CAMPING & HIKING

Best Camping Knife: Step up your outdoor game!

Dennis Owens
Written by Dennis Owens

Camping knives are one of the most valuable tools you can bring with you on your trip. For starters, they make camping time so much easier. But finding the best camping knife for your needs is sometimes trickier than it seems, right?

Since their use is extremely versatile – from opening packets of food to chopping down fire wood, you can never be sure when you may need a decent knife. On top of that, different people have different preferences – it’s essential to get one that suits your needs the best!

So in order to get the best pick for your needs, we’ve gone over some of the basic features that you may find relevant when looking at products. Apart from that, we also did our homework – read on to find the reviews of the top notch camping knives available on the market!

Product NameWeightBlade length/overall lengthFixed vs.
folding
Price
Buck Knives 119 Fixed Blade7.5 ounces6 inches/10.5 inchesFixedCheck price on Amazon
Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Serrated11.2 ounces4.8 inches/10 inchesFixedCheck price on Amazon
Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion16 ounces5.5 inches/10.5 inchesFixedCheck price on Amazon
Cold Steel Mini Tac Skinner Serrated3 ounces3.3 inches/6.9 inchesFixedCheck price on Amazon
Gerber LMF II Survival24 ounces4.8 inches/10 inchesFixedCheck price on Amazon
Fallkniven A1 Survival12.08 ounces6.3 inches/11.2 inchesFixedCheck price on Amazon
Schrade SCHF9 Extreme Survival15.09 ounces6.4 inches/12 inchesFixedCheck price on Amazon
ESEE LSP Laser Strike Fixed Blade14.4 ounces4.75 inches/10 inchesFixedCheck price on Amazon

What Makes A Good Camping Knife?

Before moving on to the reviews, take the time to learn a handful of things that matter when it comes to buying a camping knife. Here are just a few of the aspects we believe you should pay attention to before doing the purchase.

Fixed vs Folding

There are generally two types of knives on the market – with a fixed blade or folding. Fixed knives refer to the traditional knife.

Much like the common knife varieties found in the kitchen, fixed knives feature non-sliding and non-folding blades. Most of them are made from a single piece of heat-treated, forged steel that should make the knife stronger and sturdier.

On the other hand, folding knives are popular due to their blades that fold. While it’s true that the higher-grade folding knives are still quite decent in regards with the sturdiness, there’s still the off-chance that the blade might snap or bend with heavy use, thus causing injuries.

fixed and folding knife

However, some of them feature locks that add another level of protection for the user. Apart from that, bear in mind that some states will require the knife to be kept folded. This will make folder knives better for EDC purposes.

Size

Size is definitely something you’ll want to pay attention to – you do have to carry the knife around with you. On top of that, if you ever intend carrying your knife around town, many states have limitations on the blade length – it might be good to check the laws and make sure you’re not breaking any.

As far as the performance is concerned, you may be led to believe that bigger is better – and that’s not always the case with camping knives. A blade that’s too big or bulky can leave you unable to perform numerous tasks requiring a higher level of precision. Carving snares and dressing game become exceedingly difficult for an unwieldy knife.

On the other hand, a knife that is too small will make it unable to handle a number of more rugged tasks associated with camping. Chopping and batoning are near impossible with a small blade.

camping knife with small blade

A good camping knife should have an overall length of 10-11 inches with a 5-6 inch blade. This should provide you with a balance in terms of being able to handle both precise and rugged tasks while at the same time minimize injuries.

Full Tang

If your knife is full tang, then that means the knife’s blade is constructed from a single and continuous piece of metal – that gives much more stability to the blade. Thus, you might want to get a knife with a full tang.

Full tang knives are usually more durable as well – check to see the thickness of the blade and whether or not it goes all the way down into the handle. In order to get the maximum out of your knife, the handle should be bolted out of the tang.

full tang camping knife

However, you should know that a knife that is full-tang is far wider than tangs that are partial – if you’re worried about space, don’t forget to take this into consideration.

