Best Camping Knives of 2022
A good knife is one of the more useful and versatile tools that you can take with you into the wilderness. Not only will a camping knife come in handy when it comes to meal prep and making small repairs to your tent, sleeping bag, or gear but it can also be useful when collecting tinder to start a fire, bushwhacking through difficult terrain, and any number of other emergency uses.
In a pinch, a proper knife may even help to fend off a dangerous predator. If you’re in the market for a new camping knife, there has never been a better time to go shopping. There are literally dozens of knives on the market to choose from, coming in a wide array of sizes and with some surprisingly useful options.
Sorting through all of those different choices can be confusing, making what should be a simple process a lot more complicated. Fear not, however, as we’ve sorted through the top camping knives that are currently available, identifying the ones that are most worth your time and money. These are our picks for the best camping knives of 2021.
The Different Types types of Camping Knives
With so many different camping knives available for sale, it can be hard to know which one is the best for your needs. The first question you should ask yourself is what type of knife do you need? Do you want a pocket knife, an all-purpose camp knife, or something else entirely? A camping knife is a piece of versatile equipment that can be used for many different purposes, from cutting food to building a shelter. There are many types of knives on the market, and it’s important to know what you’re looking for before you buy one. Read on to learn about the 6 main types of camping knives: general use, kitchen, and utility.
1- Fixed Blade Knives
Typically, fixed blade knives are safer and sturdier than folding knives. They are stronger, easy to clean, and easy to sharpen. But these knives usually weigh more than a pocket knife and take up more space. A fixed blade knife that is well balanced can also be used as a kitchen knife. However, you will need a sheath for the safe carrying of the knife.
2- Folding Knives
This pocket knife is good for hiking and backpacking. It fits in your pocket with ease since its blade length is significantly small. The blade folds into the handle sometimes. This is not as stable as a fixed-blade knife because there are moving parts, but it does make opening easier with one hand.
These are like small toolboxes. They have many tools inside, which include a screwdriver, scissors, wire cutter, saw, and more. It’s a great knife for camping trips in the front country. But it is not good for wild adventures due to their size limitations.
4- Drop point blade knife
Drop point “drops” the point of the blade downward and forms a convex arc on the spine. This drop in the blade’s position creates a lowered point that is well suited for stabbing while still maintaining some utility when used to cut or slice. The drop-point design minimizes accidental puncturing while skinning an animal because the drop-point blade’s tip is more drop-resistant than the spine. This is why the drop point blade knife is great for piercing.
We hope that now you can make a distinction between different and the most suitable camping knives for your planned outdoor adventure. There is a wide range of camping knives to choose from, with some being better suited for certain tasks than others. However, your best camping knife will depend on what you purpose to use it for.
What to Look for in a Camping Knife
On the surface, a knife seems like a fairly simple product. After all, this is a tool that has been around in a wide variety of styles for thousands of years. As it turns out, there are a surprising number of things to consider when it comes to selecting the right knife for you. In fact, deciding which knife best meets your needs usually comes down to personal preference.
For example, one of the first choices you’ll have to make is whether or not you want a fixed blade or a foldable knife. A fixed blade knife tends to offer more stability, which is important when cutting through tougher materials. They also offer a wider variety of widths and lengths.
On the other hand, a folding knife, also known as an opinel or a penny knife is more compact and easier to carry. The fact that the blade collapses out of the way provides a measure of safety and convenience too. Most knives that fall into the EDC or “every day carry” category are folding models for this very reason.
The size of the knife will also play a role when it comes to deciding which knife is right for you. Many buyers make the mistake of choosing an overly large blade in part because they happen to look impressive and heavy duty. The reality is, most of us don’t need an extremely large blade, as they tend to be cumbersome and bulky. This can also make them less safe to use when compared to smaller, easier-to-manage options.
That said, you do want a knife with a blade that can be used to cut through thick materials, such as cloth, ropes, wood, or vines. Although we mention wood, cutting firewood would require a hatchet or ax. Once again, the overall size will come down to your personal preferences, but we have generally found that fixed and folding blade models that are 8-11 inches (20-28 cm) in length are the most useful and efficient.
Handle and Blade
Another factor to consider when purchasing a knife is what material the blade is made from. Obviously, you’ll want something that is durable and can hold a good edge, but beyond that, the type of metal used in the knife’s construction can have an impact on its overall performance.
For instance, a high carbon stainless steel blade is lightweight, strong, and remains sharp even after extended use. But these types of blades also have a greater tendency to rust, requiring more diligent maintenance to keep them clean and functional. Meanwhile, a stainless steel blade will resist oxidation, but is also heavier and isn’t as adept at staying sharp.
The quality of the metal varies greatly too, which is why we recommend only buying a model that uses 440 stainless steel or higher. While the blade tends to get the bulk of the attention, the hilt—or handle—of a knife is just as important. You’ll want a handle that is long enough to firmly hold in your hand and can be gripped comfortably for extended periods of time. It should also be made from a durable material, such as wood or stainless steel.
High-quality plastic and rubber handles are reliable options too and perform especially well in wet environments as they are non slip. Try to avoid buying a knife with an ornately carved handle, however. These models may look nice, but they provide little in the way of added functionality in the field and can actually make the knife harder to hold.
Finally, carefully examine any additional features or accessories that may be included with the knife. Most fixed blades—and many folding models—will come with a case for instance, but if they don’t, you may want to buy one separately.
Some blades might feature a serrated edge for cutting through thicker materials, while others may include a fire starter that can help spark a campfire at your campsite. And while some of these extra features may seem a bit superfluous at first, they can prove to be extremely useful whether you are in the wilderness or state parks.
The Top 10 Best Camping Knives of 2022
Now that we have a better understanding of what we should be looking for in a camping knife we’re better equipped to decide which models are the right ones for us to carry with us on our outdoor recreation adventures. This is a rundown of our favorite knives that are currently on the market.
1 Morakniv Companion Spark
|Overall Length||9 in. (22.8 cm)|
|Blade Length||4.3 in. (10.9 cm)|
|Weight||9.6 oz (272 grams)|
Lightweight, well-balanced, and extremely well-crafted, the Morakniv Companion Spark is an excellent option for outdoor enthusiasts of all skill levels. Its relatively compact design makes it easy to carry, while the 4” (10 cm) fixed blade allows for a level of precision that isn’t common in larger models.
The stainless steel blade holds an edge quite nicely, but be warned—the Companion can get very sharp. This makes it perfect for use in preparing meals at the campground or cutting small kindling to start a fire, but if you get careless you might get cut.
Thanks to its rubber handle and the nylon lanyard, the Companion is comfortable to use and easy to hang on to. It comes with a matching sheath to carry it in with a 90-degree spine for a fire starter, which comes in handy when sparking a blaze after a long day on a trail or in wet conditions. The combination of features, quality, and price make this an easy knife to recommend, particularly for those shopping on a tight budget.
2 Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Knife
|Overall Length||10 in. (25.4)|
|Blade Length||4.8 in. (12.1 cm)|
|Weight||14.7 oz (417 grams)|
Often times when a celebrity lends their name to an outdoor product it ends up being a disappointing purchase. That isn’t the case with the Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Knife from Gerber, a company with a long history of making excellent knives for use in the outdoors. Everything about this model feels good, from the textured and ergonomically contoured rubber grip to the durable high-carbon stainless steel blade.
And because it comes with both a fine and serrated edge and a drop point blade, this knife proves to be extremely versatile in the field, making it a good choice for use on hiking excursions, weekend camping trips, or extended backpacking excursions. Other nice features include a bold, colorful design, and an included custom sheath, sharpener, and fire starter. But the most outstanding feature of the Ultimate Survival Knife has to be just how good it feels in your hand.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find another knife that comes anywhere close to the level of comfort that this one offers, which is why it has been a best seller for Gerber over the years.
3 Spyderco Tenacious Folding Knife
|Overall Length||7.75 in. (19.7 cm)|
|Blade Length||3.4 in. (8.6 cm)|
|Weight||3.2 oz (90 grams)|
The Spyderco Tenacious stands out from most other folding knives for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is its incredibly sharp blade. Straight from the box, this model is ready to start slicing a precision level with a full flat grind and a linerlock, invented by knifemaker Michael Walker. Better yet, it can hold that edge for an extended period of time, requiring very little maintenance to its stainless steel blade, which features a dark, non-reflective coating, giving this model a more tactical look.
Thanks to its extremely lightweight, perfect for ultralight gear, the Tenacious isn’t just a nice option to have around the campsite or a hunting knife but serves very well as an everyday carry too. When folded up, it is just 4 inches (10.16 cm) in length, making it easy to tuck into a pants pocket. It even comes with a four-way pocket clip to hold it securely in place. But don’t let its diminutive size fool you. This is tough and rugged that is comfortable enough for use in a variety of settings from the campground to the job site to the backyard.
4 Kershaw Clash
|Overall Length||7.25 in. (18.4 cm)|
|Blade Length||3.1 in. (7.87 cm)|
|Weight||4.3 oz (122 grams)|
Another folding knife that is great for EDC, the Kershaw Clash is a useful tool that fits nicely in your pocket both on and off the trail. Its sharp blade offers a drop-point with a fine edge but is also partially serrated. That isn’t especially common in a knife of this size, nor on a blade that is relatively short in length.
Still, this is a knife that handles extremely well, making deft cuts with an outstanding level of fine control. The Clash’s textured nylon handle provides a solid grip on the knife at all times and it’s one-handed flipper opening system allows you to get it ready for action, even when your hands are full.
A well-built locking mechanism linerlock ensures that it stays in place when closed too, with an integrated pocket clip to keep it close at hand at all times. Best of all, the Clash feels exceedingly satisfying in your hand, conveying the sense of stability and strength that you would expect from a much larger model. Add in an affordable price point and you have a folding knife that stands out in an extremely crowded field.
5 Gerber StrongArm
|Overall Length||9.8 in. (24.9 cm))|
|Blade Length||4.8 in. (12.2 cm)|
|Weight||7.9 oz (221 grams))|
Another excellent option from Gerber, the StrongArm excels in comfort, durability, and edge retention. This fixed blade model with a fine edge, full tang and a hand-finished grind is lightweight and offers outstanding precision, balancing the length of the blade and the handle nicely. The StrongArm’s contoured hilt is very easy to hold on to, even in wet, slippery conditions.
Not to be outdone, the 420 high-carbon stainless steel blade features a ceramic coating, which not only keeps oxidation to a minimum but greatly enhances durability too. In designing the StrongArm, Gerber took a no-nonsense approach, creating a knife that looks simple, yet still manages to pack in plenty of functionality.
That same approach applies to the included nylon sheath, which not only provides for ambidextrous use but also offers multiple ways of carrying the knife too. Available in both coyote brown or tactical black, this is a knife that is refined and ready for an adventure.
6 Benchmade Bushcrafter 162 Camping Survival Knife
|Overall Length||9.15 in. (23.2 cm)|
|Blade Length||4.4 in. (11.2 cm)|
|Weight||7.7 oz (218 grams)|
Benchmade is another company that has a reputation for making outstanding knives like the Puukko for use in the outdoors and the Bushcrafter 162 is no exception. In fact, this American-made drop-point knife has edge retention and corrosion resistance.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the Bushcrafter’s resin-soaked fiberglass handle and saber grind, which feels great in hand and allows you to maintain a solid grip, even in the worst weather conditions imaginable. An equal amount of attention has been given to the fixed stainless-steel blade as well as the Finnish puukko. Robust in its build quality and capable of resisting the elements in its own right, the blade features a slightly curved design, bringing added stability and safety.
This unique design includes a slight curve where the blade and the handle together, which help to prevent the hand from accidentally slipping onto the knife in slippery or wet conditions. Rounding out the package, the Bushcraft ships with a simple—yet elegant—leather sheath that looks like a throwback from another era. Despite its no-frills design, however, the sheath does a great job of holding the knife in place and keeping it well protected while doing bushcraft tasks.
7 Victorinox SwissChamp Swiss Army Knife
|Overall Length||Varies based on the tools|
|Blade Length||3.6 in. (9.1 cm)|
|Weight||6.5 oz (184 grams)|
There isn’t a knife that is more well-known or recognizable in the entire world than the Swiss Army Knife, thanks to the boy scouts of America. Known for its ability to pack in multiple tools in a compact design, the Swiss Army Knife leads the way in terms of functionality that you can fit into your pocket
With more than 30 tools on its ample body, the SwissChamp keeps that tradition alive and well. Not only are there several different knife blades to choose from, but you’ll also find both a can and bottle opener, a small saw, an integrated screwdriver, and scissors. When it comes to versatility, this knife remains the undisputed champ.
