These neck knives have great sheaths with good retention and easy deployment.

A Neck Knife Can be Okay, but the Sheath Needs to Be Great

A neck knife is a great way to keep a blade close at hand that’s quick to deploy. The problem is that even when a neck knife is made well they often come in a sheath that was a haphazard afterthought by the manufacturer. Either the retention is weak, or the construction as a whole is just too weak to rely on in extreme conditions.

So I did some digging for neck knives with good sheaths, using some of the knives I used personally as a basis for judgement. Here are the best neck knives with good sheaths for EDC, tactical or backpacking that I could find. Some of these are knives I’ve handled, and others I’m recommending after a lot of attention to their specs and what other people have said about them. Feel free to comment below with recommendations of something you’ve handled personally, though.

EDC Neck Knives

Backpacking and Bushcraft Neck Knives

Hunting Neck Knives

Tactical Neck Knives

EDC

You don’t usually see people carrying a tiny fixed blade as an EDC but it’s not an unreasonable idea. It’s handy to have a blade hanging around your neck or sitting scout carry so you don’t have to worry about arranging a bunch of stuff in your pocket.

Schrade SCHCC1 Neck Knife w/ Money Clip

This compact neck knife is comfortable to carry and the money clip is a practical feature.

 

  • Overall Length: 3.5”
  • Blade Length: 2.0”
  • Steel: 8Cr13MoV
  • Blade Style: Drop point
  • Handle Length: 1.5”
  • Handle Material: Stainless steel
  • Grind: Hollow
  • Build: Full tang
  • Sheath: Polymer
  • Price Range: $10 – 20

A man removing the Schrade SCHCC1 from it's money clip sheath while it is around his neck

Technically this sheath isn’t set up for a lanyard, you can run your chain or leather cord through the belt clip and it’ll hold just fine. While the knife design itself doesn’t seem very ergonomic, the overall usefulness and general neatness of the idea makes it a good option as an EDC. I really like the design of the blade for this weird little thing. Even if the handle for it is uncomfortable for long use, it’s a good edge to have handy for little things throughout the day, and the sheath itself serves enough of a function that this whole set up is a little bit like a multi-tool. Although I should warn that if you’re going to keep cash in the belt clip, be sure you pad it with cards or cardboard to make sure everything stays in place.

I’ve seen some complaints about the mechanism for getting the knife out. Since you have to push a button on the sheath to release the knife there’s some thought that this knife is too slow to deploy. That’s fair, except if you want a fast-deploy neck knife there are a dozen other options with regular handles. Personally, I’ve never had much trouble with the button release, and I don’t think fast deployment was ever supposed to be a feature on this knife. It’s not supposed to be tactical, just handy.

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Schrade SCH57

Fixed blade full tang Schrade SCHF57 on a white background pointed left.

  • Overall Length: 6.215”
  • Blade Length: 2.5”
  • Steel: 65Mn
  • Blade Style: Drop point
  • Handle Length: 3.625”
  • Handle Material: G-10
  • Grind: Hollow
  • Build: Full tang
  • Sheath: Polymer
  • Price Range: $15-20

This is one of those highly efficient, cost-effective designs that makes you wonder why every other company hasn’t made a version of this. It’s tough, reliable, takes a good edge, and stays under the $20 mark. The amount of abuse it can take is limited only to its size and your willingness to endanger your hand.

The Schrade SCHF57 shown worn around the neck by a man in a flannel shirt.

It comes with a pancake-style polymer sheath and a clip that works well enough for vertical or horizontal carry, but if you pull a cord through the sheath and wear it around the neck it feels a lot more at home. This is also one of the few neck knives that actually has a comfortable grip just by virtue of being thicker than usual, so it’s actually pleasant to cut and whittle with.

From a versatility standpoint the SCHF57 is tough to beat. It can be worn around the neck or a belt. If you opt for belt carry you have the option of vertical or horizontal carry. We liked this knife so much we included it in our 2020 knife gift guide. It makes a great stocking stuffer.

