There are a lot of uses for a good knife on a camping trip: preparing firewood, slicing food, cutting rope, or clearing brush, just to name a few. Buying a quality knife is an investment though, one that will pay off over many years of camping trips. However, it’s near impossible to find one that can do every task well (and at an affordable price). It’s important that you take a good look at how you’ll be using your knife before making a big purchase. Does it need to stay razor-sharp at all times? You’ll have to get good with a sharpening stone. Will you be batoning firewood with it? A sturdy fixed blade is a necessity then. A clear picture of where and how you’ll use the knife will ensure that you get the right one for your specific needs. With this in mind, let’s check out the best camping knives.
1. Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Camping Knife
Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Camping is intended to check all the boxes for your bushcraft needs. It comes with a 4.8-inch fixed stainless steel blade, which is just long enough for firewood prep, without being unruly for smaller tasks. It has excellent hardness and corrosion resistance, which cuts down on the need for sharpening.
That being said, the knife comes with an easy to use, pull-through carbide sharpener. Unlike sharpening stones, these require no skills or experience to use but don’t give as fine of an edge as a sharpening stone.
The BG Ultimate knife also utilizes a full tang design, with the blade steel running all the way through the handle for superior strength. The rubber handle gives it a rock-solid rubber grip, even when it’s wet with rain, sweat, blood, or food juices.
Gerber designed this knife to be ultimate in survival accessories too, so it’s got a few subtle features built into the handle.
The butt of the knife, known as the pommel, is made from hardened steel, allowing it to function as a hammer for pounding in tent stakes. If you have a few bits of cord, you can rig up a makeshift spear by running them through two holes in the handle and attaching it to a large stick.
A small emergency whistle also hangs off the pommel should you need to call out an SOS. The included nylon sheath even comes with a firestarter rod that can be used in conjunction with a notch on the top of the blade to create a shower of sparks.
There are a lot of gimmicky features that come with the BG Ultimate Camping knife, but at its heart, this is a well-built survival knife and you never know when you might need some of those accessories.
2. Benchmade Bushcrafter Fixed Outdoor Survival Knife
At first glance, there’s nothing special about the Benchmade Bushcrafter, and that’s really the point. It’s a workhorse of a knife, small in stature and weight, but built to last a lifetime.
We can start with the 4.4-inch S30V stainless steel blade – a premium high hardness and corrosion-resistant alloy. The Bushcrafter does not come cheap, and a big reason for that this steel is quite expensive. It holds an edge though, and sharpening is needed infrequently.
One of the best things about buying a Benchmade knife is that you don’t need to do any sharpening yourself. Just send it back to the company and they’ll get you a perfect edge, free of charge – for life. Now that’s customer service!
The handle is constructed from G-10 fiberglass, which has etchings in it to give a somewhat better grip when wet. Compared to other fixed-blade camping knives though, it’s a bit slippery.
The knife is only nine inches long from tip to tip, which is fairly compact for a fixed blade knife. It also weighs just under 8 ounces; you can wear it on your belt and barely notice it’s there. If you’re looking for a smaller high-quality knife that doesn’t have any gimmicky features, this is an excellent choice.
3. ESEE Knives 6P Fixed Blade Knife
The Esee 6P is a big, well-made knife that comes at a moderate price. This is an excellent choice if you need to do big tasks like chopping firewood during your camping trips.
The blade material is 1095 high carbon steel, which is a popular choice for bushcraft knives. It holds an edge well but is also easy to sharpen. Be sure to pick up a sharpening stone to go with this one and take some time to learn how to use it. 1095 is known to rust, so keep it dry and immediately wipe off anything acidic or salty.
Esee knives come with a lifetime guarantee (you don’t even need to be the original owner) that covers breakage, no matter the activity you’re using it for. It does not cover corrosion, so it’s still important to take proper care of it.
With a 6.5-inch blade and an overall length of nearly a foot, this is one of the longer knives on the list. While it comes with polymer sheath, it’s really too large to keep on your person. That extra length and its full tang handle make it ideal for preparing wood, but a hindrance when you need to chop up a garlic clove for your evening meal.
The 6P’s size can feel unruly, but it’s one of the best knives around if you need to cut a log down to size.
4. KA-BAR Full Size US Marine Corps Fighting Knife
KA-BARs are a classic backcountry fixed-blade knife if for no other reason than that they’re ubiquitous at army surplus stores and thrift shops – the Marine Corps Fighting Knife is the same design that soldiers used during the Vietnam era; so what’s allowed it to stand the test of time?
The 7-inch long blade is made from 1095 Chrome-Vanadium steel, which is a moderately tough alloy, and with a 20-degree edge is well-suited for a variety of backcountry activities. The thick ridges on the handle make for a solid grip, even when the knife is wet. It also comes with a beautiful leather sheath to keep the blade secure and in tip-top condition.
Despite its rugged look, the fighting knife wasn’t designed for bushcraft activities. It has a “rat tail tang” rather than full tang design, meaning it could break if you use it to chop wood. On the other hand, the length feels unmanageable for smaller tasks like whittling or slicing vegetables.
KA-BARs Marine Corps Fighting Knife is a decent all-arounder with a classic look and a lot of history, but it won’t stand up to rugged use. As far as fixed blade knives go, it comes at a bargain price.
5. KA-BAR Becker BK2 Campanion Fixed Blade Knife
While this knife and the previous one are both made by KA-BAR, that’s as far as their similarities go. The Becker BK2 is all utility, with none of the classic good looks, but with a design better suited to the rigors of backcountry camping.
The 5.5-inch blade 1095 Chromium-Vanadium alloy blade is great for just about any task – long enough for processing wood, but short and maneuverable enough for food prep. It’s rather hard steel, so you shouldn’t need to sharpen it very often, but be careful when batoning or you’ll risk snapping it in half.
