Camping Knife: What Is The Best Knife For Camping?

Camping Knife, Fixed blade camping knife

What Makes A Good Camping Knife?

How do you choose a good camping knife and what is the best knife for camping?  Everyone camps in very different ways. Rather than just telling you what our favorite camping knives are this post will lay out the concepts about how to choose the best camping knife for you.

 Some of the main things to consider as well as the kinds of tasks you will want to use it for are;

  • Fixed blade or folder?
  • What will you use it for?
  • Campground or wilderness?
  • Camp cooking and food prep?
  • Small or big camping knife?
  • Wood processing for fire?
  • Price and overall value?
  • Sheath carry or pocket carry?
  • Potential survival needs?
  • One knife or knife set?
  • Wood carving and whittling?
  • Carbon steel or stainless steel?
  • How well does it hold an edge?
  • How will i sharpen when it dulls?
  • Blade style such as drop point or other?
  • Is this a good knife to carry in public?

How To Choose A Good Camping Knife For You?

In order to choose the right kind of camping knife you need to be realistic about what you want it for.  While some people envision themselves surviving in the wild with nothing more than a big Bowie knife and a piece of beef jerky.  The reality is that most people just need a good solid tool that they can rely on for simple camping tasks.

What Is A Camp Knife Used For?

  • Cutting rope or twine for tents and tarps
  • Processing wood for fire
  • Food preparation
  • Making impromptu tent pegs
  • Whittling around the fire 
  • Other general cutting tasks around camp

With that said, one of the main determinations to think about is if you are going to be using your camping knife as a camping chef knife or if you will have another dedicated cooking knife in your kit.

Many times, people use a separate camping cooking knife and a smaller folding knife or pocket knife for their other cutting tasks.  If this applies to you then i would suggest thinking about a medium sized folding knife.

If you are planning on travelling lighter then you may want to consider a larger fixed blade camping knife.  This would make it more suitable for heavier jobs as well as more reliable as your one main camping knife.

Camping Knife, Folding Camping Knife

What Makes A Good Folding Camping Knife?

It is often said that the best knife to have is the one you have with you.  With that in mind, a good camping knife to have is often a medium to large folding pocket knife that you keep with you at all times.

This makes sure that you always have a knife close at hand to help you with all your usual camping cutting tasks.  It can be quite frustrating to have to stop what you are doing, such as hanging a tarp with rope, to go get your knife because you had left it somewhere else.

The other benefit of a camping pocket knife is that you will be less likely to lose it if you get in the habit of closing it and putting it back in your pocket as soon as you are done with it.

What Should You Look For In A Good Folding Camping Knife?

  • A good strong blade that is 3 to 4 inches long
  • A versatile blade style such as a drop point or clip point blade
  • Strong locking mechanism such as a lockback or frame lock
  • Easy one handed operation for overall versatility
  • Stainless steel blade for durability and low maintenance
  • Textured handle to ensure a good grip when wet

If you want to check out our top picks of the best folding pocket knives of 2020 with complete review and comparisons then check out this post here.

Additionally, you can read the full review of the Paramilitary 2 knife here which is one of my favorite folding blades to take camping with me.

Fixed blade camping knife.

What Makes A Good Fixed Blade Camping Knife?

If you are going to be roughing it a bit more than your local campground then i would probably recommend a fixed blade camping knife instead of a folder.

Usually fixed blade knives are stronger, larger, and more durable than their folding counterparts.  This means that if you are going to be using it for more rough type of tasks and need to rely on it as a potential survival knife then it will probably be more suitable than a pocket knife.

One drawback of a fixed blade camping knife is that it will need to be carried in a sheath, usually on your belt.  While i wear a belt everyday i realize that some people do not and this could be an issue for someone who is not used to wearing a belt regularly.

There are some other more specialized ways to carry your fixed blade camping knife such as sheaths with clips or dedicated straps for lashing but they are much less common and not nearly as versatile as a standard belt mounted knife sheath.

What Should You Look For In A Good Fixed Blade Camping Knife?

  • Strong blade that is 3 to 6 inches long
  • Versatile blade style such as a drop point or clip point
  • Strong tang style such as full tang or hidden tang
  • Quality sheath with good fit and secure hold
  • Stainless steel blade for corrosion resistance and low maintenance
  • Quality handle that isn't slippery when wet
Camping Cooking Knife

What Makes A Good Camping Cooking Knife?