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CRKT S.P.E.W.

This is one of the few neck knives I have that I actually consider for EDC

  • Overall Length: 6.25
  • Blade Length: 3.0
  • Steel: 5Cr15MoV
  • Blade Style: Wharncliffe
  • Handle Length: 3.25”
  • Handle Material: G-10
  • Grind: Hollow
  • Build: Full tang
  • Sheath: Kydex
  • Price Range: $20 – 30

This is a fishing knife if I ever saw one, but it’s also one of the few neck knives I have that I actually consider for EDC. That combination of a non threatening blade shape and a sheath that can go horizontal make it a pretty easy knife to carry around town. Plus that fine point is great for a lot of aggravating problems you run into throughout the day like knots and slivers and the occasional overbuilt plastic package.

The CRKT SPEW being drawn from it's sheath that is worn around a man's neck.

One possible problem with the sheath is that the belt loop is pretty small, which is the other reason I label it as a simple EDC. Out of the package, this will only fit on a regular belt. It’s light enough to put on the odd strap, but generally speaking don’t expect to be able to strap this to a tactical belt. The other options are of course to wear it around your neck. The sheath doesn’t have incredible retention, but the knife is light enough not to cause problems.

Lately, though, I’ve just been carrying it in my pocket right behind my wallet. It’s the only knife I’ve ever carried this way, but it seems to work well, although it can be a legal issue if your pocket is big enough to hide the handle. So keep that in mind.

Check out our full review of the CRKT Spew if you think it looks interesting.

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Backpacking and Bushcraft Neck Knives

This really feels like the optimal way to use a neck knife. Backpacking is all about cutting weight and finding ergonomic ways to carry everything you need, and those are both areas in which neck knives excel. Here are some of the lightest neck knives I could find that seem to come with a trustworthy sheath.

Victorinox Outdoor Master Mic S

The Victorinox Outdoor Master Mic S shown inside it's sheath with paracord and outside it's sheath.

  • Overall Length: 6.0”
  • Blade Length: 2.75”
  • Steel: 1.4116
  • Blade Style: Drop point
  • Handle Length: 3.25”
  • Handle Material: Micarta
  • Grind: Scandi
  • Build: Full tang
  • Sheath: Kydex
  • Price Range: $120

As far as I know this knife wasn’t designed for any specialized use, but there’s not a whole lot it couldn’t do between the stout blade and a scandi grind. It might not look or feel sharp at first but this is one of the sliciest knives I own. Which just goes to show how important the grind is. This is a ridiculously tough and useful little thing.

Close up of the Victorinox Outdoor Master Mic S being worn on a man's neck on the outside of a green shirt.

There’s a little bit of assembly required. The cord it comes with isn’t long enough to wear around your neck. I think it’s supposed to just make it easier to pull out of your pocket or bag. But it’s easy to switch out, plus the sheath is compatible with Tek Lok, so you have a huge range of ways to carry this little, unassuming monster.

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Morakniv Eldris

The Eldris is a pretty fantastic neck knife for almost anything

 

  • Overall Length: 5.6”
  • Blade Length: 2.2”
  • Steel: 12C27
  • Blade Style: Clip point
  • Handle Length: 3.4”
  • Handle Material: Polypyrene
  • Grind: Scandi
  • Build: ¾ tang
  • Sheath: Polymer
  • Price Range: $25 (standard) / $50 (With neck kit)

This one takes a little assembly, but the Eldris is a pretty fantastic neck knife for almost anything if you get it with the neck kit. Without that, it’s basically just a tiny knife with a cheap plastic sheath that goes in your pocket. The neck kit lets you hang it around your neck, though, and adds a leather strap that snaps closed to keep the knife contained.

A man's hand gripping the Morakniv Eldris outdoors.

Once you have that figured out, this is a neat little blade for sparking on a ferro rod or doing a little carving. A blade this short might not be good for everything, and since it sits in a snap enclosure it doesn’t exactly feature fast deployment, but usually the only limit to what you can do with any Mora knife is your imagination.

