that comes with this knife. It’s built from highly durable molded plastic, so it’s guaranteed to last long. The sheath’s close-fitting clip fits perfectly with the most belt knives, and it can be removed or replaced.
Unlike most plastic sheaths, the one that comes with the ESEE 4P doesn’t make any rattling movements. It also feels secure and easily reachable.
Finally, we’d like to point out the neat packaging of the ESEE 4P’s packaging. It comes in a gorgeous box that includes adventure cards, a few stickers, and short-term survival tips. This is the perfect package to gift to a fellow outdoor enthusiast.
On the downside, we would’ve liked better corrosion resistance. And, of course, this feature-packed knife isn’t exactly budget-friendly.
- Multi-purpose scout carry knife
- Extremely durable construction
- Neat packaging and accessories
- Comfortable Micarta handle
- Durable and secure sheath
- Low corrosion resistance
- Premium price tag
The ESEE Knives 4P has arguably the best construction quality, so it’s the knife to withstand the test of time.
5. Buck Knives Selkirk – Best Knives With Horizontal Sheath
Just because the Buck Knives Selkirk is last on our list doesn’t mean it’s inferior in terms of build quality. On the contrary, this medium-sized, average-priced scout knife strikes the perfect balance between durability and multi-purpose use. It’s suitable for hunting and survival purposes in severe conditions.
Additionally, the knife features a drop-point, 420HC steel blade that measures around 4.62 inches. It features excellent corrosion resistance and overall strength. Keep in mind that virtually all Buck knives feature 420HC steel blades.
Similar to the ESEE 4P, this knife features a Micarta handle that feels super comfortable, thanks to its contoured layout.
One thing that sets this knife apart from most competitors is that its handle is equipped with a steel bolster that you can use as an improvised hammer. Not to mention, the blade is equipped with a 2.25-inch fire striker and grip whistle. These features certainly boost Selkirk’s value as a survival knife.
Last but not least, the Buck Knives Selkirk comes with a durable, easy-to-access sheath made of solid nylon. The sheath is suitable for both vertical and horizontal carrying positions. If there’s one thing we didn’t like about this knife, it’s the edge retention, and we’d also say that it isn’t the best for daily use.
- Durable 420HC steel construction
- Excellent corrosion resistance
- Features a grip whistle and a fire striker
- The steel bolster can be used as a hammer
- Super comfortable Micarta handle
- Edge retention is questionable
- Wouldn’t recommend it for everyday carry
If you’re looking for a multi-purpose knife, opt for the Buck Knives Selkirk. This knife is unbelievably long-lasting, and it’s feature-packed with a grip whistle, fire striker, and more.
How to Choose the Perfect Scout Carry Knife
You probably know which scout knife you’re going to buy by now, but to make sure you end up purchasing the perfect blade for your needs, here are a few factors to take into consideration:
A knife is only as good as its materials. Virtually all scouts carry knives utilize steel for their blades. However, there are different steel grades, which can make it hard for you to pinpoint your ideal blade.
To ensure the most value for your money, opt for a steel blade that features around 11% of chromium. Alternatively, you can opt for H1 or D2 steel. Such steel varieties are designed to fare up pretty well in harsh environments.
Note that all of the knives reviewed in this article feature highly durable steel blades that are designed to stand the test of time, so you don’t have to worry about blade durability.
Determining the ideal size for your scout carry knife boils down to what you intend to use it for. If you’re looking for an everyday carry knife, you should opt for something with a small-to-medium form factor. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a survival/hunting scout carry knife, go for something average or slightly above average.
Moreover, we strongly recommend avoiding knives that are too small. Such knives tend to be ineffective in most scenarios. Similarly, avoid knives that are too large; they’re simply inconvenient. Instead, if you want enough cutting power without compromising portability, choose a knife that’s about 4 inches in length.
Ergonomics are critical when it comes to choosing any knife. The material from which the knife’s handle is made should be comfortable and durable. More importantly, it should offer a firm grip to avoid the risk of an accident.
Furthermore, we wouldn’t recommend buying knives that feature antler or bone handles. Yes, they look pretty cool, but they wear out quickly compared to other handle materials.
Instead, we’d gravitate towards metallic handles, such as titanium and aluminum. We’re also fond of handles that are stabilized with synthetic materials like G10 and Micarta. Kraton is a great choice as well.
To Wrap Up
All in all, we’ve rounded up the five best scout carry knives with a horizontal sheath. As we’ve mentioned, the Hidden Canyon Hunter is our go-to. This knife is worth every penny, so you can use it for a long time, and it’ll still look like a million bucks.
Moving on, the Buck Knives Selkirk is our second favorite on this list, as it offers the most bang for the buck. It’s super durable, reasonably sized, and packs excellent survival features. But if you’re on a tight budget and looking for a scout knife that won’t fail you, you can’t go wrong with the Gerber Gear Ghoststrike.