Did you know that a camping knife is one of the must-have tools needed in your backpack?
If you are planning to go camping, one of the tools you must carry with you is a knife. But why should you carry this tool? How helpful is it?
For starters, it can be used to do a whole lot of things, which we will be looking at in a few. Now, assuming that you are ready with your cash and you want to buy a good knife, how would you go about it?
Do not scratch your head over that because this article is about the best camping knives out there. Plus, we will give you some tips on how you can pick the ideal knife for your camping needs.
Are you ready for the ride? Let’s get down to business, shall we?
Top 10 Best Camping Knives Review
So, we tested a few knives out there, and here is a list of our findings. However, keep in mind that the list is not respective of the knife performance or design.
#1. Gerber Bear 31-000751 Grylls Ultimate Knife (Our Top Pick)
This is one of the best survival knives you’ll find out there. It comes with a strong blade and handles, and the color is cool as well.
The knife comes with a textured rubber grip for better handling. Even with sweaty hands, this thing will still feel secure in your hand.
We loved the high carbon stainless steel drop point blade. The blade is half-serrated and will be useful when you need to cut ropes or branches.
There’s a nice ergonomic bolster that separates the handle from the blade. How is this helpful?
Suppose you stabbed the knife on a tree or table, you can easily pull it off without your hands sliding down the blade. It comes with a Ferro rod, along with a striking notch on the back of the blade.
The Ferro rod can be used as a fire starter. It produces a shower of hot sparks when you scrap it against the rough surface of the striker notch.
In other words, you won’t need a matchbox to start a fire when you have this little beast. By the way, the placement of the striking grooves helps prevent the blade from dulling too quickly.
You can use the steel pommel for hammering tent pegs. This makes it convenient enough. But that’s not all. The knife also comes with an inbuilt whistle that can be used in times of an emergency.
What’s more, it comes with a military-grade mildew nylon sheath. This one also features a diamond blade sharpener on the sheath.
#2. Benchmade Bushcrafter 162 Fixed Survival Knife
If you’ve been buying a camping knife, you must be aware of the Benchmade brand. This is a brand known for delivering high-quality knives for camping and survival purposes.
The Bushcrafter 162 comes with a fine-edge design, along with a wide bevel. This baby is built for the wild. It is a robust survival tool that is quite versatile as well and features a CPM-530V steel blade providing corrosion resistance. The drop-point construction, on the other hand, makes the knife strong and generally versatile.
The non-slip grip on the handle assures you of better handling and control when you are using the knife. It comes with a diamond weave pattern that grips your skin perfectly, even with sweaty or wet hands. Unfortunately, we thought the sheath was slightly weak compared to other units on our list.
Luckily, the knife is super sharp and it will help you cut through objects with ease. While the sheath might not be as strong as such, the handle is the exact opposite. This knife comes with an indestructible micarta handle that is perfectly built for the wild.
The full-tang blade is what most campers prefer. This means that you can use the knife even in the dirty campsite applications. You will notice flared tubing in the handle. This feature allows you to pull the handle on the tang.
Another thing that places this knife ahead of others out there is the fact that it doesn’t come with a coating on the blade. Most carbon steel knives out there come with coating, which can cause too much friction when working with it.
Above all, Benchmade offers a free lifetime sharpening for this knife. We thought that was a major plus.
#3. StatGear STAT05 Surviv-All Survival Knife
If you are in search of a knife that would survive the tough outdoor condition without wearing off too quickly, this one would be a good pick.
The STAT05 Survival Knife is made from the highest quality materials to serve you for a long time. First in the line of quality materials is the 440 stainless steel blade.
The full-tang steel drop-point blade allows you to use the knife in any application when out in the wild. It will resist rust and corrosion.
In terms of handling this knife, you will very much enjoy holding it in your hands. It comes with a synthetic handle that is rugged for a non-slip feel. Plus, it features a convenient finger relief and a wide bolster to give you better control.
Did you forget to carry a matchbox? Maybe you don’t have a lighter to start a fire. No problem. This knife comes with a magnesium fire rod to help you start a fire. You can use the magnesium fire starter rod along with the knife blade to produce showers of fire sparks.
Any other convenient feature? Yes. There is a unique cord cutter that is integrated at the end of the sheath. This helps you cut lines without the need for pulling the knife out.
We also loved the integrated knife sharpener on the sheath. Yep, the sheath features a sharpening stone that you can use to keep your blade razor-sharp.
The knife might not have serration, but the webbing cutter on the sheath is convenient enough. Generally, this knife is a great survival tool to have in the wild.
