The Best Camping Knives in 2021

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Searching for the best camping knives for your next outdoor getaway?

Awesome, we have what you need right here.

We know precisely how hard it can be to find a quality camping knife because there are just so many models on the market today. 

There are three features that make a great camping knife, including :

  • Lightweight. It should weigh no more than 8oz (229g)
  • Durable steel. The blade should be made from steel that can hold an edge
  • Comfortable handle. An ergonomically designed handle is a must

Read More : 4 Things To Look for in a Camping Knife

Thankfully, we’ve put together this list of the best camping knives on the market, plus a buyer’s guide with everything you need to know to choose the perfect one.

Our top picks

Here’s a quick round-up of the best camping knives. If you want to know what we think of them, read on.

Budget Fixed Blade Knife : Morakniv Bushcraft
“Has a Scandi grind edge that’s thin enough for precision cuts.”

Budget Folding Knife : Gerber Paraframe I
“Has a stainless steel blade, which is affordable, corrosion-resistant, and easy to maintain.”

Best Fixed Blade Knife : Helle Eggen Knife
“Has an ergonomic handle made from curly birch, which is a long-lasting, yet lightweight material.”

Best Folding Knife : Spyderco Caribbean
“Spyderco is synonymous with quality in the knife world and the Caribbean folding knife is no exception.”

Morakniv Bushcraft Survival Knife

Morakniv Bushcraft Survival Camping Knives
Photo Credit : Morakniv
  • Length : 4.1”
  • Blade Material : Steel
  • Weight : 8.0oz / 229g

Made with the most remote of adventures in mind, the Morakniv Bushcraft is a durable knife for rugged camping trips. It has a 3.2mm thick blade made from high-carbon steel that can hold an edge. The blade is also coated in DLC, which prevents rust in wet conditions.

For added functionality, Morakniv designed this knife with a unique spine that can be used with a fire starter without dulling the blade’s cutting edge. Moreover, the knife has a Scandi grind edge that’s thin enough for precision cuts but also strong enough for making kindling.

The quality of the Morakniv Bushcraft Survival Knife doesn’t stop with the blade, though. It comes with a fully-functional sheath that has an integrated diamond sharpener, as well as a Morakniv Firestarter for use in any survival situation.

What We Like

  • Multi-functional. Sheath comes with an integrated blade sharpener and firestarter.
  • Quality performance. Scandi grind allows for both precision cuts and chopping kindling.
  • Rust-resistant. DLC coating protects against rust in damp conditions.

What We Don't Like

  • Bulky. Sheath is big, bulky, and tricky to pack.
  • Heavy. One of the heaviest knives in our review.

Helle Eggen Knife

Helle Eggen Camping Knives
Photo Credit : Helle
  • Length : 8.3”
  • Blade Material : Triple laminated stainless steel
  • Weight : 4.2oz / 120g

The Helle Eggen is a meticulously crafted camping knife made from triple laminated stainless steel with a 3.1mm thick blade for durability and long-lasting sharpness. At just 4.2oz (120g), it is among the lightest fixed blade knives on the market.

This knife has an ergonomic handle made from curly birch, which is a long-lasting, yet lightweight material. The handle is immaculately finished and has a stunning natural pattern, as well as a shaped finger guard that’s sized to fit medium and large hands.

Hand-crafted in Norway, each Helle Eggen Knife and its included genuine leather sheath is unique and sustainably sourced to ensure quality and craftsmanship.

What We Like

  • Hand-crafted. All Helle knives are crafted and inspected by hand to ensure quality.
  • Extra-sharp. Triple laminated stainless steel blade can hold an edge.
  • Lightweight. Birch handle provides durability but cuts down on weight.

What We Don't Like

  • Not belt-compatible. Leather sheath is difficult to attach to a belt for transport.

