Top-Rated Buyer's Guide: Best Knife Sharpener for Backpacking

Rilor Staff
Update: August 11, 2020
Table of Contents

Backpacking is a relatively tougher pursuit as compared to camping. Depending on the terrain and duration, backpacking can become arduous. It requires the utmost preparation. 

Knives and axes are among the utilities that backpackers should possess. And if these things are present in your trip, you need to bring the best backpacking knife sharpener as well. After all, the performance of these tools is directly influenced by how sharp their blades are. 

The following sharpeners are highly-rated and recommended for backpacking and hiking purposes. 

Best Backpacking Knife Sharpeners: A Complete Rundown

1. Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener - Editor's Pick 

It is undeniable that the Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener is one of the most prominent outdoor knife sharpeners today. It is completely compact but offers a complete sharpening solution to any of your knives and bladed tools. 

This knife sharpener features diamond plates, sharpening guides, ceramic rods, and a leather strop. All of these components enable it to provide quick and hassle-free sharpening to your survival knives and other camping tools. Just rotate its ceramic honing rod, and you can already access the fine and coarse honing surfaces. 

There is also a grooved surface on this sharpener that is perfect for dealing with fish hooks. If it is not enough for you, a smaller ceramic rod is integrated on its body to ensure that serrated blades can get sharpened, as well.

The built-in sharpening guides of this sharpener ensure consistency in your work. It has a 20-degree angle guide for its diamond plate and a 25-degree angle guide for dealing with micro-bevel. 


  • Compact and durable construction
  • Offers a complete sharpening solution
  • Features an angle guide
  • Works with fish hooks and other bladed tools
  • Leather strop is effective in maintaining sharpness


  • Doesn't come with hand grip

2. Lansky PS-MED01 BladeMedic - Runner-Up

The PS-MED01 BladeMedic of Lansky is definitely an excellent knife sharpener for every backpacker. This one is exceptionally compact--smaller than the Work Sharp Field Sharpener. Hence, there's no problem with carrying or transporting it. It doesn't consume additional storage or adds load to its user.

Despite its streamlined profile, keep in mind that this knife sharpener is handy for sharpening camping knives and survival knives. In fact, it has a ceramic knife sharpener that you can use for dealing with toothed or serrated blades. Moreover, it also sharpens fillet knives and gut hooks with ease. 

The Lansky PS-MED01 BladeMedic features carbide, ceramic, and diamond sharpeners. The carbide that comes with this sharpener is a tungsten carbide, which is definitely powerful enough to repair dull and damaged knives. Three to four strokes can already restore the luster of your tool.

With its diamond tapered ceramic sharpening rod, you can polish your knives for razor-sharp performance. 


  • Sharpen different types of backpacking tools
  • Can repair to dull blades 
  • Tungsten carbide sharpener ensures quick sharpening process
  • Deals with serrated knives efficiently
  • Lightweight and small-profile


  • It is a small sharpener; it consumes time to sharpen large knives

3. DMD Mini Double Side Whetstone - Budget-Friendly Pick

If you want to be old-school and frugal at the same time, whetstones are definitely a good choice for backpacking. When it comes to this particular knife sharpener, the DMD Mini Double Side Whetstone should be one of your top choices. It is incredibly effective and does the job correctly and quickly. 

This sharpener features the use of an electroplating diamond. Specifically, the coarse diamond plate has been integrated with the 400# diamond surface so that it can deal with dull blades without wasting too much time. 

Meanwhile, the hard and flat ceramic plate on the other side ensures that you have a platform for refining the edges of your blade. The plate helps improve the sharpness of knives, enabling them to become efficient utilities once you use them. 

The size of this whetstone is certainly not bothersome. It is also lightweight, making it a fantastic choice for backpackers who tend to pack lightly. 


  • Comes with high-quality fine and coarse sharpeners
  • Guaranteed quick-sharpening action
  • Durable and impervious to breaking
  • Hassle-free cleaning and maintenance
  • Small and lightweight construction


  • There is a minimal misalignment between the coarse and fine sharpening stones

4. Smith's PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener - Premium Pick

Another holistic backpacking knife sharpener is the PP1 Pocket Pal of Smith's. It is a complete sharpener, albeit its portable construction. You can use it to sharpen and re-condition knives and other bladed tools you bring in backpacking. 

The utilities that come with this sharpener are all engineered with quality. For instance, the carbide and ceramic sharpener slots guarantee that your knife will get sharpened quickly. They are guided, which means that every time you use them, the same consistent result will take place. 

Furthermore, it is interesting to note that the ceramic and carbide sharpeners of this unit are removable and replaceable. Such a feature eliminates the need for you to buy new sharpeners from time to time!

There is also a tapered round diamond-coated rod that has been attached to this knife sharpener. You should use this one if your knives have serrations on them. It ensures that each of the teeth will get sharpened. 