#4. Gerber Prodigy 22-41121 Survival Knife
If we were listing the best-serrated knife out there, this one from Gerber Prodigy would take the top spot. It comes with a reliable serrated blade for use in the wild.
The Gerber Prodigy 22-41121 Survival Knife comes with a compact design for easy portability. Even with the compact design, this knife is strong enough to serve you perfectly when camping. It also features a 420HC stainless steel blade.
This blade is beefy enough to slice through anything that comes in its way. Furthermore, the stainless steel blade is coated with black oxide.
This means that the blade will resist any corrosion and scratches too. Regardless of the outdoor activity that you might be working on, this knife will serve you accordingly.
Another benefit of the black oxide coating is that it makes the knife unnoticeable. In other words, the black oxide coating makes this unit a perfect tactical knife.
If you wanted a knife with an extra shiny blade for signaling purposes, you might be disappointed with this one.
The ergonomic over-molded rubber handle is another plus of this knife. This handle offers you a soft and comfortable grip that is secure and completely non-slip. Luckily, the sheath is equally strong and tough enough to withstand the outdoor conditions.
We noticed a friction-release thumb lock on the sheath. This feature offers extra security when you have the knife on you.
It does come with a belt loop for carrying it on you as you explore the wild. The knife also features a leg strap and two extra attachment straps for extra security.
Last but not least, this serrated blade features a piercing drop point. With this design, you can use the knife in just about any application out there in the wild.
#5. Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife
Are you in need of a knife that is simply looking but also reliable? Consider this unit from Morakniv Companion.
We also thought this is the best camping cooking knife you can find out there. It comes with a Sandvik stainless steel blade to offer you a reliable piece for preparing food out there.
The versatile fixed blade cannot only be used for preparing food. Rather, you can also use it for cutting tinder or carving items.
The blade is also razor-sharp and super tough. And the best part is that it is made of carbon steel. This means that it will stay sharp for a long time while resisting rust and corrosions.
But, keep in mind that how you use the knife will determine if it will have a long-lasting blade or not.
How about the handle? It is simple and comes with a high-friction grip. The handle is designed to serve you well even in wet and cold conditions. It will sit comfortably in your hand to offer you better control and performance.
Another feature that got our attention is the color matching sheath. It is made of plastic and will serve you for a long time as it keeps the blade safe and retains its condition.
Luckily, it comes with a belt clip for hooking it to your belt when you are maneuvering in the woods.
We also noticed a drain hole in the sheath, which drains the water trapped inside to keep the blade moist-free.
#6. Victorinox Swiss Army Multi-Tool Pocket Knife
In terms of survival purposes, this Swiss army multi-tool unit is the best qualifier. It will help you do multiple things.
This multi-tool pocket knife is small, but it can be very helpful when you are using it in the wild.
First off, it comes with durable construction to survive outdoor usage. The knife itself is made of stainless steel construction that is encased in polished red ABS scales.
The design gives it a sleek look but also makes it durable enough. Whether you want to use this pocket knife for a quick fix at home or you want to carry it for camping, it will serve you accordingly.
This little beast does more than what other larger knives on our list can do.
Can you guess how many functions this knife has? Let us make that easy for you. It comes with 33 functions. Amazing, right?
These 33 functions include a fish scaler, mini screwdriver, magnifying glass, wire cutter, pliers, corkscrew, bottle opener, large and small blades, ruler, nail file, chisel, and more.
Having this mini pocket knife is like walking with an entire toolbox. The knife can help you in just any application.
The entire knife is made of stainless steel. So yes, you don’t have to worry about some parts of it catching rust/corrosion, or wearing out. This unit will last for a long time. In terms of portability, you won’t have any problem.
All you have to do is push back the tools into the housing and carry the knife in your hand, pocket, or bag. It is small and lightweight to give you an easy time when moving around with it.
#7. Kershaw Ken Onion Blur Folding Knife
Any fan of folding knives in the house? Here is a great folding knife that you should consider choosing for your camping needs.
The Kershaw Ken Onion Knife has been made to give you easy operation and offer you a reliable tool as well. It comes with Sandvik 14C28N high-performance steel blade with increased nitrogen. This means that it offers better corrosion resistance and sturdiness.
If you want a super-sharp knife to use in your camping applications, this one won’t disappoint. The edge sharpness and stability are very reliable.
We also loved the Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) coating on the blade. This coating offers the blade extra hardness and wear-resistance. Plus, the DLC coating offers low friction to ensure that particles don’t attach easily to the blade.
