Casual and serious campers alike need a durable, reliable hunting and survival knife for their time in the wild. While you may not be hunting and dressing your own wildlife, you may need a trusty camping knife for cutting branches for fire, rope for makeshift shelters, or even just fishing line for a casual day on the lake.
No matter what you need a knife for, there are plenty of versatile options that are ideal for a wide range of camping uses. Whether you’re on a survival excursion or you’re taking a casual camping trip over the weekend, a hunting knife is a must-have for your camping toolkit.
What makes a good camping knife?
When you’re searching for the right camping knife for your next trip, there are a few things that you should consider before buying. Typically you’ll want to look for a stainless steel blade, either with or without a protective coating. Not only is stainless steel rust-resistant, but it’s also an incredibly strong material that will stand up to virtually anything you put in its way.
Secondly, you should take a look at each knife’s blade length, as well as the overall length including the handle. A longer blade can be used for tough jobs, such as clearing debris or cutting thick material. Shorter blades are for more precise cuts.
Overall length can help you get a feel for how portable the knife will be. You’ll notice a major difference between a 6-inch overall knife length and a 12-inch overall knife length!
Finally, check for additional features that may benefit your camping style. Some additional features may include additional protective coatings, serrated blade edges, and folding capabilities.
What is a camp knife used for?
As we mentioned, you can use a high-quality camping or tactical knife for a wide variety of camping activities. While most campers aren’t going to rely on a camping knife for survival purposes, you’d be surprised at how much you’ll need a camping knife on a casual camping trip.
The most common uses for a camping knife involve food preparation, general maintenance and repairs, and hunting purposes. Even if you don’t use a knife on a regular basis, you’ll be glad you picked one up when it’s time to use it!
Camping knife safety
We can’t talk about camping knives without talking about proper knife safety. If you’re unfamiliar with handling a knife, it’s always a good idea to do some additional research prior to using one.
When handling a knife, always point the knife away from you and others. If you use the knife for carving, often called whittling, make sure the edge of the blade is also facing away from you.
For fixed blades with a carrier, always be sure that the blade is secured in the carrier after each use.
You may hear the name Smith and Wesson and automatically think of firearms, and rightly so. The world-renowned gunmaker also makes fantastic survival knives, including the Extreme Ops SWA24s.
With a solid 7.1-inch overall length and a durable 3.1-inch blade, this compact folding knife is extremely versatile and reliable.
The blade itself is made out of high-quality black oxide stainless steel, which means this blade is meant to last.
You’ll also notice a serrated edge to assist with tough cuts. This knife also features notches (also known as jimping) on the back of the blade to ensure your fingers don’t slip forward when using it.
This Smith and Wesson is about as portable as it gets, making ideal for virtually any camper.
- High-quality stainless steel
- Easily portable
- Enhanced safety features
- Serrated edge and ultra-sharp point
- Blade may be too small for hardcore survivalists
Featuring a 4.1-inch fixed blade and a dedicated durable carrier, the Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade knife is another excellent choice for the outdoor enthusiast.
The long blade edge is ideal for carving and food preparation, while the fixed blade means you don’t need to touch the blade to start using it like you would with a retractable knife.
The overall length is 8.6-inches, making it slightly longer than the first blade on our list.
If you’re looking for a blade that feels substantial without being overwhelming, this is a great option. The handle features anti-slip material for enhanced safety and control, even in wet and cold conditions.
While there is no serrated edge, this Swedish-made knife has high-quality stainless steel that’s razor-sharp, making it a great option for tough cuts.
- Good blade length
- Enhanced safety features on the handle
- Sheath included
- Stainless steel blade
- No serrated edge
- No safety features on the blade itself
For those of you that are looking for intense outdoor adventure, you need a survival knife that can stand up to the challenge. The Schrade SCHF45 Leroy is exactly that.
Featuring an impressive 10.4-inch titanium-coated Bowie blade, this knife is going to quickly become your best friend. The blade itself is stainless steel and runs the entire length of the knife, giving it great balance.
Overall, this knife is 16.5 inches, making it a substantial knife for survivalists.
The knife comes with a durable plastic belt sheath as well as an anti-grip handle for added safety.
Whether you’re looking to clear brush, cut branches, or dress game in the field, this knife can truly do it all.
- High-quality 10.1 inch blade
- Enhanced handle for safety
- Full-tang blade
- Belt sheath included
- May be a bit much for the casual camper
- More expensive than some other options on the list
For something simple and effective that can get the job done, look no further than the Old Hickory Fixed Blade Hunting Knife. If you’re looking for a knife that’s straightforward without additional features, this is the perfect knife for you.
While you won’t get added safety features or any accessories, you’ll get an affordable, high-quality knife that’s designed for everyday use. The blade is a 7.25-inch carbon steel blade with a hickory wood handle.
The overall length of the knife is just under 12-inches, making it ideal for portability while still being large enough to get through tough cuts.
The Old Hickory Hunting Knife has a deep blade edge, making it ideal for food preparation or cutting smaller branches for kindling.
- Very affordable
- Natural wood handle
- Deep blade edge
- Carbon steel instead of stainless steel
- No additional safety features
The final hunting knife on our list comes from one of the most famous survivalists of our time. The Gerber Bear Grylls Folding Sheath Knife is a great option for anyone looking for some outdoor adventure.
Listed as military-grade, this knife has a high-quality stainless steel blade that’s ideal for both precise cuts and serrated-edge use. The blade itself is 3.6-inches, while the overall length with the blade extended is 8.5-inches. Retracted, the knife is 4.9-inches, making it very portable.
This knife also has some great safety features, including a rubber grip to prevent slipping, as well as a durable lock to keep the blade in place.
You’ll also get a durable sheath as well as a Bear Grylls survival guide to put your new knife to the test!
- Military-grade knife
- Enhanced safety features
- Portable design
- Shorter blade than some similar survival knives
A Camping Knife is a Must-Have
Most casual campers don’t think about purchasing a knife dedicated to their camping toolkit. It’s a mistake many new campers make. Once you get a high-quality knife, you’ll never know how you lived without one!
From general food preparation to high-intensity survival situations, a camping knife can make a world of difference on your next camping trip.