  • Works efficiently with serrated blades
  • Sharpener slots are guided for guaranteed sharpening consistency
  • Both the carbide and ceramic sharpeners are durable
  • Comes with a lanyard hole for a hassle-free carry
  • Slim and lightweight body


  • Not usable for food; it comes with a Proposition 65 warning

5. Work Sharp EDC Pivot Knife Sharpener

The Work Sharp EDC Pivot Knife Sharpener is also an impressive option for backpackers. It is robust and rugged, enabling you to use it in any conditions without the worry that it will be frail. 

One of the key features of this knife sharpener is its controlled sharpening. The pivot-response design of this sharpener effectively follows the curve of the blade so that the consistency of the sharpening is maintained.

The convex carbide sharpener of the tool is capable of making durable and rugged cutting edges to steel knives. It sharpens quickly and is capable of repairing dull and damaged blades. Meanwhile, the ceramic hone is sufficient enough to preserve the sharpness of your knives without the need for many passes. 

You can use its diamond plate, too, if in case you need to sharpen your fish hooks and other variety of bladed tools. 


  • Features pivot system for controlled sharpening
  • Capable of dealing with dull blades
  • Works perfectly for other backpacking tools such as fish hooks
  • Compact and lightweight construction
  • Can be transported easily


  • Doesn't work with serrated knives

How To Choose The Best Backpacking Knife Sharpener

Sharpening in the field is not a new experience for many backpackers. Time to time, there's a need for us to utilize our knives and tools. From cooking food down to cutting ropes and branches, these knives are truly useful.

Of course, one cannot expect that a knife can maintain its sharpness for a long time, especially if you are using it thoroughly and consistently. Your best choice here is to refine them regularly to ensure that they won't get dull. 

Fortunately, you can also do this task while you are on the go. The existence of compact knife sharpeners proves that an outdoor goer or weekend warrior can always ensure the sharpness of their knives. 

Here are the essential considerations in choosing a knife sharpener for backpacking. 


Again, we are talking about backpacking. Therefore, the size of the sharpener is an essential factor that we shouldn't ignore.

Always remember that backpacking is a lightweight adventure. Backpackers are typically advised to pack lightly. Hence, bringing large and cumbersome utilities is strictly discouraged.

Having a pocket knife sharpener for backpacking enables you to trek or hike without being burdened by the additional load. Since they don't take up too much space in your backpack, you will have no trouble bringing them.

And since they are compact, it is given that they are lightweight, too. Sure enough, they are not the most efficient choice for large knives. But if you are patient and skilled enough, these small sharpeners should be enough. 


Another important factor that you should consider when choosing backpacking knife sharpeners is their durability. You would never want a sharpener that has a flimsy construction. It will just become a disappointment that you will regret once you are on a roll already. 

Keep in mind that the external conditions of any outdoor environment are volatile. Moreover, they are beyond our control. In the morning, the sun could be up; afternoon comes, and it suddenly precipitates. 

Heat, water, moisture, and dust can easily affect the quality of your backpacking tools, especially if they have no durable build. Therefore, you need to ensure that your sharpener is robust and built to last long. 

Coarse And Fine Sharpening

When it comes to knife sharpeners, it is crucial that they feature these two sharpening stages. If the one is absent, then there's no guarantee that your knives can work the way you want it to be. 

You can determine if the sharpener can do these two tasks if it has a carbide and ceramic slots. 

  • Carbide sharpeners are often used in extensive sharpening procedures. If the blade of your knife is already dull and visible with damages, then it requires the service of these carbide sharpeners. A carbide stone that has a grit of 1,000 to 3,000 is an excellent choice for coarse sharpening.
  • Ceramic sharpeners are not technically for sharpening purposes. Technically, its primary purpose is to ensure that a blade that has already been sharpened can get even more edge. This process is called honing, and its definition does not side-by-side with sharpening. Honing is more of a refining process. Specifically, by doing this, you will be able to maintain the sharpness of the blade. Ceramic sharpeners should have 4,000 to 8,000 grit so that they can hone effectively. 

Rod sharpeners

This one is a special feature that every knife sharpener should possess. You see, some of the knives used in survival and backpacking purposes have serrations or teeth. 

Standard sharpening platforms cannot deal with these serrations. After all, there's a need for you to sharpen the teeth one by one. Sharpening rods can do this task, as they are small enough to make passes through each of the teeth. 

Sharpening these teeth might take time. But it is a worthwhile procedure since it gives your serrated knives a sharpness that it needs to cut and slash through various objects.

Angle guides

It is also essential that the backpacking sharpener has an angle guide. They are the ones that ensure that there's a degree of consistency every time you sharpen. 

The ideal angle guide should range from 20 to 30 degrees. It is a given that outdoor and survival knives are designed to cut hard and rough objects. They are far different from those knives we use in the kitchen, which function by slicing delicate and soft ingredients. 


Backpacking is a fun adventure, especially if you are fully prepared. Bringing the best backpacking knife sharpener should be a part of this preparation. 

It is expected that you are going to bring your knives on the trip. With sharpeners, there's a guarantee that your bladed tools can execute their roles properly. 

I hope you learned from this guide. For other questions, feel free to drop them in the comment section below. 

Other readings you may enjoy
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram