Whether you are heading to the river bank for a little fishing or the park for some hiking, make sure you have the appropriate knife for the trip! Take a look at our list of 20 of the best camping knives and let us help you find the best camping knife for your next outdoor adventure!
Choosing the best camping knife is relatively personal. I mean, if you are an occasional glamper you might want a knife that can open those bottles of wine you have in your backpack. On the other hand, if you delve deep into the bush and might have to fend off barracudas, maybe a machete is in order. If you are overwhelmed, take heart. Between those two extremes, there are some excellent choices for you to consider.
As to whether you need a knife specially designated for camping, well, even the Boy Scouts recommend at least a pocket knife with a can opener for outdoor excursions. The American Hiking Organization also includes a camping knife as one of the 10 Essentials of Hiking.
We know the quality of your knife is essential to you. After all, you don’t want your knife to break on its maiden camping trip. So we considered quality, blade material, edge (flat or serrated), durability, and overall customer satisfaction when we compiled this list to help you find the best camping knife for your purposes.
Top 20 Best Camping Knives
Whether you are the occasional glamper or hard-core out-in-the-bush explorer, having the right knife for the job is essential. When choosing the best camping knife, you should consider:
Your knife should be made of high carbon steel rather than plastic. Unless you are an expert knifesman (or woman) high carbon steel will do about any job you need to be done. It’s more durable than stainless steel. On the other hand, stainless steel has a bit more rust resistance.
Blade design is a much more important consideration than material. For standard camping knives, a drop point design is an excellent choice. If you plan on doing a lot of wood splitting, a full bevel knife would be better. The sheepsfoot blade is the best for rope cutting for water sports like canoeing. If you need something for fine cuts or woodworking, consider a clip-point blade.
Serrations on the blade are not necessarily needed. You can cut a rope, chop wood and even cut bone without a serrated edge. In fact, you have more control of your blade without serrations. If you absolutely must have serrations, consider a knife that has a fine-edge and sawback blade for the best of both worlds.
Blade length is also an important consideration. If your knife is too long, it becomes unwieldy and cumbersome to carry. If it is too short, it might not get the job done. If you find yourself in rough terrain, a longer blade would be nice for whacking and chopping. On the other hand, you might be just fine with a smaller knife, depending on what you need to slice with it.
Handle Design and Material
You want to be able to grip your knife well so that it doesn’t slip while you are using it, injuring you or someone else. Look for a wide handle with inset finger relief for the best grip. The handle should be made of durable materials. Whether you choose wood or synthetic materials is often a matter of personal preference. Some survival knives even have hollowed out areas in the handles for you to store stuff which might come in handy.
Sheaths and Attachment Options
If you want to carry your camping knife around with you, make sure you have a solid sheath to keep it in. Some knives have belt clips or holes to attach a lanyard for carrying ease. You might also want to consider a folding pocket knife design as well. You can keep it in your pocket or knapsack.
Chopping kindling to bits requires a fixed blade knife with a longer blade because they tend to be stronger than folding knives. If you aren’t exactly sure what you’ll need, a Swiss army knife will probably have everything you could possibly want and then some. If you are cruising down the river on an inflatable raft, consider both a folding and round tip knife. You certainly don’t want to pop your boat mid-cruise accidentally. Backpackers may prefer a lighter, folding knife.
There may be restrictions on the type and length of knife you may carry, either on your person or stored in your gear. When you are heading out to camp, check with the local laws to see whether your possession of a particular knife might get you in trouble.
There you have it! With these basic guidelines and our recommendations in mind, you should have no problem finding the best camping knife for your next camping trip whether you are just in the backyard or deep in the African bush. Happy trails!