Despite packing in all of those tools, the SwissChamp is surprisingly lightweight and compact. Tipping the scales at just 6.5 ounces (184 grams), it is an efficient piece of engineering. It also happens to feature the Swiss-trademark production quality with a lifetime guarantee which means it can take just about everything you throw at it, and continue to keep functioning.
And while its relatively short blade length may seem to limit, this knife more than makes up for it with all of the other features it brings to the table and is great for any camping or hiking trip.
8 KA-BAR USMC Straight Edge
|Overall Length||11.8 in. ( 30 cm)|
|Blade Length||7 in. (17.8 cm)|
|Weight||11.2 oz (317 grams)|
Built to closely resemble the traditional fighting knives of the United States Marine Corp., there isn’t much that is subtle about the KA-BAR USMC Straight Edge. Made in the USA it is big, bold, and built for use in any environment, this is the model for those who are looking for substance over style.
This is reinforced by KA-BAR’s use of 1095 cro-van steel in the construction of the blade, which actually runs the entire length of the interior of the handle, creating a different level of balance and feel in the process. Although it was originally designed for use on the battlefields of WWII, the Straight Edge still has a lot to offer campers and backpackers.
Besides being rugged enough for use in any environment, it includes both a fine and serrated edge. It also features a unique leather-wrapped handle that gives it a distinctive look and top-notch grip. Add in a sleek, Molle compatible sheath and you get a fighting knife that you can absolutely depend on in the worst conditions imaginable.
9 Helle Utvær Knife
|Overall Length||7.25 in. (18.4 cm)|
|Blade Length||4 in. (10 cm)|
|Weight||5.6 oz (160 grams)|
If you’re looking for a high-end knife that has been handcrafted by an expert knife maker, the Helle Utvær should be on your shortlist. This fixed-blade model manages to blend sophisticated styling and design with a high degree of functionality.
The result is a knife that looks like a work of art, feels incredibly substantial in your hands, and can cut through a tarp, ropes, and twine with ease or used for self-defense if needed. Everything about the Utvær screams quality. From its curly birch wood handle to its Sandvik stainless steel blade, the is a knife that is equal parts backwoods companion and family heirloom.
Its lightweight and well-balanced design make it a joy to use, while its Norwegian craftsmanship gives it a level of durability that is beyond most other models on the market. That applies equally to the included leather sheath, which is simple and refined in its own right. The Utvær’s price tag makes it a model that will appeal more to knife aficionados, rather than beginners.
But for those who know and appreciate all of the fine details that help separate it from the competition, this is a truly outstanding product.
10 Buck Knives 192 Vanguard
|Overall Length||8.5 in. ( 22 cm)|
|Blade Length||4.25 in. (10.8 cm)|
|Weight||6.3 oz (179 grams)|
Buck Knives is another company that has been making high-quality knives for use in the outdoors for decades. That long heritage shines through across its product line, but is especially noticeable in the Vanguard, a knife that combines modern construction with a vintage aesthetic.
This is most noticeable in the classic walnut handle, complete with an integrated finger guard that helps prevent accidental slips. Made from 420 high-carbon stainless steel, the Vanguard is thoroughly modern, however. This gives it excellent edge retention and durability while resisting oxidation and corrosion.
The razor-sharp edge easily slices through just about anything you throw at it, which is a big reason why Buck Knives have always been popular with hunters. The knife proves its worth on the trail and around the campsite too, making short work of kindling while assisting in gear repairs and food prep. An included leather sheath only adds to the premium feel of this product.
It comes with a belt loop and a cover that fastens in place using a snap fastener. This too feels like something from a bygone era, bringing a touch of class to this already-outstanding product.
Are camping knives legal?
The short answer to this is yes, although if you live in the U.S. you may want to check the specific laws that govern your state. For instance, in California, most knives—including camping knives—are legal to carry. There are a few exceptions, however, as switchblades with blades over 2 inches, daggers, ballistic knives, are forbidden.
Where is the best place to buy camping knives?
There are a number of fantastic outlets online where knives can be purchased, including specialty knife sites and outdoor gear retailers. But, it is hard to beat Amazon, as the selection vast and the prices are usually the best around.
Do these knives come with sheaths?
Generally speaking, yes—most camping knives will come with a sheath of some kind. The exception to this could be some folding knives that are designed to be carried in a pocket. It is highly unusual for a fixed-blade knife to not come with a sheath, however.
What other accessories come with these knives?
While a sheath is easily the most common camping knife accessory, some models will come with additional items too. For instance, a ferrite rod that can be used as a fire starter is often included with a survival knife. A sharpening stone to keep the edge of the blade well-honed is another popular accessory. Depending on the style of the knife and the manufacturer, other included items could be matches, paracord, a small compass, or other survival-focused products.
What are the top camping knife brands?
There are literally dozens of excellent knifemaking brands that make high-quality knives for use in the outdoors. Some of the best include Gerber, Benchmade, CRKT, Buck, and Spyderco. This list just scratches the surface and there are plenty of other smaller, boutique brands making outstanding camping knives these days.
How do I sharpen my knife?
Keeping your knife sharp and ready for use is an important skill to know and we could write an entire article on that topic alone. In short, however, you’ll run the blade of your knife across a whetstone at an angle, slowly honing the edge as you go. Sharpening a camping knife is not a complicated procedure, but it does require a little practice and patience. You can read more about how to do it here.
How do I properly clean my knife?
Because their primary purpose is to be used in the outdoors, camping knives can get quite dirty, requiring a good cleaning from time to time. The process of doing that is easy and straightforward, although if you have a blade that isn’t made from stainless steel, you may need to do it more often.
The easiest way to clean your knife is to simply rinse it out in hot water and use a mild soap to scrub it clean. This will remove most dirt, dust, and other debris that is has collected. But some knives, particularly pocket knives, have crevasses and corners that may require a bit more attention.
Using a q-tip, toothpicks, or a small brush, scrub these hard-to-reach places thoroughly. You may be surprised at how much gunk can collecting in these areas. When you’re all through, be sure to use a soft cloth or paper towel to dry off the knife and to remove any excess moisture. If left to dry on its own, the moisture could promote corrosion, which is what we’re looking to avoid in the first place.
Are Bear Grylls knives any good?
We included one of Bear Grylls camping knives in our “best camping knives” round-up for a reason. Made by Gerber with input from Bear himself, these knives are excellent options for anyone looking for a versatile, high-quality model that is durable, comfortable, and thoughtfully designed. Grylls is careful about the products that he puts his name on and that approach shows through in the knives that carry his brand logo.
Is a Fixed Blade Knife better than a Folding Blade Knife?
This is a common debate among knife enthusiasts and one that often comes up in camping forums. There are certainly advantages to either type of blade, depending on what you’re planning on doing with your knife. One thing to keep in mind is that any high-quality folding blade will outperform most lower-grade fixed blades. In the end, it depends on what you want a camping knife for.
Do I need an Assisted-Opening Knife?
Assisted opening knives are models where the blade opens with the use of a spring mechanism inside the handle. This is an advanced feature that requires some practice before you can master it, but it has its benefits too. These knives are great for people who need a knife that can be opened quickly with one hand. There is less risk of the blade snagging on your clothes or other objects because it opens from the inside out.
What are the standard features of a camping knife?
The standard features you’ll find in all good camping knives include a sharp blade, a comfortable grip that is nonslip, and an ergonomic design. Beyond that, there are some additional features you may want to consider depending on the type of camping that interests you most. Here’s a shortlist:
- A Secure-grip handle — is it textured or rubberized in any way? The blade must be attached all the way to the end of the handle.
- Serrated edge — some people prefer this for cutting ropes and other objects that are more difficult to slice through.
- Sheath or case — not strictly necessary, but many people appreciate having a way of keeping their knife safe while also being able to easily access it
- Full tang — this is where the blade extends the entire length of the handle.
- Pocket clip — some knives come with a pocket clip that allows you to secure it in your pocket, which is helpful for folding or multi-tools.
- Serrated edge — great for cutting thick ropes and fabrics but does not work as well on wood.
- Straight edge — good for slicing and carving wood, as well as cutting meat and vegetables.
What is the difference between a high carbon knife and a stainless steel knife?
The answer to this question lies in the composition of each metal. High carbon steel is a type of solid material that contains a very small amount of chromium and nickel. This will make it easier for you to sharpen your knife due to its hardness, but it also makes the knife blade more vulnerable to corrosion if not properly taken care of. Stainless steel knives are made using an alloy that contains at least 10.5 percent chromium for corrosion resistance, which makes it a good camping knife that can also be used or hunting purposed as its steel blade is resistant to corrosion.
Knives made from high carbon steel are ideal for camping and survival purposes because they are more durable and easier to sharpen.
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