Choosing the best camping knife for your next trip can be a confusing business; there are literally thousands of different shapes, sizes and styles on the market. However, the camping knife is a highly versatile and exceedingly useful tool, so taking the time to invest in the right one will pay off.
There are a few different types of camping knife and blade point options to be aware of. For general use around the campsite, 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 are an excellent choice. That's because they're essentially a mini toolbox in your hand, making short work of any campsite repairs. Here, the big names are usually best (Victorinox and Leatherman are good examples), especially where good materials and design need to come together to ensure there are no slips in use.
Whatever you choose, quality is really the watchword in camping knives (as it is with much outdoor gear, including tents, camping stoves and sleeping equipment). One of the best camping knives will last basically forever, and you can rest assured it'll be ready whenever you most need it.
Are you allowed to take a knife camping?
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.
The best camping knife 2021
A simple but beautifully crafted blade the Barebones No6 Field Knife radiates competence. A practical-size 146mm fixed blade in high-carbon steel with a decent point, full-tang and a thumb depression make for a highly-usable package without unnecessary frills. That said, there's lots of visual pleasure on offer in the shape of the high-end walnut handle and copper lanyard ring, the latter adding a touch of colour and a utilitarian yet timeless design cue.
Last but by no means least, a solid waxed canvas and leather sheath protects the blade from both the elements and the edge from dulling, as well as providing a belt clip for cowboy-style hip carry. In short, the Barebones No6 Field Knife is a reliable companion for all species of outdoor adventure.
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.
No roundup of the best camping knives would be complete without a Victorinox 'Swiss Army' knife, even if nobody ever uses the funny spike blade for anything sensible. The Victorinox Swiss Army Pioneer X is a highly useful variation on the classic knife, and features many of the old favourite attachments in a highly compact format. With a standard main blade and set of scissors taking the starring roles, there’s still room for the timeless duo of screwdriver blades, one featuring a bottle opener and wire stripper, the other being a serviceable tin-opener too. There’s also that obligatory spike-device for, erm, spiking things.
The low-profile design only features blades on one side, which means no corkscrew – unfortunately you’ll be pushing the cork into that bottle of Rioja – but in every other circumstance this little folder has you covered. The ridged alloy scales are particularly easy on the eye, and will undoubtedly prove harder to scratch than the old red plastic. Whether in the car glove box, desk drawer, Lake District campsite or summiting the Eiger, the Victorinox is a flat-out classic camping knife that has stood the test of time with aplomb. Head to our Victorinox Swiss Army Pioneer X review for more of what we thought of it.
Leatherman’s latest iteration of the tried and tested platform, the ‘Bond’ delivers exactly what you’d expect from a Leatherman. An all-stainless build and excellent quality pliers with wire cutter make up the headlines, ably supported by a cast of smaller utility blades. In this case, a knife, Philips screwdriver join a can opener, file, two flathead screwdrivers and a marlin spike-style tool, and there’s a rule scale on the back of the grips. As ever though, the simple fact is that sometimes you really, really need a set of needle nose pliers to fix something, at which point the Leatherman is the single best rucksack tool on the planet. The 2.9 in main blade is also UK legal carry length, making this 14-toolbox into a flexible option to stash wherever. Head to our Leatherman Bond EDC review for more on why this is such an outdoor classic.
The Benchmade Mini Barrage is a lot of knife in a small package, even offering a range of customisations (aluminium handle construction, serrated blade and colours) to ensure you get the perfect camping EDC (Everyday Carry) knife. The assisted-opening makes one-handed operation simplicity itself, ideal for those fiddly camp-site tasks, while the robust drop-point blade will make short work of anything from food preparation to stick-whittling, and everything else in between. A lightweight but rugged build, this isn't a budget option, but will stand the test of time with ease and is already on the way to becoming a timeless classic – especially bolstered with the formidable reputation of the rest of Benchmade's range.
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.
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.
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 World Legal was created by Copenhagen’s Mikkel Willumsen – famed for his gritty Urban Tactical designs – with the idea that it would be technically legal worldwide. The result follows the letter of the law, but the aggressive design might well invite unwelcome attention if waved about in urban areas. The 2.75 inch Stainless Blade, nylon handle and pocket clip, combined with a traditional slip-joint, results in a robust cutting tool that’ll deliver anywhere.
Renowned knifemaker Spyderco has applied themselves to the question of what to usefully hang on your key fob, and come up with this tiny work of art. Although the tiny 32mm blade is razor sharp, it's perfectly legal too, and for slicing into tricky biscuit packets, parcels and the like it’s absolutely ideal. A full stainless build will brush off key-chain scrapes, and there’s a small lanyard hole to keep it safely attached. Simple, useful and always in your pocket.
Taking the multi to multi tool, this Victorinox monster is aimed squarely at geeks, and other folk who might need a torch, torx wrench set, pliers, magnifier and a pen. Which frankly is just about everyone at some point in their lives. If there was a pocket toolkit to repair a MacBook, this would be it. With a dizzying array of 32 tools, a legal length blade, and the confidence that the components won’t snap off when you use them, this is the office toolkit to rule them all.
There’s a lot to like about this minimalist but modern design, but the desirability rating is really amped up in the Titanium/Damascus version, giving you a beautiful yet perfectly usable and legal blade. Superlight and super-simple, this is designed to slip onto the keyring of any well-equipped person and be forgotten until a tricky bit of string or overly-sellotaped package appears. The keychain eye doubles as a robust ‘pry tool’, itself a potential flathead screwdriver, bottle opener and general wranging device - ideal for all those moments where using the blade just isn’t cricket. While the Titanium/Damascus build is at the spendy end of pocket knives, the bill can be halved by going for Stainless instead, making this literally ideal for all pockets, in every sense.
Common types of camping knife explained
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.
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Do camping knives have different blade points?
Yes – there are a range of different blade points, 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.