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When you are out in the wild, a reliable camping knife can mean the difference between a good experience and a bad one. If you have ever tried chopping firewood with a cheap, dollar-store blade, you know exactly what we mean!
However, the world of best camping knives can be quite overwhelming since there are so many varieties out there. Before buying, you need to consider several factors and specs to cut through the “hype” and find a keeper.
To help you find a truly best camping knife, we have compiled a list of 10 best knives after field-testing dozens of them. Let’s dig in!
At a Glance: Our Choices for The 10 Best Camping Knives
Click on one of the links to go directly to our overview, opinion, and features of each knife.
How to Choose a Camping Knife
Before we take a look at the best camping knives the market has to offer, let’s understand what things you need to look for in a knife:
HRC or the Rockwell scale refers to the blade’s ability to resist bending. The majority of folding knife blades have a HRC rating between 54-64. To give you an idea, the higher the HRC rating, the harder will be the steel.
It’s always a good idea to choose harder steel because the knife will keep its sharp edges for a long time.
Weight and Dimensions
Do you want a bulky knife or a heavy duty pocket knife? How much weight do you want to carry? For general camping stuff, a medium-sized knife is perfect. This means a 9 to 11-inch-long knife with 4 to 6-inch blade.
If you choose a carbon steel knife that’s too big, you may find it challenging to perform some delicate tasks. If it is too small like a pocket knife, you won’t be able to bushwhack, hammer, chop or perform other heavy-duty tasks.
The worst thing that can happen to a survival knife is corrosion or rust after just a few trips to the field. The level of corrosion resistance depends on what type of steel it is.
For example, razor-sharp stainless-steel blades feature the best resistance to both corrosion and rust. High carbon steel, on the other hand, offer incredible hard edge retention, but they are prone to corrosion.
There are three types of stainless-steel blades: S30V (most expensive and high-quality), 154CM (average quality), and 420HC (cheapest option). All of these blades have superlative rust and corrosion resistance.
Grip and Handle
A camping knife with a poor grip can cause slippage and blisters, leading to cuts, or worse – missing fingers! So, make sure your knife’s handle is made of materials that reduce slippage. The handle should have an ergonomic design that fits your grip perfectly and is easy on your hands.
Also, we suggest choosing a knife that comes with a solid pommel or butt; it can be very useful during hammering tasks like bashing in tent poles.
Folding vs. Fixed
Foldable knives are lightweight, compact, and safer than fixed blades.
Whereas fixed blades tend to be longer and more durable. Unfortunately, in the event of a fall, a fixed carbon steel knife can be dangerous.
There are different types of blades which are suitable for different tasks:
Clip-point blade: These razor-sharp blades are thinner with a sharp point, and more suited to delicate knife work.
Drop point blade: The spine of a drop point blade is curved so as to reduce the risk of piercing, puncturing, or poking accidentally. It is considered to be very strong and works perfectly for chopping, cutting, and other heavier uses.
Tanto blade: These are really heavy-duty knives with a hard tip. Tanto blades are perfect for splitting or piercing but not for food prep.
Santoku/sheepsfoot: These blades are straight cutting and have a rounded spine. These blades are ideal for food preparation.
The best camping knives come with several features to enhance their performance, convenience, and safety. These include:
- One-handed opening feature to allow you to release the blade fast and with one hand.
- A locking blade to offer maximum safety and prevent potentially tragic consequences of accidental closure.
- A full tang feature to reduce the risk of breakage and injuries.
- Assisted opening feature so you can easily open it while engaged in other tasks like cooking or fishing.
Of course, appearance is equally important with a high carbon steel knife – you don’t want to get going on your camping adventure with something that looks like a simple pocket knife or your granny’s butter knife!
Some manufacturers you may find on Amazon.com or other e-commerce platforms may have rights reserved on their specific design for looks as well as function.
Top 10 Camping Knives
Buck 192 Vanguard
(+) Superior quality, 420HC stainless steel blade
(+) Highly durable (maintains its sharp edges for years)
(+) Lifetime warranty
(+) Integrated finger guard
(+) Full tang construction
(-) Poor sheath
(-) Imperfect finish (small grooves and indents on the knife)
If you’re looking for a tough, high-performing knife that’s as fit for heavy-duty tasks as it is for detailed knife work, consider the Buck 192 vanguard.
