Top 7 Best Camping Knives (2022 Guide)
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Bringing the right camping knife can have a serious impact on your adventure, whether you’re backpacking for multiple days in the Rockies or spending a night at a campsite with your family.
To help you find the best camping knife before you get outside, we spent hours researching camping knives on the market, reading hundreds of customer reviews, testing products, scoring them, and putting together this curated list. These knives landed a spot on our top picks for their materials, durability, sturdiness, and unique qualities that set them apart for a variety of uses that may be important to you specifically.
Compare Top Camping Knife Options
|Camping Knife||Steel||Our Score||Summary|
CPM S35VN Stainless
Best Premium Option
Best Folding Camping Knife
Best Handle Grip
Best for Survivalist Knife
Best Lightweight Knife
Choosing a Camping Knife
Camping knives are not a one-size-fits-all product—there are a few things you should consider about the type of knife before purchasing to help you narrow down which one would be best for you and your situation.
Fixed blades are especially ideal for hostile environments and longer camping trips, since they’re typically heavier and more durable than smaller pocket knives. They usually come with a nylon, hard-shell, or leather sheath that can be attached to your belt or backpack while you’re on your trip, ready to be pulled out and used when you need it.
Folding blades, also known as pocket knives, can also be a great choice for your camping or hiking adventure, since they’re light and easy to carry. You might want to consider this option if you’re going on a quick trip and just need a camping knife for miscellaneous tasks that may come up. They’re non-intrusive, comfortable, and often less expensive than fixed blades.
Top 7 Camping Knives
#1. KA-BAR Becker BK2 Companion
This is one of the most popular camping knives on the market, and it made the top of our list for its impressive performance in our review. Its overall specs, material quality, and sturdiness make it stand out among the others.
- Weight: 16 ounces
- Material: 1095 Cro-Van steel
- Blade length: 5.25 inches
✔ Ideal for cutting and splitting wood due to its weight
✔ Handle has a simple, natural feel and is comfortable to use—great for big hands
✔ Can be used for hammering tent stakes
✘ Sheath's button snap holds up all the weight, so you’ll need a new sheath if it fails
✘ Not the best choice for campers who prefer a lighter knife
Takeaway: During our research of camping knives, we loved the KA-BAR Becker BK2 Companion for its heavy durability, secure hard-shell sheath that can strap to your belt, and 1095 Cro-Van steel. However, if you don’t want a heavy knife, this may not be for you, since it weighs a pound (16 ounces), which is heavier than many other camping knives. It also isn’t best for wet environments since the 1095 Cro-Van steel is less corrosion resistant than other steels.
#2. Gerber StrongArm
This camping knife is a full-tang, durable fixed blade with an affordable price tag. It’s an ideal choice for value-shopping campers and hikers looking for a knife that can withstand heavy use outdoors that comes with a versatile sheath with more features than many competitors.
- Weight: 7.9 ounces
- Material: 420HC steel
- Blade length: 4.8 inches
✔ Very customizable nylon sheath with options for different positions on your belt or hiking pack
✔ Rubberized diamond-texture grip makes it hard to drop while doing a range of tasks
✔ Slightly powder coated to protect it from corrosion and general wear and tear
✘ Doesn’t sharpen as easily as some other knives
✘ Extra sheath features may be less desirable for those who like a simpler carry
Takeaway: We found the Gerber StrongArm to be a top choice for value shoppers looking to get the best bang for their buck. It’s a sturdy knife with decent quality steel, an impressive sheath with multiple wearing capabilities, and a lower cost than many other camping knives in the same class. However, it might not be best for those looking for the highest-quality steel, since 420HC can be on the lower end of proven steels.
#3. SOG Pillar
This camping knife is a U.S.-made, full-tang knife with a top-quality CPM S35VN stainless steel fixed blade. It’s a top-of-the-line knife for those looking for a premium option to take with them on their camping or hiking trips for a range of uses, such as cooking and cutting wood.
- Weight: 7.3 ounces
- Material: CPM S35VN stainless steel
- Blade length: 5 inches
✔ Made in the United States
✔ Has an impressive look, making it ideal for campers who prefer well-designed knives
✔ Includes a sturdy kydex knife sheath that’s easy to carry on your belt
✘ Comes with a higher price tag than many other knives
✘ Simplistic grip that isn’t as practical as some of the other knives in this review
Takeaway: Although considerably more expensive than some other options in this review, the SOG Pillar is the perfect option for campers and hikers with a wider budget looking for a premium camping knife on the market. Its sleek design and stainless steel blade are tough to beat if you can afford the higher price.
#4. Spyderco Endura 4 Lightweight
This camping knife is a folding, full-flat-ground pocket knife that lends itself well to many of the same uses of the other heavier-duty knives in this review. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for something light to carry in your pocket while on your trip.
- Weight: 4.5 ounces
- Material: VG-10 stainless steel
- Blade length: 3.8 inches
✔ Comes in multiple different colors depending on your preference
✔ Can be bought with serrated edge for campers who want it to double as a folding pocket saw
✔ Cuts better than many competing folding knives, according to our research
✘ Some customers complain that the handle isn’t comfortable to hold
✘ The thumb hole in the blade can make it harder to open then some other pocket-knife designs on the market
Takeaway: As the name suggests, the Spiderco Endura 4 Lightweight is our pick for anyone looking for a lightweight, folding camping knife to take on their journey. It’s easy to carry around, has a nice design with multiple colors and blade options, and fits nicely in your pocket. However, since it’s built for everyday carry, it may not be best for those who want a sturdier, durable camping knife.