Blade Steel

Camping knives will generally fall under two steel types. One is carbon steel the other is stainless steel. Both variants are tremendously popular among campers.

The carbon steel blades are most often known for their durability and firmness. Carbon steel is easier to sharpen making it an ideal option especially if caught in a survival situation. Another perk of carbon steel is that it can hold its edge longer.

The stainless steel might be a good choice if you’re worried about corrosion – it takes less maintenance as the metal is intrinsically resistant to rust.

camping knife and case on rock

Bear in mind that carbon steel knives are usually cheaper but more prone to corrosion. At the same time, the stainless steel won’t rust but it will come with a higher price.

Blade

A blade can be double-edged or single-edged. Most of the time, a good camping knife will require a single, sharp edge. The opposite of the sharpened edge should be a nice dull spine.

This will allow greater control for the variety of tasks required in a camping or survival situation. Double sided blades such as dirks and daggers are for combat and aren’t ideal for camping.

Additional Items

Additional items are only a bonus when it comes to knives and even though they’re not the most important thing to pay attention to, it can be nice to sometimes get the most out of your purchase.

camping knife with fire starter

Some camping knives come with a sheath for bigger safety, while others have a fire starter – anything that can help you out while camping works!

These are just a few of the factors you’ll want to consider when purchasing your next camping knife – we truly hope you find them useful! Let’s check out a few popular options now!

Top Products on the Market

Here are some of the top products available on the market!

Buck Knives 119 Fixed Blade Knifebuck knives 119 fixed blade

Price: Approximately $60

Weight: 7.5 oz

Dimensions: Overall length – 10.5 inches; blade length – 6 inches

Specific features: Clip point blade, corrosion resistant, comes with a sheath, features an integrated belt loop

Best use: Outdoor use, camping trips, hunting trips

The Buck Knives 119 Fixed Blade Knife is a great camping knife that’s been sold for decades! Being extremely light, carrying it around shouldn’t be a problem – it’s suitable for both longer and shorter trips!

The stainless steel out of which the knife is made allows for supreme corrosion protection of the blade. On top of that, the blade is easy to sharpen and pretty strong – the clip point blade should allow you to perform a variety of activities with the knife.

The phenolic grip is quite slip-resistant, even though it may not seem like it. This knife has a full tang, however, the tang isn’t exposed over on the end – you can see the aluminum pommel.

The knife will come with a sheath that allows easy storing and minimizes the chance of any injuries happening. Apart from that, there’s an integrated belt loop, so you can even carry the knife on you at all times.

However, some advanced hunters might find the blade to be too short but bearing all of the other features in mind, this is definitely a good product with an affordable price.

PROS:

  • Stainless steel
  • Affordable price
  • Strong blade with a clip point
  • Slip-resistant

CONS:

  • Some may prefer longer blades
  • The pommel is aluminum

Related: If you’re on the lookout for a pocket sharpener, check out the Smith’s PP1 Multifunction Sharpener – it can fit in your pocket! However, don’t let its size fool you – apart from being extremely small and light, it can bring old blades back to life in a matter of seconds. The sharpener includes a lanyard hole for even greater flexibility regarding carrying it around.

Check the price on Amazon

Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Serrated KnifeGerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Serrated Knife

Price: Approximately $50

Weight: 11.2 oz

Dimensions: Overall Length – 10 inches; blade length – 4.8 inches;

Specific features: Drop point blade, stainless steel pommel, additional accessories available

Best use: Camping trips, survival, general outdoor use

The Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Serrated Knife has a lot of potential in it. The knife comes with plenty of additional accessories that could come in handy in emergencies – it makes for almost an entire surviving kit! You get an integrated fire starter, a sheath, an emergency whistle, and a blade sharpener – which is a pretty sweet deal.