The knife comes with a SpeedSafe Assisted Opening. How is this useful? It offers an easy one-handed safe opening when you need to use it.
There is a thumb stud to help you flick the blade out when needed. A torsion bar is on the knife, which moves the blade out easily.
What about when you need to carry the knife? Easy! You can either carry it in your hand or hang it to your belt.
The knife comes with a reversible pocket clip that lets you carry it either tip-up or tip-down. You can also carry it either on your left or right side.
We thought the handle is durable enough. It is made of an aluminum anodized handle that is hardened for extra durability.
This handle will also resist scratches and stains as you use it in the wild. It features a rough surface that offers a non-slip grip. You will enjoy a comfortable and secure grip when using this knife.
#8. Leatherman Super Tool 300 Multitool
This is another great outdoor knife that acts as a multi-tool. It is in the same category as the Victorinox Swiss Army Pocket Knife, but this one seems more rugged and bigger.
The Leatherman Super Tool Multitool is built to take care of your camping needs conveniently. It only measures 4.5 inches and comes in at 9.6 ounces. This makes it easy to carry around and hold it in your hand.
This multi-tool comes with stainless steel construction that will last for a long time while resisting corrosion and rust. The best part is that it comes with a leather sheath for keeping it safe.
Once you put it in the leather sheath, you can carry this tool easily in your pocket without worrying about accidental scratches.
Now, the main point of discussion is the availability of multiple tools for versatile applications. On paper, it has lesser tools than the Victorinox Swiss Army Pocket Knife (33). This one has 19 tools, which are very much reliable.
Out of the 19 tools, you can be sure of needle-nose pliers, bottle openers, blades, wire cutters, can opener, a saw, screwdrivers, and more. There are two blades that you can use for cutting purposes.
The primary blade is 3.2 inches long, which is sharp and smooth for prepping meals out there. And the other blade is serrated to help you in applications like cutting small branches or ropes.
We loved that each tool (except the pliers) features a convenient lock function when fully opened. This keeps them securely in place to prevent unforeseen injuries when working with the knife.
There is a lanyard ring for easy portability. You can choose the silver or black anodized stainless steel as you wish. Whichever piece you choose, you can be confident of a long-lasting knife that offers multiple uses in the wild.
#9. Buck Knives 192 Vanguard Fixed Blade Knife
The simplicity of an item is not directly related to its reliability and delivery. That statement is true about this knife.
This is one of the best knives for camping out there that you can use for cooking or any use in the wild. It doesn’t come with a complex design for multiple uses, but the blade is strong and sharp enough to use where needed.
The 420HC stainless steel drop point blade has been designed to offer excellent strength, corrosion resistance, and edge retention. If you have heavy tasks to cater to while camping, this baby is the man to help you with that.
It features a full-tang construction that comes with an integrated pommel finger guard. This feature means that you can comfortably use the knife without worrying about accidental injuries to your fingers.
Plus, there is a deep choil on board, which makes the knife the perfect piece for hunting. This feature also makes the knife usable for any outdoor activity.
The knife comes with a classic heritage walnut handle, along with a countered grip. With this handle, you can easily maneuver through field dressing. The design of the handle is comfortable and convenient enough.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a rugged, grip. This means that it might not be the best knife to use with wet and sweaty hands.
In other words, ensure that your hands are dry enough when you want to use this knife. It comes with a sheath for carrying it around.
#10. Opinel Carbon Steel Folding Pocket Knife
You might think that this is the least-favorable knife on this list, but that’s not the case. It delivers accordingly and will help you with any of your cutting needs when camping.
The Opinel Carbon Steel Pocket Knife comes with a simple and sturdy design to offer you a convenient tool. You can use it to cut meat, prepare food, chop tinder, or even hunt in the wild.
This knife is made of a carbon steel blade that is extremely hard and durable. In other words, it will remain sharp for a long time without the need for a re-sharpening.
However, you will need to keep the knife away from a damp location lest it starts corroding.
The Beech wooden handle is strong and feels comfortable in the hand. It is designed to comfortably fit in your hand.
While this knife might not have a pommel finger guard, you can still enjoy working with it while keeping your finger safe. There is a slight space between the handle and blade that keeps your finger safe as you use it.
The knife comes with a lock to hold the blade in place when in use. It also has a lock to keep the blade securely closed when you are not using it.
What Are Camping Knives Used For?
A camping knife can be used to do many things. However, we’ll be looking at a few uses.
- Prepping tinder for cooking. The knife can help you cut off tiny wood shavings that you can use as tinder
- For protection/defence. You can also use your knife as a defensive weapon against wild animals in the woods.
- For opening cans and containers.
- For hunting. You can attach the knife to a long stick to act as a makeshift spear and use it for hunting.
- Do you want to dig holes for storing items, building traps, disposing waste, or for making a fire pit? Just use your knife to help you with that.
- For building a raft. A sharp knife can be helpful when you want to build a raft.
- For entertainment. You can use the knife for target practice. However, this is only advised when you are out in the woods to avoid any unforeseen accidents.
- For skinning, gutting, and cutting meat for food
- For anchoring pegging objects to the ground or a tree
- Used as a fork to pick food or fruits. You should be careful when using the knife as a fork.
- Trimming/cutting clothing or extra material that might be hanging dangerously loose.
- The knife can also be used as a signal device if it comes with an extra shiny blade.
- If the knife is long and big, you can use it as a mini machete to wack bushes and create a path in the wild.
- Some knives come with hollow handles that allow you to store stuff like water tabs, fishing gear, matches, and more.
Long story short, you can use your knife however you see fit.
How To Choose The Best Camping Knife
Now that you know some of the knives out there, it would be better if you knew how to pick the perfect one. We know that one man’s meat is another’s poison. Maybe you are not satisfied with one or any of the knives on our list.
What you need is a good buying guide to help you find the perfect knife for your camping needs.
Here is a look at the factors when listing down the best knives for camping out there;
The Type of the Knife
You should know that knives come in several types. Each type will determine how you will use the knife when hunting out there. Let’s look at the main types of outdoor knives:
Fixed Blade Knife
A fixed blade knife is similar to the normal knife you use in the house. They feature a blade that is fixed to the handle.
In other words, they don’t come with an assisted opening or a clip. A fixed blade knife is perfect for larger tasks in the wild. They tend to be stronger and sturdier than other knives.
Since fixed blade knives don’t have any moving parts, it means that they are safer to use and clean. They also have a large and comfortable handle.
On the negative side, fixed blade knives are heavier and easy to notice. They can be less convenient to carry.
Folding Knives/Assisted Opening Knives/Pocket Knives
Whichever way you prefer to call this type of knife, they come with a blade that folds down into the handle. The folding blade is easy to carry and it won’t take much space.
You can easily put it in your pocket or your backpack. A folding knife doesn’t require a sheath to carry around.
Folding knives come with a locking mechanism, which can be a frame lock or a liner lock. Here, the blade will stay in place when folded or unlocked.
Initially, folding blades didn’t have a locking mechanism, which caused a lot of injuries when using it.
We have two multi-tool knives on our list, and they can be defined as a smaller but advanced version of a folding knife.
A multi-tool knife will come with multiple mini tools that fold down in one handle. The multi-tool that you choose will depend on how you intend to use it.
On the plus side, a multi-tool has several tools that can be helpful in the wild. But on the negative side, this is not the perfect choice if you want a knife for handling heavy projects. They don’t have operational strength like other knives. Luckily, they are very easy to carry around.
Since you are looking for a knife solely for camping, it means you want a tool that can cut through stuff. In this case, you must consider the blade of the knife. When choosing the blade of the knife, you should look at it in four aspects; the material, weight, design, and length.
Even though the blade will be made of steel, there will be two types of steel used. It can either be stainless steel or carbon steel.
Carbon steel blades contain some carbon in it, which makes it stronger and more durable. These blades are easy to sharpen and come with better edge retention. But on the negative side, this type of blade can rust quickly if exposed to a damp surrounding too often.
Nevertheless, the blade will still cut through stuff even when it gets rusty. Just don’t use it for cutting food in this case.
Stainless steel is known to be corrosion resistant. In other words, they will work perfectly in a dirty and wet environment. These are the best selections for preparing food in the wild.
The main challenge is that stainless steel blades will get dull too quickly. Plus, they are tougher to sharpen compared to carbon steel blades.
Length of the Blade
An optimal knife ranges between 3 and 5 inches. In this case, you can enjoy a perfect palace between strength and maneuverability. If you go for a shorter blade, you may not be able to handle tougher tasks.
On the other hand, a long blade can be difficult to handle. Ideally, go for a blade that is around 4 inches long for your camping needs.
Weight of the Blade
Some campers consider the weight of the blade when choosing a knife. A knife with a thick (heavy) blade will be stronger when cutting stuff like wood for a campfire. This will give you an easy time when handling heavy applications. Conversely, a lightweight pocket knife is easy to carry around and use in light applications.