#5. Off-Grid Knives Tracker-X
This camping knife comes with a thick, D2 steel blade, which is particularly attractive to campers and hikers who need a knife that can hold an edge and cut wood with ease. It’s another top choice for many heavy-duty uses.
- Weight: 10.3 ounces
- Material: D2 steel
- Blade length: 4.98 inches
✔ Fits well in its quick-clip kydex knife sheath, which easily attaches to your belt
✔ Comes in a stonewash or black color option, depending on your preference
✔ Unique snakeskin grip design on the micarta handle
✘ Not the best option for those who don’t want wider blades
✘ Not made in the United States
Takeaway: As another durable fixed-blade knife, we recommend the Off-Grid Knives Tracker-X to anyone looking for a camping knife with a wider blade. Not to mention, its impressive D2 steel blade makes it ideal for hostile environments, since it can withstand a lot of abuse. It may not be the right pick for campers who want a lighter knife that’s easier to carry.
#6. Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Pro
This knife is an updated version of an older model, and we were impressed with its overall performance. It’s an excellent survival knife that comes with a sheath, fire starter rod, and survival pocket guide. It has a full-tang, tough blade and an ergonomic rubber handle and grip.
- Weight: 13.7 ounces
- Material: 9Cr19MoV stainless steel
- Blade length: 4.8 inches
✔ Great for multitasking on a long hiking trip
✔ Can come at a lower price than other competing knives in its class
✔ Features a stainless steel pommel at the base of the handle for easy hammering
✘ Some may not like the orange and black color
✘ Larger handle can be uncomfortable for users with smaller hands
Takeaway: Gerber makes this list a second time because of its other top-notch camping knife, the Bear Grylls Ultimate Pro. We recommend this camping knife to those looking for a survival knife that’s built to help you with a range of tasks while out in the wilderness on your camping or bushcrafting trip for multiple days. It’s on the heavier end, and shouldn’t be the choice for those looking for an everyday-use, day-hiking knife.
#7. Benchmade 15061 Grizzly Ridge
Last, but certainly not least, this camping knife is our second folding knife pick in this review for a quality pocket knife to take on your adventure. It’s a U.S.-made, premium option with a CPM-S30V steel blade and a handle made with glass reinforced nylon.
- Weight: 3.77 ounces
- Material: CPM-S30V steel
- Blade length: 3.5 inches
✔ The lightest camping knife in this review
✔ Comes with a limited warranty (terms and conditions available on Benchmark’s website)
✔ Has an axis locking system, which is easy to activate—and frankly, fun to use
✘ Not as heavy duty as the fixed blade knives in this review
✘ Its recurve design can make it harder to sharpen
Takeaway: As far as folding knives go, the Benchmade 15061 Grizzly Ridge is a top choice due its easy usability, light weight, axis locking system, and high-quality steel. However, if you’re looking for a tactical knife for tasks like chopping wood or hammering tent stakes, you might be better off picking one of the other fixed-blade camping knives.
Uses for Your Camping Knife
There are many reasons you’d want to bring a knife with you on your camping or hiking trip, but here are a few common uses you should consider when you’re planning to purchase one:
- Cooking: Since eating is always an integral part of camping or backpacking, you’re probably going to use your camping knife for cooking at some point during your trips. You should keep food perp in mind when choosing a knife; whether you’ll be cleaning a fish, skinning an animal, or chopping vegetables, you’ll need a blade with good edge retention to get the job done.
- Fire prep: Camping knives are great tools for fire preparation as well, since they can help you chop wood, cut or shave fire kindling, and even double as a fire starter. If this is your top priority for your knife, be sure to get a durable knife that can handle thick wood or consider purchasing one that comes with a fire starter rod like the Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Pro.
- Cutting rope: If you’re planning on doing a lot of rope cutting for a hiking trip that involves climbing, shelter building, or bushcraft, you might consider a camping knife that can come with a serrated blade to help saw through thick cording.
If you’re looking to get more uses out of your camping knife without needing to bring multiple separate tools on your trip, you should consider a multitool for backpacking that can help fill all your random needs that may come up.
Before You Leave: Summary
The best camping knife for you will vary depending on your personal preferences, specific uses, and your planned trips. In fact, you could find better options for your specific situation outside of this list—there are more than seven awesome knives to choose from out there on the market.
Our biggest recommendation is to analyze your needs before purchasing a knife and letting that help you narrow down your options. For instance, if you want a folding knife, you might choose the Spiderco Endura 4 Lightweight or the Benchmade 15061 Grizzly Ridge. On the other hand, if you’re looking for the most heavy-duty camping knife out there, you might lean toward the KA-BAR Becker BK2 Companion or the Off-Grid Knives Tracker-X.
Final note: Always take necessary safety precautions when using knives, since their sharp blades can be dangerous and harmful to you or others. Additionally, you should check your state’s laws regarding knives, since some states restrict carrying certain sizes and types.