In purchasing a knife or a knife set, it is important that you know what it is for and second to know the type of knife that you need to carry out your gutting, cutting or slicing as not all knives in the market are suited for your specific purpose.

Knife with grip

If your source of protein comes solely from fish, this article may not be very necessary for you as you would only need a fillet knife. If, however, you are a big game or even small game hunter, a knife kit would be essential, covering all possible needs. You could also check on The Complete Hunting Knife Buying Guide to learn a little bit about the history and the different types of hunting knives.

Before Buying Your Knife, You Need To Assess Your Needs

For ease of understanding, below is an explanation of the type of knives you may need for hunting:

  • Caping Knives– these knives which appear to be almost scalpel like in shape is used for the delicate removal of the hide from the face of a trophy animal. These knives are not mentioned very often but they are very important when dealing with finer and intricate areas of the game.
  • Fillet Knives– these knives are designed exclusively for fishes which is used, as its name suggests, to fillet the flesh of the fish from the bones. While you cannot use a steak knife to cut a fish, you could actually still use a fillet knife for a steak. This may not be relevant here for the sake of our article, but it does paint a clear picture.
  • Bone Cleavers– this is the big boy, they are sometimes also called bone choppers which have thick heavy blades, it comes in many forms but it usually resembles a rectangular-bladed hatchet with a bigger grip handle.
  • Skinning Knives– these knives are primarily designed to skin big game animals; they are capable of quickly and neatly separating the skin from the meat of large game animals. They are usually light, thin, and curved.
  • Gutting Knives– they are sharp and serrated and can cut easily through skin and flesh of big game and mostly come with a gut hook.

So, Which Do You Get?

Knives from different brands in vibrant colors

Well, as a rule of thumb, you would want to have all knives if possible so that you can process your game and have a perfect harvest as all these different knives have their own usage.

But if you are on a budget or you want to travel light, you would only need a:


The knives mentioned would be capable of carrying out all of the needs that you have i.e.:

  1. The bone saw to, as its name suggests, saw the bones of the game to be able to store in in smaller pieces.
  2. A gut hook to carry out dressing of the game, to get into the skin of the game etc
  3. The caping knife which is used to separate the meat from the skin from the head of the animal.

Alternatively, if you are looking to get individual knives you can check out Our Top 8 Hunting Knives of 2023 where we talk about individual knives that are more of an all-in-one use so you can travel light.

Bone Saw knife

Bone saw knife

Caping knife

Gut Hook Knife

You Would Then Have to Consider:

The material:

Knives generally come in steel which is due to the excellent hardness that the metal provides. There is no substitute for this material and if you are looking for a good hunting knife, look for steel or stainless steel. However, what you must be aware of is the type of steel that the knife comes with, there are variations.

What is the difference between steel and stainless steel?

Steel is a type of ally which is made out of iron and carbon that contains less than 1% of manganese, less than 2% of carbon and very small amounts of oxygen, sulphur, silicon and phosphorus.

Stainless steel on the other hand has a high level of chromium which protects the blade from oxidation which causes rust. The steel is therefore “stainless” as the name suggests and will not ruse unlike steel which will rust.

Which to choose? Well, though stainless steel does not rust, it has a sharpness or edge retention that is shorter than that of steel meaning that you would have to sharpen it more often while you would not so have to do with steel.

And Carbon steel?

These knives are the ones which usually come in a darker color, a black-metallic appearance. This is steel whose main alloying element is carbon which forms a harder blade, is sharper and allows for long periods of edge retention or sharpness. This metal can however, rust. This would therefore not be the best choice for your hunting, you want something that you can use out in the wild and be exposed to moisture.

Best material to choose?

The best choice is undoubtedly stainless steel as you should have guessed from the above extract.

There are a few types of stainless steel alloys that you can choose from and below is a list of some of the best(not exhaustive):

  • Stellite 6K
  • Z-FiNit
  • CPM S30V
  • CPM S35VN
  • CPM S90V
  • CPM S110V
  • CPM20CV
  • CTS 204P
  • CTS B75P
  • 7CR17MoV
  • 13C26
  • 14C28N
  • 440C
  • AEB-L
  • AUS–8
  • CPM154
  • Elmax
  • N690
  • N695
  • S30V

Then Consider the Length:

The Length

Bigger is not always better, a smaller blade would allow you to have more control and you would be able to be more meticulous with your cuts, you don’t want to butcher your game, you want to process it which is a tedious but rewarding process when you go ahead to cook it later on.

