The Best Camping Knives for 2023

Anyone who has camped before – especially backpackers or dedicated survivalists – knows how valuable a camping knife can be.

For just a few bucks and a few inches in your backpack, you’ll get tremendous benefits for your next trip into the wilderness.

So let’s take a closer look at what makes a great camping knife and one of the best on the market today.

Can you use a knife for camping?

Naturally! There are almost as many uses for a camping knife as there are outdoor activities.

Camping knives can do everything from clearing vegetation around your campsite to splitting kindling, chopping vegetables or skinning freshly hunted game. In short, they are a versatile and essential part of any frequent camper’s toolkit.

What is different about a camping knife?

In general, a camping knife is tough and reflects the rougher uses it will be put through compared to other types of knives. However, it is still lighter and more compact than machetes and other large bushcraft knives.

This makes them easier to transport and more suitable for fine work around the campsite. In contrast to pocket and survival knives, the best camping knives have a fixed blade with a continuous tang instead of a folding mechanism.

This provides extra stability and power when cutting. The different angles of a camping knife’s blade can make it better suited for one type of job or another.

What to look for in a camping knife

The choice of camping knives is seemingly limitless. Each advertises a number of unique features with models available in a wide price range.

So what are the most important things to consider when buying a camping knife? Keep these three most important factors in mind.

blade length

Blade length varies with use and knife design. They range from as small as 2 inches to as large as eight to ten.

Of course, larger blades offer more cutting power and other uses, but sacrifice portability and some control as they grow. As with many aspects of knife purchasing, choosing the length comes down to what feels best for the owner.


Weight is another factor that can come down to personal preference and how you intend to use your knife. For some, a heavy knife feels good in the hand and gives them extra power when chopping and slicing. Some heavier blades can also be a sign of their durable construction.

On the other hand, a lighter knife requires less energy, so your hand doesn’t get tired. However, it may be smaller or more fragile.


Versatility is partly a function of blade length and weight. It’s also a worthwhile category to consider when purchasing a camping knife for yourself.

Camping knives that can do everything are of course more valuable than those that only specialize in food prep, kindling, or other tasks.

Consider both the type of blade (including whether it’s serrated) and its angle when evaluating potential uses.

Camping accessories for a camping trip, including a knife

The best camping knives you can find online

With these critical factors in mind, we have sorted the readily available online options.

We found five models that stand out from the rest in different categories. Let’s take a closer look at these innovative options.

Our pick: Kershaw folding pocket knife

This Kershaw is the strongest, most versatile and best value camping knife. This folding knife has a blade of just over 2.5 inches. This makes it easy to carry and legal to own in almost all cases.

With just a flick of your wrist, the attractive heavy-duty steel blade extends or folds back, and a secure locking mechanism keeps it in place. In addition, a practical pocket clip ensures that your knife is always at hand when you need it.

Top Rated Mossy Oak Survival Hunting Knife with Sheath

Nearly 8,000 Amazon customers have given this Mossy Oak survival knife rave reviews, earning it 4.7 stars out of 5. It is one of the larger camping knives with a 10 inch fixed blade at the end of a comfortable rubber handle. Even so, it weighs little more than a pound.

The blade even serves as a striking surface for the included magnesium fire starter. The stainless steel blade features both serrated and traditional blade edges that stay sharp in just seconds with the kit’s sharpener.

When not in use, the entire knife stores securely in a protective nylon sheath.

Budget-friendly: 6-in-1 survival folding pocket knife

Those looking to save some money but still want a quality knife should try this six-in-one knife, which retails for less than $15. That’s only two-thirds the price of other popular models.

The 3.5″ black stainless steel blade folds out for easy cutting, but that’s just one of the many uses of this lighter, bottle opener, glass breaker, seat belt cutter and lamp combo. All of this comes in waterproof packaging that weighs less than six ounces.

ALBATROSS 6-in-1 Survival Tactical Military Folding Pocket Knife with LED Light, Seat Belt Cutter, Glass Breaker, Magnesium Fire Starter, Bottle Opener;  Multifunction Emergency Tool (Black)

ALBATROSS 6-in-1 Survival Tactical Military Folding Pocket Knife with LED Light, Seat Belt Cutter, Glass Breaker, Magnesium Fire Starter, Bottle Opener; Multifunction Emergency Tool (Black)

  • Multi-function: folding knife, LED light, seat belt cutter, glass breaker, magnesium fire starter, bottle opener.
  • Right size: Unfolded length: 8.5 inches, blade length: 3.5 inches, folded length: 5 inches, weight only 5.5 OZ, very suitable for…

Large Blade Fixed: Fixed knife with leather sheath

Certain campers prefer the stability and strength of a fixed blade. One of the best big options in this class is this stylish and practical NedFoss model.

It includes a 7 inch full tang stainless steel blade at the end of a beautiful, ergonomic wooden handle, creating a knife that looks as good as it cuts. It also has a genuine leather sheath that attaches securely to your belt.

Keep in mind: Before you set off, be prepared for any situation! Here’s how to create the best RV emergency kit

Large foldable blade: camping knife with a long blade

For a combination of portability and large blade size, Grand Way offers this high quality model. With a 5.8 inch blade, it offers plenty of power and strength for serious cutting tasks.

When it’s time to store it, it folds down to just over 7 inches in length while the blade tucks into the comfortable metal and wood handle.

This semi-folding style allows the blade to be significantly longer than the handle, providing maximum usable surface area.

How long can a knife be legally carried around?

As with many regulations affecting potentially hazardous items, laws vary from state to state and even city to city.

Laws often differ between concealed and open knives. Some laws differentiate between knives you have (e.g. in your vehicle or near your campsite) and unused knives on you.

In some cases, you can only carry blades if they are 2″ to 2.5″ or shorter. In others, the restrictions do not apply until the blade exceeds 5 inches.

Some places have laws stating that knives of any kind cannot be carried by anyone under the age of 18 or even 21. Many areas also ban switchblade knives, ballistic knives, butterfly knives, or other particularly dangerous types. Other states may have little or no restrictions!

When in doubt, consult a local attorney or law enforcement official if you need clarification on the laws of a particular location.

How sharp should a camping knife be?

For some applications, the sharper your camping knife, the better. This applies in particular to the preparation of food, skinning or slaughtering of animals or other delicate work. An extremely sharp blade allows you to cut with the least amount of force, allowing for greater control.

You can sharpen camping knives used for heavier jobs at a wider angle of up to 35% for extra strength and break resistance.

Regardless of the sharpness or angle you want, it’s important to sharpen your knife regularly to keep it in tip-top shape, as regular use will dull it over time.

Keep in mind: Are you looking for the perfect gift for the traveler in your life? Then check out these road trip gifts that people will really love

There are a few items that campers can add to their tool kit that offer as much value as a camping knife for their modest cost.

Whether chopping through vegetation, cleaning and chopping up food, or carving kindling for a fire, camping knives are versatile tools that can last for decades with regular maintenance.

With all these excellent camping knives, it’s hard to go wrong!

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