Knife

Best Camping Knife

Written by: Dave NartinNovember 15, 2019Updated: March 20, 2020

Guide Overview

In any outdoor adventure, one of the most useful tools that you can bring is a knife. Knives are not only great for cutting through different materials; they can also save your life during an emergency. Moreover, knives are an integral part of the camping experience. With their many uses and capabilities, camping knives can help maintain a convenient and hassle-free outdoor adventure.

There are various types of knives for different functions. Some people believe that they need to carry at least two different knives to cover their needs. However, there’s no doubt that there can be a single knife out there that’s right for you. Finding it can ultimately save you a lot of space, money, and time.

In this article, we’ll review five of the best camping knives, answer frequently asked questions, and list features to consider to help you make an informed decision when buying the ideal knife.

What You Need to Know

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From the type of activity to the weather condition, there are a number of things to think about when buying a knife.

Camping Knife Set

Most campers prefer using their knives for all-around work, including cutting rope, hunting fish, and chopping wood. While that’s fairly acceptable to outdoor work, many prefer a separate knife for cooking. For this reason, traditional cooking knives evolved into an appropriate indoor and outdoor tool. Camping knife sets are a compact collection of kitchen knives for travel and outdoor use. Lightweight and compact, these are generally easy to clean and can perform without compromise.

While camping knife sets of quality materials optimize outdoor cooking, they’re also highly functional for everyday indoor use. Campers are less reliant on these knives’ grip as they’re typically designed without one, causing less fatigue when holding the knife. This compact feature even allows users to stack three knives all in one space. Camping knife sets typically include a compact chef’s knife, small paring knife, and serrated blade knife.

Folding Camping Knife

Typically discreet, a folding knife is easier to conceal. You can place it in your pocket, and no one would even notice that you’re carrying a survival tool. Also called pocketknives, folding knives are easy to transport and carry around. Because of this, they’re more suitable for urban environments. When constructed well, they’re as tough as fixed blade knives.

Another notable advantage of this type of knife is its array of blade choices. Many folding knives have more than one blade, which makes them popular among average campers. More than that, they also pose no danger to campers after use, as the knife folds away effortlessly. They have a locking system which keeps the blade in place when closed and makes sure that they open in one swift motion.

Fixed Blade Camping Knife

Compared to their folding counterparts, fixed blade camping knives are heftier, stronger, and more comfortable. Known for its reputation as a serious tool, a fixed blade knife would also require you a sheath for safer carrying. They come in different sizes, from small, handy tools to crocodile Dundee-sized equipment. They’re notably heavier than folding knives and can take up more space as well.

One thing that’s common among fixed blade knives is blade strength. Blades are usually twice as long as the blades on a folding knife. As a survival knife, they’re far more versatile and superior when it comes to tactical use. Aside from cutting and hunting, people also use them for digging, hammering, and preparing food.

Fixed blade knives are also easier to maintain. Unlike other knives, they’re simple and straightforward. There’s no need to worry about cleaning the hinges. Affixed in an open position, these knives don’t have moving parts or stress points that may cause the blade to break or bend. They’re the ideal tool for hunters and outdoorsmen who engage in high torque cutting, building shelters, or butchering work.

Related Knife Buying Guides

Camping Knives

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Swiss Army Classic KnifeSwiss Army Classic KnifeSwiss Army Classic KnifeSwiss Army Classic Knife

Everybody needs a multi-tool. All-purpose and lightweight, the Swiss Army Classic Knife isn’t just good for cutting; it also includes tweezers, toothpick, nail file, blade, screwdriver, and scissors. From turning computer case screws to opening packages, this knife is an essential everyday tool.

Despite its many functions, the Swiss Army Classic Knife weighs only 1.3 ounces and takes up very little space. Keychain-friendly, you can slip it in your pocket and forget that it’s there until you need it. While this pocket multi-tool is less ergonomic than its larger counterparts, it can effectively handle small repairs and swiftly operate during emergencies.