This is a fixed blade knife with an extremely classy look. It offers maximum precision whether you’re cutting rope, chopping kindling, splitting wood, or skinning game. With a polished steel blade, a wide bolster, and a lacquered wooden handle, this is a gorgeous knife.
The Buck Vanguard fills all the needs of a fixed steel knife that you might be looking for. Due to its deeply re-curved tip, it performs the skinning tasks with perfection. If you consider yourself a woodsman, this is the best camping knife for you.
Why should you buy it: Toughest and most durable.
Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife
(+) Cheap and highly functional
(+) Soft grip rubber handle
(+) Full tang 440A stainless steel blade
(+) Versatile, 4.5-inch blade
(+) Serrated blade (awesome for wood sawing)
(-) Inadequate sheath (made of plastic)
(-) Looks like a kitchen knife
(-) Not suitable for extreme campers
The Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate scores top marks for handle design and blade design. This beauty features a beefy drop point blade, deeply-inset finger relief, and an almost full-bevel.
It also has a striking notch and a ferro rod on the back. Ferro rods are the most advanced flint and steel kits which throw off the hot sparks showers.
But that’s not all: Gerber Bear also has a great ergonomic bolster on it to separate the handle from the blade. Just in case you stab the knife into something and your hands are wet, you really don’t want your hand accidentally sliding down the blade!
We also love the fact that it has a striking groove on the spine of the knife as it prevents dulling of blade by striking the ferro rod.
This knife from Gerber is available in two models: half-serrated and non-serrated “Fine-Edge”. If you don’t want a knife that renders half the blade useless for most camping tasks, choose the latter.
Why should you buy it: Best value for your money.
(+) Weighs only 4.8 oz
(+) Very sharp blade
(+) Solid handle and a great grip
(+) Belt clip is included with the plastic sheath
(-) Short blade (only 4.1-inches long)
(-) Not very durable (needs frequent sharpening)
This carbon-bladed Morakniv Companion has a lot going for it when you are looking for a great camping experience. For starters, it weighs a mere 4.8 ounces so it’s perfect for easy and casual backpackers. It is a solid, 1/8-inch-thick knife with a surprisingly grippy handle.
It may not be as fancy-looking as other best camping knives on this list, but it has that no-nonsense kind of appearance that appeals to many campers.
Another appealing factor is its price. This is one of the affordable and good camping tools on the market, and it definitely has a quality build. If you’re looking for a simple, compact, and versatile knife that can perform all the essential chores out in the woods, the Morakniv Companion won’t disappoint.
The best thing about it is probably its rubber handle that settles perfectly in any size hand. It slices through almost every vegetable like butter, which makes it great for food prep while camping. It is equally effective in cleaning freshly-caught fish and whittling wood.
As amazing as all that sounds, please keep in mind that this knife is not meant for heavy-duty tasks, like bringing down small trees in an extreme survival situation.
Why should you buy it: The most lightweight thing you can get.
Gerber Prodigy Survival Knife
(+) Solid construction with a seriously grippy handle
(+) High-quality steel blade (maintains edge retention for longer)
(+) Tremendous sheath
(+) Highly versatile
(+) Serious value for money considering its quality
(-) Handle may be small for some people
(-) The leg strap for the sheath may be small for most men
Another winner from the house of Gerber, this knife has a serrated blade and a piercing drop-point that’s perfect for almost any camping/survival scenario you can imagine. Sawing through branches? Check. Cutting the rope and webbing? Check. Cutting through small trees like butter? Check!
This Prodigy Survival knife is made of American stainless steel and its full-tang fixed blade is extraordinarily strong.
On top of that, the blade is ceramic-coated for rust/corrosion resistance and diminished visibility. The reduced visibility features makes it one of the best camping knives in the market at this price range.
The knife handle is made from glass-filled nylon, and the SoftGrip rubber ensures the best grip during all kinds of weather conditions. To add to its safety features, the manufacturers have included a MOLLE-compatible sheath that comes with a friction-release thumb lock.
This knife is 9.75-inches long with a 4.75-inches long blade. There is also a leg strap included which gives you options with respect to transportation.
Why should you buy it: Best quality camping knife.
Schrade SCHF36 Frontier
(+) Very heavy-duty and sturdy
(+) Great grip and comfortable handle (little to no risk of slippage)
(+) Finger-notch for detailed knife work
(+) 90-degree spine; great for striking a ferro rod
(+) Full tang for incredible balance and leverage
(-) The sharpening stone is low-quality
(-) Coated blade is not very durable (it starts to look worn out quickly)
(-) The thick blade makes fine-detail work a little challenging
The Schrade Frontier is a knife for manly men, with its full-tang build and a ferro rod and striker. It also comes with a sharpening stone.