Design of the Blade
When choosing the knife based on its design, you’ll need to consider the type of the edge. You can either go for the fine edge or the serrated edge.
A fine edge blade is highly versatile. You just have to ensure that it is sharp enough. On the other hand, a serrated edge is the best choice for cutting rope, bones, wood, and other items that need sawing. The major challenge of a serrated edge bald is that it is difficult to sharpen.
However, knives like Gerber Bear 31-000751 Grylls Ultimate Knife come with a partial serrated and partial fine edge. This gives you more options when working with it in the wild.
Another design factor to consider is the blade point. It can be a drop point, clip point, or needlepoint. A drop-point blade is thick and strong and easy to use. Plus, the design reduces the cases of an accidental puncture.
A clip point comes with a narrow sharp tip with a crescent drop that makes it ideal for precision work and puncturing. Needlepoint or dagger blades come with double edges and usually have razor-sharp points. Dagger blades are best suited for survival applications.
The blade can also be full tang or partial tang. A full tang blade has a single piece of steel that runs from the blade to the handle. This assures you of strength and stability.
On the other hand, a partial tang blade is that which is attached to the top of the handle. Unfortunately, partial tang blades are easy to break under pressure.
Material/Design of the Handle
You should also consider the material used to make the handle, along with its design. A good handle should be ergonomic and comfortable to use.
In terms of the material, it can either be rubber, metal, plastic, or wood. Wood handles fool and feel nice in the hand, and come with a good grip. However, they are easily damaged and difficult to use with wet/sweaty hands.
Plastic handles are water-resistant, but also slippery when using with wet hands. Rubber handles are comfortable, water-resistant, and non-slip as well. Nevertheless, they are not as durable as such.
Metal handles can either be made of aluminum or steel. They are extra durable and sturdy as well. But on the negative side, they can feel slippery and cold when in the hand.
Ensure that the handle comes with a crossguard or a handguard to prevent your hand from slipping onto the blade. It should have a nice design to fit comfortably in your hand.
Above all, ensure that it has a rugged, non-slip design for better control. A handle with a steel pommel can be used as a hammer in some applications.
Remember to pick a sharp knife to give you an easy time when cutting through objects. Also, go for a knife with a good sheath that is strong and durable enough.
It would be helpful if the sheath had extra features like a sharpening stone, a belt clip, a cord cutter, and other add-ons.
Generally, ensure that you find a knife that meets your camping needs and one that falls within your budget.
How To Clean Camping Knife Properly
One way of extending your knife’s durability is to keep it clean. However, exposing it to excess water can lead to rust and corrosion. Here is a look at the best way to clean your knife;
- Use a sponge. Soak the soft side of a sponge in warm water and apply three drops of dishwashing detergent. Scrub the blade gently and steadily.
- Rinse off the entire blade and repeat the sponge process until the grime comes off.
- Use a copper/nylon pad (if the blade has rust on it). Scrape the rusty area gently with the pad until it comes off.
- Use a good lubricant. Add some drops of the lubricant to the blade and rub it around with a soft cloth. This will help to keep the hinge of the blade soft enough.
Ensure that you grease the entire blade to prevent it from getting stuck or jammed in the sheath/handle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I carry more than one knife?
That depends on how you intend to use the knife and what you will be doing in the wild. Nevertheless, carrying more than one knife that is suitable for different applications like survival would be a wise move. YOU can carry more than one knife, as long as you can afford it.
What size of knife should I buy?
The size of the knife you choose will depend on how you intend to use it. For most camping-related activities, choose a 4-inch knife.
What’s the difference between a camping knife and a regular knife?
It’s simple to tell between the two. A knife comes with a sturdier/heavier blade with a rugged handle and other features that make it ideal for outdoor tasks. A regular knife is simple looking without a sheath or other added features.
How often should I clean my knife?
Clean it when needed, but not too often. Ideally, just wipe it with a cloth after every use and clean it when it is rusty or too dirty.
Which knife is best for cooking?
You can choose any camping knife for cooking purposes. Nevertheless, the best camping cooking knife will be made of a stainless steel blade with a fine edge, and it should be around 4 to 5 inches. It can also be longer, as long as you use it safely.
Hey, don’t forget to check our campfire grill grates review.
And that marks the end of our best camping knives reviews. We are confident that you now have enough information to step out there and get the perfect knife for your camping needs.
Just make sure you pick a durable knife that serves you accordingly. Don’t forget to observe safety precautions when using the knife.