The 1.5-inch blade is of stainless steel material. Unlike high carbon steel blades, stainless steel resists rust and corrosion and allows the product to perform well under any type of weather. You can also easily wash the blade with fresh water and wipe it dry without worrying about damage. Tough, easy to sharpen, and free from the non-stick coating, these blades are recommended for camping use, even in cooking.

The handle is made of plastic and aluminum that’s acid-resistant. While this type of material makes the knife sturdier and heftier, it isn’t heavy. For extra protection, the handle is anodized, making it harder compared to other options. Users are particularly attracted to the Swiss Army Classic Knife’s translucent colors.

Pros:

  • Comes in five different colors.
  • Affordable price.
  • Compact multi-purpose tool.
  • Includes a clip-on lanyard ring for carrying convenience.
  • Operates smoothly.

Cons:

  • Blade doesn’t lock.
  • Small-sized with limited blade capacity.
  • Blade needs frequent sharpening.
  • Comes in five different colors.
  • Affordable price.
  • Compact multi-purpose tool.
  • Includes a clip-on lanyard ring for carrying convenience.
  • Operates smoothly.
  • Blade doesn’t lock.
  • Small-sized with limited blade capacity.
  • Blade needs frequent sharpening.
Morakniv Kansbol Fixed Blade KnifeMorakniv Kansbol Fixed Blade KnifeMorakniv Kansbol Fixed Blade KnifeMorakniv Kansbol Fixed Blade Knife

Here’s a sturdy all-around knife that’s highly functional at camp, in the woods, on the trail, or in the ocean. The Morakniv Kansbol Fixed Blade Knife, which weighs 4.6 ounces and comes in burnt orange color, features a balance between functionality and design. It’s light enough to carry around, yet it strong enough for whittling and baton.

You can attribute the blade’s strength, sharpness, and durability to its Swedish stainless steel, the Sandvik 12C27, which resists rust and corrosion and offers excellent edge performance. The knife’s Scandinavian grind maintains sharpness after a long period of time. With its profile shape, the 4.3-inch blade offers precision and includes a semi-matte finish.

The Morakniv Kansbol is made of polyamide and thermoplastic elastomer rubber handle that comes with deep grooves to ensure slip resistance. The handle also has a click-lock that’s built into the tool to keep the knife from falling out of its sheath.

The knife is also easy to carry. Aside from its sheath, the Morakniv Kansbol has a belt knife holster so that it’s easier to slip around your waist. The handle design has a hole for fastening other gadgets or lanyards as well.

Pros:

  • Includes a sheath and belt loop attachment.
  • Durable and long-lasting.
  • Handle includes a built-in click lock.
  • Lifetime warranty.
  • Non-slip handle.

Cons:

  • Non-leather sheath may still be improved.
  • Handle may not be that comfortable to hold at first.
  • Design isn’t as top-notch as other camping knives.
  • Includes a sheath and belt loop attachment.
  • Durable and long-lasting.
  • Handle includes a built-in click lock.
  • Lifetime warranty.
  • Non-slip handle.
  • Non-leather sheath may still be improved.
  • Handle may not be that comfortable to hold at first.
  • Design isn’t as top-notch as other camping knives.
Benchmade 62 Bushcrafter KnifeBenchmade 62 Bushcrafter KnifeBenchmade 62 Bushcrafter KnifeBenchmade 62 Bushcrafter Knife

Whether you plan to go on an adventure or find yourself stuck in survival mode, the Benchmade 162 Bushcrafter Knife is a reliable go-to equipment. For one, it’s made up of S30V stainless steel blade with a hardness that runs 58-60 HRC. This accounts for the knife’s corrosion-, wear-, and erosion-resistant qualities.

Harder than chromium carbides, the knife’s blade has a solid and special kind of integrity to it. It can baton through half a dozen logs and still maintain enough sharpness for a shave. It can hold this excellent edge even in different weather conditions. At 7.72 ounces and a blade length of 4.43 inches, the Bushcrafter creates the perfect balance between strength and weight, making it the ideal camping tool.

