BLADE Magazine

Best Carabiner Knife: Options That Hang Tough

The Carabiners Knife Offers A Cool, Handy Way To Carry Your Everyday Knife.

The carabiner is most often associated with mountain climbing and rooted on the German word karabiner-haken, which roughly translates in English as “spring hook.” Spyderco brought the concept of adding a carabiner to a knife to prominence with its first Snap-It folder, the BLADE Magazine 1993 Overall Knife of the Year®.

In the years since, the carabiner knife concept has popped its head out of the foxhole from time-to-time, with Spyderco adding models to its line and other manufacturers following suit.

Simply stated, adding a carabiner to a knife offers an alternative way of carry. It’s a great way for a climber, camper or hiker to keep a knife handy, but what about the average everyday user? Is there a place for a carabiner cutter in your endeavors?

CRKT Compano Sheepsfoot

The Compano Sheepsfoot has a wicked-sharp blade that whipped through suede and paracord like butter. CRKT also offers the Compano in a drop-point version should you prefer a deeper-bellied blade.

The CRKT Compano Sheepsfoot is a sibling to the standard Compano drop-point model. Designed by Mike Bond of Honolulu, Hawaii, the Compano companions are designed as keychain knives with an edge. The folder’s cylindrical pivot is 1 inch in diameter—3/4 inch inside—with synthetic blue gear-like caps mounted to a stonewashed stainless-steel frame. The folder’s wicked little 1.44-inch blade opens by way of an oblong cutout and, interestingly, has a half-stop along the way. The handle has a generous-sized carabiner with a spring-loaded gate for capturing your key ring.

The svelte Compano Sheepsfoot can be clipped to a belt loop with no problem. The whole assemblage—Compano and keys, all on a keyring—can be carried loose in the pocket, too. I like the Compano not as a keychain knife but as a back-up, hideaway piece that can be clipped not just to a belt loop or toted loose in the pocket, but corded and worn as a neck knife as well.

Tests with the sheepsfoot blade were conclusive—the little rascal can cut! I laid out a flat of 4-inch suede and the blade sliced through it effortlessly. It liked paracord as well. In a self-defense situation with your index finger in the knife’s large pivot hole, the knife would be very difficult for a foe to dislodge. Regardless of how you plan to use this little mighty mite, I believe it would be money well spent.

Blade length: 1.44 inches
Blade steel: CPM S30V stainless
Blade pattern: Sheepsfoot
Handle material: Stonewashed stainless steel
Lock: Non-locking slip joint
Carry: Carabiner or in pocket
Special features: Large finger-hole pivot
Weight: 2.2 ounces
Closed length: 3.25 inches
Country of origin: China
MSRP: $44

Kershaw Reverb XL

The Kershaw Reverb XL has a trailing-point blade the author found ideally geared for slicing. Notice there is no thumb stub or flipper tab for opening, with Kershaw opting instead for a finger groove to keep the Reverb snag-proof.

Kershaw makes no bones about the Reverb XL—it is made for the great outdoors. The slim 1-inch carabiner on the spine of the handle butt attaches to gear or a belt loop. A 1.5-inch pocket clip on the back handle slab can be used alternately. The Reverb XL has a sweeping trailing point or Persian-style blade with a gray finish. The blade thumbs open via a groove that follows the spine on both sides—no thumb studs or a flipper tab make it snag proof. The front slab is an attractive composite of black carbon fiber and blue G-10; the back slab is gray stainless with an interesting framelock cut completely inside the slab itself. The lock is accessed from the front slab via a cutout that exposes the lock spring.

The XL’s lock spring takes a little getting used to, but, once you get it, you get it. The knife’s extremely lightweight and won’t be a burden on any hiker, camper or climber. This is not a workhorse knife per se, rather an assistant for things like light meal prep and cutting rope or paracord. I tested it cutting sausage, paracord and 3/8-inch rappelling rope, all on a flat wood surface. The thin blade slices very well. Tough projects will leave you wanting more blade, but that’s not this knife’s design purpose. Keep it in its lane and it will serve you well.