We love its finger-notch feature that’s located directly underneath the blade. It makes for a very ergonomic and comfortable hold for tasks that need precision.
For a knife that’s not very expensive, the Schrade Frontier does impressively well while splitting firewood and chopping through branches. But it is not as sturdy or heavy-duty like the Gerber Prodigy Survival knife, so it will take a bit longer to cut through the firewood and branches.
Its blade is not designed for food preparation; in an emergency situation it can handle it though (barely). This is less of a kitchen knife and more of a workhorse camping knife.
For the price, you get a tough and quality knife that comes with a decent fire starter and sharpener. If you are looking for good knives camping without a hefty price tag, the Schrade Frontier is a safe bet.
Why should you buy it: Best performance in its price range.
(+) S30V stainless steel blade, very tough
(+) 59 HRC (hardness rating)
(+) High-quality construction
(+) Steel pommel/butt for effortless hammering
(+) Virtually unbreakable
(+) Comes with a leather sheath
(-) Large and heavyweight
(-) Very expensive
This is a beast of a knife with a 6.3-inches long blade. Fallkniven A1 weighs about 11.3 oz and is 11-inches long, which means it won’t be to everyone’s taste.
However, if you are looking for the most reliable camping knife that money can buy, this is the one. With a 420J2 and VG-10 steel construction, the Fallkniven comes with a protruding broad tang and Kraton handle. Talk about pretty and functional!
There is a reason why the Fallkniven A1 is one of the most popular camping knives among serious campers. Over the years, it has been used by law enforcement and military in countries like Sweden and the US. If that doesn’t speak about its quality, we don’t know what will.
Its laminated VG-10 Japanese stainless-steel blade is the most reliable and strongest fixed blade you’ll ever find. The knife is slightly heavier and larger than other fixed blade knives in this category but it does feel solid and sturdy in the hand.
This is a full-tang fixed blade knife, which means you can do almost any heavy-duty task with it without worrying about the handle coming apart.
The Fallkniven A1 comes razor-sharp out of the box and depending upon what you do with it, it can hold its edge for several years. This knife is also very efficient during extreme weather conditions. From skinning meat to slicing small branches, there is almost nothing you can’t do with A1.
Why should you buy it: Virtually unbreakable and perfect for all-season camping
(+) High carbon, 1095 steel blade
(+) Very durable
(+) Extremely thin blade, perfect for peeling and slicing
(+) Detachable handle
(+) Lifetime warranty
(-) Not resistant to rust and corrosion
(-) Not great for heavy-duty knife work
When we first held the Esee 4P knife in our hands, we could easily tell how sturdy and solid it is. It features a Micarta handle that is well-known for being extremely durable as well as comfortable. At the same time, it also makes this knife quite light.
The Esee 4P comes with a Kydex sheath which feels very snuggly and practical. It also has a detachable clip.
Like all Esee knives, this 4P model is made from the sharpest and strongest materials: 1095 carbon steel. If you are looking for a trusty camping knife to accompany you on your adventure, this is an excellent option.
The drop-point blade of 4P makes it perfect for hunting and slicing without doing unnecessary damage to the animal/meat. The 9-inch knife is accessible and easy to carry with other camping stuff you have.
Why should you buy it: Ideal camping knife for food prep.
(+) Very stylish and comfortable
(+) 4.4-inch blade suitable for cutting, bushwhacking, and chopping
(+) S3-V stainless steel blade, very tough
(+) Extremely grippy and ergonomic design
(+) 58-60 HRC (hardness rating)
(+) Lifetime warranty
(-) Very expensive
So what if you need to rob a bank to buy the Benchmade Bushcrafter, it will be worth it!
One look at this knife, and you can tell its superior quality and craftsmanship. It features a contoured handle for amazing grip, drop-point, and S30V stainless steel blade that’s as strong as a Samurai’s sword.
Some may find it a bit heavy, with its 7 oz. weight but trust us, every ounce of Bushcrafter is packed with goodness. The 4.4-inch blade is full-tang which means it’s perfect for the hard and heavy campsite activities like pounding the tent poles.