With G10 polymer handle scales, the knife offers amazing dimensional stability. It’s lightweight, mechanical, and comes in a green color. Moreover, it doesn’t swell or shrink when exposed to high or low temperatures. Its contoured and hand-blended handle grips well and is supported by pressed titanium tubing that holds the vulcanized spacer in place.

For easy storage, the product includes a full-grain, brushed buckskin leather sheath that has a retention strap and a flint-rod D-ring loop for easier carry.

Pros:

  • Comes with a convenient leather sheath with loop.
  • Handle is designed to accommodate different grips.
  • Composed of first-class materials.
  • Performs well in different weather conditions.
  • Low maintenance.

Cons:

  • High-end price.
  • Buckskin sheath may be too soft for the blade.
  • Knife sticks high up in the hip.
  • Comes with a convenient leather sheath with loop.
  • Handle is designed to accommodate different grips.
  • Composed of first-class materials.
  • Performs well in different weather conditions.
  • Low maintenance.
  • High-end price.
  • Buckskin sheath may be too soft for the blade.
  • Knife sticks high up in the hip.
Opinel No. 8 Beechwood Handle KnifeOpinel No 8 Beechwood Handle KnifeOpinel No 8 Beechwood Handle KnifeOpinel No. 8 Beechwood Handle Knife

If you want a knife that’s all about beauty and functionality, the Opinel No. 8 Beechwood Handle Knife is the tool to use. Previously recognized by the New York Museum of Modern Art as a design masterpiece, the knife possesses an infield advantage that’s essential for outdoor adventures.

The Opinel weighs only 1.5 ounces and can easily be used as a pocketknife. It features a modified 3.25-inch stainless-steel blade. It resists corrosion, keeping it low maintenance and easy to clean. Moreover, it has a carbon content that accounts for its excellent cutting edge. Plus, it can be used repetitively without bending or chipping.

For safer handling, the knife features a Viroblock ring that locks the blade in open and closed positions. This collar lock system easily releases the blade for an easy grip when the wood expands with moisture. When opened, the edges of the blade line up with the handle. It gives a solid feel when engaged, thanks to the twisting barrel lock on the head.

The knife’s beechwood handle is aesthetically pleasing, yet ergonomic and straightforward. While it has no blade guard, the grip is good enough to prevent slippage. Its full flat grind is like that of a kitchen knife, making quick work of slicing and peeling. Aside from its stainless-steel blade version, the Opinel also uses X90 high-carbon steel blades.

Pros:

  • Aesthetically pleasing yet ergonomic.
  • Blade has both carbon and stainless-steel versions.
  • Affordable price.
  • Minimal varnish reduces slippage.
  • Light wooden handle floats on water, making it ideal for fishing.

Cons:

  • Wood swells when wet, leading to tighter action and making the knife harder to open.
  • Carbon steel blades require oil to prevent rust.
  • May need constant sharpening after excessive use.
  • Aesthetically pleasing yet ergonomic.
  • Blade has both carbon and stainless-steel versions.
  • Affordable price.
  • Minimal varnish reduces slippage.
  • Light wooden handle floats on water, making it ideal for fishing.
  • Wood swells when wet, leading to tighter action and making the knife harder to open.
  • Carbon steel blades require oil to prevent rust.
  • May need constant sharpening after excessive use.
Benchmade North Fork KnifeBenchmade North Fork KnifeBenchmade North Fork KnifeBenchmade North Fork Knife

With a premium CPM-S30V stainless steel blade, the Benchmade 15031-2 North Fork Knife spells quality camping tool. Best of all, it is reasonably priced for a grade A knife. With a classic wood handle that is contoured for easier grip, a reversible tip-up pocket clip, and an Axis locking mechanism, this is the most convenient and hassle-free companion for any adventure.

At 3.2 ounces and 2.97 inches, it only takes up a fifth of your jeans pocket, making it an ideal survival knife to carry around. With an ambidextrous dual thumb-stud opener, the knife is productive and efficient. Its modified drop-point blade also provides the knife durability and strength along the spine.

