The Best Camping Knives for 2023

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Close up of a camping knife

Anyone who’s been camping – especially backpackers or dedicated survivalists – knows how valuable a camping knife can be.

For just a few bucks and a few inches in your pack, you’ll unlock tremendous benefits for your next excursion into the wilderness. 

So let’s take a closer look at what makes a great camping knife and some of the best on the market today. 

Can You Use a Knife for Camping?

Of course! There are nearly as many uses for a camping knife as there are things to do in the great outdoors.

Camping knives can handle everything from clearing vegetation around your campsite and splitting kindling to chopping vegetables or skinning newly hunted game. In short, they’re a versatile and essential part of any frequent camper’s toolkit. 

What’s Different About a Camping Knife?

Generally, a camping knife is sturdy and reflects the rougher uses it will encounter compared to other types of knives. However, it’s still lighter and more compact than machetes and other large bushcraft knives.

That makes them easier to transport and more suitable for fine work around the campsite. Unlike pocket and survival knives, the best camping knives have a fixed blade with a full tang instead of a folding mechanism.

This provides additional stability and strength when cutting. The varied angles of the edge of a camping knife can make it better suited to one particular kind of work or another. 

What to Look For in a Camping Knife

There is a seemingly limitless selection of camping knives out there. Each advertises a set of unique features with models available throughout a wide price range.

So what are the most important things to evaluate when shopping for a camping knife? Keep these three most important factors in mind. 

Blade Length 

Blade length will vary by use and knife design. They range from as small as 2 inches to as large as eight to ten.

Larger blades will naturally provide more chopping power and different uses but sacrifice portability and some control as they grow. As with many aspects of knife purchasing, some length choices come down to what feels best to the owner. 

Weight 

Weight is another factor that can come down to personal preference and how you plan to use your knife. For some, a heavy knife feels good in their hands and provides extra heft to their chopping and cutting. Some heavier blades may also be a sign of their durable construction. 

On the other hand, a lighter knife requires less energy to use, preventing your hand from getting tired. However, it may be smaller or more fragile. 

Versatility

Versatility is partly a function of blade length and weight. It’s also a worthwhile category to consider on its own when shopping for a camping knife.

Camping knives that can do it all are naturally more valuable than ones that specialize only in food prep, kindling preparation, or other tasks. 

Consider both the type of blade (including whether it’s serrated) and its angle when assessing possible uses. 

Camping essentials laid out for a camping trip, including a knife

The Best Camping Knives You Can Find Online

With these critical factors in mind, we’ve sorted through the easily available online options.

We’ve found five models that stand above the rest in various categories. Let’s take a closer look at these cutting-edge choices.

Our Pick: Kershaw Folding Pocket Knife

For the strongest, most versatile, best-value camping knife out there, it’s hard to beat this Kershaw. This folding knife has a blade of just over 2.5 inches. That makes it easy to carry and legal to possess in almost all cases. 

With just a flick of your wrist, the attractive, high-performance steel blade deploys or folds back, and a secure locking mechanism keeps it in place. Plus, a convenient pocket clip means your knife is always right at hand when you need it.

2.6" Stainless Steel Blade Pocket Knife | Kershaw Shuffle II 8750TBLKBW Blackwash
  • With multifunctional appeals and value pricing, Shuffle II features a flathead screwdriver tip, handy bottle opener on...
  • Reliable 8Cr13MoV stainless steel tanto-blade is extremely sharp and designed to puncture, slash, stab, slice, chop or...

Highest Rated: Mossy Oak Survival Hunting Knife with Sheath

Nearly 8,000 Amazon customers have given glowing reviews to this Mossy Oak survival knife, earning it a 4.7 out of 5 stars. It’s among the larger camping knives, with a fixed 10-inch blade at the end of a comfortable rubber grip. Still, it weighs barely over a pound. 

The blade even doubles as a striking surface for the included magnesium firestarter. The stainless steel blade offers both serrated and traditional blade edges, which stay sharp with just seconds of work with the kit’s sharpener.

When not in use, the entire knife stows securely in a protective nylon sheath. 

Mossy Oak Survival Hunting Knife with Sheath, 15-inch Fixed Blade Tactical Bowie Knife with Sharpener & Fire Starter for Camping, Outdoor, Bushcraft
  • ✅ 15" Fixed Blade Knife: Ultra-sharp combat knife, stronger than any hunting knife or bowie knife. Overall Length: 15...
  • ✅ Razor Sharp Clip Point Blade: The survival Knife is made of stainless steel for excellent hardness, improved edge...

