**If you are in a hurry I recommend the Morakniv Companion as the best camping knife for its combination of affordable price, high quality blade, and compact size.**
Whether you’re cutting rope to tie down your tent or cutting up some small pieces of wood to throw in the fire, a good camping knife can make like a lot easier in the outdoors. If you’re doing some hiking you want to make sure you can carry your knife in your pocket comfortably so you can bring it wherever you go. If you’re car camping then you might want a knife that is big and sturdy for prepping veggies and food. Learn which one is going to fit your needs by reading through the best camping knife reviews below.
What To Consider When Buying A Camping Knife
Cut through the jargon and understand which type of knife is going to be most useful to you on your camping trip. As a casual camper, you don’t want a giant Rambo style Bowie knife when getting away for the weekend. But a foldable knife might not do the job for what you have in mind.
Different Types Of Camping Knives
You will see two main types of camping knives while you’re shopping around. The fixed blade is a more durable and sturdy knife. The folding knife offers more convenience and flexibility.
Fixed blade knives have their blade exposed at all times unless you are using a cover. This makes it harder to carry around because the size is larger than a folding knife. It also makes it more dangerous if you do not always have the cover on.
The blade can run all the way through the handle of the knife making it a more durable design with more strength. This is called “tang” when the blade runs through the handle and there are different levels like full tang, partial tang, and half tang. More avid campers use fixed blades for heavier woodcutting or structure building.
The folding camping knife functions just like it sounds. The blade can fold into the handle so you can slip it into your pocket or backpack as you see fit. This also prevents any accidental injury from an exposed blade. They can also come with a locking mechanism for opening and closing the blade.
The folding knife is the best camp knife for casual campers looking to get away for a weekend. If you know camping is going to be a bigger part of your life you might consider investing in a fixed blade. But for the ease of use, flexibility, and safety, a folding knife will be your best bet.
Types Of Blades
There are a million different varieties of camping blades. What’s important for and camper to consider is durability, sturdiness, and flexibility.
A blade with stainless steel is going to deteriorate less over time and is not as susceptible to rust. It’s slightly more difficult to sharpen because of the extra protection but don’t let that deter you. If you go camping every now and then I would stick with stainless steel because chances are you won’t need to sharpen it that often and it wont rust on you while sitting in the garage.
Non-stainless steel blades keep a better edge and are easier to sharpen without tools. But they need more maintenance over time and will rust. These are more suited to the camper who’s taking frequent trips and doesn’t mind keeping up with sharpening because they use it often.
You won’t find a more durable blade than the carbon steel. This sucker is the kind of knife you’ve seen cutting through aluminum cans and phone books on commercials. It’s the go-to choice for survivalists who are building their own shelter to sleep in.
This doesn’t need to be the first choice for campers who are just looking to enjoy a nice weekend getaway. Especially if the price goes up significantly because the knife has a carbon steel blade.
No need to go in-depth here. Casual and avid campers tend to agree that serrated knives don’t hold up to the straight blades. They are harder to sharpen and aren’t as versatile as a straight blade. You will find that anything a serrated knife can do, a straight blade can do better. But, it’s important to keep in mind that serrated edges have become very popular making it harder to find a completely straight-edge knife.
The main point here is that you will not need a Rambo-Crocodile-Dundee style knife when you go camping. Keep the length of your knife to around 5-6 inches for straight blades and it will take care of any issues you run into. The longer the knife the harder it will be to carry easily or fit into your pocket.
Time is the only true test of durability for camp knives. Take a quick look at reviews for the one you are looking to buy. See if you can find comments that reflect its durability. You might find someone talking about a knife they bought a year ago that lasted them until last week.
Top Pick: Morakniv Companion with Sandvik Stainless Steel, Fixed Blade
This knife is the glue that holds your camping trip together. It’s stainless steel blade is sharp enough to cut through your tinder while setting up your campfire and can also chop up veggies or meats. The fixed blade is only 4 inches, making it small enough to carry comfortably in your backpocket with the sheath on. And the sheath is made of plastic so you can easily wash it off with some water if it gets dirty.
The rubber grip with slight curves will prevent any slipping as you’re using it. Many customers have mentioned the blade comes incredibly sharp right out of the box. It’s the perfect entry-level knife for the weekend camper and still provides incredible versatility. You’re going to be using this during your camping trips a lot so I recommend bringing a sharpening stone with you to freshen up the edge.
