SURVIVAL

Best Neck Knife: How to Find The Best One for Your Needs

Dennis Owens
Written by Dennis Owens

Everyday carry knives are a fast growing trend and more people are looking to get one, but having trouble with that. The best neck knife can easily be found when you have a well-developed list to start with, like the one that follows. We’ve developed this to help you ensure that your knife is going to be exactly what you’re looking for.

A neck knife is a versatile tool and if you’re thinking about getting one for yourself, we will be discussing the factors that make a good neck knife as well as some very good picks to help you find the best neck knife to suit your requirements. So make sure that you take a look at each of these.

Product NameBlade LengthTotal LengthWeightBlade MaterialPrice
Cold Steel Brave Heart Kraton4 inches7.75 inches2.8 oz.AUS 8A stainless steelCheck price on Amazon
Spartan Enyo Fixed Blade2.11/16 inches6.3/16 inches2.08 oz.CPM S35VN stainless steelCheck price on Amazon
Anginstar Tactical Survival Pocket2.8 inches7.8 inches4.8 oz.440C stainless steelCheck price on Amazon
Esee Izula II2.63 inches6.75 inches3.2 oz.1095 carbon steelCheck price on Amazon
Columbia River Folts Minimalist Bowie2.125 inches5.13 inches1.6 oz.5Cr15MoV stainless steelCheck price on Amazon
Buck 0616Bks Ops3 inches6 ¼ inches2.5 oz.154CM stainless steelCheck price on Amazon
Ranch Damascus2 inches4 inchesN/AAISI 1075 & 4340Check price on Amazon
Ka-Bar Tdi Law Enforcement2.5/15 inches5.5/8 inches6.4 oz.AUS 8A stainless steelCheck price on Amazon
Esee Candiru Molded Sheath2 inches5.13 inches1.7 oz.1095 carbon steelCheck price on Amazon

What Makes A Good Neck Knife?

As with most purchases, you will want to get the best bang for your buck. Here are a few things you’ll want to take note of before buying your neck knife. That way, you can make sure that you’re getting the best quality and the best features.

Sheath and Cord

Unlike most knives where you will start your focus on the blade, one of the first things you should be checking on your neck knife is its sheath and by extension, the cord. You want a quality sheath that keeps the knife in place despite lots of movement.

Good sheath retention cannot be over-emphasized for knives in general but it’s a much bigger deal for neck knives since it will usually be hanging upside down. Go on a hike or run with a flimsy sheath and you could very well lose that knife.

On the flipside, you don’t want a knife that is too hard to yank out, especially during critical instances, such as animal attacks. Kydex sheaths will often work well to this end. For the cord, you’ll want a bead cord or detachable lanyard cord.

Sheath and Cord for neck knife

Especially while on hikes, you don’t want to have anything on that can serve to strangle you. A breakaway mechanism is very important for safety.

Knife Shape

In terms of the knife per se, the blade shape will be your first consideration. Just what will you be using it for?

Bowie shaped knives are good all-around.  For more precise tasks, such as skinning game or preparing food, you’re better off with a drop point blade or beavertail. If you’ve bothered to train in Filipino-martial arts or Kali then a karambit-type knife may be for you.

Blade Material

As with any other knife, you will want to have a grasp on the type of steel used for the blade. There are two general variants. Carbon steel variants are usually better in terms of easy sharpening, these are usually more prone to rust.

Neck-knife-blade

On the flip side, stainless steel variants aren’t as good at edge retention, however, they have the benefit of much higher corrosion resistance. If, like most folks, you intend to wear the neck knife under your shirt, your knife will probably be exposed to quite a bit of sweat. That will tend to tip the scales in favor of stainless steel for neck knives.

Fixed or Folding Blade

Some folks stow their folding knives under their shirts. To us that seems a bit counter-productive as that drastically increases the deployment time of the blade. In the event of an emergency, you want to avoid fumbling around to get your knife.

That plus the stability of a fixed blade is really nice to have. So take our word for it. If you’re going for a neck carry, you want a fixed blade.