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Boker Magnum Li’l Friend

The Boker Magnum Little Friend is tough and takes a sharp edge

  • Overall Length: 3.375”
  • Blade Length: 1.375”
  • Steel: 440
  • Blade Style: Drop point
  • Handle Length: 2.0”
  • Handle Material: G-10
  • Grind: Hollow
  • Build: Full tang
  • Sheath: Kydex
  • Price Range: $20 – 30

It’s really important that you take note of the size of this knife. No product photo can really convey how small it actually is.

The Boker Magnum Li'l Friend sitting in the palm of a man's hand.

But also, don’t let the size fool you. It’s tiny, but it has a mean point with a sharp edge. There are plenty of things you could pry, scrape, poke, and cut with it. It’s pretty stout for its size, and it’s so light it almost feels like nothing is there when you’re wearing it.

Boker Magnum EDC neck knife being worn around a man's chest.

This might be one of the most interesting and surprisingly useful knives in the Boker Magnum line, but that’s not saying a whole lot. Magnum is Boker’s budget line, and they pump out a ton of designs that are hit or miss. The Li’l Friend is one of their odd hits in a big sea of misses, and that’s mostly because they were clever enough to go small and rustic. As a result, this thing is really tough and takes a sharp edge.

I’ve read a few complaints that the scales have a habit of coming loose over time. After carrying it, I can’t imagine how I would use it hard enough to make that happen, but it’s worth keeping an on eye on that and have a torx screwdriver ready, or just redo the screws with some lock-tite and you’ll have a larger issue on an otherwise handy little knife all fixed up.

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Ka-Bar Esee BK14

The Ka-Bar Esee BK14 neck knife without it's sheath on a white background.

  • Overall Length: 7.0”
  • Blade Length: 3.25”
  • Steel: 1095 Cro-Van
  • Blade Style: Drop point
  • Handle Length: 3.75”
  • Handle Material: Steel
  • Grind: Flat
  • Build: Skeleton
  • Sheath: GFN
  • Price Range: $45 – 50 ($60 – 70 with scales)

This is an amalgamation of the ESEE Izula and the Ka-Bar Becker Necker.

It’s hard to understate the appropriate level of excitement people should feel about an ESEE / Ka Bar collaboration.

The Ka-Bar Becker BK14 neck knife on a man's cheft being drawn from it's sheath.

If you really want to see what this knife can do, it’s a two step process: get the knife, then get the handle set scales. It’s a fine enough knife without them, and it even rides a little easier around the neck just as a skeleton knife, but there’s a massive difference in cutting ability just from the way your hand ends up holding it.

More importantly, the sheath is MOLLE compatible and has a retention tab to keep the knife in place. After a bit of practice with this set up around your neck, the deployment can get pretty fast.

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Hunting Neck Knives

Depending on what kind of hunting you’re doing, a smaller knife that rides easy is almost essential. There are a lot of designs for bow hunters who run after game a lot, but if you’re also one to sit up in trees or other tight spaces while you wait for your shot, these knives should come in pretty handy.

Schrade Mini Drop Point Neck Knife

The Schrade Mini Drop Point is a tough little bushcraft blade to pack around

  • Overall Length: 4.75”
  • Blade Length: 2.0”
  • Steel: 8Cr13MoV
  • Blade Style: Drop point
  • Handle Length: 2.75”
  • Handle Material: G-10
  • Grind: Hollow
  • Build: Full tang
  • Sheath: Kydex
  • Price Range: $16 – 20

This is a tough little bushcraft blade to pack around. It doesn’t usually come with a perfect grind, but for the price it’s a great beater to have in the woods and around the yard. It falls into that category that Schrade tends to do best in. It’s not spectacular, there’s not a lot of ingenuity to the design, but it’s sturdy and works for pretty much everything.

This is a true neck knife. The sheath doesn’t come with any kind of belt loop. It’s a chain for your neck which I would recommend replacing with a leather strap or paracord. But the retention on the sheath is great, so you can hike around with this thing with a fair amount of security.