The Morakniv Companion isn’t meant for heavy-duty tree chopping. It won’t come in handy if you’re building a shelter but that shouldn’t deter most campers. If you’re looking for a knife you can depend on when you’re in the outdoors this should be your literal companion. Even though this knife is a great choice for weekend campers, you’ll find this in the bags of more avid campers and professionals. For the price, you could even buy two.
Runner Up: Kershaw Blur Glassbreaker Folding Knife
Kershaw is a well known and dependable brand and their Blur series is a favorite for many campers. The Trac Tec inserts on the handle makes it the best grip on this list for folding knives. And when you’re in the middle of the outdoors nothing is more important than safety. It’s patented SpeedSafe assisted opening allows for quick, one-handed deployment. It’s perfect if you’re in a jam and only have one hand to get your knife out.
There are thumb studs placed on the blade near the handle to help with leverage. Problem is, they are sharp and angled so it can wear down the inside of your pockets. There’s also a side clip that comes in handy for taking out of your pocket easily. But it’s not a deep pocket clip so it can feel awkward squatting or bending over. Not really that serious but something to keep in mind.
I prefer taking a folding knife with me on my camping trips because of how easy it is to carry with me wherever I go. If you aren’t looking to do any serious woodcutting then this is going to be a great addition to your camping tools. The knife is a little more costly than most folding knives. More comparable to a fixed blade but for the quality, there are few others like it. There’s also an even more affordable Kershaw that is similar further down this list.
Honorable Mention: Gerber StrongArm Fixed Blade
This is a no-frills, you-know-we-know-knives type of knife. It’s a straight handle with curves near the blade to keep your hands from slipping up. The diamond texture improves the grip and the lanyard hole near the end of the handle makes it east to attach to a backpack or belt loop.
The MOLLE-compatible multi-mount sheath is one of the coolest parts about this knife. MOLLE is technology usually used by the military but it helps lighten load-carrying. It also has detachable belt loops so that you can carry it horizontally on your belt loop. One of the more innovative features of all sheaths on this list. Because of how easy it easy to carry around, this fixed blade compares to any folding knife on the market
This knife does have a rather short knife-edge than others. The blade stops about half an inch from the handle. It’s an odd choice given its 4.8-inch length but it won’t stop you from about 98% of your camping activities. Made in Portland, OR the Gerber is a durable and strong knife with an ability to go wherever you go. Making it a great option for the camper on the move who needs a sturdy and durable knife to count on.
Buck Knives 119 Special Fixed Blade
The Buck Knife 119 Special is a masterpiece of design. Just holding this knife makes you feel more like an outdoorsman. The wooden, finger-grooved handle comes with a brass pommel guard for longer-lasting preservation. And look at that clip point stainless steel blade! This is what really sets this knife apart from the others. This is a hand-me-down type of knife you’ll want to give to your kids one day.
The blade is longer than what you are going to need on a camping trip (10in) but it’s going to help you cut through any wood or rope you come across. Also, the leather sheath is classy but doesn’t provide much versatility, which is crucial in the outdoors. So because of the length and sheath this knife isn’t making the top of the list but the fixed blade does keep it strong and durable.
This may not be my top choice for heading out on a weekend of camping but I would be proud to carry this knife around and show it to my friends. It’s the kind of knife you respect enough to learn how to take care of it properly. That’s exactly what’s going to make you a better camper.
Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Fixed Blade Knife
When a knife has the Bear Grylls stamp of approval you know its built for durability. The grip design keeps safety as a top priority. It has an ergonomically textured rubber grip with a deep cutaway. There’s also flared edges near the blade to keep from slipping into the blade. There’s also an emergency whistle attached to the end of the handle. You probably won’t need this on a weekend getaway but it provides some extra peace of mind.
The sheath could use better quality design and materials. It does come with a firestarter and sharpener so it’s preparing you for any scenario. The firestarter is nice if you’re in a pinch and matches or a lighter aren’t an option. The end of the handle is stainless steel pommel which makes it a perfect hammer substitution. Combined with the textured grip you can feel safe using this to help put in stakes for your tent. One part about this knife I am not a fan of is the blade being almost half straight edge and half serrated. This makes it harder to sharpen or remain consistent when cutting.
