The 7 Best Camping Knives in 2020 Reviewed
Camping knives might sound like they’re only useful for serious survival enthusiasts, but every camping trip can be aided by the use of a camping knife. From building a shelter to lighting your fire, every camping trip needs a knife. So we’ve compiled reviews of our top 7 best camping knives, each with a different set of features and at different price points, to meet whatever your camping needs or budget!
In a hurry? Here’s the test winner after 10 hours of research:
And here’s an overview of the best camping knives on the market today:
Best Camping Knife – Overview
1. Opinel No8 Pocket Knife
The Opinel No8 Pocket Knife has remained unchanged in design since 1890. So you know that this is a design that has stood the test of time! If you’re looking for a simple, cheap, sturdy camping knife, that doesn’t come at a high price point, then Opinel No8 Pocket Knife could be the perfect option for you.
With its durable construction, Opinel No8 Pocket Knife is made of carbon steel, which is extremely hard and guarantees excellent cutting quality. The carbon steel blade of this folding pocket knife is 3.25 inches long. It also has good wear resistance and easy regrinding, so you can resharpen this blade, and use it year after year. However, carbon can erode easily, so we wouldn’t advise taking this pocket knife on a rainy camping trip. We would also recommend that to preserve the longevity of the blade, you grease the blade after every use.
Another feature of this knife is the elegant beechwood handle. Weighing next to nothing, this material is perfect for portability. It’s also hardy and durable, meaning it will last you for years. Furthermore, 95% of the wood for the handles comes from sustainably managed French forests. So, this is a great option for you if you’re sustainable minded, and like to do your bit for the great outdoors while you surround yourself in it. With a safely locking ring, this handy knife will provide for all of your less heavy-duty in camp needs. However, if you’re hunting or cutting large pieces of wood, the blade might not be long enough for you and your needs.
- Classic design
- Sustainable beechwood handle
- Carbon steel blade can rust
- Only 3.25 inch blade
2. Morakniv Companion Heavy Duty Knife
The Morakniv Companion Heavy Duty Knife is top of the range when it comes to bang for your buck. At under $25, this is a cheap blade, that’s easy to replace if you lose it. This fixed blade outdoor knife comes with a 4.1-inch high carbon steel blade, which is bigger than the Opinel No8 Pocket Knife. With the larger blade, which usually arrives very sharp out of the box, this knife could meet all of our outdoor cutting needs.
Another winning feature of this knife is the extra-large ergonomic handle with a high-friction grip. This handle is perfectly designed to make this knife comfortable to hold and easy to handle. Because of the ergonomic handle, you’ll be able to complete even more heavy-duty tasks with the Morakniv Companion Heavy Duty Knife. Your hand won’t get tired from a long time chopping firewood or timber, or cutting rope, for example.
This knife is also super portable. Weighing only 4.8 ounces, it’s light enough that you can easily carry it in your bag without weighing you down too much as you’re hiking. It also comes with a color-matched plastic sheath with a belt clip. This not only adds to the portability of the blade but also means that you can store it safely. Because this isn’t a flip knife, it also adds more power to the blade. However, sometimes these blades arrive a little dull, so make sure you regularly sharpen this blade to keep its effectiveness.
- Extra-large ergonomic handle
- Carbon steel blade can rust
- Blade can arrive dull
3.Gerber Big Rock Camp Knife
Although Gerber isn’t always the most reliable brand when it comes to camping gear, we think that their Big Rock camping knife suits almost all camping knife needs. One of the most important features of the Gerber Big Rock Camp Knife is its full tang design. Full tang means that the knife is made of one solid piece of metal, and the handle is attached on to it at both sides. One of the benefits of a full tang knife it that they’re often perfectly balanced in your hand. This means you can easily get your momentum up if you’re cutting things repetitively, making the process easier for you and your hands. This is especially good for tasks like cutting kindling or preparing your dinner to be cooked over the campfire.
Furthermore, the blade is made from 440A steel and includes serrations towers the base of the blade. This means the blade is useful for different types of cutting, for example stripping down bark or cutting up firewood. However, the sheath provided with this blade is really quite flimsy, and we wouldn’t recommend using it to protect you and your belongings from the blade as it’s stored. There are a few other, more hardy sheaths available on the market: consider investing in one of these if you’re looking to go for the Gerber Big Rock Camp Knife.
The second feature to note is the ergonomically contoured handle with textured SoftGrip overmold. This excellent handle is designed perfectly with outdoor use in mind. The ergonomic handle means that you can complete even repetitive tasks with ease, and your hand won’t get tired. The SoftGrip overmold ensures a secure grip, adding to the safety of using this knife as it won’t slide from your hands.
