One of the points of emphasis of this blog is practicality (See? Right there in the title). In realistic terms, opracical often means cheap. This is especially true for knives: if you wanted, you could easily drop hundreds or thousands of dollars on wondrously engineered, precision honed uberblades from companies like Chris Reeve, Shun, or William-Henry. After doing so, you would probably proceed to leave your new investment in its display box for the rest of time, as actually using it would hurt the value.
First and foremost, knives are a tool, just like a hammer or a saw. They are meant to be used and abused. Spending a ton of money a single knife is a guaranteed way to forget that fact. This isn’t to say that expensive knives aren’t great knives (with a few notable exceptions), but you are likely to get a lot more use out of a cheaper knife.
That said, don’t rush out to the gas station, grab the $5 China special, and trust your life to it. Going cheap on a knife means you better be a lot more diligent about what you pick.
The best dirt-cheap fixed blade
Ok, so it looks boring. And it’s kind of small. But Frost Moras offer a lot of value for practically nothing. First, the Mora uses an actual tool steel hardened to RC 59-60, for its edge, sandwiched between softer steels for flexibility and toughness. Second, the simple design is surprisingly tough: plenty of serious bushcraft type guys swear by it, and they use their knives for everything. In fact, from personal experience, my Mora has routinely outperformed the majority of pricier knives in edge retention and toughness (Cold Steel, looking at you.) Best part? It costs 12 bucks.