Camping knives are used for many tasks from splitting firewood to preparing meals. While there are many specialized knives on the market, a good multipurpose camp knife will be able to handle most of your camping chores.
This list of the 10 best camping knives, as well as the buyer’s guide, will help you find a knife that will work best for you.
Best Camping Knives
Full Reviews: Best Knives for Camping
Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife
The Gerber Bear Grylls Knife is a great all around camping knife. It comes with lots of extras like a fire starter rod, an emergency whistle, and a blade sharpener. If you are looking for a knife for camping that covers all your bases, this is the knife for you. This knife can be used for almost any application. It even has a steel pommel so that it can be used for hammering or pounding. All these features makes this one of the best camping knives you can buy.
High carbon stainless steel blade: A good sturdy blade that can is strong enough to you in many different situations.
Ergonomic textured rubber grip: The textured rubber grip is specifically designed to be comfortable and to prevent slipping in warm, cold, or wet weather.
Fire starter, emergency whistle, & sharpener included: Lots of extras that make this an awesome camping knife as well as a survival knife that will cover your bases in most situations.
Not pocket friendly: This knife has a fixed blade and so cannot fold down to a smaller size and will not be great if you are wanting to carry it in your pocket.
Morakniv Companion Outdoor Knife
This is a solid no-frills knife that will get the job done. The knife features a 4.1″ blade of 1095 carbon steel making it good for high impact situations. These blade are manufactured in Sweeded and imported to the US and other countries. If you are looking to save on a knife and don’t need the extras that come with some of the other camping knives, this would be a great knife for you.
4.1-inch high carbon steel blade: The blade reaches hardness of HRC 58-60, which makes this a great knife for outdoor use.
Limited lifetime manufacturer’s warranty: With a limited lifetime warranty, you can rest assured that you are covered if you have issues with the knife in the future.
Comfortable high-friction grip: The handle has a patterned, high-friction grip, which mades it easy to handle in any weather condition.
No extras: This knife does not come with any extras and so work be the best for every situation.
Kershaw Clash Serrated Pocket Knife
Kershaw’s Clash pocket knife is a great option for someone who wants a solide knife that can be easily carried in the pocket. This knife features a 3.1″ stainless steel blade with a black-oxide finish. It also includes SpeedSafe assisted opening, built-in flipper as well as a reversable pocket clip. This is a solid knife for those that like to keep a knife easily accessible in their pocket.
3.1″ stainless steel blade: This knife has a drop-point, partially serrated blade that makes it great in a variety of circumstances.
Textured glass-filled nylon handle: The handle was designed to be functional as well as comfortable. The handle features materials and cutouts that make the grip easy to use.
Attractive blade coating: The blade has a black-oxide finish, which makes it as good looking as it is useful.
SpeedSafe assisted opening system: The clash series comes with the SpeedSafe assisted opening system, which make it super easy to open the knife in a moments notice.
A little small: This knife is on the smaller side and so might not be great in situations where a larger knife is needed.
Gerber StrongArm 420 Survival Knife
The Gerber StrongArm 420 Survival Knife is a great camping knife for those who want a knife that is durable enough to stand up to all kinds of use and abuse. This knife features a full tang 420HC steel blade that is built for extreme durability and strength. The knife comes with a modular strap-together sheath system can be mounted vertically on MOLLE, horizontally on a belt, or in drop-leg fashion.
Full tang 420HC steel blade: A seriously tough blade made to take a beating. This is a blade that was intended to be used and can handle it.
Multi-mount, snap-together sheath: This sheath setup allows you to wear the knife either vertically on a vest, horizontally on your belt, or in a drop-leg manor.
Glass-filled nylon w/ rubber overmold handle: The handle of the StrongArm420 is made with usability and comfort in mind.
Not pocket friendly: This knife is intended for survival and tactical use so is not ment to carry around in your pocket.
ESEE Knives 6P Fixed Blade Knife
ESEE makes some of the best knives on the market and their 6P fixed blade knife is no exception. It is an awesome knife that is great for camping and practical use. This is a solid knife that offers a lot of usability and practicality. Additionally, ESEE stands by their products and offers a no questions asked lifetime gaurantee. If the knife ever breaks, they will either fix it or give you a new one.
6.5″ 1095 carbon steel blade: A solid blade with a good length, which make it useful in many different situations.
Canvas micarta handle: A comfortable handle that is easily interchangeable, making it practical and useful.
100% unconditional lifetime guarantee: You can rest assured that you are covered by a lifetime guarantee so that if it ever breaks you won’t have to buy a new knife.
Coyote brownmolded sheath included: The knife comes with a sheath that will help to keep the blade protected and save when not in use.
Not many extras: This knife does not come with many extras. You get a sturdy knife but not much more beyond that.
