Take a minute and imagine your last camping trip. You may have been with your family in a centralized campground, headed off into the wilderness for a grand adventure with your buddies, or even headed to your favorite hunting grounds to get in a bit of scouting ahead of the season opener. While these may seem like three very different camping experiences, they all have something in common – unexpected circumstances that call for a bit of “ingenuity.”
When you really think about it, how many camping trips have you taken that you could have used another tool, or at least a better one, to help you get the job done? Hence the need for an all-around camping knife. Just like no two camping trips are the same, though, neither are knives. With a few of these selection tips and a couple of recommendations, though, you will be well on your way to selecting and purchasing the best camping knife before your next trip.
What to Look For When Purchasing a Camping Knife
Whether you are selecting your very first knife or are simply replacing an old favorite, it is important to do a bit of “comparing” to find the best tool for you. It can be easy to select a knife based on a favored brand, or even a fellow outdoorsman’s suggestion, but you’ll make a better purchase if you consider a few features of your knife before selecting one. When purchasing a camping knife, you’ll want to consider size, style, tip point, blade edge, pommel design, blade composition, function, and price.
Does it really matter? Yes, the size of your knife does matter, but in this instance, bigger isn’t necessarily better. You’ll want to select a knife that is fairly easy to carry with a blade that is sized for effective use. If the blade is too big, you won’t be able to use it for more detailed tasks. However, the same is true if it is too small – you’ll not be able to use it for more rugged tasks like splitting kindling wood or removing small tree limbs. Select a knife that easily fits in your hand, you find easy to carry in a clip or sheath, and that is designed for purposes necessary when camping.
And by style, no, we’re not referring to the aesthetics of the knife but rather the style of the blade. Camping knives come in two basic varieties: fixed blade and folding. Depending on the knife you select, most utility knives can withstand whatever utilization you intend them for. However, it is important to consider that a fixed blade is generally sturdier, as it is not designed to fold down, and may hold up to more pressure. On the other hand, a folding knife may be easier to carry and utilize in certain situations as well. This consideration is more of a personal preference. Just be sure to weigh the pros and cons of each style.
3. Tip Point
4. Blade Edge
In addition to the tip, you also need to consider the style of the blade’s edge. While some knives are available with double-edged or “dagger” style blades, typically a single-edge blade is the way to go when selecting a camping knife. This one-sided design allows you the most leverage when using your knife for tasks such as cutting limbs and notching wood. You may also want to look for a single-edged blade with a flat spine as this spine can be used as a striker for flint or a ferro-rod.
5. Pommel Design
The pommel or “butt” of the knife is just as effective a tool as the blade itself, so you’ll also want to take this element into consideration. A solid, wider pommel can be used for light duty pounding and hammering, such as driving in stakes. A hooked or even rounded pommel make this task nearly impossible, so finding a knife with a flat design adds to your knife’s versatility.
6. Blade Composition
When purchasing a knife for camping use, you need something that will withstand some heavy use, which is why it is important to consider what the knife is made of. Different blades are made of different materials. Many smaller knives are made of 440 steel, which is affordable, relatively strong, and maintains its sharpness. However, these knives are not quite as durable as a higher grade steel. Heavier, larger knives are typically made of 1080 steel and are good for heavier tasks. When selecting a camping knife a slightly higher grade steel will provide you more durability.
Because you are purchasing this knife as a camping knife, you want to make sure it is as versatile as it needs to be. Consider all the ways you’ll use a camping knife – opening cans, cutting vegetation, unscrewing things, protecting yourself, etc. A heavier knife will allow you to accomplish more of these tasks than a smaller, lighter knife and blade.
3 of the Best Camping Knives Available Today
Once you’ve considered a these factors, it is time to take a look at specific knives available. Three of the best camping knives that are currently available on Amazon are the KA-BAR Full Size Us Marine Corps Fighting Knife, the Condoor Tool and Knife Bushcraft Basic, and the Benchmade Bushcrafter Knife.
1. KA-BAR Full Size US, Marine Corps Fighting Knife, Straight
This knife is actually the most famous fixed blade knife design in the world. It is made of 1095 Cro-van steel and features a 7”straight edge blade. The handle is made of authentic leather and features a flat pommel. The KA-BAR is a full tang, fixed blade knife that will do whatever you need it to. With origins dating back to World War II, the KA-BAR is a full-size hunting and sport knife that serves as an excellent camping companion.
2. Condoor Tool Knife and Bushcraft Basic 5-Inch Black Blade Knife
Don’t let the simple design of this knife fool you. It is just as effective a tool as any other. Featuring a 5- inch single-edged blade. This knife is made of 1075 high carbon steel and has been finished with a black epoxy powder coating for extra durability. Featuring a fixed blade and full tang design, the Condoor is durable and versatile.
3. Benchmade Bushcrafter Knife
The Benchmade Bushcrafter (pictured above) is another good choice for a versatile and durable camping knife. Made of S30V stainless steel, the blade is singled-edged and sharply pointed. With its durable design and high quality blade, this knife can be used for anything from basic cutting to professional grade rescue. This knife is a perfect tool for the avid outdoorsmen.
So, what are you waiting for? Go purchase your new camping knife.