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Outdoor Edge Le Duck

The all black version of the Outdoor Edge Le Duck knife shown sitting next to it's sheath

  • Overall Length: 6.25”
  • Blade Length: 2.5”
  • Steel: 8Cr13MoV
  • Blade Style: Drop point
  • Handle Length: 3.75”
  • Handle Material: TPR
  • Grind: Flat
  • Build: Full tang
  • Sheath: Polymer
  • Price Range: $20 – 30

This design does a great job of leveraging every inch of the knife to make it more useful. The overall curve of the handle along with the rubberized TPR they slapped on it make this thing incredibly secure in the hand. The duck head-shaped pommel that gave the knife its name also serves as a great hook for your hand. We used that feature for chopping wood, which I’m almost positive is not what this knife was made for, but as far as neck knives go, this is a top-tier chopper.

The Outdoor Edge Le Duck knife worn around a man's neck.

The sheath has a locking retention tab and comes with a belt clip that works fairly well. The Le Duck rides really well on the neck, though, and the retention tab is a great solution to the compromise between sheath retention and deployment speed.

Check out our in depth review of the Outdoor Edge Le Duck if you think a may be a good choice for your next knife.

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TOPS 3 Pointer

The TOPS 3-Pointer small survival knife without it's sheath.

  • Overall Length: 6.5”
  • Blade Length: 3.0”
  • Steel: 1095
  • Blade Style: Drop point
  • Handle Length: 3.5”
  • Handle Material: Micarta
  • Grind: Flat
  • Build: Full tang
  • Sheath: Kydex
  • Price Range: $90 – 125

This might be the most comfortable knife on the list. It’s also the most expensive, but there are reasons for that price.

The TOPS 3-Pointer knife can be worn on a belt, but it is shown here as an EDC neck knife.

For one, this is just a lot more knife than most neck knife designs. The blade comes in at three inches with a pair of thick Micarta scales. The blade is also fairly tall for its size so the edge gets a nice big curve. The Kydex sheath also comes with a pair of leather straps that wrap around and button into themselves, which makes it really easy to strap to your belt or backpack. Those straps will probably hang a little loose on whatever you pu the knife on, but the buttons are pretty secure.

The really cool thing about the knife is that everything on it is changeable. The scales can be taken off with a torx screwdriver and the straps can be taken off and switched around with a phillips screwdriver. Plus they’ve folded a generous thumb ramp on the sheath so it’s fairly easy to push the blade past the aggressive retention of the sheath.

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Condor Pangui

This neck knife knife comes in 1095 carbon steel with a wood handle, and a massively wide blade.

  • Overall Length: 6.25”
  • Blade Length: 3.25”
  • Steel: 1095
  • Blade Style: Drop point
  • Handle Length: 3.0”
  • Handle Material: Walnut
  • Grind: Scandi
  • Build: Full tang
  • Sheath: Leather
  • Price Range: $60

This is probably the nicest looking knife on the list with the possible exception of the 3-Pointer, but Condor has a knack for making really good knives with a rustic look. This particular knife comes in 1095 carbon steel with a wood handle, and a massively wide blade that covers a good range of uses that most other neck knives might not be able to manage.

The sheath might not be ideal for everyone. Leather isn’t great for taking into extreme weather, but it is sturdy, and the snap-on strap is a pretty good way to keep a larger blade like this in place when you’re wearing this thing around your neck.

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Tactical Neck Knives

If you’re searching for neck knives, you’ve probably already come across 30 blogs listing the best neck knives for tactical use. I don’t get the obsession. Unless I’m in a car, a neck knife is the last thing I’d reach for in for tactical purposes, but here we are, recommending tactical neck knives like a bunch of crazies. I hope you’re happy with yourself.

Ka Bar TDI

Ka Bar made something pretty ingenious when they put the curve on the spine of this knife.