Leatherman – Wingman Multitool
Leatherman is the standard of multitools and their Wingman series is no different. This is a great tool for those who want an all in one knife. It come with 14 different tools that make it useful in basically every situation. Leatherman’s are well made knives that have been proven to stand the test of time and use. This is a solid multitool and knife that will serve most campers very well, regardless of the situation.
Equipped with 14 tools: With 14 tools included you will never be wondering if you have the right tool for the job.
Removable pocket clip: The removable pocket clip makes this tool useful for those who want to carry it in their pocket or a sheath on their belt.
Removable pocket clip: Leatherman knives are made from stainless steel and can definitely stand up to some rough use.
25-year limited warranty: Leatherman stands behind their tools and offers a 25-year limited warranty so that you can rest assure that you will get a long life out of the knife.
Heavier: Because the Wingman has 25 tools included this is not the lightest knife. This would not be ideal for someone who is wanting a light weight compact knife.
EMossy Oak 15-inch Hunting Knife
Mossy Oak’s 15 inch hunting knife is for those who are looking for a knife that will be most useful in very rugged and rough situations. This is a very large knife that can be use for larger projects and situation that require a lot of strength. This knife features a 10 inch blade with a nylon sheath. Additionally, it comes with a fire starter and sharpener to make the knife more versitile in many different situations.
10in 440C stainless steel blade: This is a very large and strong blade that can handle larger projects and more rugged environments.
Full-tang rubber handle: The handle is designed to be comfortable as well as to prevent slipping in wet conditions.
Included fire starter & sharpener: The hunting knife comes with a fire starter and a sharpener, which make it great for survival and backcountry situations.
Not Ideal for Small Jobs: This is a very large knife and so will not be a great option for small jobs and for carrying around in close quarters.
KA-BAR Full US Marine Corps Fighting Knife
The KA-BAR US Marine Corp knife is the standard for the US Marines and is a great option for someone who is wanting a more tactical camping knife. This knife has stood the test of time. It has been used by the military around the world and is a favourite of many outdoorsmen. The knife features a 7″ 1095 cro-van steel blade with a straight edge. It also comes with a 100% leather sheath that can be hung from your belt.
7″ straight edge blade: This is a longer blade that has show it can withstand serious use, making it a great choice for campers and outdoor enthusiests.
Made from 1095 cro-van steel: The steel of the blade is made to handle anything you can throw at it.
100% leather sheath: The included leather sheath makes it easy to carry on your belt and keeps it protected and safe when not in use.
No extras: This KA-BAR knife is a good solid knife but it does not come with much more in the way of extras.
Buck Knives 110 Folding Knife
The Buck Knives 110 is one of the most iconic pocket knives available. This knife has been manufactured for over 50 years with very little change. It stands as a testiment to the quality of Buck Knives. This knife is a great option for campers who want a more compact knife and do need all the extras that other knives come with. The knife features a 3-3/4″ 420HC stainless steel blade, Crelicam ebony handle, and brass bolsters, which mades for a great knife.
3-3/4″ 420HC steel clip blade: A strong compact blade that makes it useful in small and medium size situations and projects.
Ebony handle & brass bolsters: The ebony and brass handle is made to be very sturdy so that it will remain reliable throughout many years of use.
Genuine high-quality leather sheath: The included leather sheath makes this knife a great option for both those who want to carry it on their belt as well as in their pocket.
Lifetime warranty: Buck Knives stands behind their products and offers a forever/lifetime warranty.
No extras: This knife will last the test of time but it does not come with many extra features for survival or outdoor situations.
Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops Pocket Knife
The Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops pocket knife is a great option for those who want a more tactical knife in a smaller package. This knife features a 3.1″ black oxide high carbon stainless steel blade with an aluminum handle. Those features make this a great light weight pocket knife that is very useful in many different situations. The knife also come with a pocket clip, finger flipper and ambidextrous thumb knobs, which makes it a great option for almost any camper.
3.1″ high carbon stainless steel blade: A strong compact blade that make the knife useful in small to medium situations and projects.
Finger flipper & ambidextrous thumb knobs: The combination of a finger flipper and thumb knobs makes the knife very easy to open in a moments notice.
Textured handle w/ finger indentions: The light weight aluminum handle is comfortable to hold while maintaining a sturdy gripping surface even in wet conditions.
Not Ideal Large Jobs: Because this is a compact knife it is not ideal for some of the larger jobs that you will need to do around your campsite.
Camping Knife Buyer’s Guide
The best camping knives are used for many tasks from splitting firewood to preparing meals. While there are many specialized knives on the market, a good multipurpose camp knife will be able to handle most of your camping chores.
