When you’re out roughing it, one of the best things to have by your side is the best camping knife available.
Here we’re going to break down what makes a separates a good camp knife from the best, what some of the essential features are, and what you should be looking for in your next camp knife.
A good camp knife should be able to handle the heavier tasks that need done, whether it’s chopping limbs from branches, creating kindling, or even creating an emergency shelter. So what are the best 5 camp knives?
- Reviews of the 5 Best Camping Knife
- 1. Ka-Bar Becker BK9 Combat Bowie Fixed Blade Knife
- 2. SOG Pillar Full Tang Tactical Survival Knife
- 3. Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops SWA242
- 4. Boker Plus Airforce Pilot Survival Knife
- 5. Buck Knives 124 Frontiersman Fixed Blade Knife
- Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
Reviews of the 5 Best Camping Knife
A camp knife is more than a blade. Find out here why these 5 knives made our “best camping knife” list and what features set them apart from the rest of the pack.
1. Ka-Bar Becker BK9 Combat Bowie Fixed Blade Knife
The Ka-Bar Becker BK9 combat Bowie fixed blade knife is easily one of the best knives that we have ever reviewed.
A combat Bowie is designed to perform under strenuous conditions for extended periods of times, and this BK9 does exactly that.
It is because of this that we made this our best overall pick for the best Camping knife.
The blade features an edge angle of 20 degrees with a blade made of 1095 Cro-Van steel. This steel is a specially formulated carbon steel that is not only easy to sharpen but also holds an edge extremely well.
The handle is Swiss made and constructed of Grivory. Grivory is a glass fiber impregnated nylon. The blade itself has a clip point which makes it exceptional for slicing and piercing.
This blade has seen service in every branch of the military and been tested under strenuous combat conditions. The overall length of the knife is 14.75 inches with a blade length of 9 inches.
The total weight of the knife is 1.05 pounds so it won’t fatigue your hands or wrists during repeated use. As far as Camp knives go, this is something that you will use for your lifetime and beyond.
What We Liked
- 20 degree edge angle
- Blade is constructed from 1095 Cro-Van carbon steel
- 75 inch knife has blade length of 9 inches
What We Didn’t Like
- Knife is heavy
2. SOG Pillar Full Tang Tactical Survival Knife
Our selection for runner-up of the best Camping knife is a classic. The SOG Pillar Survival Knife has a smaller blade than our best choice, but that doesn’t make it any less of great Camp knife.
At the heart of this Camp knife is a 5 inch s35vn stainless steel blade. The knife features a full tang blade for strength and durability.
The handle is made of Micarta which is a linen composite that increases the quality of its grip and feel the longer you hold it and use the blade. The tip of the knife is a clip point with a stonewash finish.
The knife weighs 7.3 ounces and has an overall length of 9.9 inches. The blade has a thickness of 1/8 inch which gives it plenty of pry strength to allow you to do Camp chores of almost any kind.
Keep in mind that s35vn steel is one of the new steels on the market. It’s extremely durable and corrosion-resistant, but this knife should not be put away wet. Stainless steel requires exposure to air to develop its protective film.
Without that protective film, any continued exposure to corrosive elements will cause the steel to rust.
What We Liked
- 5 inch blade has great heft with jimping on the back spine
- Micarta handle just gets better the longer you use it
- s35vn Steel blade
What We Didn’t Like
- Not an ideal dive knife
3. Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops SWA242
When it comes to weaponry, Smith & Wesson is one of the best companies around. For more than a century, they have been creating high-quality products that make hunting and defense easier and more accessible to people with a wide range of budgets.
The Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops SWA242 is a sharp and durable hunting knife that fits comfortably in the hand and slices with ease. There are several things that make this a fantastic choice for your next camping trip.
The Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops SWA242 is a lock folding tactical knife with a black high carbon stainless steel clip point blade. It is partially serrated, allowing you to cut through nearly anything you could possibly need to cut.
The black aluminum handle has an index flipper and comes with jimping and a pocket clip. One of the best things about this knife is that the comfort grip handle is perfect for those that are both left-handed and right-handed.
The ambidextrous thumb knobs fit perfectly in anyone’s hands.
Whether you’re heading out on a camping trip with your family or you’re hunting, you can rely on the easy-open Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops SWA242 in any situation.
Durability is a must and this knife gives you what you want and need. The blade is made from the super-strong 7Cr17MoV Black Oxide High Carbon Stainless Steel which can stand up to anything you throw at it.
What We Liked
- Can be used in the left or right hand
- Easy to open
- Blade is made from 7Cr17MoV Black Oxide High Carbon Stainless Steel
What We Didn’t Like
- Blade is a bit small
4. Boker Plus Airforce Pilot Survival Knife
Our number 4 in the “best camping knife” list is the Boker Plus Air Force pilot survival knife features and sk5 carbon steel Blade with a mirror finish.
The blade has a length of 4.5 inches with an overall knife length of 8.375 inches. This is a lighter blade with a weight of 3.6 ounces.
This knife was issued to the crews of long-range bombers for many years and served as the official survival knife of the US Air Force during the 1940s.
The blade itself has a mirror finish while the handle is crafted of leather. It features a pommel with aluminum and Brass spacers.
The sk5 carbon steel has a hardness value of approximately 65 which means that this is a very hard steel with a great ability to hold its edge.
This knife has a very unique look and feel and will definitely be a conversation starter as you use it around your camp for various chores. It has a trailing point tip which gives it the look and feel of almost a hefty fillet knife.
But when you use it, you will realize that the strength and durability of this knife means that it can be put to the test and come out the other side shining.
What We Liked
- SK-5 carbon steel gives a hard edge that lasts
- Smaller knife makes it more agile
- Comes with Leather Sheath
What We Didn’t Like
- Lighter weight means that it has less heft
5. Buck Knives 124 Frontiersman Fixed Blade Knife
Buck knives have been around for a very long time and this 124 Frontiersman fixed blade knife is a worthy addition to the list of best Camping knife.
It has a razor sharp 420HC steel blade dad has Superior Edge retention and corrosion resistance. The blade itself is 6.25 inches with an overall knife length of 11.75 inches. The total weight is 13.3 ounces.
This knife has a black Micarta handle with finger curves and a palm swell to ensure a comfortable and secure grip even when in a damp or wet environment.
It does have a pommel and blade guard to provide a striking surface and protect your fingers against slippage.
The blade comes from the factory razor-sharp because of the Paul Bos heat treatment system. Buck knives have used this method of forging knives since the 1950s.
This blade is a straight back Bowie style blade with a clip point. With its thick 1/8 inch spine that tapers to a slender slicing point, you will find multiple uses for this blade in Camp and out of it.
What We Liked
- 420HC steel forged with Buck’s Paul Bos Heat Treatment
- Black Micarta scale handle over full tang blade
- Aluminum pommel and double blade guard
What We Didn’t Like
- 6-1/4” blade may be unwieldy to some
A camp knife is more than just a knife you have when you’re out camping. A good camp knife will ideally be unbreakable and can also double as a hatchet.
A camp knife will be able to handle all sorts of chores, ranging from food preparation to cutting rope to chopping kindling and wood for your camp fire.
So what should you be looking for in a camp knife? Here are four key aspects you should be considering as well as five minor features you might think about while shopping for the best camping knife.
Four Key Features to Your Best Camping Knife
While there are a bevy of features that go into separating a decent camp knife from the best camping knife, here are four that you should definitely keep in mind.
Blade Length – The length of your blade is a very important feature of your Camp knife. You need a knife that’s going to be long enough to handle all of the chores that are part of camping.
This includes things like chopping kindling, creating sticks for hot dogs and marshmallows, or even slicing onions and peppers for dinner. You also wanted to be able to handle fish cleaning and even first aid assistance.
This means you don’t want a small pocket knife or a multi-tool. Those are good tools and blades for light work, but they’re never going to be able to handle the heavy load that is demanded from a camp knife.
You also don’t want to go too big because you can’t control them very well. This means that on average the best size for a camp knife is going to be anywhere between 4 and 6 inches.
Blade Steel and Edge Angle – Something else you should be considering is the type of steel that your camp knife will be made of. In general, you want something that will hold an edge well but will not be difficult to sharpen when the time comes.
Something like a 420HC is a great Steel to work with. There are multiple other choices for steel, just keep in mind that the harder a steel is the longer that it will keep its edge, but he more difficult it is to sharpen it.
The edge angle of a blade is another important consideration when looking at the camp knife. If you get a blade angle that is 2 small, then it’s going to need to be sharpened a lot.
If you get a blade angles that’s too big, then you’re not going to be able to cut anything. The best angle for a camp knife tends to be anywhere from 20 to 30 degrees. Check out this chart to see the various blade angles and what the best uses are.
|10 – 17 degrees||Fillet knives; edge will chip and require sharpening very frequently|
|18 – 22 degrees||Kitchen knives; use a steel to maintain edge between sharpenings|
|23 – 30 degrees||Hunting knife; Long lasting edge that is a little blunt comparatively|
|>30 degrees||Axes, machetes, chopping tools; require large amounts of force|
The Blade Style – Knives come in a lot of different styles ranging from Bowie knives to tanto-style. There are also a wide range of knife point styles, all with various uses.
