Top 5 Best Camping Knives for 2021

Finding the best camping knife is something that’s at the top of the list for many campers and people that love the outdoors. There are so many options to choose from and the entire process can get overwhelming. To help narrow down your choices, we’ve put together 5 of the best camping knives available, as well as a thorough Buying Guide.

5 Best Camping Knives Reviewed In This Post

In a hurry? Get our Top Pick from Amazon

Morakniv Outdoor Knife

This 8.6 inch camping knife comes in many different colors, which means there should be a choice for everyone. The sheath is made to completely cover the knife, which means there’s less chance of any accidents happening. The handle is covered in thick rubber, so you won’t have to worry about losing your grip.

The Swedish steel blade holds up well and gets the job done. Once sharpened, it’s extremely sharp and can cut through almost anything in a matter of minutes. At only 4.1 ounces, you can take the knife virtually anywhere. You can put on the sheath and slip it right into your pocket. If you don’t want to do that, you can use the included belt clip to fasten it right to your belt. As long as you clean and dry the knife after every use, it should hold up for a long time. This is really a great knife that can be used for countless different situations.

Pros

  • Many color options
  • The sheath completely covers the knife
  • The entire handle is made from sturdy rubber

Cons

  • It will probably arrive extremely dull
  • It’s not great for anything to do with salt-water
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Gerber Gear Survival Knife

This fixed handle blade comes with a sturdy sheath and built-in fire starter. The partially serrated blade is 4.75 inches and has a drop point blade. The handle is made from sturdy rubber, which helps you keep a good grip and fits quite comfortably in your hand. Another great feature is that the base of the knife has a stainless steel pommel that can be used as a hammer. You’ll be able to sharpen your knife on the go because the sheath has a built-in sharpener that will sharpen the blade every time you take it out or put it back in.

This knife would be a great tool to have during emergency situations because it has a built-in whistle and you can get people’s attention in a few seconds. All-in-all, this is a great knife to take camping and can be used in many different situations. With the price point and various features, you really can’t go wrong.

Pros

  • It has a decent grip on the handle
  • It’s built very solid
  • It comes with a sheath and firestarter

Cons

  • The sheath is a little heavy
  • There’s a good chance that you’ll need to sharpen the blade before use
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Grand Way Tactical Folding Knife

With a folding handle and thumb stud, this camping knife can be put in your pocket quickly and easily. If you don’t want to keep it in your pocket, you can use the lanyard or pocket clip. The inner part of the handle is wrapped in cord, which helps you keep hold of it. Inside the plastic handle is a firestarter that you can use to make a blazing fire in a matter of minutes.

It’s a single blade that’s made from 420 stainless steel, so you know it will hold up well. When open, it measures 8.4 inches and it only weighs 4.23 ounces. It’s so lightweight, you might find that you completely forget about it. A nice little bonus with this product has to do with the QR code on the box. If you scan this code, you’ll be able to get a free survival ebook. It’s a great option for those that want a simple knife that gets the job done.

Pros

  • There’s an included flint
  • The handle is wrapped in cord
  • It fits well in smaller hands

Cons

  • It can be hard to close
  • The whistle isn’t the best quality
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knife with wooden handle lying on cloth

Keeping it sharp 

The pros over at Army Barracks recommend using a 22.5 degree angle for sharpening your folding and fixed-blade camping knives, and they have a sweet trick for finding just the right angle using a piece of paper. Check out their video below on How to Sharpen a Knife.

Old Timer Cave Bear

At 8.7 inches, this stainless steel knife looks like a larger version of a pocket knife. The actual blade is around 3.9 inches, which is great for many different tasks without being too long or in the way. You open and close the knife by using a little indent about halfway down the blade. With the wide base and durable rubber grip, you won’t have to worry about the knife slipping or flying out of your hand.

When purchased, the knife includes a lifetime limited warranty, which is essential for any knife used heavily. This brand has been around since 1958 and even though this knife isn’t as high of a quality, it’s still a good knife. It might not look like much, but you can do so much with this knife, including field dressing a deer. It’s extremely budget friendly and comes in colors that make it look very traditional.

Pros

  • It comes with a durable leather sheath
  • The large handle increases grip
  • It has many uses

Cons

  • It can be quite dull when you first get it
  • It isn’t made as well as other knives from the same brand
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XYJ Outdoor Survival Knife

Made and sharpened by professionals with over 30 years of experience, you can be confident that you’re getting a high-quality knife. The blade is made from high carbon clad steel and the full-tang handle is made from solid wood. Add that to the fact that it comes with a leather sheath and you’ll see why it has such great reviews. It does a great job with most camping activities and you shouldn’t have too much trouble keeping it clean and sharp. While it’s a little heavier and more awkward than other camping knives, you can easily get the job done.