Weight

One of the factors that make neck knives so attractive is the fact that they aren’t cumbersome. Sure some folks are fine heaving their 16.oz hunting knives around, but that’s not for everybody.

man wearing a neck knife

Having something dangling from cord draped around your neck can be a bother if it’s heavy. You’ll want a light knife.

Top Products Of 2017

These products are the best ones that we’ve been able to find. They have a variety of different features and different sizes as well as a whole lot more, so you won’t have to worry about how you’re going to get something good. You can take a look at the options we’ve already got for you and start narrowing it down even more from there.

Cold Steel Brave Heart KratonCold Steel Brave Heart Kraton

Price: Approximately $65

Blade length: 4 in

Overall length: 7.75 in

Weight: 2.8 oz

Blade material: AUS 8A stainless steel

Description: The Cold Steel Brave Heart Kraton is a compact and versatile multi-purpose neck knife. The shape and long blade length, coupled with its quality construction, allow for various types of precision work under wet or dry circumstances.

The sharp tip is ideal for piercing. Quality jimping on the spine works to aid in providing quality grip. The flat and slim cross-section will ensure that the knife will resist unnecessary twisting while being used. The Kraton grip allows for maximum control of the knife as well as strong resilience against damage due to shock.

The Secure-Ex Sheath is great for a one-handed draw. The configuration makes it good for either a boot or neck knife. When carrying it around your neck, however, be sure to couple it with a good bead chain/lanyard with a safety detachment system. You definitely don’t want that to inadvertently choke you.

PROS:

  • Short 4” blade
  • AUS 8A stainless steel
  • Good everyday carry knife
  • One hand draw

CONS:

  • Sheath isn’t high quality
  • Somewhat heavy as a neck knife

Related: The Cold Steel Vietnam Tomahawk is a great tool for the next time you’re out in the wilderness. It’s a great way to improve your chances when you’re camping.

Check the price on Amazon

Spartan Enyo Fixed Blade KnifeSpartan Enyo Fixed Blade Knife

Price: Approximately $150

Blade length: 2 11/16 in

Handle length: 3 ½ in

Blade type: Drop Point

Blade material: CPM S35VN Stainless Steel

Weight: 2.08 oz

Sheath: Kydex, black

Description: The name Enyo is derived from a mythological war goddess. She is the companion of Ares, Greek god of war. Spartan Enyo Fixed Blade Knife is definitely appropriately named. The black tungsten finish and skeletal frame give the knife an intimidating appeal.

The plain edge drop point shape of the blade allows for various general applications making the knife great for EDC use. The CPM S35VN provides superior toughness against edge chipping while also providing an improved edge retention. Being stainless, the blade’s construction is highly resistant to corrosion.

The fitted Kydex Sheath is great for quick one-handed draws and comes with a neck chain made of stainless steel. It also comes with an IWB Loop and paracord for carry options other than via the neck.

PROS:

  • 6 ¼” blade
  • Lightweight form
  • Made in the USA
  • Made with stainless steel
  • Full tang

CONS:

  • Somewhat expensive
  • No handle to the knife

Related: Anyone traveling in the wilderness or anywhere should have a multi-tool and the Leatherman Multi-Tool is one of the best options.

Check the price on Amazon

Anginstar Tactical Survival Pocket KnifeAnginstar Tactical Survival Pocket Knife

Price: Approximately $30

Total length: 7.8 in

Blade length: 2.8 in

Weight: 4.8 oz

Blade material: 440C Stainless Steel

Description: The Anginstar Tactical Survival Pocket Knife is a lightweight pocket knife that can function as a neck carry knife. On the whole, it is lightweight and offers a very compact build ideal for anyone looking to have a knife handy all day, every day.

The 440C Stainless steel gives the Defense Claw a hardy defense against corrosion. The construction offers a solid and comfortable grip. It comes with a clip which can be moved from left to right depending on your preferred carrying orientation. The locking mechanism is very stable and allows for no play or wiggling at all.

The wave feature allows for rapid deployment, though using it effectively will require some getting used to. The form is derived from a southeast Asian weapon, the karambit. As such, users with training in Silat or Kali will definitely appreciate the use of this knife, especially from a combat or self-defense standpoint.