There are seven general shapes that tend to be used for knives in general. Of these we recommend the clip point, the tanto, or a drop point. Here’s a list of the points and what they are good for.
|Clip||Popular blade shape that is used on many fixed blades; good for general piercing and slicing tasks.|
|Drop||Another popular blade shape with a more rounded top; good for simple carving tasks|
|Gut||Has a small hook on the back of blade for field dressing game; the hook portion of the blade is difficult to sharpen|
|Needle||Single or double edged strong point most typically used in throwing knives.|
|Sheepsfoot||Tip with no functional cutting tip.|
|Tanto||Strong wedge shaped tip with increased pry strength.|
|Trailing Point||Tip with a downward curved spine and needle sharp point. Ideal for filleting and skinning.|
Fixed Blade or Folding Blade – A lot of people have a lot of different opinions when it comes to the argument of fixed or folding for a camp knife.
It’s not very important which you choose, however, we do find that a fixed blade will give you a zero possibility of failure due to the opening and closing mechanism.
As long as a fixed blade is stored in a high-quality sheath when not in use, you will never want for a blade when you need it.
Five Other Considerations for your Camp Knife
These features of your Camp knife are not exactly essential, but they aren’t something that should be overlooked either.
These five things should influence your purchase but shouldn’t be a make-or-break decision in our opinion.
- The Tang – The tang is the portion of the knife that extends into the handle. You always want a full tang blade where it goes all the way through the handle. The primary reason for this is because a half or partial tang can put undue stresses on the handle and joins as you use the knife. Too much stress and you can snap or rip out the handle. Additionally, a full tang blade is also better balanced.
- Guards – A blade guard helps protect your fingers as they are wrapped around the handle from whatever you may be cutting. A single guard is nice as it extends from the blade side, however you will also find camp knives with double blades. This is primarily an issue of taste and what your preference is.
- Pommel – A pommel gives you a surface at the end of your handle for striking things. You can use a pommel to crack open nuts, or hammer in tent stakes. A pommel is a nice extra to have, but honestly you can accomplish the same thing with a rock or an actual hammer.
- Handles – The handle is often overlooked when purchasing a camp knife. You want a handle that is wrapped in a material that has a good grip. If you’re looking at a natural material, leather or Staghorn is an excellent choice. However, if left without maintenance for a prolonged. Of time, the natural material can crack and splits.
Another option for a camp knife handle is a synthetic material, which lasts longer. Avoid rubber as a handle material due to its tendency to decay.
However, Micarta is a synthetic material that holds up to the test of time very well. If you do use a synthetic material, consider using one that has a bright not natural color. That way if you drop your knife on the wilderness floor, you can easily see it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some questions about camp knives that seem to crop up whenever we talk about them along with the answers from our resident experts.
How big should a camp knife be?
You want your Camp knife to be big enough to do the necessary camp chores but not so big that it becomes unwieldy and hard to handle. In general, we recommend a blade size between 4 and 6 in and a weight of less than a pound and a half.
What chores can you do with a camp knife?
The number of chores that you can do with a good camp knife are pretty much Unlimited. A good camp knife should be able to split kindling, chopped tomatoes, fillet a fish, or perform first aid.
You should also be able to use your Camp knife for pretty much anything that your pocket knife can’t handle. Here are some things that you might not have thought about using your Camp knife for.
How important is it to keep a camp knife sharp?
A sharp knife is a good knife. If you let your Camp knife get too dull, then it’s not going to be of much use to you or anyone else.
Practice keeping your knife sharp, and sharpening it as soon as you get back from the field before you put it in storage.
That way when you get out to your campsite, it is sharp and ready to go.
What is Jimping?
Jimping is the serrations on the top of the knife in front of the Guard. The serrations allow you to place your thumb on the spine of the knife and give you better control as you are skinning or peeling something.
If you have a choice between a knife with jimping or one without, we always recommend going with the thumb serrations.
Overall, the best camping knife that we found was the Ka-Bar Becker BK9. This knife has seen service in multiple branches of the military and features a 1095 Cro-Van steel blade with an ergonomic handle.
With a MOLLE compatible sheath, this blade will serve you as a great camp knife and beyond. If you’re looking for a bargain, then look no farther than the classic Gerber StrongArm.
This 420HC steel fixed blade is a terrific bargain and deserves a spot in your blade collection or as a backup if you aren’t going to make it your primary camp knife.