Many times people will bring an old kitchen knife with them for their camping chef knife.  While this is a good option most kitchen knives have some drawbacks when used for camping.

One of the main issues with using a kitchen knife as your camping cooking knife is that you don't have a butcher block or knife drawer to store it in.  While there are many different options for safely securing your cooking knives when at home in your kitchen.  When you are camping, those options are usually much more limited.

There are some good dedicated camping cooking knife options that come with their own sheath or protective sleeve that can keep then clean and safe when not in use.

The other option, of course, is to use the same folding pocket knife or fixed blade knife you use for other camping knife tasks.

One drawback of this option is that your knife can get dirty when used for camp tasks.  While i really enjoy the flavor of pine sap, many other people may not like their steak to taste like pine trees from the firewood you just finished cutting.

What Should You Look For In A Good Camping Cooking Knife?

  • Strong blade that is 3 to 9 inches long
  • Smooth tapered edge style with a decent belly
  • Strong tang style such as full tang
  • Sheath or other protective sleeve to keep it clean and safe
  • Quality blade steel that will hold an edge well
  • Solid handle that is easy to clean and comfortable to hold

What Is The Best Knife For Camping?

With all the above to consider, you may still be wondering, what is the best knife for camping?  If you are like me, there is no one knife that can do everything i want it to.

For that reason, i usually recommend more than one knife for different tasks when camping.  No matter what i am doing, weather it is camping solo in the bush, at a campground with friends and family, or just my day to day in the city, i always have a good solid folding pocket knife with me.

This pocket knife could be used for many small camping tasks such as cutting twine, whittling sticks, etc.  Many times this will be the main camping utility knife i would take with me if i am at a campground and other than cooking duty it will do just about everything i need it to.

Recently, my go to folding pocket knife for carry in the summer is the Spyderco Para 3 Lightweight in SPY27 blade steel.  It is an exceptionally lightweight folder with a great corrosion resistant steel that holds an edge well for everyday camping tasks.

If i am going out into the wilderness, especially if i am solo.  I always take a larger fixed blade knife with me in a belt sheath, as well as my folding knife in my pocket.  This stronger and larger blade can be sued for rougher tasks such as batoning wood, making traps, clearing small brush, or other rough cutting tasks.

There is something to be said about a nice solid 6 inch blade on your hip that just goes hand in hand with being in the bush.  There is also a measure of safety in having two knives on me at all times in case one somehow gets lost or damaged.  And of course, the larger knife also provides a measure of last ditch safety in the case of wildlife encounters.

With the above being said, it does not take into account the cooking aspect of a camping knife.  When i am in the wilderness, be it alone or with someone, either my belt knife or pocket knife are usually more than suitable for any cooking jobs i need to do with it.

However, when i am camping in a campground with my family we always have a dedicated set of camping cooking knives.  These are usually kept in a specific location used just for cooking and have plastic sleeves that keep them clean and safe.

One more interesting option for a good camping knife is the Spyderco Mule Team Knife Blade.  It is only offered a few times a year and tends to sell out very fast when it does.  However, Spyderco has planned to launch a new Straight Spine Mule in their proprietary steel Spy 27 which should be available this year, (2022)  

Check out our fully detailed article if you want to learn more about the Spyderco Mule Team Project.  Also, take a look at our custom made Spyderco Mule Team Scales In Our Store and take some time to read our detailed article all about Spyderco Mule Team Scales.

What Is A Good Camping Knife Sharpener?

Most times when you are out camping it will not be required to sharpen your knives as long as they were properly sharp before you started your trip.  However, sometimes things get missed and if you happen to be out camping and need to fine tune you knifes edge  then it is a good idea to know how to do that.

A standard silicon carbide sharpening stone is usually more than enough to keep your knives sharp for your camping trip.  You can usually get one with different grits on each side at a local hardware store or places like Walmart or Amazon.

Best Camping Knife Sharpener

I am quite picky about how sharp my knives are and i always carry a small diamond coated steel credit card in my wallet.  This card, made by DMT, is 1200 grit and can help tune up a dulling edge with just a few strokes.  

If you want to know more about how to get your knives sharp and how to keep them sharp then check out our post here about sharpening.