The molded G-10 scales on the handle make for very strong and comfortable grip no matter how bad the weather situation gets. The handle also features a flared tubing so as to pull the material in on the tang and ensure that it won’t come loose when you’re getting down and dirty with your campsite responsibilities.
The overall knife length is 9.5 inches and it comes with a beautiful leather sheath.
Why should you buy it: Best grip and appearance.
Spyderco Endura 4
(+) Available in 3 options: straight blade, serrated blade, hybrid blade.
(+) Blade is coated with titanium carbonitride for durability
(+) Resistant to rust and corrosion
(+) VG-10 steel, high-carbon blade
(+) Very lightweight at 3.6 oz.
(-) Blade is short at only 3.75-inches long
(-) Difficult to polish and clean due to a closed spine
(-) Handle is not very sturdy
In the world of high-quality survival knives, Spyderco is a well-known brand. Their Endura knife comes with a non-serrated blade that’s short in length and a slim handle.
The handle also features finger-relief or minimal bolster and offers a decent grip. The overall design and shape of the Spyderco Endura make it awesome for peeling and slicing, but not so much for stabbing. Nevertheless, this will be a salient addition to your camping kit.
It’s a folding blade knife, which means there is a chance it can get damaged while performing heavy-duty tasks like splitting. If you prefer a fixed blade knife, consider other options but if you are looking for the best folding knife, the Endura is a suitable option.
In addition to being razor-sharp and lightweight, its blade is corrosion-resistant as well. So, if you are looking for a low-maintenance camping knife that you won’t have to clean as much, Endura fits the bill nicely.
Generally speaking, this is a terrific knife for newbie or light campers as it’s perfect for trimming and basic food prep.
Why should you buy it: Perfect camping knife for beginners.
The Kershaw Blur packs a lot of punch for a camping knife that’s so lightweight. This is a compact, flip-open knife that is ideal for folks who want a no-fuss knife.
It is a little short compared to other knives in its category which means you won’t be able to perform the really heavy-duty tasks with it.
The speed safe lock and spring-assisted opening make it very safe and easy to use, making it a great choice for newbie campers and backpackers. It also comes with a reversible belt clip so you can access the knife at a fast-and-furious speed!
Why should you buy it: Best camping knife for lazy campers.
How to Take Care of Your Camping Knife
A good camping knife will last you several years if you take care of it. It’s a precision tool that won’t only cut your bacon but also save it when the odd occasion arises! To make sure your camping knife stays in the top condition, follow the below tips:
Always clean the knife when you are done
It is a given that your knife will get wet and dirty when you’re using it on a campsite. However, you must ensure that it is clean and dry when you are done with the work.
Before you sheath the knife, clean it really good and then dry it before putting it away.
Respect the knife
As archaic as it may sound, it is important to respect your camping stuff and not abuse it. It also goes for your camping knives.
A knife is designed to handle a variety of campsite tasks like cleaning fish, cutting rope, and whittling snakes. Unless your knife has a built-in butt/pummel in the handle, do NOT use it as a hammer. Similarly, don’t use your camping knife like an ice pick or screwdriver.
Hone the blade on a regular basis
A camping knife can be your most trusted piece of equipment during an outdoors trip, so you want the blade to be sharp and crisp at all times. The only way to achieve that is by honing the blade regularly.
Think of it like changing the oil in your car. Just because you’ve bought the most expensive camping knife doesn’t mean you won’t need to hone and sharpen it. Hone it after each use for best results.
Lubricate the knife
If you have a folding camping knife, you’ll need to keep it well-lubricated at all times. We suggest using an oil-based lubricant over the moving parts of your knife. But don’t get carried away and make sure to wipe away the excess.
After careful analysis and our own experience, we settled on the Morakniv Companion as our top pick. It is incredibly tough and versatile, and can handle pretty much every task you throw at it. And the best part is, it’s very affordable as well!
If you’re looking for the best camping knife to split firewood, chop food and cut cordage, the Morakniv Companion is hands-down the best option.
The Fallkniven A1 is a very close second. It is extremely durable and well-made, and ideal for heavy-duty knifing work. If you can afford it, go for it.
The Schrade Frontier is also a sterling camping knife for anyone who’s looking for a reliable knife that will last for a long time. From cutting through branches and skinning game, it can do a variety of tasks with aplomb.
Camping knives are an essential part of any camper’s kit and they are as important as good-quality hiking shoes. Based on our recommendations, we are sure you’ll make the right decision when choosing the ideal camping knife for your next excursion.