Budget-Friendly: 6-in-1 Survival Folding Pocket Knife

Those looking to save some cash but still have a top-quality knife should try this six-in-one knife that sells for less than $15. That’s only two-thirds the price of other popular models. 

The 3.5-inch black stainless steel blade folds out for easy cutting, but that’s just one of the many uses of this combination firestarter-bottle opener-glass breaker-seatbelt cutter-light. All of this comes in a water-resistant package weighing less than six ounces.

ALBATROSS 6-in-1 Survival Tactical Military Folding Pocket Knives with LED Light,Seatbelt Cutter,Glass Breaker,Magnesium Fire Starter,Bottle Opener;Multi-Function Emergency Tool(Black)
  • Multi-function:Folding Knife, LED Light, SeatBelt Cutter, Glass Breaker, Magnesium Fire Starter, Bottle Opener.
  • Right Size: Unfold Length: 8.5-inch,Blade Length: 3.5-inch,Fold Length : 5-inch,Weight only 5.5 OZ, very suitable for...

Large Blade Fixed: Fixed Blade Knife with Leather Sheath

Certain campers prefer the stability and strength of a fixed blade. One of the best large options in this class is this stylish and practical NedFoss model. 

It includes a 7-inch, full-tang stainless steel blade at the end of a beautiful, ergonomic wood handle, creating a knife that looks as good as it cuts. It also has a genuine leather sheath that fastens securely onto your belt. 

Keep in Mind: Before you hit the road, be prepared for any situation! Here’s How To Create The Best RV Emergency Kit

NedFoss SA78 Hunting Knife with Leather Sheath, Full Tang 7" Survival Knives for Men, Outdoor Duty Fixed Blade Knife with 440 Stainless-Steel Blade, Bushcraft Knife for Hiking
  • UTILITY HUNTING KNIFE: The Survival Hunting Knife excellent structure provides excellent strength in the cutting process...
  • COMPACT WOOD HANDLE SURVIVAL KNIFE: Color wood handle grips combines practicality and aesthetics. The fixed blade knife...

Large Blade Foldable: Long Blade Camping Knife 

For a combination of portability and large blade size, Grand Way offers this high-quality model. With a 5.8-inch blade, it provides plenty of force and strength for serious cutting tasks.

When it’s time to stow it away, it folds down to just over 7 inches long as the blade tucks into the comfortable metal and wood handle. 

This semi-folding style allows the blade to be significantly longer than the handle, providing maximum use area. 

Long Blade Folding Knife - Sharp Hunting Hiking Camping Tactical Survival Work Knives for Men Women - Foldable Large Knife with Rosewood Handle - Fits any Knife Sharpener - Gift for Dad Husband 4172
  • Folding knife of semi-folding type - the blade is much longer than its handle. Clip pointed and sharpened on one side....
  • Ergonomic metal handle with wooden plates on both sides for comfortable and stiff grip. It is a great utility tool...

How Long Can a Knife Be to Carry Around Legally?

As with many regulations involving potentially dangerous items, laws will vary from state to state and even city to city.

Many times, laws vary between concealed and open-carry knives. Some laws vary between knives in your possession (for example, in your vehicle or around your campsite) versus unused ones on your person. 

In some cases, you can only carry blades can only be carried on you if they’re 2 inches to 2.5 inches or shorter. In others, restrictions don’t apply until the blade exceeds 5 inches. 

Some places have laws that say knives of any type can’t be carried by those under 18 years of age or even 21. Many areas also ban switchblades, ballistic knives, butterfly knives, or other particularly dangerous varieties. Other states may have little or no restrictions whatsoever!

When in doubt, consult a local lawyer or law enforcement officer if you need clarification on the laws in a particular place. 

How Sharp Should a Camping Knife Be?

In some applications, the sharper your camping knife is, the better. This is especially true for food preparation, skinning or butchering animals, or other delicate work. An extremely sharp blade will allow you to cut with the least force, allowing better control. 

You can sharpen camping knives used for rougher work at a broader angle of up to 35%, which provides extra strength and insurance against breakage.

No matter your desired sharpness or angle, it’s vital to regularly sharpen your knife to keep it in top shape, as regular use will dull it over time.

Keep in Mind: Looking for the perfect gift for the traveler in your life? Then check out these Gifts for Road Trips People Will Actually Love

Add a Camping Knife to Your Toolkit 

There are a few items that campers can add to their toolkit that provide as much value for their modest cost as a camping knife.

Whether hacking through vegetation, cleaning and chopping food or whittling some kindling for a fire, camping knives are versatile tools that can last decades with regular maintenance. 

With all these excellent camping knife choices, it’s hard to go wrong!

Last update on 2024-04-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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