Camping is a great way to relax and get in touch with nature.
Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a first-timer looking to dip your toes into the camping experience, a camping knife is an essential tool for your pack.
Able to cut vines and rope, chop branches, or even slice food, a good camping knife will serve you well on your next camping trip. But with so many camping knives out there, it can be tricky to find the one that’s right for you.
But don’t worry! This handy guide to camping knives will look into some of the best knives available, breaking down some of their best features as well as any downsides.
And speaking of upgrades, you might also be interested in another article I’ve written on the best blackout tents. It’ll help you fall asleep by blocking out 99% sunlight.
1. GVDV Folding Camping Knife
This simple camping knife is perfect for short camping trips. Small but sharp, the blade is made of strong titanium-coated stainless steel.
It is easy to use – the folding blade has a built-in safety lock to protect your fingers, and its stylish wooden handle is comfortable to hold while you’re using it.
While the blade is short, only measuring 3.4 inches, it can cut precisely and easily. Although the GVDV Folding Camping Knife is basic, it is a great choice for anyone going on a shorter trip and won’t need a heavy-duty knife.
- Titanium-coated steel blade
- Folding safety lock
- Compact and easy to carry
- Far from multi-functional
- Blade has no serrated edge
- Very basic knife
2. Gerber Gear Ultimate Survival Knife
If you’re looking for something simple but effective, the Gerber Gear Ultimate Survival Knife is the knife for you. This knife offers many different uses without being too flashy or sacrificing any strength and comfort.
Its full-tang handle is comfortable and non-slip, with a steel pommel on the end that is perfect for hammering in tent stakes. The serrated edge on the blade lets it saw as well as cut.
As well as that, the sheath not only includes a built-in sharpener for maintaining your knife on the go, but also a fire-starter which can be sparked off the striking notch on the blade.
This knife is easy-to-use and simple to maintain, ideal for amateur campers or anyone interested in a good quality and long-lasting knife.
The usefulness of this knife matches only its simplicity, making it an all-around great choice for camping.
- Comfortable rubber handle
- Sheath includes a fire-starter
- Blade cuts and saws
- Blade is fixed in place
- Takes up a lot of space
- Pretty costly at $50
3. Kershaw Camping Knife
While some knives may be too short for heavy duty chopping and cutting, the Kershaw Camping Knife is more than up to the task. Its long blade comes in either 10”, 14” or 18”, making it far longer than the other camping knives on this list.
On top of that, it is made of carbon tool steel with a black powdercoat to prevent snapping, and has a full-tang blade to increase its durability. The added length of this knife makes it great for camping in more overgrown areas.
It can cut through thick greenery and vines with ease, and can even clear small trees. The handle is made of contoured non-slip rubber with a handguard that protects your fingers.
And when you need to transport the knife, you can attach it to your pack via the nylon straps or via the lashing holes on the sheath. If you’re looking for something heavy-duty, then consider the Kershaw Camping Knife.
Just bear in mind that it has limited functionality, as the knife has no serrated edge or any other tools.
- Comes in 10″, 14″, and 18″
- Very tough and durable
- Features non-slip rubber coating
- Tough to store and transport
- Only functions as a knife
- Costly at around $70
4. Holtzman’s Gorilla Bushcraft Knife
Want something a little more luxurious? The Holtzman’s Gorilla Survival is a cut above the rest. The sleek design matches its precision cutting and ergonomic grip. Made of high-quality carbon steel, the full-tang blade is highly durable and impact resistant.
You can carry it around easily in its locking sheath, which can be attached to your belt or hung by the lanyard holes. On top of the knife itself, the Holtzman’s Gorilla Survival knife also comes with a fire-starter, a fire scraper, and an Allen wrench.
These can all be stored in the sheath to minimize bulk and keep the tools unobtrusive.
With the combined luxury and practicality of this knife, why should you settle for anything less?
- Cuts through most materials
- Anti-slip and easy to grip handle
- Easy and safe to carry
- Small blade at only 4″
- Sheath lock is fiddly
- Not ideal for intense jobs
5. KINGMAX Camping Knife And Multitool
If you want to get the most out of your camping knife, this combined knife and multitool from KINGMAX has got you covered. The dual-purpose of this knife not only makes it perfect for any camping situation, but also has uses outside of camping.
Its rust-resistant stainless steel blade can lock when open or closed and folds at the push of a button. The sharp blade and serrated edge can cut through most materials easily.
But this knife doesn’t just function well as a blade – there is also an entire toolbox built into the handle. The multi-tool capabilities of the KINGMAX Camping Knife include tools like pliers, a can opener, a saw, and 9 different screwdriver heads.
This means that you can use your knife for more than just camping, you can use it for plenty of day-to-day functions as well.
The KINGMAX Camping Knife and Multitool is ideal for any situation, and is a great choice for someone who prefers to stay prepared both while camping and in their day-to-day lives.
- Includes plenty of functions
- Blade locks when open/closed
- Durable and rust-proof blade
- Pliers aren’t exactly heavy-duty
- Tools are cumbersome to use
- Not the most durable handle
What you need to consider when buying a new camping knife
When choosing a camping knife, there are several things you should keep an eye out for. These will differ based on how you’ll be using your knife. Here are some things to consider.
There are some basic features that you should look out for when making your choice. Many knives have these, and are a good baseline for what your knife should have.
Non-slip handles are a great feature and essential on any camping knife, improving the knife’s handling and reducing the risk of accidents if the handle gets wet.
If you would prefer not to get a folding knife, you should consider at least getting a sheath either included or separately, as this not only keeps you safer but will also keep the blade sharp and clean.
You should also consider the functionality of your knife. What you’ll be using your knife for will determine the best knife for you. Foldable knives tend to be less resistant to stress and the locking system can lose its strength.
Straight knives can be sturdier, but take up more space and have fewer safety measures than knives that can fold and lock.
Consider what extras you may need and prioritize a knife that can provide multiple functions to reduce space and the number of additional tools you need.
Your choice may differ based on the purpose you want. If you need a knife for lots of cutting and chopping, get a knife that has a stronger and/or longer blade.
Longer blades are better for cutting through vines and branches if you’re camping in a more overgrown environment, while smaller knives offer more precision when slicing and cutting.
Additionally, if you only need a knife for the blade, don’t waste money on more expensive knives with extras you won’t use.
On the flipside, multi-purpose camping knives can be a great way to lessen your load, offering the versatility of a toolbox in one item.
One major thing you must consider when buying a camping knife is its legality. If you’re unsure whether you can own a camping knife, or any laws surrounding camping knives, check the laws in your area.
Knife laws can vary based on your state, county, or even city, so it’s important to make sure that you’re not breaking the law by owning a camping knife.
Additionally, you must always use a camping knife responsibly. Improper and irresponsible handling of a knife can lead to serious injury or worse, and if you’re camping in a more remote area you may be far from assistance.
Frequently asked questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to purchasing a new camping knife.
What can I use my camping knife for?
A camping knife is useful for many different things while camping. The blade is perfect for cutting through rope and thick plant growth, chopping through branches, or slicing up food.
Knives like the Gerba Gear Ultimate include a solid, weighted pommel on the handle which can be used as a hammer or mallet for tent pegs. Some knives, including several on this list, will also be multi-functional.
This can range from including a fire-starter attachment or a serrated edge for sawing, to a knife having several other tools built into it (such as the KINGMAX camping knife and multitool.)
With the variety of uses a camping knife can offer, it is a vital piece of equipment every camper should own.
Are extra functions necessary?
This depends on what you intend to use your camping knife for. If you’re only going camping overnight or in an environment that won’t require a knife, you won’t need anything too fancy (if you’re bringing one at all).
However, longer camping trips in more remote and overgrown areas will call for something more heavy-duty. Features like a fire-starter and a blade sharpener are great for longer trips and maintaining your knife on the go.
And if you’re looking for something that has extra functionality, even outside of camping, consider getting a knife and multitool. This will make sure you’re getting the best use out of your knife, without having to get an entire toolkit.
Can’t I just use a regular knife?
Most unspecialized knives aren’t suitable for use in camping, and can be dangerous if used inappropriately. A kitchen knife, for example, doesn’t have the same functionality as a camping knife.
Camping knives are designed to withstand strong impacts and be multi-functional, and maximize safety for use in difficult situations. Other knives may go blunt or be damaged, and can even break entirely when subjected to the same impacts.
Using a knife incorrectly can lead to injury or worse. If you use a knife that isn’t suitable for use as a camping knife, you are putting yourself at risk.
Is a folding knife better?
This mostly comes down to preference and practicality. A folding knife is a great way to save room in your pack and reduce bulk. It can also be safer, as the blade can be folded away and locked in place when not needed.
Fixed-blade knives, however, tend to be more durable and impact-resistant compared to foldable knives.
The blade can extend into the handle unlike in a folding knife, resulting in a stronger and longer-lasting knife. In terms of practicality, a folding knife is easy and safe to carry and is perfect for most simple and less intense uses.
Fixed-blade knives are better-suited for heavy-duty use and can be more reliable.
Both types of knife are great choices, and don’t differ significantly due to their design. It’s up to you which style you prefer.