Despite being a pretty well-built blade all around, this Anginstar model does have its shortcomings. For one thing, if you’re looking for a knife to carry around your neck, chances are you won’t want a folding one.

PROS:

  • 440C stainless steel
  • Easy to hold and to control
  • Wave opening feature
  • Finger ring to hold easily

CONS:

  • Folding knife more difficult to use in a neck knife
  • Weak inner lock

Related: The Lanksy PS-MED01 BladeMedic is inexpensive and works great for getting your knife in just the right shape.

Check the price on Amazon

Esee Knives Izula II KnifeEsee Knives Izula II Knife

Price: Approximately $75

Overall length: 6.75 in

Blade length: 2.63 in

Material: 1095 carbon steel

Weight: 3.2 oz

Sheath: Molded. Comes with belt clip plate

Description: The Esee Knives Izula II Knife is a well-known variant of the ESEE Izula series. The moniker Izula stems from a Peruvian ant named Isula, more known to us as the bullet ant. It’s a small ant with an extremely powerful sting. The Izula II does not fail to live up to its name.

The highly regarded knife features a 2.63 in. blade length, which allows for concealability which is a deciding factor for many neck knives. The carbon steel material offers easy resharpening and the possibility of use with a Ferro rod if ever the need should arise.

The lightweight 3.2 oz. knife provides a little bit more weight than some of the other offerings in the market but does not compromise usability as a neck carry knife. Its slim profile makes it perfect either for neck carry or pocket.

Also noteworthy is the ESEE Lifetime Warranty. It’s a lifetime no-questions-asked warranty, something which is pretty hard to top.

PROS:

  • Small overall size
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Works with Ferro rod
  • Belt clip included

CONS:

  • Can rust or corrode
  • Slightly heavier than other EDC or neck knives

Related: If you really want to make your knife secure the Blade-Tech Tek-Lok is a great addition. It’s small and easy to use and it improves security greatly.

Check the price on Amazon

Columbia River Folts Minimalist BowieColumbia River Folts Minimalist Bowie

Price: Approximately $20

Blade length: 2.125 in

Overall length: 5.13 in

Blade steel: 5Cr15MoV stainless steel

Knife shape: Bowie

Weight: 1.6 oz

Sheath: Glass-reinforced nylon

Description: The Columbia River Folts Minimalist Bowie is a great companion for an outdoor trip. It isn’t meant to take the role of a large blade meant for heavy work, nor is it an all-around knife.

What the Columbia River Folts Minimalist Bowie excels at are the precise chores that need to be done in camp, such as cooking, cutting paracord or handling hunting-related tasks. The bowie blade shape is reminiscent of many hunting knives.

This is definitely a great fixed blade to have, worthy of being a day-to-day EDC or a secondary wilderness knife. It’s a potentially great neck knife. The 5Cr15MoV Stainless Steel provides corrosion resistance, which is great if it’s intended to be worn under a shirt. Everyday cutting tasks are a breeze with the great comfort and feel of the knife.

PROS:

  • Tanto blade style
  • Ergonomic handle
  • High-quality stainless steel
  • Custom fitted sheath

CONS:

  • Requires more frequent sharpening
  • Sheath is not as high quality

Related: The Columbia River Knife is a great compliment to this knife. It’s priced right about the same and is a similar size as well.

Check the price on Amazon

Buck Knives 0616Bks Ops KnifeBuck Knives 0616Bks Ops Knife

Price: Approximately $70

Knife shape: Tanto

Blade length: 3 in

Weight: 2.5 oz

Blade material: 154CM steel, stainless

Handle: Heavy duty G10

Specific features: Full tang construction, polypropylene/leather sheath

Description: The Buck Knives 0616Bks Ops Knife is a mean and versatile knife for its size. The 3in blade and full tang construction provide enough blade for a variety of rugged applications.

The size of the blade is just short enough to keep it from becoming unwieldy for more precise tasks, such as carving snare sets and skinning game. The 2.5oz. weight and small size make it light and unobtrusive, great for carrying throughout the day. The tough G10 grip provides great control over the knife for easy use.

The knife fits snuggly into the polypropylene and leather sheath, making it a highly viable neck knife option. Alternatively, it can be carried via an ankle strap or on a belt for more options. The 154 CM Steel provides ample corrosion protection.

PROS:

  • Can be carried any way you like
  • 3” Tanto style blade
  • Snaps into sheath
  • Polypropylene and leather sheath
  • Made in the USA

CONS:

  • Small handle
  • Belt clip is not high quality

Related: The Smith’s PP1 Pocket Pal Sharpener is great to have on hand because it’s inexpensive and it keeps your knife in tip-top shape at all times.

Check the price on Amazon

Knives Ranch Damascus Neck KnifeKnives Ranch Damascus Neck Knife

Price: Approximately $55

Overall length: 4 in

Blade length: 2 in

Weight: N/A

Blade material: AISI 1075, AISI 4340

Description: The Knives Ranch Damascus Neck Knife is a departure from the common tactical makes that dominate the knife market today. The crafted bone handle and leather sheath provide an older aesthetic which may appeal to more traditional users.

The combination of AISI 1075 and AISI 4340 works well to provide high-grade edge retention. Definitely concealable due to small size. Definitely a good option for an around the neck carry. This Knives Ranch model may pose problems for anyone wanting any sort of heft to their knife.

At 4 inches overall, it’s a small knife. This may be a deal breaker for some. The combination of steels doesn’t guard all that well against corrosion. Hence, the knife will require a bit of maintaining. The sheath can also succumb earlier to wear and tear relative to other offerings because of its leather construction.

PROS:

  • Unique style
  • Handmade knife
  • Low price
  • High quality steel construction
  • Sheath included

CONS:

  • Sheath wears quickly
  • Small overall size

Related: You’re going to want a chair to sit in while you’re camping and the Moon Lence Ultralight is a great choice that keeps you comfortable and doesn’t take up too much space.

Check the price on Amazon

Ka-Bar Tdi Law Enforcement KnifeKa-Bar Tdi Law Enforcement Knife

Price: Approximately $40

Overall length: 5 5/8 in

Blade length: 2 5/16 in

Weight: 6.4 oz

Blade material: AUS-8A stainless steel

Blade shape: Drop point

Description: The Ka-Bar Tdi Law Enforcement Knife is an excellent EDC knife, especially if your purpose is for self-defense. The knife was designed for law enforcement use, particularly when the sidearm is inaccessible or compromised.

The unusual “offhand” knife, which is drawn like a pistol, will give users the ability to deploy their knife extremely quickly. This comes especially useful for extremely close quarters. The AUS-8A steel is highly resistant to corrosion and the knife comes with a very sharp edge.

The handle provides great grip and control which are critical for the knife’s intended use. The sheath is also high quality, allowing for various carry orientations.

While it is excellent for the intended purpose of self-defense, in other avenues where one would use an EDC knife the TDI Law Enforcement may fall a bit short. The handle’s shape, while incredibly effective for self-defense, may prove to be a bit awkward for other tasks.

Also, it loses effectiveness as a neck carry knife as it was designed to be drawn from the hip, or leg. The drawing angle becomes awkward if done from the neck. Needless to say, this would hamper your ability to quickly draw the blade in a self-defense situation.

PROS:

  • Draws like a pistol
  • Unique style and shape
  • Low price
  • AUS-8A steel construction
  • Ideal for self-defense

CONS:

  • Not as well designed for neck carry
  • Not as good for general tasks aside from self-defense

Related: Carrying this knife on your belt can be a great way to use it and the Ka-Bar Metal Belt Clip makes sure it’s going to stay where you want and be secure as well.

Check the price on Amazon

Esee Knives Candiru Molded SheathEsee Knives Candiru Molded Sheath

Price: Approximately $55

Overall length: 5.13 in

Blade length: 2.0 in

Weight: 1.7 oz

Blade material: 1095 carbon steel

Sheath: Molded sheath, belt clip plate

Warranty: ESEE lifetime warranty

Description: The knives produced by ESEE are held in high regard by many and it’s because of the high level of quality found in their products. The Esee Knives Candiru Molded Sheath is by no means an exception.