The saying “You get what you pay for” holds a lot of water when buying a camping knife. While there are inexpensive knives that can be purchased, these cheap knives will often break or become dull the first time you try to use it for anything more than slicing a banana for your pancakes.
A good camp knife must be made to last. While you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars, ponying up a few bucks for a quality camp knife is a wise investment that will pay you dividends for many years.
Some will say no knife will suit every task. While this is of course technically true, unless you are planning to move to the Alaskan backcountry, a well-designed camp knife will be suitable for most tasks you will face on any camping trip.
A good camping knife should be strong enough to tackle the big jobs, versatile enough to carry out multiple tasks, comfortable enough to hold without it slipping and small enough so it is easy to carry.
Knife Blade Strength
Most good knife blades are made from stainless steel, to resist corrosion. Steel has different grades of “hardness,” with the softer options being the easiest to sharpen, and also the easiest to dull. The three most common types of stainless steel used for knife blades are:
• 420HC is an inexpensive option that is easy to sharpen and will hold an edge well when doing light-duty cutting. However, as 420HC is the softest stainless-steel option, it will also dull the quickest.
• 154CM is medium-grade steel containing a higher percentage of carbon than 420C for increased hardness and edge retention.
• S30V is the premium option of stainless steel. S30V contains a high percentage of vanadium that increases strength for superior edge retention. It is the hardest to sharpen, but, unless you are cutting rocks, will hold an edge almost forever.
A good camp knife should be able to handle a wide range of jobs, including cutting rope, brush, branches and saplings, carving tent stakes, making dinner and maybe even cleaning fish.
The knife handle should be ergonomic so it fits in the palm of your hand naturally. You should able to hold the knife comfortably without feeling as if you need to squeeze the handle to keep it from slipping.
Unless you are planning on auditioning for a survival TV show, you don’t need a knife that looks like it’s big enough to take out Godzilla. A good camp knife should only be big enough to get the job done as smaller knives are easier to hold and carry.
The best camping knives come in two basic styles: fixed blade and folding. Choice of style will, more or less, come down to a matter of personal preference. A good fixed-blade knife is practically indestructible and will last you a lifetime, and then your children’s and grandchildren’s. However, the versatility of a folding knife cannot be beaten, and if taken care of a good folding knife will last a very, very long time.
Being a one-piece design, fixed-blades knives are stronger, more solid and usually have a more ergonomically-comfortable handle. However, because these knives are one solid piece, fixed blades tend to be heavier and a little more awkward to carry in your pocket or on your belt.
For safety, fixed-blade knives must be carried in a sheath. However, this causes the blade to dull faster from rubbing against the inside of the sheath. Because these knives have only one blade, fixed-blade knives should have a serrated edge for sawing on the backside of the blade, or below the cutting edge just above the handle.
Unlike folding knives, fixed-blade knives are much easier to clean, as dirt and other debris cannot get trapped in the handle. Fixed-blade knives are ready to use when removed from the sheath.
Also referred to as “pocket” knives, folding knives are compact enough to slip into your jacket, pants, a side pocket on your pack or can be worn on your belt in a sheath. The compactness of a folding knife means you can always have it with you.
Folding knives are often equipped with multiple blades for cutting and even sawing. Some come with extra specialized blades that can be swapped out as needed. Folding knives have superior blade retention as the sharp edge is protected when the knife is in the closed position.
Some folding knives can be opened with one hand, via a notch on the blade for the thumb. Some folding knives can be hard to open if your hands are wet or cold. However, folding knives with assisted-opening mechanisms open with a flick of the wrist. Finally, smaller folding knives aren’t always the most comfortable to work with, not having a quality ergonomic designed that fits naturally in your hand.
The best blade shape for a camp knife suited to the widest range of uses is some type of “drop-point” blade, where the tip of the knife blade drops slightly below the spine, or back, of the blade. The drop point is designed to reduce the risk of cutting or puncturing something accidentally while working.
Some people prefer the tanto-point design as it offers a strong point with an angular tip that is better for prying and scraping.
The best handles are textured for a good grip and ergonomically correct to feel natural in the hand. Material choices include:
- Wood: Attractive and offers a solid grip, but is vulnerable to damage.
- Metal: Tough, but can be slippery when wet.
- Plastic: Resistant to damage, but can also be slippery.
- Rubber: Weather resistant and provides a superior grip, but often lacks strength.
- Polymers: Almost indestructible and offer a solid grip.
Picking the Best Multipurpose Camp Knife
The best all-around camping knife is the one you like enough not to leave at home. When shopping for a knife, ideally look for a drop-point blade made of either 154CM or S30V stainless steel with a textured polymer handle that feels like it was made specifically for your hand. Folding or fixed-blade is up to your personal preference, and of course, there is absolutely no harm in having one of each.