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!
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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.
How We Chose Our Ratings
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
Spyderco Endura 4 Lightweight Folding Knife
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The fine edge 3.75-inch blade on the Spyderco Endura 4 Knife is high-carbon VG-10 steel coated with titanium carbonitride for rust protection. It has a four-position hourglass pocket clip. The Bi-Directional textured handle is made from injection-molded fiberglass-reinforced nylon (FRN). The folding blade has a David Boye dent with a back lock mechanism to prevent accidental closures. It has an overall length of 8.75 inches and a weight of 3.6 ounces.
Palm River Folding Knife
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If your camping includes white water rapids rafting or canoe travel, you might want the Plam River Folding Knife. This 2.7-inch folding blade with serrations has a rounded tip to prevent accidental damage to inflatables. The blade is made from stainless steel. It has a textured nylon and fiberglass handle with a lanyard you can tie off to keep it from falling into the water. The Hypalon pull tab makes it easy to open one-handed.
Morakniv Companion Heavy Duty Knife
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Lightweight and portable, the Morakniv Companion Heavy Duty Knife weighs 4.8 ounces. The fixed carbon stainless steel blade is 0.125 inches thick and measures 4.1-inches. It has a 27-degree edge angle. The extra-large handle has a soft high-friction grip. It comes with a plastic sheath with belt clip. The total length is 8.8 inches. It stands up well to regrinding and keeps its edge sharp.
Fallkniven A1 Knife
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If you are looking for a heavy-duty camping knife, check out the Fallkniven A1 Knife. It is made of laminated VG10 steel and has a convex edge on the drop point blade. The protruding broad tang continues from the 6.2-inch blade through to the Kraton handle making it eleven inches in length. It has a good sized finger bolster and relief. It comes with your choice of a Zytel injection molded or a leather sheath. It also comes with an optional A1 black coating on the blade.
Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife
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The Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife has ½ serrated 4.8-inch drop point full tang blade made of high carbon stainless steel. It is a nearly full-bevel fixed blade. The handle has a textured rubber grip with a deeply inset finger relief for a good hold. It also has a stainless steel pommel at the handle base for hammering and two holes for whatever tactical or survival use comes to mind like a fishing spear or lance. It comes with a nylon mildew resistant sheath and emergency whistle integrated into the lanyard cord. The sheath has a fire starter rod and diamond blade sharpener. This knife has an overall length of ten inches and weighs almost fifteen ounces with its sheath.
Opinel No. 8 Pocket Knife
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It’s lovely design, and versatility make the Opinel No. 8 Pocket Knife an excellent choice. This knife has a 3.25-inch Yatagan shaped blade made from carbon steel and a sustainably harvested lightweight beechwood handle. The Opinel No. 8 is a folding knife. The stainless steel Virobloc safety ring has both a fixed and sliding section making it possible to lock the blade open or closed. The blade should be oiled regularly to avoid corrosion.
StatGear 99416 Surviv-All Outdoor Knife
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The 440-stainless steel full-tang drop-point fixed blade on the StatGear 99416 Surviv-All Outdoor Knife does not have any serrations. The durable textured rubber handle has a finger relief, stainless steel pommel, and a wide bolster. It also has bright green visibility strips to help you find your knife once you put it down. The sheath has a magnesium fire starter rod, integrated cord cutter, and blade sharpening stone. The knife handle is attached to the sheath by a paracord handle strap. The blade is 4.25 inches with an overall length of 9.5 inches. The knife and sheath weigh thirteen ounces.
Gerber Blades Big Rock Knife
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The 4.5-inch fixed blade on the Gerber Blades Big Rock Knife is a full tang 440A steel drop-point with a fine edge. The handle is made of glass-infused nylon and has a soft grip rubber overlay with finger guard. The overall length is 9.4 inches while its weight is 6.3 ounces. The knife can be attached to the nylon sheath using the lanyard that is in the pommel.
Mora Garberg Knife
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The Mora Garberg Knife has a fixed 14C28N Sandvik stainless steel fine edge blade. The square-edged spine of the blade has been ground specifically to be used as a striker for fire starting. The full tang extends through the polyamide handle. The blade measures 4.3 inches making the total length of this knife nine inches. It weighs 9.6 ounces. The Mora Garberg is a great option for batoning, carving, or feathering sticks. It is available in your choice of a leather sheath or MOLLE multi-mount system with a polyamide sheath.
Mossy Oak Bowie Knife
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If you are looking for style, look no further than the Mossy Oak Bowie Knife. The 420 stainless steel clip fixed blade is full tang. The imitation bone handle also has a full tang grip with a brass cross guard and finger groove. It comes with a leather sheath that has a snap fastener and belt loop. The blade is 8 ⅝ inches long with an overall length of fourteen inches.
Gerber Gator Premium Fixed Drop Point Knife
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If you are looking for something with a bit more slicing power, try the Gerber Gator Premium Fixed Drop Point Knife. This fine edge full tang knife has a fixed drop point four-inch CPM-S30V steel blade sharp enough for skinning animals. It has an easy-to-hold curved handle with finger groove made of glass-filled nylon covered by a textured rubber. It is nine inches in length and weighs 10.4 ounces. It has a polished steel bolster and comes with a leather sheath.
Accusharp Folding Sport Knife
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The 2.5-inch folding blade on the Accusharp Sport Knife is made of stainless steel and has a wheel lock mechanism for one-handed locking. The handle is made of anodized aluminum. It has a glass breaker feature and belt clip. The blade has a partial tang. Its unfolded length is 8.75 inches. It is rust resistant and quite affordable.
Benchmade Bushcrafter 162 Knife
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The fine edge blade on the Benchmade Bushcrafter 162 knife is made of CPM-S30V steel. It has a 4.40 inch fixed blade drop point construction. The fiberglass G10 micarta handle is treated with resin and has good finger relief for gripping. The wide bevel and gradual taper make this knife extremely versatile. It comes with a leather sheath with belt look and D-ring. It has an overall weight of 7.72 ounces and length of 9.15 inches.
Glock FM 81 Field Knife
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If you are looking for the best fixed blade knife for survival situations, you should have the Glock FM 81 Field Knife. The clip-point fixed blade is 6.5-inches of carbon-steel, specifically Spring HRC ~55, and has a black phosphate electrophoretic coating to reduce corrosion. One side of the blade is fine-edged while the other has a four-inch serrated saw. The blade and textured polymer handle are separated by a carbon-steel crossguard which is also useful for prying. The sheath has a flexible retention tab which holds the knife in place no matter how it is inserted and belt loop. The knife is 11.38 inches and weighs seven ounces.
Wicked Hand Saw
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If you plan on chopping your firewood, then the Wicked Hand Saw is for you. The 7-inch serrated blade is made of high carbon steel. The aluminum handle is covered with a molded rubber grip. It’s a folding knife and locks down securely using a hardened steel lock-pin and hardware.
Victorinox Swiss Army Swiss Champ Pocket Knife
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If you aren’t sure exactly what you’ll need on your camping adventure, take along the Victorinox Swiss Army Swiss Champ Pocket Knife. It has thirty-three devices including a large and small blade, can and bottle openers, five screwdrivers, wire stripper, cutter and scrimper, wood and metal saws, hook, hook disgorger, fish scaler, chisel, pliers, scissors and more. It is constructed with stainless steel and has a total length of 3 ½ inches, weighing 6.5 ounces.
Victorinox Huntsman Swiss Army Pocket Knife
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If you don’t need all the features of the Swiss Champ Pocket Knife, you might prefer the Victorinox Huntsman Swiss Army Pocket Knife. This stainless steel pocket knife has fifteen features including a large and small blade, can and bottle openers, two screwdrivers, wire stripper, wood saws, hook, scissors reamer, punch and sewing awl, corkscrew and more. It measures 3.58 inches and weighs 3.42 ounces.
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Some camping trips call for a machete, and nothing less will do. If you are blazing new paths through the jungle this summer, make sure you take the SOGfari Machete. While it’s not technically a camping knife, it is a bladed tool that just might come in handy in certain situations. It has a huge eighteen-inch blade with an overall length of twenty-four inches. It has a 3CR13 steel straight edge and saw back edge. It has a Kraton rubber handle. It comes with a ballistic nylon sheath with a hook and loop closure and belt loop.
Kershaw Ken Onion Blur Folding Knife
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The Kershaw Ken Onion Blur Knife is a Sandvik 14C28N steel folding knife with SpeedSafe Assisted opening so that it’s ready to go with an easy thumb button release. The plain edge blade is 3 ⅜ inches and locks open. It has a reversible belt clip. The aluminum handle has Trac-Tec inserts for a good grip in all weather conditions. It has an overall length of 7 ⅞ inches when open.
Tac Force Sawback Bowie Tactical Rescue Knife
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If your camping dreams include wishing you were Crocodile Dundee, then you need to get the Tac Force Sawback Bowie Knife. It has a partially serrated 440 stainless steel blade. It’s a folding knife with a linear locking system, and spring assisted opening. It has a glass breaker stub and seatbelt cutter as well as a sawback rear design on the spine. The blade measures 3.5 inches with an overall length of nine inches. It’s also very inexpensive.
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:
- Blade design, length, and material
- Handle design and material
- Sheaths and Attachment Options
- Local Laws
Blade Design, Length and Material
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!