Choose between 2-to-5-inch knives which would be appropriate for any kind of game, big or small.

And Finally:

The grip:

This the part that you would be holding when you handle the knife. There are a few options available to you:

  • Stainless steel
  • Rubber
  • Polypropylene
  • Micarta
  • Bone
  • Wood
  • Mother of Pearl
  • G-10
  • Aluminum
  • Titanium
  • Carbon Fibre
  • Leather

As you can see, there are a variety of choices available to you and each having their own distinct feel, strength and weaknesses.

Which grip to choose?

This is wholly up to you but:

  • Stainless Steel,
  • Aluminum,
  • Titanium, and
  • Mother of Pearl is not encouraged

As they tend to be slippery when being used. You should go for a grip that gives you a good grasp like rubber, polypropylene and rubberized TPR. You can head on to Knife Handle Materials: Which One Should You Choose? to learn more about the type of handle to

11 Best Hunting Knife Sets in Market:

1. Outdoor Edge 12-Piece Field Dressing Kit

Core Features

Blades include: Caping knife, Gut-hook skinner, Boning knife, Butcher knife and a Bone saw

Blade Material: Full-Tang 420J2 Stainless Steel

Blade Dimensions:

  • Caping Blade: 4.3 in / 10,8 cm 
  • Skinner Blade: 4.5 in / 11,5 cm 
  • Boning Blade: 5.9 in / 15,0 cm 
  • Butcher Blade: 8.3 in / 21,0 cm 
  • Saw Blade: 10.2 in / 25,8 cm 

Also included: Tungsten Carbide Sharpener, Brisket Spreader, Game shears, Carving Fork, Cutting Board, Gloves, Chopping Board and a Hard-side Carry Case.

Handle Grip: Rubberized TPR Handles

2. Outdoor Edge 8-piece WildPak Knife Set

Core Features

Blades include: Boning Knife, Gut-Hook Skinner, Caping Knife and Bone Saw

Blade Material: Full-Tang 420J2 Stainless Steel

Blade Dimension:

  • 2.5″ Caping Knife
  • 4″ Gut-Hook Skinner
  • 5″ Boning Knife
  • 6″ Bone Saw

Also included: Brisket Spreader, Carbide Sharpener, Hard-Side Case and Game Cleaning Gloves

Handle Grip: Bone, Thermoplastic Elastomers and Horn

3. Canadian KNINE 12 Piece Knife Set

Core Features

Blades include: Boning Knife, Gut-Hook Skinner, Hawkbill Blade Knife, Caping Knife, Gut-Hook Buther Knife, Skinning Cleaver and Bone Saw

Blade Material: 7CR17MOV Steel

Blade Dimension:

  • 12″ Boning Knife
  • 9-1/2″ Gut-Hook Skinner
  • 8-1/2″ Hawkbill blade knife
  • 8-1/2″ Bone Saw
  • 8-1/2″ Caping Knife
  • 12″ Gut-Hook Butcher Axe
  • 10-1/2″ Skinning Cleaver

Also Included: 9-1/4″ Game Shear, Brisket Spreader, Cutting Board, Knife and Shear Sharpener and Game Cleaning Gloves

Handle Grip: “Ergonomic Material” which is likely a composite of different materials forming a strong and durable grip as it is no specified as to the nature of the material.

4. MOSSY OAK Fixed Blade Hunting Knife Set

Core Features

Blades include: Skinning Knife and Gut Gook Knife

Blade Material: Stainless Steel

Blade Dimension:

  • Skinning Knife: 10-3/8 inch; Blade Length: 5-1/8 inch
  • Gut Hook Knife: 9-3/8 inch; Blade Length: 4-1/4 inch

Also Included: Dual carry Nylon Black Sheath

Handle Grip: Full-Tang Camo Handle

5. Outdoor Edge WildGuide, 4-Piece Hunting Set

Core Features

Blades include: Caping Knife, Gut-Hook Skinner and a T-handle Bone Saw

Blade Material: 420J2 Stainless Steel

Blade Dimension: 4 inches

Also Included: Nylon Belt Sheath

Handle Grip: Rubber

6. MOSSY OAK Hunting Field Dressing Kit 

Core Features

Blades include: T-handle Bone Saw, Caping Knife, Gut Hook Skinner and a Boning Knife

Blade Material: 3CR13 Stainless Steel

Blade Dimension:

  • T-handle Bone Saw:  8.7″
  • Caping Knife: 7.5″
  • Gut Hook Skinner: 9.4″
  • Boning Knife: 10″

Also Included: Brisket Spreader, Tungsten Carbide V-Sharpener and Red Game Cleaning Gloves

Handle Grip: Full-tang Camouflage handles

7. GVDV Hunting Knife Set – Deer Hunting Gear Butcher Game Processor Set

Core Features

Blades include: Caping Knife, Gut-hook Knife and Boning Knife

Blade Material: 5CR15 Stainless Steel

Blade Dimension:

  • Caping Knife: 3.1″
  • Gut-hook Knife: 3.7″
  • Boning Knife: 4.7″

Also Included: Brisket Spreader, Game Cleaning Gloves

Handle Grip: Grooved polypropylene handles

8. Elk Ridge-Outdoors 2-Piece Fixed Blade Hunting Knife Set

Core Features

Blades include: Gut Hook Knife and Caping Knife

Blade Material: 3CR13 Black Stainless Steel

Blade Dimension:

  • Gut Hook Knife: 6.5″
  • Caping Knife: 7″

Also Included: Nylon Sheath

Handle Grip: Camo-coated Nylon Fiber

9. Outdoor Edge RazorPro – Double Blade Folding Hunting Knife with Replaceable Razor Blade

Core Features

Blades include: Blade Knife and Gut Hook Knife (in one blade)

Blade Material: Japanese 420J2 Stainless Steel

Blade Dimension:

  • 8″ when attached with handle, 3.5″ respectively

Also Included: Camo Nylon Sheath

Handle Grip: Rubberized TPR with Stainless Steel Frame

* If you want to have a better understanding of how this knife actually works, watch the video down below on how you fix in, replace and use the knife.

10. Mossy Oak 10 Piece Field Dressing Kit Knife Set

Core Features

Blades include: Boning Knife, Gut-Hook Skinner, Caping Knife, Bone Saw and Buther Axe

Blade Material: Full-Tang 420J2 Stainless Steel

Blade Dimension:

  • 7-1/4″ Caping Knife
  • 8-3/4″ Gut-Hook Skinner
  • 12″ Boning Knife
  • 9-1/2″ Bone Saw
  • 10-3/4 Buther Axe

Also included: 9″ Game Shear, Cutting Board, Brisket Spreader, HCS Sharpener and Game Cleaning Gloves

Handle Grip: Rubberized Handles

11. LANCERGEAR 8 Piece Field Dressing Kit 

Core Features

Blades include: Boning Knife, Gut-Hook Skinner, Caping Knife, Bone Saw

Blade Material: Full-Tang 420J2 Stainless Steel

Blade Dimension:

  • 7-1/4″ Caping Knife
  • 8-3/4″ Gut-Hook Skinner
  • 12″ Boning Knife
  • 9-1/2″ Bone Saw

Also included: Brisket Spreader, HCS Sharpener and Game Cleaning Gloves

Handle Grip: Rubberized Handles

Final Thoughts

Well, all the knives listed above are really just about the best you can get today on the market, they are fairly reasonable in price, they are all made out of high quality stainless steel and have great ergonomic handles. If I had to choose one out of the 11 on the list, it would however have to be the LANCEGEAR 11-Piece Set.

Regardless, the choice is yours. Look for a set that would also be easy to carry and transportable with your already heavy hunting equipment. If you are a minimalist who can work with a single knife for all your needs, go for the 2-piece sets.

It may be a daunting task to choose from the 11 above but if you follow the advice at the beginning of this article and know exactly what you do on the field then you would know the best to choose.

Do comment on this post if you have any questions at all and we’ll reply to all of them!