The blade is fixed and fully made out of stainless steel. Another great perk is its serrated edge – you could easily use the drop point of the blade to your maximum advantage in nature. The knife is full tang and it extends into the pommel as well, so you get a hammering tool alongside a knife.

Some users may prefer a larger knife for a better comfort but don’t let the size fool you in this case – the handle is as slip resistant as it gets.

While being overall a great product, you may encounter some trouble as far as the durability is concerned. It seems like the pommel on the handle has a tendency to break after some mid to heavy usage, which some may find disappointing.

PROS:

  • Comes with a whole set of additional accessories
  • Sharp, drop-point blade
  • Decent size and weight

CONS:

  • The pommel might break after some while, leaving you without a hammering tool
  • Some users may prefer getting a larger blade

Related: Having an extra fire starter in your backpack is never a bad idea – check out the Gerber Bear Grylls Fire Starter! The fire starter features a ferrocerium rod and a metal striker that should give you thousands of sparks. On top of that, you get a lanyard included that has an emergency whistle on its end, making this fire starter a great survival tool as well.

Check the price on Amazon

Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion KnifeKa-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion Knife

Price: Approximately $80

Weight: 16 oz

Dimensions: Blade length – 5.5 inches; overall length – 10.5 inches

Specific features: Allows for versatile use, sharp drop-point blade

Best use: Longer and shorter camping trips, hunting, outdoor use

The Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion Knife is considered by many to be among the best picks in the survival knife market. The full-tang 5-inch blade length and drop point shape make it a viable option for handling precision camping work such as handling game and carving.

The quarter-inch thick blade makes for a very strong and stable bit of metal, good for splitting and chopping thicker bits of wood for firewood and other purposes. The heavier weight also helps for this purpose as well. The handle provides a comfortable grip and gives plenty of control for the user.

However, the knife might be a bit heavy and it may feel large if you’re doing precision work – your hand might be worn out faster. On top of that, the blade isn’t that big for that heavy knife, so that’s definitely a downside.

Considering that the price is slightly above the average as far as amateur knives are concerned, you could potentially look to get more out of it. The knife is overall of good quality but you might check out some other options if you’re looking to do anything specific with it.

PROS:

  • Comfortable grip
  • Pretty durable and resistant to corrosion
  • Can be used for a variety of tasks

CONS:

  • Some may prefer a lighter knife that’s easier to handle
  • A bit pricier than the rest of the knives in its category

Related: If you’re looking for a belt clip for your knife, check out the Blade-Tech Tek-Lok – it’ll allow you to have your hands free during hikes and mountain trips. Being recently redesigned, the improved version runs more smoothly along your body and helps you avoid any hot spots you might experience otherwise.

Check the price on Amazon

Cold Steel Mini Tac Skinner Serrated KnifeCold Steel Mini Tac Skinner Serrated Knife

Price: Approximately $30

Weight: 3 oz

Dimensions: Blade length – 3.3 inches; overall length – 6.9 inches

Specific features: Thicker and curved blade, Japanese steel, serrated edge, easy-to-grip handle

Best use: Camping trips, outdoor use,

At only three ounces, the Cold Steel Mini Tac Skinner Serrated Knife is one of the lightest camping knives around. However, its size can be a downside to some – you should be able to tell just by looking at it that this isn’t exactly a knife to chop wood with.

The knife comes with a sheath that can be worn around the neck – and since it’s extremely light, you can easily carry it with you all day. Great for daily use, the edge is sharp and is of stainless steel, which means that the blade will fight corrosion. The fast draw and concealment make it a good last ditch self-defense option should the need arise.

As far as camping trips are concerned, the knife should perform well enough for any precision jobs like skinning and carving snare sets. However, its use is pretty much limited to only that and EDC jobs.

Brute force jobs out in the wilderness will take another tool or another, more heavy-duty knife. However, since it comes with a pretty affordable price and with great quality, it may be seen as a good buy.

