I have been mountaineering for about four years now and one of the things I have learned is how important a good knife really is. A knife that is sharp, durable, and can take a beating can make a world of difference when you're outside for weeks at a time.

Recently I have been looking to purchase a new knife, and I am going to go "all out" this time and get a FOX Carbon Titan (Tanto/Utility) fixed blade. Now that I have a knife in mind I'm not sure if I should get the tanto or utility style.

Currently I own a mid-range 3.25' folding knife that has a utility blade and I am very happy with it. From my research I have found that tanto blades are better for piercing things, and are good for combat because of that.

My real questions is: for mountaineering which is mostly kitchen work, cutting rope, plants, other small objects, and in a survival situation killing and skinning an animal would a Tanto or Utility knife be a better option?

Of course the name "Utility" hints that it would be a better option, but is that really true? Right now I really want a tanto blade because they look so cool, but if it really isn't a good option then I will go with the utility blade.

  • 2
    I suspect either would be just fine.
    – dan
    Commented Aug 20, 2012 at 18:02
  • 9
    At $670, I think I'd get more utility out of 10 $67 knives LOL Commented Aug 22, 2012 at 16:48
  • Lol. I found someone who is going to sell it to me for much less than $670. That is a ridiculous price!
    – Sponge Bob
    Commented Aug 22, 2012 at 17:02
  • 2
    @whatsisname Are you sure? What about 67 $10 knives? Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 15:52
  • 4
    I would not recommend either as suitable for a general purpose Mountaineering knife. The double sided blade, while useful in combat situations, is more likely to end up in with a severe hand injury - especially untrained users. Do you have the training to use a double edged blade safely? Also be aware if you travel, these knifes are illegal in many countries.
    – user5330
    Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 0:06

3 Answers 3


When I first read this I was thinking an actual Japanese tanto vs a Rambo style utility knife. I would have said go with the utility because other than fighting, the tanto wouldn't be as much use.

Lucky I clicked on the links you provided. After seeing what you were choosing between, it looks like they do almost the same thing. I would say that you will be happier with the tanto with no buyers remorse.


For an all-around knife I'd tend to stay away from a serrated knife, myself. Serration is nice for cutting rope and, um, I think that's pretty much it. You'd shred a fish or small game with that thing. I'm having a hard time understanding why someone would need that particular knife. Why not something like a puukko knife?

  • 1
    Mountaineering you may need to cut a lot of rope, but I'll go on to say a serration can kind of mangle the rope where a nice sharp fine edge will make a clean cut with barely more effort.
    – tsturzl
    Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 0:13

Beta Titanium? Good luck (and I really mean luck) with sharpening it. Unless you are a pro knife sharpener, I doubt you will get any halfway decent edge on it once it got dull.

For the requirements you describe and the money you are willing to pay, I suggest getting a BRKT Bravo 1, designed as a survival knife for and with the now defunct Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance:

BRKT Bravo 1 with Desert Ironwood burl handles

I have it in CPM3V, which has the best combination of toughness, edge retention and corrosion resistance – for me. Ask 10 people for a knife for any given application, and you'll get 20 different opinions, if you are lucky.

However, more of often than not, people tend to highly overestimate the size their knife needs or the punishment it has to take.

Most of the times, I use the smaller brother Bravo 1, the Bravo Necker:

Bravo Necker 1st Production Run in 12c27 (below)

I have the 12c27 steel version. It is rock solid, convenient to carry and does all but the most heavy duty tasks. For splitting wood, you might need to carve some wedges first. However, two advices here. First, the powder coating isn't very durable in my version. So I'd go for a non powdered version. Second, there is a CPM3V steel version. I have yet to find a disadvantage of the steel during usage, and it is just a tiny bit harder to sharpen than 12C27, at last in my personal experience.

If you'd like a slightly bigger neck knife, you might want to go for a Necker 2.

Please note that I am not affiliated with BRKT (I wish I was). But imnsho their knifes simply are not only the best for the money you pay for them, but the best of breed for their intended purpose.

However, they all fail when it comes to food preparation because of their convex grind. I tend to have a pocket knife with me anyway, so I use that.

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