Blade steel: 8Cr13MoV stainless
Blade length: 3 inches
Blade pattern: Trailing point
Handle material: Carbon fiber, G-10, stainless steel
Lock: Framelock
Carry: Carabiner or blade-tip-up pocket clip
Special features: Framelock, groove blade opener
Weight: 2.31 ounces
Closed length: 4.25 inches
Country of origin: China
MSRP: $53.95

DPx HEAT Hiker Stonewashed

The author found the DPx Gear HEAT Hiker brutish in both looks and action, whipping through this 3/8-inch rappelling rope with nice, clean cuts from the CPM S30V stainless steel blade. The HEAT Hiker has by far the largest, most accommodating carabiner of the review knives.

The DPx HEAT Hiker Stonewashed is an upscale version of the original DPx versions released in 2014. With White River Knife & Tool handling the manufacturing chores, DPx Gear ordered these up with premium CPM S30V stainless steel blades in a stonewashed finish. Other than that, all the knife’s popular trademark features—skeletonized carabiner handle, cap lifter on the lower blade spine and nifty Kydex breakaway neck sheath—are preserved for HEAT Hiker fans to enjoy. The Hiker blade is built on 0.16-inch-thick steel so you can bet it’s plenty stout, while still lightweight enough to make it a breeze to carry.

The curves on the integral handle fit the hand well, and cutting through 3/8-inch rappelling rope was as easy as eating puffed wheat for breakfast. The knife’s short blade will shave wood for fire starter and is limited only by its length. An area the Hiker truly excels in is its carry options. The gaping carabiner allows it to easily hook onto belt loops or gear, and its thin cross-section allows it to lay flat against the chest when worn as a neck knife. Can you say EDC? Designed by adventurist/journalist Robert Young Pelton, aka RYP, you can tell the HEAT Hiker had a lot of thought and experience behind its development.

Blade steel: CPM S30V stainless
Blade length: 2.5 inches
Blade type: Drop point
Handle material: Skeletonized steel
Carry: Carabiner or Kydex neck sheath
Special features: Bottle opener/breakaway sheath
Weight: 2.15 ounces
Overall length: 6.25 inches
Country of origin: USA
MSRP: $125

Fox Knives Ferox

Using the plain-edge portion, the 3.54-inch Bohler N690 stainless steel blade of the Fox Knives Ferox serves up some nice shavings from a block of wood.

The Fox Knives Ferox carabiner knife brings a couple of extra tools to the table, namely a set of Phillips and flat-head bit drivers along with a 2-inch extension. Designer Tommaso Rumici saw a need to add the two components because knife users often get caught flat-footed by not having screwdrivers on hand and end up using the tips of their knife blades—which is not only hazardous to the knife but can cause harm to the user as well.

The Ferox is a black-coated, mid-sized integral straight knife with a blade available in either a plain or partially serrated edge. The handle butt houses a round finger-sized carabiner 1 inch in inside diameter with a .5-inch spring gate. The scales are black G-10, grooved in the middle to house the Phillips and flat-head bits on either side. There are eight O-rings on the handle that serve to trap the bits until ready to use, and also to add purchase. The Ferox includes a black Kydex sheath with a Tek-Lok belt attachment.

There’s a lot to unpack here. The Ferox and its sheath weigh 9 ounces, which, in my opinion, is a little too much for hanging off a belt loop, though ideal for gear with a decent size strap or metal ring. The knife is very well made, and the blade sliced through 3/8-inch rappelling rope and took off firewood shavings from a wood block effortlessly. This is a heavy-duty knife for its size and the blade steel is praiseworthy.

The bit driver is an interesting addition. The drive extension must be kept track of separately as there is no place for it to attach to the sheath. While I think the bit driver is a handy addition—and it does work—I like the knife more for its other characteristics: it’s built like a tank, has excellent steel and cuts like a house afire. I’d opt for the plain-edge version to get even more slice out of the superb blade.

Designer: Tommaso Rumici
Blade steel: Bohler N690 stainless
Blade pattern: Drop point
Blade length: 3.54 inches
Handle material: Black G-10
Carry: Carabiner or sheath
Special features: Integral design, flat-head and Phillips driver bits
Weight: 5.29 ounces
Overall length: 7.27 inches
Country of origin: Italy
MSRP: $299

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