It’s only 5.5 inches, which is large enough to do most jobs and compact enough to stay out of the way. At only 15 ounces, it’s lightweight enough to carry anywhere. This is a great option for those that are looking for a unique camping knife that’s made from high-quality materials and holds up over time.

Pros

  • It’s made of high-quality materials
  • It can be used for most camping activities
  • At full sharpness, it cuts quickly and easily

Cons

  • It will probably need sharpened on arrival
  • It’s a little large and awkward
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Our Top Choice

Out of the knives reviewed above, our top choice is the Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife. Not only is it the perfect size, but the entire handle is made from very grippable rubber. It comes in a variety of different colors and it has a sheath that completely covers the entire knife. It’s made from Swedish steel, which is known for being very strong and durable. If you’re looking for a camping knife that can be used in tons of different situations, then this is a great option. It’s made with high-quality materials and should easily last for years to come!

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Choosing the Best Camping Knife

In this section, we’ve put together a thorough buying guide. Not only will you get some general tips, but you’ll also see what to look for when choosing and what considerations you should think about. You’ll also see some of the advantages and disadvantages of owning a camping knife.

How To Choose

To start off our buying guide, we’re going to tell you about some of the things you’ll want to look for when choosing a camping knife. There are many different options in each area, so make sure you’re doing additional research on your own before making any decisions.

Folding vs. Fixed

When looking for the best camping knife, you’ll want to consider whether it’s a fixed blade or a foldable one. A foldable blade means you can close the knife and put it right in your pocket, while a fixed blade will require some kind of sheath. Each of these is great for different activities and you’ll want to think about what you need the knife for. Keep in mind, many people will get a foldable knife in situations where there isn’t much heavy-duty work, and a fixed knife is great for situations that will have a lot of heavy cutting or work.

Size

Next, you’ll want to look at the size of the blade. You want it to be large enough to do the job you need it for, while also being compact enough to fit on your person. Make sure you look at any blade and handle measurements before making a decision. You’ll also want to look at the total measurements to get a clear idea of the actual size.

Handle Type & Materials

A camping knife should have a handle that’s made from durable materials and sits well in your hand. Another option would be getting a knife that has a handle that’s bound with material, like cord or leather. Good options for durable handle materials include solid wood, strong metal, or thick plastic.

Blade Materials

Another thing to look at is the type of material the blade is made from. You want a metal that isn’t going to break easily and, if possible, is resistant to things like rust and bad weather. You should be able to find this information easily regardless of whether you’re buying in person or online. Online products should have the information in the description and products in a physical store should have the information right on the box.

Grinds

With a knife, the grind will be what makes it thin enough to cut through objects. There are different kinds of grinds that work well with different activities. Listed below are a short description of 3 of the most common grind types.

  • Hollow- Very sharp with weak edge and hard to sharpen)
  • Scandanavian- Very strong and easy to sharpen
  • Convex- Edge stays strong over time but hard to sharpen

Important Considerations

In addition to knowing what to choose, you’ll want to make sure you know some of the things you should take into consideration while going through the research and buying process. These shouldn’t make or break your decision, but it’s still a good idea to have a sort-of heads up before actually jumping in and buying something.

Not a Multi-Tool

The first consideration is that a camping knife is NOT a multi-tool. If you’re looking for something that has everything in one, then a camping knife isn’t going to be a great option. While it can be used in quite a few different situations, there are some that it isn’t going to get the job done for.

Durability

Next, consider the type of durability the camping knife has. You want something that isn’t going to break easy and will stand up over time. This is even more true if you’re going to be using it for a lot of heavy cutting. You can talk to people or read reviews to find out exactly how durable the camping knife is.

Blade Type

Having the right blade type for the job you’re doing is quite important. You might find that you’ll need a few different knives with different blades depending on the job you’re doing. Look below to get a quick idea of the popular blade types for camping knives.

  • Clip point-Very popular and is considered multi-purpose blade.
  • Drop point-Great for simple tasks.
  • Tanto point-Very strong and great for tougher situations.
  • Sheepsfoot-Doesn’t actually have a tip and is great for things like woodworking or electrical.
  • Trailing point-Used for skinning and slicing.
  • Spear point-Has sharp blades on both sides and is great for tough situations.
  • Gut hook-Used for field dressing but difficult to sharpen.
  • Needle point-Used mostly for simple cutting or things like knife throwing.
  • Nessmuk-Large belly and longer cutting edge, great for food preparation and basic camping needs
hand holding nessmuk knife

the Nessmuk Blade

The Nessmuk blade gets its name from the writer and conservationist George Washington Spears, who wrote under the pen name “Nessmuk.” He is best known for his book Woodcraft, which is a book on camping and wilderness survival, or “bushcraft.” He holds special significance to me, for he spent the end of his life in the same woods in Pennsylvania where I grew up: Tioga State Forest in Tioga County. At least one mountain and lake are named after him, too.

