When you go camping or overlanding, it’s useful to have a pocketknife. Pocketknives are essential for cooking, camping, fishing, and hunting. However, they won't be useful unless they are sharp. Dull blades are not only ineffective, but they can be dangerous. Without access to shops with tools for sharpening knives, it is a good idea to bring your own knife sharpener along on your trip. Fortunately, there are several inexpensive and easy to use sharpeners available for purchase. This review will help you pick the best pocketknife sharpener for your next camping or overlanding trip. 

Different styles of knife sharpening techniques and methods

Before you begin shopping for the best pocketknife sharpener, it is good to know something about knife sharpening techniques and methods. Some common knife sharpener styles include sharpening stones, also known as whetstones, pocket diamond rods, ceramic rods, and pull through sharpeners. Each type has distinct advantages and disadvantages. While whetstones are the most versatile, they also tend to be the heaviest. Rods are convenient for touch ups but not ideal for sharpening dull knives. Pull through sharpeners are the quickest way to sharpen knives.

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Most knife sharpeners feature abrasive surfaces that are measured in grit. A higher grit surface is finer, while a lower grit is coarser. Many knife sharpeners come with adjustable angles to sharpen different styles of knives. Sharpening your knife at the correct angle will make it work better and last longer. Most knife sharpeners include multiple sharpening stages to be used for different levels of sharpening. Some sharpeners can be used on other tools such as scissors, gardening tools, and serrated knives. A few include safety features to protect you from injuries. When choosing the best portable knife sharpener, these are features that you might want to consider.

How often should knives be sharpened?

best portable pocketknife sharpener

It is important to sharpen your knives often so that they will cut well. How often they need to be sharpened depends on the style of knife and how it is used. Some knives should be sharpened every week, but for most knives, once a month is sufficient. When knives are maintained on a regular basis, they will not get too dull and might need to be sharpened only twice a year. Regular honing or stropping will keep the edges from wear and tear by removing small amounts of metal and fixing small chips in your knife. If your blade feels dull despite honing, it is probably time to sharpen it. Keeping your knives sharp at all times will help protect you from injuries and keep them in good working condition. 

Best Pocketknife Sharpeners

Smith's PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener

Lansky PS-MED01 BladeMedic

Kershaw Ultra-Tek Blade Sharpener

Smith's 50185 Jiffy-Pro Handheld Sharpener

Whetstone Cutlery 20-10960 Knife Sharpening Stone

Victorinox Pocket Knife Sharpener

Red Deer Straight Razor Strop

Best Pocketknife Sharpener Reviews


Review of Smith's PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener

If you are looking for an easy-to-use multipurpose sharpener, this might be the best pocketknife sharpener. Its 400-grit tapered diamond coated rod is great for sharpening and the 600-grit pull through sharpener finishes the edge. It features preset sharpening angles that can be used for both standard and serrated knives. At 3.5 x 1 inch and weighing 1 ounce, it is compact and easy to carry. Some previous buyers found its small size made it difficult to use. Most appreciated the handy size and found it to be a good sharpener for beginners. 

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Review of Lansky PS-MED01 BladeMedic

​​​​​This 4-in-1 sharpener features a diamond-tapered rod for fast reconditioning and maintenance and tungsten carbide to restore knives. It can be used for standard and serrated knives. At 4 x 1-¼ inches and weighing 4 ounces, this aluminum sharpener is both longer and heavier than Smith’s. Previous buyers note that while its metal body makes it heavier, its longer diamond rod makes it more useful for sharpening long knives.

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Review of Kershaw Ultra-Tek Blade Sharpener 

This 4-inch sharpening steel stores in its handle when not in use. It features a 600-grit diamond-coated oval shaft and is made from lightweight anodized aluminum. At 5 x 5 x 5 inches and weighing 2.1 ounces, it is easy to take along when camping. According to previous buyers, this product works well on pocketknives, although a few mention that it is a bit short for sharpening longer blades. Overall, they found this to be a good product for the price and liked its smooth finish. 

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Review of Smith's 50185 Jiffy-Pro Handheld Sharpener

This handheld sharpener features two-stage sharpening, a premium carbide abrasive for a sharp cutting edge and a fine ceramic surface for finishing. Preset sharpening angles make it good for use on different knives. A larger slot in the handle can be used on scissors and game shears. It has a soft grip handle and a knuckle guard for safety. It measures 1.3 x 6 x 10.8 inches and weighs 5.6 ounces. Previous buyers like that it works on scissors, although a few found it awkward. Most found it easy to use, sturdy, and effective.

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Review of Whetstone Cutlery 20-10960 Knife Sharpening Stone

For overlanders who prefer a sharpening stone, this might be the best pocketknife sharpener. Made from green silicon carbide, this dual-sided sharpener has a 400-grit side to restore edges and a 1000 grit side for polishing. It can be used on kitchen knives, scissors, pocketknives, razors, gardening tools, and more. It measures 7 x 2.25 x 1.125. A few previous buyers found it to be soft and brittle. However, most were impressed with how sharp their knives were after using this stone.

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Review of Victorinox Pocketknife Sharpener

Victorinox, a world-renowned brand, makes this pen style pocketknife sharpener, which features two ceramic sharpeners, a stick type and a v-type pull through sharpener. It measures 5 x 2 x 2 inches, weighs 1.44 ounces, and has a pocket clip, which makes it easy to carry. Its 15-degree angle works well for small knives. Previous buyers found this product to be a great value. They liked its enclosed system, that it is easy to clean, and that it comes with a lifetime guarantee.

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Review of Red Deer Straight Razor Strop

This all-leather strop is dual sided. One side is suede and the other side is smooth. It is great for cleaning and realigning razor blades after shaving, but it can be used with any knife. The strop has a hanging eyelet or hook at the top. It measures 20 x 2 inches and weighs 3.4 ounces. A few previous buyers found imperfections in the strop and thought it was not long enough. However, most found that the strop worked well, was good quality, and a great value. 

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best portable pocketknife sharpener

Buyers Advice For the Best Pocket Knife Sharpener

Any one of these knife sharpeners would be useful to have when overlanding or camping. Deciding on the best pocketknife sharpener for your overland trip might depend on which style you prefer and what features are most important to you. If you want a lightweight and easy to use multipurpose sharpener, the Smith’s PP1 Pocket Pal might be the best option. The Victorinox Pocketknife Sharpener might be the best portable knife sharpener for camping and hiking because of its enclosed system and pocket clip. Whichever sharpener you choose, you will be glad to be able to keep your knives sharp as you explore the world.


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