Why Do Bikers Carry Knives (An EDC Biker’s Guide)

From the first time I started following knives – outside of the kitchen, of course – I have discovered different kinds of people who EDC their knives for different reasons.

Of these, I have been able to justify why you could need a knife when running, carry a knife for camping or take a knife along when hiking. However, when you see bikers with a knife, do you wonder why they need one?

Bikers carry knives as survival and utility tools which they can use for camping when traveling long distances, for minor cuts and repairs on the bike, and for other general purposes.

Whether you are a biker yourself, or simply interested in this world, read on to find out more about why bikers carry knives.

Some Reasons why Bikers Carry Knives

Let’s get into it.

If you were planning on carrying a knife when riding too, or you just want to understand why the bikers do what they do, here are some insights for you:

#1 Carrying knives is a biker tradition

Some bikers learned from other bikers that they know while coming up in the group – and they stuck to that tradition. Other bikers are just everyday people like yourself who learned the importance of having a knife handy from their grandfathers, fathers, or uncles.

#2 Knives are practical for bikers

Bikers are known to travel a lot and they don’t always take conventional routes.

When they travel in groups or pack, they might decide to stay out in the woods in the evenings and continue their travels in the daytime. In these cases, knives will come in handy to cut wood, process small games, improvise to fix throttle cables, and open canned foods, among other things.

These EDC biker knives will also find application in the place of multiple tools.

A bike does not have the same cargo space that a car boasts. That limits the biker in the range of tools that they can carry with them. Give a biker that knows how to use their knife a very fine blade and they can make a lot of things happen with that tool.

#3 Knives can be used for self-defense

Depending on where you travel and the paths you take, you might find yourself in some violent company one day. You would love the opportunity to defend yourself too which is where a knife comes in handy.

Most people believe that a baseball bat is a better self-defense tool in these cases. I don’t disagree with that, but inflicting damage with a baseball bat can get you charged on grounds of premeditated assault.

Of course, you can always pick up a baseball and mitt too to convince the judge that the bat just happened to be there. However, considering the limited cargo space on your bike, do you want to have to lug all that around?

Get a good knife and learn some simple self-defense moves to get you out of such situations instead.

How to Carry A Knife Safely When Riding

Again, I assume that you have already looked through the different regulations around knives and you are in the clear to carry. You should also keep in the back of your mind that state and city laws are different – so you want to always stay abreast of that. Especially when crossing state lines, that is.

Once you have all that covered, check out these concealed knife-carry options to choose which one suits your style the best.

When considering the best-concealed carry option, remember to:

  • Choose an option that allows you to easily access the knife;
  • Carry the knife so that it doesn’t hurt you in the case of a crash;
  • Wear the knife such that it doesn’t bring you any unwarranted attention.

In the areas where open carry is the order of the day – or you don’t have a permit for concealed carry – go with the open carry model. Another good reason to check the laws before you set out.

Always safety first.

Other Tools Bikers Can Carry for Self Defense Against Animals

Bikers who do a lot of mountain biking and cross-country riding through the woods face the risk of getting attacked by cougars, mountain lions, and other wild animals. This is the reason why some bikers ride in groups but that might not save you from an aggressive animal looking to protect its territory from your beast-y machines.

In that case, you could still carry a knife. If you want something other than a knife that also works, though, here are a few:

A small gun

Make sure to check the gun laws in the area you are coming from and where you are going also. Get all the necessary documentation to own that gun, and always keep it maintained. The last thing you want is for your gun to not work when you need it the most.

While guns are sometimes not as effective as knives, it makes sense to have them if you face danger on your rides.

As a side note, invest in learning how to use a gun properly too. Whenever you are in a town that has a gun range, you could go there to tune-up so that you are always ready and in practice.

Bear spray

I have heard that bear sprays work on cougars too but I have not confirmed that myself. These sprays are a non-lethal way to get wild animals to leave you and your pack alone when riding as anyone can deploy it.

The best part is that they can also be strapped to your body (just as you would a knife) and carried on your person when riding.

Your bike and horns

Trust me on that one.

No animal wants a part of a meal that is acting strange. Already, these wild animals know to avoid humans but they do attack in some cases. When you sight one coming, and you are on your bike, it helps to make a lot of noise.

Bikers can make a lot of noise with their bike engines alone and I’m sure you know how to get that going. Add your bells and horns for effect and you would most likely make the predator rethink its approach.

How to Choose the Best EDC Knives for Bikers

Your style, appeal, and approach to knives might differ from mine. So, rather than tell you what to do, I’ll show you how to make the best choice.

If you are stuck on what knives to carry, though, look at either one of the Esee 3 or Esee 4 knives to start with.

Know where it’s made

Never buy knives made in China to be your everyday carry.

Some great knives are coming out of there today but you will find better options that are made in the USA. There is just that extra attention to detail and improved quality that comes with USA-made knives.

Where you can’t get anyone of those that you like, Japan-made knives are also a fine choice. Extra points if the manufacturer says they made the blade out of Seki City in Japan – and you can verify that they are telling the truth too.

Choose fixed blade over folding knives

Every single time.

Folding blades are not as practical for heavy-duty tasks that you might face on your biking trails. The comfort of a well-made, fixed blade knife will make all the difference for you when you need to bring them out.

The best part is that you can find fixed blade knives that conform to local laws too. Look for the ones in your style and add them to your everyday carry toolbox.

Know the laws

That a knife looks great for you does not mean that you should have it.

If you travel a lot, it is best to look at the laws in the states and cities that you are going into so that you don’t get on the wrong side of the law. For example, the knife laws within New York City are modified from the general New York knife laws.

When going south and for most of Central America, the knife laws are a little bit relaxed. Still, always check to be sure that you are not trying to earn yourself a trip to the station.

Don’t overpay for anything

Good knives don’t come cheap but unless you are a collector, I don’t see why you have to pay a couple hundred dollars for a knife.

Some of the most practical knives that you would get from good brands like Esee, Kershaw, and CRKT won’t cost you up to $200 and they will last for years. You can even get some very well-made sub-$100 knives from these brands too, and they won’t give up on you anytime soon either.

If you are concerned about aesthetics as much as functionality, you are equally in luck. Good brands know how to make a good first impression, and I’m sure you’ll find something you love out there.


Once you’ve got those down, I found a nice video where this guy was showing off some fine biker knives. You can watch it below:

Should You Carry A Knife When Riding A Motorcycle?

After reading everything here, the choice is yours.

Carrying a knife (safely and within the legal confines of the law) is something that I believe everyone should do. At the end of the day, it falls to personal choices to determine whether you want to do it or not.

So, your choice stays supreme here – and don’t let anyone bully you into it if you’re not convinced you need the extra gear. I would only rather that you had the knife handy for any day you would need it than to need one and not have it.

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