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Which camping knife is best?

There are many essential pieces of camping gear that you must pack when heading out into the woods. Other than your tent, enough water and bear spray, a good quality camping knife should be a top priority.

More than just a meat cutting and slicing instrument, a camping knife can be used to fix tents, prepare kindling for a fire and hopefully only on rare occasions, serve as a self-defense weapon against wild animals. You certainly can’t go wrong with the Bushcraft Survival Knife with Full Tang on your next camping trip.

What to know before you buy a camping knife

Know the difference between a camping knife and a multi-knife

You might go to an outdoor or sports store looking for a camping knife, and pick up one with all the additional blades and tools. But that isn’t actually a camping knife. Yes, it has a lot of functions that you possibly could use outdoors, but that is known as a multi-knife. A camping knife has a single blade that is much sturdier. Either way, you’re going to need a knife sharpener to keep it in excellent condition.

The knife’s size and what it will be used for

A small knife will fit into most bags, but it might not be useful for serious tasks. When looking for a camping knife, consider what you will be using it for the most. Keep in mind that a bigger utensil won’t be efficient at delicate tasks, so it’s a bit of a balancing act in getting the size right.

Do you prefer a fixed blade or a folding knife?

Generally, camping knives are available in two different varieties: fixed blade and folding knife. The latter is exactly what it sounds like. The blade folds back into itself and you must press a button to release it. A fixed blade is what most people will recognize, as the blade and handle are one solid piece.

What to look for in a quality camping knife

A sturdy handle is vital to safe use

Since you will be holding on to the handle during use, it is one of the most important components of any camping knife. The handle of a good-quality camping knife must be textured to improve your grip, and in most cases is made from wood. There are plastic and rubber varieties as well, each with its own advantages over wood, which tends to get damaged easier. Rubber and plastic also aren’t susceptible to moisture. 

The construction material of the blade

Together with the handle, the blade’s construction will determine how long the knife will last and what it can be used for. Some of the popular knife blades are made from stainless or high carbon steel, but vanadium has grown in preference as it tends to be stronger and more durable. The tip of the blade is also important and you should opt for a pointed tip instead of a round tip.

A full-tang blade for the best quality knife

The tang is a hidden yet hugely important part of knife construction, as it is the part of the blade that goes into the handle. A good-quality camping knife will have a full-tang blade, meaning that the entire back-end of the blade goes into the handle up to the knife’s end. A half-tang blade will only be inserted halfway into the handle. 

How much you can expect to spend on a camping knife

The average price of a camping knife will depend on several factors, like the blade’s lengths, the construction materials and the manufacturer. A small knife can retail for $10-$20, but larger, more complex knives can retail for $80-$120.

Camping knife FAQ

What do you use the serrated edge on the knife for?

A. Some camping knives will have a serrated portion towards the handle. Where the bulk of the blade is used for slicing and cutting, the serrated edge is like a small saw. By using a back-and-forth motion, it can cut through rope, wood and fabrics as well as soft foods like bread and fruit.

Do you need a sheath?

A. Absolutely, and it is often one of the most overlooked accessories for knives. Not only does a sheath protect the blade when not in use, but it also serves as a protective cover from accidental injuries.

What’s the best camping knife to buy?

Top camping knife

Bushcraft Survival Knife with Full Tang

Bushcraft Survival Knife with Full Tang

What you need to know: This camping knife is the perfect tool for all situations, as the blade is made from high-strength carbon steel.

What you’ll love: Measuring 8.6 inches in total length, this outdoor knife from Bushcraft features a 4-inch blade made from carbon steel. It has a serrated edge at the top that can saw through wood, while the sharp edge is perfect for slicing rope, plants, paper or plastic. The handle is 1.4 inches wide and has been textured to improve grip. The full-tang design has a Tek Lok+ lanyard hole and comes with a K-Sheath for secure storage.  

What you should consider: The price tag is a bit more than other knives of the same size.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top camping knife for the money

Smith Wesson Extreme Ops Folding Knife

Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops Folding Knife

What you need to know: If you are looking for a functional and sturdy folding knife, this model from Smith & Wesson will be perfect.

What you’ll love: Weighing only 3.5 ounces, this folding blade is perfect for the camper who loves a small but durable tool. The blade is 3.1 inches and when fully opened the knife measures 7.1 inches. It has two serrated edges on either side of the blade, just before the handle. 

What you should consider: Folding knives are notoriously tricky to close correctly.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Mossy Oak Survival Hunting Knife with Sheath

Mossy Oak Survival Hunting Knife with Sheath

What you need to know: This camping knife is as serious as it gets, resembling the fighting knife design made popular by the U.S. Marine Corps.

What you’ll love: This intimidating knife from Mossy Oak features a 10-inch blade that is 5/32 inches in width. The blade is made from black anodized hardened steel and has a backsaw for working through any wood. The rubber grip is textured and contoured for better handling.

What you should consider: It isn’t a full-tang blade, which some users found disappointing in a knife of this length.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.


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