Even with repetitive use against various textures and materials, this Benchmade tool maintains its sharpness and remains scratch-free. Jibbing provides the right amount of grip. While it is meant for hunting, it is also highly functional and effective for everyday carry and outdoor use. It works well under different weather conditions, including rain.

Knife enthusiasts particularly enjoy this item’s durable and beautiful design: dymondwood handle, ambidextrous axis lock, all-steel frame, and light pocket clip. A convenient hunting tool, this knife also comes with a lanyard hole.

Pros:

  • Affordable premium grade knife.
  • Highly durable even under rainy weather.
  • Quality design.
  • Smooth action.
  • Includes a removable and reversible clip.

Cons:

  • Does not feature assisted opening.
  • Jimping is non-functional.
  • Thumb knobs take some time to get used to.
  • Affordable premium grade knife.
  • Highly durable even under rainy weather.
  • Quality design.
  • Smooth action.
  • Includes a removable and reversible clip.
  • Does not feature assisted opening.
  • Jimping is non-functional.
  • Thumb knobs take some time to get used to.

Our Pick

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Considering the features of the camping knives that we reviewed above, our top pick is the Benchmade 15031-2 North Fork Knife. Reliable, tough, and compact, the North Fork provides quality performance and design that’s truly ideal for both everyday use and outdoor escapade.

  • For a premium grade knife, it’s reasonably priced.
  • Its classic wood handle and stainless-steel blade make it durable even under various weather conditions.
  • It’s flexible and has an excellent grip, making it ideal for camping, survival, and everyday carry.
  • Small, light, and compact, transporting this knife is hassle-free and convenient.
  • The knife uses high quality materials that make it functional and effective in almost any outdoor activity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why Do You Need a Knife for Camping?

A:

Campsites today are more fully developed and may not require a survival knife that’s heavy duty. However, a camping knife still comes in handy, especially for ordinary tasks that you’ll naturally encounter in the outdoors, such as cutting rope or opening boxes.

Aside from cutting, camping knives are also essential tools for splitting wood and striking to make campfires. It also has first aid and hygienic functions, such as cutting blisters and moleskins, and even cutting or cleaning fingernails. Most importantly, you’ll need a camping knife for cooking and preparing food.

Q: How to Use a Camping Knife?

A:

Using knives for camping can be simple and effortless. However, there are different ways to use them according to the task at hand.

  • Making firewood – Whack the blade with a sturdy stick while holding it against the wood. Start the blade down the grain, and smack it through to split the log.
  • Starting a fire – Should matches or lighters fail, a good camping knife can function as a striker. With tinder and Vaseline-soaked cotton balls at hand, your knife can catch sparks more quickly under any type of weather.
  • First Aid – Cut cotton materials or clothing into strips to make bandage. With ease and precision, knives are also effective in removing splinters.
    Building Shelter – For padding, cut down evergreen branches, and lay them on the bottom of the shelter. Then, use stout branches and leafy branches to create a lean-to over the boughs.
  • Hammer – Use the pommel or knife handle as a mallet but remember to put on a sheath for safety first. A lot of pommels also have a point on the base to smash glass or windows in case of emergency.

Q: What Size of Camping Knife to Choose?

A:

Camping knives are designed to perform specific tasks. Their sizes can range from handy folding tools to sturdier monster tools. If you need a compact tool that’s easy to transport and carry around, you should choose a small knife that’s keychain-friendly. While small-sized knives don’t provide the same strength and durability as large knives, they’re efficient and functional in situations that need quick remedy.

On the other hand, you should go for bulkier, fixed blade knives that are medium- or large-sized if you’re going hunting. These types of knives are also ideal for bushwhacking, chopping or cutting wood, and hammering materials together. While these are not ideal for delicate tasks, they can save you in just about any type of emergency.

Dave Nartin
Founder at Mountain Leon
Hi. Im Dave. Mountain Lion is the name of this travel blog. It came from my love for both the English and Spanish language, my favourite animal (Lion), and my favourite activity (mountain climbing). Enjoy!