- Ergonomically contoured handle
- Made from 440A steel so won’t rust
- Bad sheath
4. Bahco 396-LAP Laplander Folding Saw
If you’re looking for a more heavy-duty knife that’s able to cut through thick and hard wood, then a simple camping knife might not do the trick. You could consider, instead, investing in a folding saw like this one from Bancho. Folding saws are a great way to take with you a powerful tool, that will really make a difference to your camping experience: with a saw, you can cut down and clear campsites from wood and branches quickly and easily. But be careful with these blades! They’re often very sharp, so definitely don’t take them with you if you’re going camping with your family.
This general-purpose folding saw with a 7-1/2 -inch blade has 7 teeth per inch, meaning that it’s properly serrated to cut through wood and other hard materials quickly and easily. It even cuts through bone, making this a great option if you like to combine camping and hunting trips.
The blade of this folding saw is also specially coated for rust protection and low friction. This will make cutting and sawing smoother and easier for you, and mean that this folding saw will stand the test of time. You can also replace the blades of this saw, which is very useful for knives with a serrated edge as you cannot easily sharpen them like other blades.
Another feature of this folding saw is the safety lock for both lock-in and lock-out. As we have mentioned, saws can be extremely sharp, so having a lock-in fold-away function is necessary to ensure your safety while you use and store this product. However, one of our main criticisms of this model is that sometimes the lock-in feature can fail if you’re sawing really tough materials.
And sometimes it also fails the other way and doesn’t lock in properly to the handle. This happens rarely, but if you’re looking for a saw that never fails, this might not be the right option for you. However, at only $23.45, this is a cheap folding saw, so it can easily be replaced.
- Well serrated saw for heavy-duty chopping
- Made from 440A steel so won’t rust
- The lock-in feature can fail
5. Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Pro Knife
If money is no object, and you’re looking to find a heavy-duty knife that will really stand the test of time, then the Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Pro Knife might be just the pick for you. With its full-tang construction, made of premium 9CR19MoV stainless steel, this knife is one of the most durable options on the market. The full tang construction means that it’s perfectly balanced in your hand, meaning you can easily get your momentum up if you’re cutting things repetitively, making cutting easier for you and your hands.
One of the main unique selling points of this knife is how sharp it is. And that’s not only because it arrives sharp in the post after you’ve ordered it from Amazon. It comes with a military-grade, mildew-resistant nylon sheath with a pull-through carbide sharpener. That means you’re sharpening your blade every time you put it in and take it out of the sheath! Therefore the sheath is great for not only keeping you and your possessions safe while you store the knife but also keeping your knife sharp without any extra effort.
This knife is perfect for adventure seekers. It contains some features which make it the ideal survival knife. Including Bear Grylls’ “Priorities of Survival” Pocket Guide, you can find out how the oracle of outdoor survival himself uses this blade, and get some handy tips and tricks. It also comes with a built-in fire starter rod in the watertight holder, and a lanyard with a loud emergency whistle. Therefore this is the ideal survival knife, not just for all of the reasons you need a knife outdoors like creating a shelter, but also for the added survival features. At just under $75, this is not the cheapest model on the market, but it’s worth the investment if you’re looking to take your outdoor adventure to the next level.
- Survival features
- Full tang
- Made of premium 9CR19MoV stainless steel
- More expensive
- Not as good for detailed carving
6. Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife
If your outdoor needs are less extensive, and you don’t need the survival level protection of the Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Pro Knife, then a great option for you might be the Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife. At only $15.72, this knife combines quality with a low price point. This fixed-blade outdoor knife comes with a 4.1-inch hardened Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel blade. This longer length of the blade gives you more strength as you’re cutting, making this bade ideal for carving, food prep, and cutting tinder.
One feature of this blade, similar to some of the other models we have reviewed, is that it’s made of stainless steel. This high-quality Swedish steel blade is razor-sharp and exceptionally tough due to the high-quality material. Unlike the Opinel No8 Pocket Knife, the stainless steel material of the blade stays sharp longer than carbon steel and is less prone to rust. Another benefit is that this model includes a color-matching plastic sheath with a belt clip, and there are many different colors to choose from, a great option if you’re looking for a fully customized knife.
Another benefit of this model is the construction of the handle. With a patterned, high-friction grip that sits comfortably in your hand, this blade can offer you a high level of control when cutting. This is especially useful when you’re going camping in the rain or using the knife in wet or cold conditions. The high friction grip can offer you greater control, safety, and performance than some of the other models made of smooth materials. So, at less than $16, all of these features, and the manufacturer’s limited lifetime warranty, this option really is top for bang for your buck.
