A good knife is an essential tool in the outdoors, particularly when camping. Of course, the type and seriousness of your outdoors adventure will dictate the best camping knife for you.
After all, a casual family holiday in the Lakes during summer probably calls for a decent multi-tool or small sheath knife for food prep. On the other hand, a four-week expedition to Patagonia might require something far more robust.
As with many other outdoor items, camping blades have been engineered to fit almost every niche, so choose carefully. On a brighter note, the very best camping knives last a lifetime, so it’s worth spending more to invest in a great one.
Our expert pick:
- If you had to pick one camping knife to rule them all, the Mora Garberg is the ultimate choice. Over-engineered, crafted from tough stainless steel and nestled in a robust sheath, the Garberg is capable of splitting branches, trimming twigs and prepping potatoes, making it an asset when it comes to cutting anywhere, anytime…
- Especially in more challenging conditions, such as in the cold and rain, or in very muddy or wet environments. Why? The simplicity of a fixed blade is a major benefit over the more fiddly multi-tools, as it provides you with a stronger grip and cutting action.
Why do you need a specific knife for camping?
There’s plenty of overlap among the best knives for camping, mainly due to the sheer range of activities associated with outdoors living, as well as the levels of ‘seriousness’ in camping itself.
Glamping in the Cotswolds probably requires a normal kitchen knife for opening the cheese biscuits, while constructing a quick basha for the night in the rainforest calls for a machete or parang.
In between those extremes you’ll find a knife that's jolly handy to have around the campsite, whether it be a small and robust fixed blade affair, or a multi-tool that opens bottles and has the various attachments for tackling a range of outdoors tasks.
In addition, you’ll find a host of specialist camping knives that are versatile enough to slice through tomatoes one minute, then aid in rescue situations the next.
How to choose the best camping knife for you
Camping knives are handy for keeping on you around the campsite, ready for those moments of need. In practice, this means you’ll either want a compact knife – stored away in a solid sheath when not in use – or a mini folding or locking knife.
A fixed blade offers extra support when you're tackling bigger tasks—the blades on these are more robust, so you’re likely to have a stronger grip on the handle. If you’re planning any kind of woodsman-type activities, you’ll want a fixed blade for cutting branches, trimming sticks and whittling.
The downside of a fixed blade is that it’s just that—there's no corkscrew or pliers, and longer versions can fall foul of the law.
For other outdoor activities, multi-tools like the Leatherman Wingman are an excellent choice. That's because they're essentially a mini toolbox in your hand, making short work of any campsite repairs.
A word of warning: keep a watchful eye on locking blades and be very careful as to where and how you use them, because even though it's legal to carry a folding blade under three-inches long, locking knives are not regarded as ‘folding’, so you’re not generally allowed to carry them in public.
If you’re unsure, check out GOV.UK for current UK knife laws before you buy.
Do camping knives have different blade points?
Yes, and they’re all engineered for different purposes. The most common types of blades are:
Generally speaking, drop-point blades are a good compromise between strength and utility, but it’s also worth considering sheepsfoot blades. They’re both strong, solid shapes that can withstand huge amounts of abuse.
The sheepsfoot profile lowers the risk of you stabbing yourself, and is often used for woodcutting work, as well as in dedicated watersport knives designed to cut rope.
Another other common type of camping knife blade is the clip-point, which has a crescent drop at the top of the blade to allow for more precision. It might not be as strong as a drop-point blade, but it’s worth considering if you need a blade for more delicate work.
We’ve picked out some of the best camping knives crafted to equip you for life on the campsite and in the great outdoors. Take a look at our list below to see which one is right for your next camping trip...
The best camping knives you can buy right now
1. Mora Garberg
The best camping knife for all outdoors chores
Reasons to buy
The Mora Garberg is one monster of a blade, not in length but in build. It sports a 3.2mm-thick treated stainless steel blade designed to take a serious beating when camping and during general outdoors activities.
However, it’s far from a blunt tool, with a Scandi-ground edge crafted especially to stay razor sharp, so it's always ready for whatever you throw at it.
A neat addition is how the spine of the blade has been ground specifically for use with a firestarter, enabling you to set up camp quickly whatever situation or weather you find yourself in.
A genuine leather sheath completes the minimalist yet incredibly durable package.