Knife Length

The length of the knife is going to be important for a couple reasons. For starters, you don’t want something that’s so long that it’s going to be hard to use or carry or store. The other big reason is because a knife that’s too short is only going to work in a handful of situations. The perfect length will be short enough to comfortably transport or use and long enough to do a variety of different tasks.

Type of Steel

Finally, you want to consider the type of steel the knife is made from. For the most part, a camping knife is going to be made from either stainless steel, carbon steel, or titanium. All 3 of these are quite strong and lightweight. Titanium and stainless steel are both resistant to corrosion and work great for certain situations. Carbon steel is great for simple camping or jobs, stainless steel is great for heavy duty jobs, and titanium is right in the middle and great for areas around a lot of water.

Advantages & Benefits

Before going out and buying a camping knife, it’s a good idea to take a look at the benefits and advantages of owning one. These things are listed here to help you have an easier time making a decision and give you a better understanding of what to look for. Take a look and see if these are some of the benefits you’re looking for.

Versatility

One of the great things about camping knives is that they can be used for so many different things. The list below only shows a few things they can be used for and there are a bunch of others as well.

  • Cutting food
  • Field dressing
  • Cutting rope
  • Sharpening sticks
  • Removing splinters or cutting bandages
  • Cleaning fish

Durable

They also tend to hold up quite well. There are some knives that can be used in multiple tough situations before they need sharpened or start to break. Keep in mind, since some knives are only good in situations where there’s light work, you want to double check the information and make sure the knife you’re considering will work for the job you need to do.

knife in tree with lantern

Lightweight

When you’re out camping, you’ll probably be doing a lot of tough things you don’t usually do. This can lead to you being tired and the last thing you want is to carry around a super heavy knife. Finding one that is lightweight yet very strong should be one of the top things on your list.

Compact

Most of these types of knives are on the compact side. You should be able to either put it right in your pocket or inside a sheath on your belt. Not only does this make your job easier, but you’ll be able to have the knife on your person in the event you need it right away.

Great for Emergencies

Most camping areas are away from most people and you never know what could happen. By having a camping knife, you can feel confident in situations like finding food or working through an emergency. The knife can be taken out and used in a matter of seconds. This is crucial when you consider that a few seconds could be the difference between serious injury and coming out fine.

General Tips

Before wrapping up, we’re going to take a short look at some general tips for using and owning a camping knife. Some of these might seem obvious, but it can’t hurt to go over them again. Since these are only a few of the tips and there are tons more out there, make sure you do your own research and get comfortable with owning and using these knives.

Keep the Blade Sharp

You want to keep the blade sharp at all times. To help achieve this, try and check the sharpness after every use. If you see it needs sharpened or repaired, you can either do it yourself at home or take it to a professional. Whichever one you’re more comfortable with will be the way to go.

How to Sharpen a Knife


Best Whetstone & Best Knife Sharpener Kit

A dull blade is neither very useful, nor very safe. Keeping a keen edge on your knife blades is therefore a key aspect of maintaining one of the most important items of your camping gear and a foundational skill for any outdoorsman.

The G-Ting Knife Sharpener Kit provides an all-in-one solution to keep your camping, fishing, and kitchen knives sharp. It comes with four different stones of varying grit, an angle guide, a leather honing strop, a razor strop, flattening stone, and polishing compound.


Clean After Every Use

You’ll also want to clean it after every use, especially when you’re using it with food or animals. After giving it a thorough cleaning, make sure you dry it completely. This will help keep the blade in working condition and reduce the chances of things like rust or discoloration.

Store Correctly

Another thing you want to make sure you do is store the knife correctly. When you aren’t using it, make sure it’s folded up and in a case or keep the knife in a sheath if it isn’t one that folds up. Try and keep it locked away when you know you won’t be using it.

Use Safely

Using your camping knife safely will help ensure that you don’t get injured or ruin your knife. Listed below are a few things you’ll want to do to keep yourself safe.

  • Cut away from you.
  • Keep it sharp and clean.
  • Always keep the item you’re working with directly in front of you.
  • Don’t use the knife erratically or unsafely.
  • Never grab the knife by the blade or try to catch it if it falls.
camper shaving log for kindling

Keep it Close

If possible, always keep your knife close to you. You never know what might happen and you want to be able to get the knife in a matter of seconds. With that said, though, make sure it can be secured so children can’t grab it.

Now that you’ve read the buying guide and reviews for the 5 knives, you should have an easier time looking for the best camping knife for your needs. Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what to expect and what to look for, as well as some general tips for using and owning these types of knives.


For information on the best backpacking knives, check out my other post here: Best Backpacking Knife: Reviews for Quality and Utility.

camo knife stuck in tree bark

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