When you’re preparing to pack for your next camping trip, there are many must-have items that you shouldn’t leave home without, and near the top of the list is a knife. A knife has so many uses that it’s truly something worth having in your pocket or keys anywhere you go. Whether you’re preparing a fire in the backwoods or opening a package at your office, you’ll likely find yourself using a knife on a near-daily basis, regardless of where you are. But the key is picking a quality blade, especially if you’re camping.
What to Consider Before Buying a Camping Knife
Knives can be used whether you’re building a campfire or preparing a meal. The blade’s purpose is the first factor to consider when buying a knife. For many campers, a simple-multi tool like those made by Victorinox and Leatherman will see you through any situation you’re realistically likely to encounter. Other campers might prefer a more substantial, gettin’-it-done folding knife for survival situations and food and fire prep. In fact, you may want to pack a variety of knives and multi-tools.
The weight and size of a knife can also make a big difference when choosing which tools to take into the woods. A durable and heavy-duty knife may be necessary for hunting trips, while a lightweight and compact knife is appropriate for recreational camping.
What We Looked for When Choosing the Best Camping Knives
In addition to traditional folding knives, we’ve also included some great multi-tools. Folding knives are durable and reliable, but they perform fewer functions. A multi-tool can be used for a wide range of tasks, but the blades tend to be smaller and less substantial. When picking out the best camping knives, we sought out a variety of blade sizes, and we turned to trusted brands such as Gerber, Benchmade and Victorinox.
These are the camping knives and multi-tools to pick up right now.
1. Gerber Gear Ultimate Knife
With 70 years of experience making top-rated knives, Gerber has been a reliable source for your camping knife needs. This fixed blade knife is a sturdy and rugged option that boasts the addition of a small firestarter. The included sheath protects your blade (and you). The 4.8″ blade is long enough to be practical but short enough to comfortably carry.
Pros: Versatile option that includes a fire starter, sheath and sharpener.
Cons: The fixed blade is arguably less versatile, and you’ll need to have the sheath on hand.
2. Benchmade Grizzly Ridge Knife
You can’t call your brand Benchmade and not maintain a high standard of quality, which is why it’s good that this Oregon-based brand lives up to its moniker. The knives are manufactured in the US, and the sturdy blades are suited to hunting tasks. The drop-point blade style adds greater control, and the handle is fully ambidextrous. The locking mechanism ensures a secure hold, while the lanyard hole makes it easy to carry.
Pros: Premium construction for hunting and camping purposes. Glass-filled nylon for added handle durability. Drop point blade for versatility.
Cons: Some options are more economical.
3. Victorinox Swiss Army Camper Pocket Knife
Victorinox has so many knives that it can be hard to know which is the best for you. One way to choose? The name is usually a pretty good clue. Among Victorinox’s many blades, the Camper is a good one for, well, camping. The blades aren’t the longest or strongest, but the multi-tool packs many, many tools into a pocket-friendly package. There are multiple cutting tools, including a serrated saw. There’s also a can opener, screwdriver and corkscrew. Frankly, there are too many tools to list, so you’re best off taking some time to familiarize yourself with everything this small but mighty tool can do.
Pros: Includes many different tools. Small, pocket-friendly package. User-friendly design.
Cons: Blades aren’t the longest, so you may consider adding another pocket knife in addition to this multi-tool.
4. Leatherman Wingman
A Leatherman is often something that’s handed down, but there’s nothing wrong with buying one online, too. The Leatherman Wingman is a 14-in-1 multitool, so you won’t run of out uses for it. The tool has pliers, wire cutters, scissors, bottle openers and screwdrivers. Of course, it also has a small blade with a combined serrated and straight edge. The tool is made from sturdy stainless steel, so it’ll be up for whatever you put it through.
Pros: Wide range of tools built-in. Trusted brand. Stainless steel construction.
Cons: Since the blade is small, you might opt to carry an additional pocket knife.
5. Opinel No 8 Carbon Steel Folding knife
Leave it to the French to build a practical knife that’s also somehow romantic. The Opinel knife has an attractive wood handle with a drop point blade that adds greater control when in use. The stand-out feature is the simple yet reliable twist-lock mechanism that secures the blade in place when it’s open or closed. Opinel has been making blades since 1890, and the No. 8 blade is the brand’s original.
Pros: Brand with a long history. Sturdy lock mechanism. Economical option.
Cons: Wood handle may not handle wet conditions as well.