2. Glock Field Knife
Indestructible military-grade survivalist blade for wild camping
Reasons to buy
3. Leatherman Wingman Multi-Tool
The ultimate multi-tool for camping
Reasons to buy
Any expedition toolkit needs a Leatherman of some stripe, and the Wingman is one of the best. Providing a huge range of usable tools in a lightweight package, the Wingman squeezes 14 tools into a sub 200g block of stainless steel, which is an impressive feat in itself.
While the smaller tools are broadly comparable to the excellent Victorinox Swiss Army knives, the needle nose pliers are sometimes the only tool for the job, and have got many an adventurer out of a tight spot. For the small investment they’re an absolute no-brainer for any outdoors lover.
4. Gerber Gator Premium Outdoor Hunting Knife
The best camping knife for bushcraft
Reasons to buy
Hunters don’t seem to be able to fault this blade when it comes to both form and function, which is why we've include it among our picks for the best camping knives.
This fixed blade knife has a relatively small blade but is regarded as sharp enough to skin animals if that’s what you’re looking for.
What makes this camping knife slightly different to the others is that the curved handle, making it easy to hold. This is done by the finger groove at the bottom of the blade, which will stop your fingers from slipping.
5. Victorinox Huntsman Swiss Army Pocket Knife
A classic Swiss army knife for all camping eventualities
Reasons to buy
This tiny Swiss army knife may look out of place amongst the otherwise rugged-looking camping knives in the list, but never judge a book by its cover as they say.
The blade of the knife is said to be surprisingly impressive despite all of its 3.5 inches, and the thirteen other components to be equally as handy in a variety of indoor and outdoor situations.
Ok so you might not be able to skin a deer with it, but backpackers, campers and hikers are likely to find this tool incredibly handy when exploring the great outdoors.
The Victorinox Huntsman Swiss Army Pocket Knife is made from stainless steel, comes with a lifetime warranty, and most importantly; it’s got a bottle opener and a corkscrew so you’ll always be able to enjoy a cold one on your camping trip!
6. Accusharp Rust Resistant Sport Outdoor Knife
The best camping knife with a folding handle for carving
Reasons to buy
This little camping knife is rated highly for its precision blade that is often used for carving and carrying out other small tasks. It is a locking blade, which can make it tricky to open.
It's also important to remember that despite the blade size, a locking blade is illegal to carry in public, so be sure to keep this camping knife for private use only.
Accusharps' best camping knives entry is a trusty blade that's also surprisingly effective in a range of outdoor situations. It will serve you well for many years. Plus, it’s an absolute steal.
7. Palm River Folding Knife
A durable and compact knife for water-related trips
Reasons to buy
The Palm Folding River Knife is a niche outdoors product, but one that you’ll be very glad of if you’re cutting a seized guyline about camp, or a cutting rope away in an inflatable watercraft.
With a rounded blade tip to avoid unwanted stabbing of inflatable things, and a super-sharp serrated blade, this folding knife is aimed at paddlers and sailors, as well as being handy around the campsite. The bite tab is a nice touch for safe one-handed opening in an emergency, too.
Ultra-lightweight at just 49 grams, the Palm River Folding Knife won’t weigh you down, in part due to a glass-fibre handle. The blade is Japanese stainless steel, too, so not only is it it, sharp it’s also rust-free.
8. Gerber Ultimate Pro Outdoor Knife
A durable drop-point camping knife for surviving in the wild
Reasons to buy
This drop-point knife by Bear Grylls is a versatile and durable blade that will enable you to do anything from carving wood to preparing food and kindling.
Ultimate Pro Outdoor Knife is designed with a non-slip rubber grip, which should make it comfortable to hold even when carrying out the trickiest of tasks.
It’s noticeably heavy, and comes with a tight-fitting sheath. This camping knife is a fixed blade, too, so you can really get to grips with it when a heavier hand is needed.
The final word:
When it comes to the best camping knives and which one is truly best for you, the answer is based on the types of scenarios you'll be using the knife in and the duties it will carry out.
For a brilliant all-rounder knife for camping, we recommend the Mora Garberg. If you want a blade that comes with various tools, try the Victorinox Huntsman Swiss Army Pocket Knife.
The Mora will stand up to pretty much any camping-related task you can think of, while the Victorinox will also cut brie and open bottles of wine with equal aplomb.
About the author…
Mark Mayne is an outdoors journalist who specialises in camping, hiking and diving.