PROS:

  • Extremely light
  • Comes with a sheath that can be worn around the neck
  • Pointed blade is ideal for precision jobs

CONS:

  • Not suitable for heavy-duty jobs around camp
  • Hunters might need a bigger knife

Related: The Lansky QuadSharp Sharpener may be just the thing you’re missing from your outdoor gear – it’s suitable for a variety of knives! Featuring a built-in ceramic bench stone, the product also has four different sharpening angles, something that both amateurs and professionals are likely to appreciate. The product is extremely light and can fit in anyone’s backpack!

Check the price on Amazon

Gerber LMF II Survival KnifeGerber LMF II Survival Knife

Price: $70 – 80

Weight: 24 oz

Dimensions: Overall length – 10 inches; blade length – 4.8 inches

Specific features: Pointed blade, sheath for extra protection, extra accessories included

Best use: Emergencies, survival, outdoor use

The Gerber LMF II Survival Knife was made with survival in mind. It offers a strong stainless steel blade that is partially serrated to allow it to accomplish numerous bush craft tasks quickly. Sawing through more stubborn bits of wood should also be possible with this knife.

The handle allows for easy and comfortable grip while lashing holes give you added ease should you ever need to lash it to the end of a pole.  It comes with a great sheath which has a sharpener included.

The pointed butt cap is made of stainless steel allowing you to quickly break through glass (and even aircraft fuselage) in the event of an emergency. The knife was originally conceptualized as an aviator knife. The knife and holster are also MOLLE compatible, adding to already great versatility.

The overall strength and durability of the knife should be pretty decent, considering the materials used to make it. As a result of its modified butt cap, the tang is reduced to ¾. While the construction of the knife adjusts for this and you could still hammer things with it, the shorter tang may turn off some folks who are intent on a full tang.

PROS:

  • Ideal for emergencies and survival situations
  • Versatile use of the blade
  • It comes with other survival accessories

CONS:

  • Some users may find the knife to be too heavy
  • It’s a bit pricier than average camping knives

Related: The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is a must-have product in every outdoor kit – it’ll allow you to have access to drinking water no matter where you are. Weighing only two ounces, it’s extremely light. However, don’t let its size fool you – the filter is capable of filtering more than 260 gallons of water!

Check the price on Amazon

Fallkniven A1 Survival KnifeFallkniven A1 Survival Knife

Price: $180 – $200

Weight: 12.08 oz

Dimensions: Overall length – 11.2 inches; blade length – 6.3 inches

Specific features: Drop-point blade, allows for heavy-duty use, stainless steel blade

Best use: Camping, hunting, survival

The Fallkniven A1 Survival Knife is an all-around great survival knife. It lacks the fancy features of many other knives on the market – it’s rather a plain and simple survival knife, built for rugged use in the wild.

The Japanese-made VG-10 stainless steel protects against corrosion and rust while at the same time, prolonging the durability of the knife.

The knife is light enough to allow for some more precision work though the drop point blade definitely helps here. However, the length and the thickness of the blade are also handy when it comes to more rugged use.

The knife is also full tang with the metal protruding from the base of the grip. This is a sign of the high level of durability this knife has to offer, plus you can use it for hammering down stakes as well. Its handle should give you a very secure grip even when performing messier jobs like handling game.

For some users who demand added functionality to their knives, this knife may fall short, as it may lack the versatility of other knives. Also, the hefty price is a turnoff as it would already allow you to purchase several other products instead of a single knife.

However, if you’re looking to buy a knife for more specific needs and you won’t have a problem with the lack of versatility, this knife is a very good option.

PROS:

  • Aimed for heavy-duty use
  • Great for survival and hunting
  • Excellent grip on the handle

CONS:

  • Higher price may be off-putting to some users
  • Not that great of a versatility

Related: The Uberleben FireStarter is small enough to fit in your hand – but that doesn’t mean its use is somewhat limited. The product features six different tools in one – apart from giving you thousands of sparks, it gives you a map scale, a ruler, hex wrench, a bottle opener, a steel scraper, and a spine scraper.