This knife is an all-around tool that has a lot of innovative designs for camping and surviving in the wild. Gerber is a reliable camping knife choice with many uses. The survivalist style brings you extra safety and peace of mind.
Steinbrucke Tactical Folding Knife
This is one of my underdog favorites on this list. It’s affordable price and great all-around utility make it a fantastic value. You could buy a backup without putting a dent in your wallet.
The handle itself has a seatbelt cutter as well as a window cutter. I personally love the seat belt cutter on knives because I can use this to slice through fishing string and zip-ties. There’s also some anti-slip finish on the handle for safer usage. And several finger grooves so that there are no issues losing your grip.
The knife is spring assisted so one flick of the outer frame lock will release the blade. Perfect for when you have one hand tied up and need your knife quickly. The one part I do not like about this knife is when you need to close the blade. The locking mechanism can be hard to close and your finger is in the path of the blade.
As long as you are careful though this is one of my go-to’s when I’m camping. It’s small and compact making it easy to carry and you can use it for just about anything.
MTech USA Ballistic MT-A705 Series Folding Knife
Usually when I see a manufacturer going out of their way to create a flashy design I stay away. But with the MTech it’s a nice compliment to the quality knife they are making. Its an extremely affordable option and is also longer than most other knives on this list. The length makes it more difficult to carry around but it does come with a clip you can easily attach to your pocket.
It’s spring-assisted like the Steinbrucke so you can easily open it using one hand. Ideal in tough situations when you don’t always have time to wait for help. The stainless steel blade has serrated edges about halfway down the blade. Serrated edges are not my favorite but most of the modern folding knives are including this feature. You will be able to cut through rope or cardboard easier with it but sharpening is more difficult.
The MTech is a multi-purpose tool that can act as a screwdriver and bottle opener. You never have to worry about opening a cold one with friends again after buying this knife. It’s also extremely durable and you don’t have to worry about the gold chipping away ruining the design. It has a long blade and can be a great utility tool to use around your campsite.
Kershaw Clash Folding Knife
As I mentioned, Kershaw is a well respected brand and it’s no surprise there are two on this list. This is another one of those no-frills knives where quality trumps quantity.
A stainless steel blade with black-oxide finish helps protect your knife’s durability. The entire handle is textured nylon making it much easier to keep your grip. This is an improvement from others on this list with partial grip protection. The large cutaway in the handle near the blade is great for securely holding the Clash while using it. There’s also a changeable clip you can move to either side. So you can use it no matter if you are right-handed or left-handed. Just like the Blur series, this comes with the patented SpeedSafe assisted opening. Just use your finger to move the built-in flipper and you can get your blade ready to use with one hand.
Overall, the Blur series is a better quality knife with more durability. But if you are looking for a more affordable option then the Kershaw Clash is right in your wheelhouse.
Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops Folding Knife
The Smith and Wesson is a folding knife with versatility for a great affordable price. But I will say the price reflects a bit of the quality of this knife. Most campers will find it satisfactory for several trips outdoors but it isn’t as reliable as others on this list.
It has a stainless steel blade with black oxide finish as well as a locking mechanism for closing. It’s got a clip on the side you can attach to your belt loop or backpack for easy carrying. You can also open it using the thumb tabs added to the blade near the handle or using the finger flipper built-in. It also comes with a limited lifetime warranty in case there is a manufacturing error.
Again, this is a solid utility knife but the quality isn’t up to the other folding knives on this list. The price is definitely lower than most others so it’s a great buy in a pinch. Or if you need a solid backup in case your main camp knife gets dull or stops working.
My top recommendation for the best knife for camping is the Morakniv Companion. It’s quality, versatility, and affordable price is hard to match. The fixed blade makes it an extremely reliable knife and it’s size allows you to carry it around in your campsite with ease.
A rubber handle with slight curves gives you a better grip. Making it one of the safer options to use in the outdoors when help might not be close by. The stainless steel blade is well known for coming with a razor-sharp edge right out of the box. Perfect for cutting tinder size wood pieces, chopping veggies, and prepping meats. The name really says it all in this case. You’ll be able to count on this companion when you’re camping outdoors.