For a small knife, just being over 5 inches, the Candiru is able to perform all tasks you would expect to be able to do with a 5-inch knife. Granting that you won’t be battening with it anytime soon, the Candiru is great for basic woodwork and dressing game.

Simple cutting tasks are great as well. The ergonomic shape, when used with the micarta scales, work wonderfully, providing a superb three-fingered grip. The sheath allows for a confident one-handed draw whether in upright or bottoms up orientation.

The Candiru is a great EDC option, whether worn on the hip, as a neck carry, or in a pocket. However, if carried around the neck, it is better off used on the outside of your shirt. The carbon steel make doesn’t jive well with sweat. The Candiru will generally fit the bill for the generic, light, EDC application.

PROS:

  • Can be worn anywhere
  • One handed draw
  • Full tang blade
  • 2 color options
  • Carbon steel construction
  • Made in the USA

CONS:

  • Can rust if wet or too much sweat
  • No handle

Related: The Micarta Handle for this knife is a great addition and can definitely make it a lot easier and more comfortable to carry it with you.

Check the price on Amazon

Finding The Right Neck Knife

The right neck knife, at the end of the day, is the one that you are most comfortable with. Taking into consideration weight, shape, blade characteristics and overall ergonomics in relation to your utilization will be critical in finding the best choice.

neck knives

Also, make it a point to research local legislation on carrying knives. Each state has different specifications on what is legal and what is not. You definitely don’t want to find yourself in a pinch because you carried a weapon in a location where it is deemed illegal.

So what do you think of these knives and the features they provide? Do you have any of these knives and think it’s really great? Do you have any other knives that you like better? We definitely want to hear about them.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dennis Owens
Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.

  • Zack Lorigan

    If you’re looking for a true boot knife, you’ll struggle to do better than the Buck Knives Boot Tactical. I’ve been in the market for a fixed blade knife for daily utility use for quite some time now to replace a weary folding knife and after a little research, I finally settled on the 0616BKS.

    There is absolutely no disputing that this is a very well made knife, crafted with properly heat treated and tempered 154cm steel which holds and incredibly sharp edge. The sheath is one of the best I’ve ever seen considering it came free with the knife and allows for tons of carrying options.

    Perhaps one small negative, in my opinion, is that the blade is a little small, at only 3″ it’s utility is limited to more intricate tasks, I do, however, still love it and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

    • Dennis Owens

      There is still slim margin on how to effectively carry and use neck knives and more or less, the length of the knife blade is around 3-4″. The 0616BKS is a compact and versatile neck knife that is made from high-quality tempered still that does the job whenever you’re out camping or hunting.

  • Danny Guerrero

    The Columbia River Folts is a fantastic knife, I’ve tried other so-called neck knives in the past but most ended up being these heavy or overly bulky and hard to conceal. The Folts, however, is incredibly minimalist and just what I was looking for, it can be worn under a shirt with virtually no imprint. Admittedly, I was a little worried about the finger grooves at first, because if they don’t fit your hand you’re not going to be able to maintain a solid grip, however, I was pleasantly surprised, as the knife fits comfortably as though it was tailored to my hand. A great, must-have knife!

    • Dennis Owens

      I agree that some neck knives are too bulky to be labeled as a neck knife, and causes neck strain too especially when worn for too long. The Columbia River Folts is a great choice, and you can never go wrong with that grip. This is one amazing neck knife that I recommend.

  • Jake Clark

    Cold Steel Kraton Handle knife is one of the first knives I bought that was razor sharp right out of the box. It can be used for a lot of things: for slicing, penetration, and self-defense and as a utility knife. The handle is rather short, but it fits perfectly in my hand. The blade is top quality steel. It can fit into my pocket, around my neck or on a boot top. I find it very reliable because I don’t feel comfortable with knives that don’t have fixed blades.

    • Dennis Owens

      The steel of the Cold Steel Kraton is amazing. Extremely sharp and, as you’ve mentioned, the handle is short but it very ergonomic to hold which ensures safe use wherever you go. For someone who is not comfortable wielding knives that doesn’t have fixed blades, that says a lot.

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