Check the price on Amazon

Schrade SCHF9 Extreme Survival KnifeSchrade SCHF9 Extreme Survival Knife

Price: $30 – $40

Weight: 15.09 oz

Dimensions: Overall length – 12 inches; blade length – 6.4 inches;

Specific features: Aimed both at professionals and amateurs, comes with additional accessories

Best use: Camping, hunting, outdoor

The Schrade SCHF9 Extreme Survival Knife is a thing of beauty. The low-price for a knife of this quality is quite surprising. It’s made with 1095 Carbon Steel which can easily be sharpened while out in the field. The blade is roughly 1/4in wide, meaning that you’d be able to perform a variety of tasks.

The 11-inch total length coupled with the 15.8 oz. weight make it quite the beast. The knife is perfect for rugged applications while in the outdoors. It’ll easily go through a bit of wood and batoning with it is like a dream.

The knife comes with a sheath and a lanyard, which some buyers might find attractive.

However, you may find that the size and weight are troubling you if you aren’t used to larger knives. On top of that, due to its size, this knife can be classified as a Bowie Knife.

This poses some potential legal concerns if carrying it out in the open in some states. Also, the large size can cause it to be inconvenient when using it for finer tasks requiring a bit more precision, such as handling game. Given the price, the knife is definitely worth the buy as long as you don’t mind its size.

PROS:

  • Allows for versatile use
  • Appropriate for professional and amateur use
  • Great for buyers who like larger knives

CONS:

  • May be difficult to carry around
  • Use may be limited in some states

Related: If you’re looking for a reliable fire starter no matter the weather conditions, check out the Schrade Large Ferro Rod! Being extremely lightweight and small, it can fit in any minimalistic survival kit while providing you with the much-needed fire sparks. The fire starter includes a metal rod for striking and lanyard for more convenient use.

Check the price on Amazon

ESEE LSP Laser Strike Fixed Blade KnifeESEE LSP Laser Strike Fixed Blade Knife

Price: $100 – $130

Weight: 14.04 oz

Dimensions: Overall length – 10 inches; blade length – 4.7 inches;

Specific features: Made from high-carbon steel, includes a sheath, belt clip for easy carrying

Best use: Survival, general outdoor use, camping

The ESEE LSP Laser Strike Fixed Blade Knife offers excellent workmanship for a fine no-nonsense survival knife. The knife features a 4.7-inch blade that is perfect both for doing lighter carving and game cleaning work.

Working with the end of the blade is much easier due to its shorter construction. The high carbon steel makes for easy sharpening when out on the field. Inside the handle, you can find some fire starting flints as well as some tinder tabs. Apart from that, you’ll also get a belt clip that should enable you to carry it around easier.

The knife is a good choice if you’re looking for a more versatile knife. However, note that the smaller blade size may prove to be challenging to use for some people, especially those who are used to working with larger, more heavy-duty blades.

However, the biggest downside to this knife is the fact that it could be very prone to corrosions and rust if not properly taken care of – even the manufacturer warns about it! Regarding the high price, most buyers would probably be interested in getting some more durable.

PROS:

  • Allows for versatile use
  • Comes with a sheath for better protection

CONS:

  • Higher-than-average pricing
  • May corrode easier if not properly taken care of

Related: The Katadyn Hiker Pro Microfilter is a great choice if you’re looking to get a reliable water filter for a decent price. Apart from being lightweight and extremely easy to use, the water can make almost any contaminated water suitable for drinking. The water filter is compatible with different hydration bladders.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

Hopefully, by now you’ve got a better idea of what you’re looking for in a good camping knife. Remember, these are just some of the camping knives you will want to consider buying for your next trip – ultimately, it all depends on your needs.

However, don’t forget to double-check with your state laws, just to make sure you’re not going to be breaking any! Which one is your favorite camping knife? Feel free to share with us in the comments, as we’d love to hear back from you!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.