- Stainless steel
- Color-matching plastic sheath with a belt clip
- Lifetime Warranty
- Not serrated
- Cheaper price might mean less durability
7. Benchmade – Bushcrafter 162 Fixed Outdoor Survival Knife
If money is no object, and you’re looking for a luxury camping kit, then look no further than Bushcrafter. This knife is certainly not for those with a smaller budget, as it goes for a whopping $195.84. This knife is made of top of the market CPM-S30V steel, for first-rate edge retention and corrosion resistance. The 4.40-inch blade length will keep its sharp edge for years to come, serving all of your outdoor needs, whatever the weather, as the stainless steel won’t rust.
And Bushcrafter obviously believes in the longevity of their products: they offer a lifetime warranty, and repair your knife for you, posting it back to your home address free of charge. Although the knife itself might not boast enough extra features for you to warrant the extra expenditure; the customer service might do.
Fixed blade construction in the design of this knife means it’s sturdy and hard waring when in use. It also boasts a super hardy and durable G10 handle. This handle features a resin-soaked fiberglass body, which you can use in any environment, season or weather condition, even if you’re going camping in the rain. This is because the fiberglass body is impervious to moisture, meaning it won’t wear, even if exposed to harsh weather conditions. This model is also easy to carry and store, with its leather sheath with belt loop and D-ring, meaning it’s always on hand.
At 7.7 ounces, this is a lightweight survival knife, which will survive you a lifetime. However, with so many other options available, you might find that another model provides you with all you could need from a knife, without the high price point. Also, if you’re looking for a knife for adventure and survival purposes, we would recommend investing instead in the Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Pro Knife, due to the number of additional survival features.
- 7.7 ounces
- CPM-S30V steel
- resin-soaked fiberglass handle
- Not as many survival features
- Cheaper price might mean less durability
How will I use my camping knife?
To help you make up your mind, and decide which of these camping knives is perfect for you, it’s worth considering what you’ll be using your camping knife for. So here’s a list of the top uses for camping knives:
- Raft building
- Skinning, gutting, and cutting meat and food
- Eating utensil
- Carving a Container: If you’re feeling creative, you can use your knife to carve a bowl or container for storing water or food or keeping smaller items together
- Entertainment: like carving objects or target practice
- Bushwacking: use your knife a mini machete, to clear woodland if it’s long enough, or you elongate it by strapping it to a sturdy stick
- Fire starting: you can craft a bow drill for fire starting by carving it out of wood with your knife
- Fire tinder: carve thin wood shavings to use as tinder, to get your fire really going
- Build a shelter: a necessary part of building your shelter needs a knife, mainly in cutting vines or sticks to prop up tarps or use as another part of your shelter
- Self-defense: use your knife as defense or protection if you’re camping in an area where there are lots of wild animals
- Hunting: you can attach your knife to a long stick to use it as a spear for hunting, sharpen the end of a stick to use it as a spear, or throw the knife to hunt prey for food
- Hammer: use the handle of your knife as a hammer, for hammering in tent stakes, for example
- Digging: for hard ground, you can use your knife to dig holes. These could be used for: storing items, making a fire pit, building traps, setting up shelter, or disposing of waste
- Opening cans
- Anchor: stick your knife through an object into the ground or a tree to anchor them, for example, the tarp of your shelter on a windy day
Our top pick for survival is Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Pro Knife. There’s no better accompaniment for your really adventurous trips, especially if you’re going primitive camping, or might need to protect yourself from wild animals.
As you can see, the opportunities to use a camping knife in your outdoor adventures are seemingly endless. If you use your best knife with a little bit of imagination, it might encourage you to be even more creative with the great outdoors, creating a shelter that’s just perfect for you and your group. And you could even carve some handmade implements to furnish it with. If you’re backpacking, this is a great way to save space in your bag, as instead of carrying some accessories you can just make them instead!
There are many options for camping knives on the market. You could even consider looking at a multi-use tool such as a Swiss Army Knife, which will provide you with other tools than a knife, like screwdrivers and tweezers. But we’ve compiled a list of our top picks of the best camping knives, to help ease your decision if you’re looking for the more minimalist option.
As you have read, there are numerous uses for camping knives, and many different options available that will suit whatever your camping or survival needs. Think about how you want to use the knife, and what your price range is, and then with our recommendations find the camping knife that’s just right for you!
Bonus tip: While we are on the topic of the outdoor legend that is Bear Grylls, check out this video of his top 10 most insane moments below!