There’s nothing flashy about this one though, with a black blade and composite handle that screams survival knife. The handle is formed for an ergonomic grip, but the material is smooth and prone to slippage when wet. Furthering its utilitarian image, the knife comes with a plastic and nylon sheath that requires no maintenance and will last through years of abuse.
If you’re looking for a long-lasting workhorse of a knife, this is the one to get. It’s a jack of all trades and capable of getting you out of the toughest of situations (or just cutting up some veggies for a tasty meal).
6. Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife
The Morakniv Companion is one of the most popular camping knives on the market for one simple reason: it does the job well and doesn’t cost much. It’s a utility knife for camping, plain and simple.
The Morakniv Companion is the least expensive knife on this list, but it holds its own against pricier models. The only issue with it is that the blade is a little short for big tasks like firewood prep and shelter building. Have some patience though, and Companion can still make short work of your woodpile.
The blade is made from a 12C27 steel, which has excellent corrosion resistance (it won’t rust even if left at the bottom of a wet backpack) and hardness (rarely needs sharpening). The high-friction grip is ultra-sticky, even when wet, making it one of the safest camping knives to use.
It should be noted that the Companion only has a partial tang, so it’s not as strong as some of the more expensive knives. Perhaps with repeated abuse, it could break, but given how cheap it is, even if you had to buy a new one every few years, you’d still come out ahead.
7. Fallkniven A1 Fixed Blade Camping Knife
The Fallkniven doesn’t look like much, which makes its high price all the more shocking, but if you know anything about knives, you’ll see it’s worth the cost.
The blade is made from VG-10 steel, a popular metal in high-quality Japanese cutlery. It’s one of the best for resisting rust, thanks to its high chromium content, but it also contains a large proportion of carbon for superior hardness. It takes a lot to dull the Fallkniven, but it is lacking in toughness, meaning that you don’t want to pry with it or use it to hammer anything.
The handle on the Fallkniven A1 looks like cheap plastic, but the composite material has a slightly textured and grippy feel; this is a great tool to have at a rainy campsite. It also comes with a Zytel sheath, that while not much to look at, will last for many years.
Its 6.3-inch blade is a bit longer than most camping knives, so it can feel bulky and more than a little unruly when you’re trying to do delicate work. With the handle included, it’s just over 11 inches in length. However, it doesn’t weigh all that much, just 12-ounces, thanks to a thinner blade and lightweight handle.
The Fallkniven is a great blade to have at your campsite if you’re looking for a durable, high hardness knife and are willing to pay for quality.
8. Kershaw Blur Camping Pocket Knife
Folding knives are usually a no-no for camping; moving parts reduce the durability and limit what you can do with the knife. However, they’re a lot more convenient to carry, and a smaller, less durable pocket knife on your person is a whole lot better than a burly one that you decided to leave at home.
Fortunately, the Kershaw Blur is one of the best when it comes to folding knives. The 3.4-inch blade is perfect for small tasks like slicing vegetables or cutting rope, and the heavy duty Sandvik 14C28N steel is very resistant to corrosion and dulling.
It’s coated in Diamond-Like Carbon, which gives it extra hardness and prevents debris and food particles from sticking to the blade.
The handle material on the Blur is anodized aluminum with grippy patches added for a secure feel. An attached pocket clip ensures that you’ll always have the folding knife with you when it’s needed.
It also comes with the company’s SpeedSafe assisted opening mechanism for easy one-handed operation. However, a handle-reinforced liner lock ensures that when it is open, it stays that way. While you won’t be able to do things like chop wood with the Blur, at least you can pry without worrying that the blade will flip back and cut you.
The Kershaw Blur is moderately-priced and has some excellent features. So long as you’re not trying to baton firewood with it, this folding knife for camping will serve you well for many years with minimal sharpening needed.
9. Morakniv Companion Camping Knife
This version of the Morakniv Companion uses a high carbon steel blade that is better suited to more delicate tasks like gutting a fish or field dressing a deer.
High carbon steel can take a finer edge but lacks toughness, so it should not be used for things like preparing firewood, where the blade could bend and break. On the other hand, they’re great for newbie knife owners as high carbon steels don’t require frequent sharpening.
Like its lower carbon predecessor, this Companion is short enough and light enough for convenient carry around the campsite, but with enough length to accomplish just about any task.
Aside from that though, this version of the Companion is an excellent knife that has all the same great properties as the original: a grippy handle material, a maneuverable blade, great anti-corrosion properties, and a price that will satisfy budget-minded campers.
10. CELTIBEROCOCO Tactical Camping Knife
The Celtiberococo is a truly beautiful knife that will satisfy both collectors and hardcore survivalists. It’s built to last, with a quarter-inch thick, 5.7-inch long, full tang blade made from MOVA-58 steel that is incredibly corrosion-resistant. This alloy doesn’t hold an edge as long as some of the very high carbon steels, meaning you’ll need to spend some time with the sharpening stone to keep it in good condition.
The handle is made from Cocobolo wood, giving it an elegant appearance while also helping to balance the weight of the knife (Cocobolo is a very heavy wood).
To complete the package, it also comes with a beautiful Spanish-made leather sheath. Attached to the sheath is a sharpening stone and fire steel, which you probably won’t carry all the time, but is a nice addition to the setup.
There are two downsides to this knife though: weight and price. The thick, full tang, razor sharp blade and heavy wooden handle make this one of the heftier knives on this list – close to 24 ounces. It’s not a great everyday carry, but if you need to get some work done, it’s there to do the job well.
As would be expected for a high-quality, attractive camping knife, the Celtiberococo cost three times as much as an average-priced knife. It’s an investment though, and as long as you take care of it, it’s durable enough that you could pass it down to your kids.