 

  • Overall Length: 5.6”
  • Blade Length: 2.31”
  • Steel: Aus-8
  • Blade Style: Drop point
  • Handle Length: 3.32”
  • Handle Material: Zytel
  • Grind: Hollow
  • Sheath: Polymer
  • Price Range: $30 – 60

There are very few conversations about neck knives that the Ka Bar TDI doesn’t belong in. Ka Bar made something pretty ingenious when they put the curve on the spine of this knife. Even more so when they made the sheath with a big wide clip. I’ve heard the favored method of wearing this knife is actually inside the line of the pants, but it’ll sit comfortably almost anywhere you clip it.

Favored by (and apparently designed by) law enforcement officers, this thing is made for close quarters combat. Anything this sharp and pointy has about a million uses though, and they put a pretty extreme hollow grind on the blade that would be nice for breaking down cardboard.

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Spyderco Shirly-Owens ARK Neck Knife

I don’t like the design for tactical purposes, but there’s something to be said for the slashing ability from the dramatic curve of the edge.

 

  • Overall Length: 5.0”
  • Blade Length: 2.6”
  • Steel: H1
  • Blade Style: Clip point
  • Handle Length: 2.33”
  • Handle Material: FRN
  • Grind: Hollow
  • Build: 3.4 tang
  • Sheath: Polymer
  • Price Range: $68 – 70

The ad copy for this knife usually says the ARK was made to be a self defense tool, but I’ve seen a lot of knives made for skinning boar that have a very similar blade shape. I’ll defer to what the designers supposedly intended. Personally I don’t like the design for tactical purposes, but there’s something to be said for the slashing ability from the dramatic curve of the edge. Don’t let the advertising make you pigeonhole this knife, though. This seems like a great blade to have on a hunt.

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Cold Steel Mini Tac

This neck knife is surprisingly comfy for the size, feels light around the neck, and the sheath has a pretty balance of retention strength and deployability.

  • Overall Length: 6.75”
  • Blade Length: 3.75”
  • Steel: Aus-8
  • Blade Style: Tanto
  • Handle Length: 3.0”
  • Handle Material: G-10
  • Grind: Hollow
  • Build: Full tang
  • Sheath: Polymer
  • Price Range: $25 – 30

This was one of the first neck knives we reviewed on this site, and it still holds up pretty well. It’s surprisingly comfy for the size, feels light around the neck, and the sheath has a pretty good balance of retention strength and deploy-ability.

The Cold Steel Mini Tac Neck knife is easy to deploy, but has good retention.

I really like thick tanto blades on smaller knives like this. You’re not supposed to use knives as pry bars, but I do anyway, and this type of knife, with a stout tip and a thick spine, is a great emergency pry bar. The jimping is also nice and makes the Mini Tac a good candidate for push cuts as well if you want to use a knife the way it was intended.

If you’d like to know our full opinion of it, read our review of the Cold Steel Mini Tac  here.

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Gerber Ghostrike

The Gerber Ghostrike has one of the best sheaths of any neck knife on the market.

  • Overall Length: 6.75”
  • Blade Length: 3.12”
  • Steel: 420HC
  • Blade Style: Drop point
  • Handle Length: 3.63”
  • Handle Material: Stainless steel w/ rubber grip
  • Grind: Hollow
  • Build: Full tang
  • Sheath: Modular GFN
  • Price Range: $35 – 50

I like the Ghostrike in spite of its overtly brutal design. I don’t exactly enjoy using it, but there’s no denying it has one of the best sheaths on this list. It’s tough and lightweight, and it comes with two removable belt loops that you can screw in at pretty much every direction. You can carry the Ghostrike vertically and horizontally and even adjust the length and height of how it sits in both directions. The retention is definitely good enough to wear around your neck, but the square shape might make it feel a little awkward for a while.

The Gerber Ghostrike set up as a neck knife with brown paracord.

 

The knife itself is okay. I went to some lengths in my review to explain that it’s a great back up knife for most any job, but it’s not actually good at any of those jobs. Still worth packing around if for no other reason than that once it’s strapped to you, it basically becomes just another part of your pack or pants.

For a little more detail, here’s my full review.

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