We also have a great guide on the best knife sharpeners for hunters.  Any one of these portable sharpeners would also make a great choice for keeping your camping knives razor-sharp. 

The worksharp guided field sharpener is our top choice and has all the functionality you could want in a portable knife sharpening system.

Best Camping Knife Recommendations

All of the above will have given you a good idea of how to choose the best camping knife for you.    The following are our top choices for a camping pocket knife, fixed blade camping knife, and camping chef knife.  All of these choices are geared towards the budget conscious camper who wants a decent tool at a reasonable price.

Best Pocket Knife For Camping

One of our favorite pocket knives for camping is the Ganzo G704.  This knife has a great blade style, good quality 440 alloy steel and a solid G10 Grip.  The price point on this one makes it a solid choice for someone who doesn't want to spend a ton but still wants a solid and trustworthy pocket knife for camping.  Click here if you want to check out a full and detailed review of the Ganzo G704

Best Fixed Blade Knife For Camping

One of our favorite fixed blade camping knives is the Gerber Freeman Guide.  This knife has a very solid handle and full tang construction.   It comes with a durable 5Cr15MoV stainless steel blade that is just over 4 inches long.   The butt end of the knife has a lanyard slot and comes with a formed nylon sheath.

Best Camping Cooking Knife

One of my favorite camping cooking knives is the DFACKTO 8 inch Rugged Chef Knife.   This knife has the same 5Cr15MoV stainless steel blade as the Gerber Freeman above and comes with a black stonewashed finish for protection.  The handle is made of G10 fiber resin and is well molded to avoid slipping in all conditions.  This knife also comes with a matte black sheath for safe storage and protection.


It is no doubt that camping is a great way to spend some time outdoors.  And while you are out camping you will often find yourself in need of a good camping knife. If you were wondering, what is the best knife for camping  then this post will have given you a good idea of how to choose the best camping knife for you.

Be it a folding camping knife, fixed blade camping knife, or a camping cooking knife, they are all useful when camping and can all perform different tasks as needed.  hopefully this post helps share some insight on how to choose a good camping knife for you.

Feel free to share this post with anyone who may need some help choosing a good knife for camping and comment below if you have any ideas or questions i didn't cover.

Spyderco Paramilitary 2 knife with digital camo handles on a burnt piece of wood.
Spyderco Paramilitary 2 Review: Unveiling a Modern Classic EDC Folding Knife

I’ve carried a Spyderco Paramilitary 2 for well over 5 years now. I use it (Along with the Military) as one of my main

Read More
1095 Knife Steel
1095 Knife Steel: Comprehensive Analysis and Expert Review

Overview of 1095 Knife Steel 1095 knife steel is a high carbon steel that is widely appreciated in the knife-making industry for its solid

Read More
Featured Image For D2 Knife Steel Article
D2 Knife Steel: An In-Depth Analysis and Expert Review

I’ve had quite a few knives with D2 steel blades over the years. My favorites are my Civivi Rustic Gent which is my go

Read More
5.11 Tactical Scout Knife In Aus *8 Blade Steel
Aus 8 Knife Steel: Comprehensive Analysis and Evaluation

Aus 8 knife steel is a high-quality stainless steel that is widely used in the production of various knives and cutting tools. Originally developed

Read More
CPM S35VN Knife Steel Featured Image
CPM S35VN Steel: Full Details And Review

As a knife enthusiast, I’m always on the lookout for high-quality blade materials that can elevate my collection and enhance my cutting experience. One steel

Read More
A Benchmade Knife In S30V Steel
S30V Steel : Full Details And Review

S30V Steel For Knives When it comes to knife blade materials, S30V steel is a popular choice among knife enthusiasts and professionals alike. Known for

Read More
440C Steel Review
440C Blade Steel – Full Details And Review

If you’re a knife enthusiast, then you’ve probably heard of 440C blade steel. This type of steel is often used in mid-level knives and

Read More
A picture of multiple Spyderco Mule Team Scales in different colors
Spyderco Mule Team Scales

The Spyderco Mule Team project is one of my favorite ways of getting my hands on some of the newest and most exciting knife

Read More
Spyderco Mule Knife On Mossy Log
Spyderco Mule Team Project

The Spyderco Mule Team Project is a unique program designed to get new and exciting types of blade steel into the hands of hardcore

Read More
Click here to add a comment

Leave a comment: