A good camping knife can make the difference between an unforgettable time being at one with nature, or a frustrating experience that will have you wishing you never left the comfort of your home.
Camping knives are great companions for cutting wood, preparing food, and fending off any unwanted predators you may encounter.
The best ones will always be a mix of versatility, performance and overall value.
As you will quickly find out, there are many options you need to consider when shopping for a blade.
Sifting through all the choices can be overwhelming, so we have compiled some of the top blades for you to consider in your quest for the ultimate camping knife.
Best Utility Camping Knives Reviewed
1. Gerber Bear Grylls Scout Knife
The Grylls Scout Knife is an excellent all-purpose pocket knife that is a nice addition to your tool box. Refined over previous models to give you a finer edge, this little guy will fold up nicely from an open length of 6.5” so you can take it anywhere.
Another nice feature is the double locking system they use to guard against accidents and ensure safe storage. It also comes with a pocket clip and a sturdy rubber grip to prevent slippage, is well-balanced and fits nicely in the hand.
- Excellent multi-purpose knife
- Extremely sharp
- Double locking studs for safety
2. Benchmade Bushcrafter 162
Made in the USA and boasting some very impressive specs, the Bushcrafter 162 is one mean blade. Forged with S30V steel to prevent corrosion and extend edge retention, this full tang survival knife is both stable and meaty. Weighing in at almost 8 lbs., with 4.43 inches of blade and another 4.77 inches of handle.
Perfect for those tough outdoor tasks, great care has also been given to the G10 fiberglass handle which provides you a water-resistant grip that provides stability in a variety of outdoor environments. This rugged workhorse will keep you happy during your outdoor adventures for years to come.
- Premium Craftsmanship
- Minimum Maintenance
- Lifetime Warranty
3. Gerber StrongArm Fixed Blade
The Gerber StrongArm is a great full tang option if you are looking to stick within a budget. Equipped with a serrated edge for busting through potentially tricky fibrous materials like rope, the 420HC blade is ceramic coated with a hair-shaving edge that will stand up to most outdoor applications. At almost 10 inches in length with 4.8” of steel, it can do some serious damage.
The military-minded sheath system is a nice addition and can house this knife in both vertical and horizontal positions on your belt or Molle. The base also includes a pommel for striking while the grip uses diamond-textured rubber for maximum precision.
- Multi-Functional Edge
- Striking Pommel Included
- Unique Sheath System
4. Victorinox Hunter Pro
Probably one of the most lightweight multi-tools in existence, the Victorinox Swiss Army Hunter Pro is a must-have for any outdoorsman. World-renowned and affordable, you will get years of life from this 5-function treasure with only minor maintenance down the line. The scissors, 1.25” blade, and mini screwdriver will get the most use, but the file comes in handy every now and then, and they’ve even included a key ring to round it out nicely. Constructed with stainless steel in Switzerland, extreme portability allows easy transport wherever you go. Putting this in our list was a no-brainer.
- Excellent Multi-Purpose Tool
- Variety of colors to choose from
- Can be personalized
5. Fallkniven F1
This full tang camping knife is all about durability. The F1 from Swedish maker Fallkniven is a military-style survival knife made of durable VG10 steel with a convex grind and a Thermorun elastomer handle. The Thermorun handle provides a safe and comfortable grip that is insensitive to environmental elements while keeping costs affordable.
At 8.25 inches in length, this is a great choice for any camping enthusiast as it lends itself well to most applications. We chose the F1 model over the S1 because of the Zytel Sheath that is more durable and resistant to moisture than the S1’s.
- Excellent Blade for Wood Processing and Ferro striking
- Comfortable Thermorun Grip
- Multi-Purpose for Camping, Backpacking, or Hunting
6. ESEE Fixed Blade Knife
Marketed as a survival, escape, and evasion knife, you would think that Esee is preparing people for a zombie apocalypse. The good news is that it probably would be a great choice. Standing out from its competitors with its eye-catching bright orange design, it employs extremely thick 1095 carbon steel for a hefty full tang blade.
As a result, you get a thicker micarta handle, but it still feels good in the hand while you chop your way through the wilderness. Esee encourages you to regularly clean and oil your blade as 1095 is prone to staining and rusting. However, learning to properly maintain your equipment should always be part of responsible knife ownership.
- Unique Design
- Thick Blade for Robust Applications
- Full Tang Blade
7. KATSU Folding Pocket Knife
Produced with high carbon VG10 steel, this Japanese pocket knife is a true work of art. Not only does it look good, but it also provides extremely hard and corrosion-resistant steel. Unfolding from a tiny 5 inches to an impressive 9, the stonewashed blade opens fluidly with one hand and the locking system keeps it in place perfectly.
Katsu has balanced this tool extremely well and it is extremely sharp straight out of the box. Small details such as an etched-in logo on the blade as well as the high-quality leather sheath make this an attractive option for not only camping enthusiasts, but also knife collectors.
- Aesthetically Striking
- High-Quality for the Price Point
- Fast Deploying and Razor Sharp
8. Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife
As seen on TV, this knife is one of the best budget knives money can buy. An excellent option if you are just beginning your bushwhacking adventures, the Ultimate Knife is a full tang, stainless steel blade that is half serrated so you can cut through a wider range of materials.
At almost 5” of blade, and 10 inches total, this economical camping knife comes with its own sharpening stone, Ferro rod, emergency whistle, and sheath. The grippy, rubberized handle provides good stability and the two holes at the top of the handle aid in turning this knife into a spear. The base of the knife can also double as a hammer.
- Budget Friendly
- Great for Beginners
- Packed Full of Features
9. KA-BAR Utility Knife
You would be hard-pressed to find a weapon that is more legit than this knife from Ka-Bar. Sleek and stunning, it is definitely one of the most aesthetically-pleasing blades you can own. Forged with 1095 carbon, the length of this steel is a massive 7 inches, with 4 inches of leather grip handle designed to withstand the elements.
Definitely meant to accommodate some abuse, the clip point blade pierces and slices efficiently and includes a metal pommel sufficient for hammering or smashing whatever your heart desires. Ka-Bar also provides a 100% leather sheath that can be attached to your belt and perfectly secures this baby when you are roaming in the wild.
- Beautiful Aesthetics
- Efficient and Handles Well
- High-Quality Blade for Multiple Uses
10. Morakniv Companion
4.1 inches of blade. 12C27 Swedish stainless steel. Razor-sharp and tough as nails. You might want to seriously consider this outdoor knife that is a mix of form, function and value.
Less prone to rusting than many of its competitors, you will be able to cut wood easily and prep campfire tinder while retaining the blade’s edge, making it extremely versatile if you feel like filleting fish or cutting up meat
. The grip is very good and won’t slip even when your hand is drenched in water or fish guts. The Mora Companion is not only a must-have tool, but the price you pay for it is an absolute steal.
- Swedish Stainless-Steel
- Economically Priced
- Versatile and Stable for Many Applications
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Sharpen a Camping Knife?
While there are plenty of powered sharpeners on the market that can restore your blade’s edge, camping knives are traditionally sharpened manually, allowing for stricter control. Popular choices are whetstones along with both steel and ceramic rods. A pro tip to lengthen blade life is to regularly hone your knife, which is essentially a preventative maintenance to keep the knife sharper, longer.
How to Close a Camping Knife?
Camping knives that are foldable are a bit trickier to get the hang of opening and closing. Always with safety in mind, you want to hold the knife by the handle and look for the switch which is just underneath the blade. With your thumb, push the switch to one side to release the blade.
Then, using your index finger push on the back of the blade (the dull side) until it folds into the handle. An even safer method you can employ (once the switch is released) is to rotate the knife so the tip of the blade is pointing away from you. Using a level surface like the ground, or a table, you can fold the knife up by pushing the handle into the blade.
How to Clean a Camping Knife?
Cleaning your knife is a multi-faceted process. Standard knives can be gently scrubbed with a toothbrush using soap and warm water, as can pocket knives. What you want to make sure of is that you have thoroughly rinsed them to avoid leaving behind any residue.
Pocket knives require a bit more maintenance as debris such as dust and lint can build up at the pivot points and locking mechanism, affecting opening and closing. This dirt can be picked out with a small screwdriver, toothpick, or q-tip. After you have cleaned and air-dried your knife, you should lubricate the blade to restore it to its original glory.
Petroleum-based lubricants are the most popular, but you can also use a dry teflon-based spray-on lubricant. Be sure to use a lubricant that is safe for food if you intend on using your knife for meal prep.
What Kind of Knife Should I Take Camping?
The ultimate camping knife would be one that is extremely versatile as camping requires multiple skills ranging from wood prep, to food prep, to taking down predators. I would highly recommend the Bushcrafter 162 from Benchblade if you are looking for the best camping knife that money can buy. 5-star reviews across the board and built for the bush, you will be able to get a lot of life out of this durable tool.
How Many Inches is the Blade on a Camping Knife?
Camping knife blades usually have a length anywhere in the range of 4 – 7 inches.
Are Camping Knives Legal?
For the most part, camping knives are legal in the USA but with restrictions. Depending on which state you are in with you may encounter laws against concealed carry and blades that are over a certain length. Most schools, federal/government buildings, and airplanes ban knives as well. It is highly recommended to take some time to learn your state’s laws when it comes to knife ownership and where you can and cannot go with it.
What Can I Use a Camping Knife for?
Camping knives have a long list of uses and are insanely useful, here are all the most common applications when out in the wild.
- Whittling Wood
- Package Opening
- Food Prep
What are the Different Types of Camping Knives?
There are basically two different types of camping knives – fixed blades and folding blades.
Fixed blade: larger, usually (but not always) full tang, heavy duty applications like cutting thicker wood, meat, and hunting
Folding blade: smaller, great portability, light duty applications like cutting fishing line, light woods, packaging, and filleting fish
Buyers Guide: How to Choose a Camping Knife
There is no one knife that can do it all, so your decision should be based on what you will be using the knife for.
Fixed blades are less compact than folded ones, but they are also a more heavy-duty blade. Folded knives are handy little tools but geared toward lighter duty tasks.
What will you cut
You must also take into account what you will be cutting. Meat? Wood? Light packaging? All of these require the correct blade shape and strength for the task. Recurve blades are best for slicing through fibrous material like rope, while Wharncliffe blades or tantos produce great results as a basic slashing blade.
A popular model for hunters is a drop-point blade, where the top half of the blade pitches down and creates a very fine point making applications as well as sharpening extremely user-friendly.
Other features to pay attention to are the blade grind and the material of which it is made of. Again, depending on task, the grind can make all the difference. Hollow grinds are extremely common slicing grinds, flat grinds will get the job done 95% of the time, and convex grinds are your go-to if you need something more robust to do some heavier work like chopping, which will also require harder steel.
High-quality hard steels will give you longer edge life and maintain the blade’s integrity as they are less prone to bending or breaking, while steel that is corrosion-resistant will keep your blade in beautiful shape, as water or food acids can rust a blade quickly.
As you can see, the business of camping knife ownership comes with many options and considerations. Blade shapes and sizes, durability and toughness, and applications ranging from wood prep, to meal prep, to personal protection are all things you need to think about when going off the grid. You will never find a single knife that can do it all, but you can get pretty close with many on our list. Hopefully, this article has cleared up some questions you may have had about blades for your outdoor adventures.