Cheap and not US made but it's hard to beat Mora...any Mora knife.
I grew up in Winter Park, FL with my Dad owning and using a Bo Randall knife as far back as I can remember like back into the 50's. When he died I was far far away and by the time I got home someone entered the house which was never locked and helped themselves to many things including the Randall sheath knife...gone forever but I bet still in use today.
Want a great knife with some history? Look on eBay for an old Marbles (Gladstone Michigan) 1916 Woodcraft Hunting Knife. They hold a fantastic edge, but are a little brittle (not for cleaver use). The sheathes are usually toast, but Archery Leather on Etsy makes a superb replacement currently for $45. Don’t fall for the $200-$300 knives on EBay, you can get good ones for around $70.
Marbles are still being made, but in China. Inexpensive, but quality unknown. The Chinese knife I have is smaller than the originals. I have one that I keep in my truck first aid kit.
I’m the 4th generation to be the temporary care taker of my family’s knife. It will probably go to a nephew when I am gone.
Or get him a gift certificate at a knife place and let him decide. He wont be upset that you didnt pick one. Even if you do and tell him he can return it he might feel obligated to keep it. This way he gets what he wants and you give the gift you wanted to. Win win. Good luck!
I run replaceable blade knives. If he’s a western style backpack hunter he’s likely weight and volume conscious in his gear. Used a havalon for years, and recently went to a Tyto. Very happy with the upgrade.