Gerber StrongArm Serrated Knife

Gerber StrongArm Serrated Camping Knives
Photo Credit : Gerber
  • Length : 9.8”
  • Blade Material : Steel
  • Weight : 7.2oz / 204g

The Gerber StrongArm features a classic fixed blade construction that is made with high carbon steel for added durability. The full-tang design also helps to minimize any weak points in the knife.

Its handle is crafted from a glass-filled nylon substrate that helps to balance out the weight of the blade. Additionally, the knife’s handle is covered in a diamond-texture rubber for better grip in wet conditions.

Finally, the Gerber StrongArm Serrated Knife comes with an innovative sheath that can be mounted horizontally or vertically on nearly any belt loop, pants leg, or tactical vest.

What We Like

  • Durable. Full-tang is a single piece of steel that runs throughout the knife to eliminate weak points.
  • Good grip. Rubberized handle with diamond texture provides better control.
  • Quality sheath. Can be mounted vertically or horizontally.

What We Don't Like

  • Heavy. A bit on the heavier end for a camping knife.
  • Long. Relatively long length makes packing difficult.

ESEE RB3 Knife

ESEE RB3 Knife Camping Knives
Photo Credit : ESEE
  • Length : 8.1”
  • Blade Material : High Carbon Steel
  • Weight : 6.0oz / 172g

ESEE’s RB3 is crafted by survivalists for survivalists. It is built using 1095 steel for durability and has a Scandi grind edge, which is preferred for building shelters, making fires, and other survival situations.

The handle on this knife is made from Micarta, which is a type of high-end composite that actually becomes grippier when wet. Plus, the handle on this knife is contoured to better fit your hand for added comfort.

For travel purposes, the ESEE RB3 Knife comes with its own leather pouch sheath. The knife and sheath are also both made in the USA and come with a 100% unconditional lifetime guarantee.

What We Like

  • Grippy. Micarta handle provides better grip when wet.
  • Durable. 1095 steel is time-tested and built to last.
  • Lifetime warranty. 100% lifetime guarantee – no receipt needed.

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive. One of the pricier knives on our list.

Benchmade Saddle Mountain Skinner

Benchmade Saddle Mountain Skinner Camping Knives
Photo Credit : Benchmade
  • Length : 8.7”
  • Blade Material : Steel
  • Weight : 4.3oz / 122g

The Benchmade Saddle Mountain Skinner is an innovative new knife with a fixed-blade design for maximum durability. This full tang knife is made from a single piece of high carbon CPM-S30V steel that’s made to hold an edge throughout frequent use.

Meanwhile, the handle on the Skinner is made from stabilized wood in an ergonomic, contoured shape. This provides a beautiful and sturdy holding surface for precision woodworking and fire-building.

To wrap it all up, the Benchmade Saddle Mountain Skinner comes with a full leather sheath that’s specifically crafted to protect your knife from damage in transport.

What We Like

  • Rugged. Full tang design with high-carbon steel for durability and sharpness.
  • Stylish. Stabilized wood handle has a beautiful grain pattern.
  • Lightweight. One of the lightest wood-handled knives on the market.

What We Don't Like

  • Slippery when wet. Wood handles are slippery when used in wet conditions.
  • Pricey. More expensive than comparable options.

Gerber Paraframe I Knife

Gerber Paraframe I Camping Knives
Photo Credit : Gerber
  • Length : 7.0”
  • Blade Material : Stainless steel
  • Weight : 2.8oz / 79g

Built for minimalists, the Gerber Paraframe I is a lightweight option for both camping and everyday carry. The most striking feature of this knife is its open-frame design, which uses stainless steel for strength but helps to cut down on weight.

This knife has a stainless steel blade, which is affordable, corrosion-resistant, and easy to maintain. However, it’s not as great as holding an edge so needs to be sharpened regularly.

The Gerber Paraframe I knife also folds down to just over 3.5” (8.9cm), making it compact enough for carrying around in a pocket. Plus, it’s highly affordable, so it’s a solid option for budget-conscious campers.

What We Like

  • Affordable. Budget-friendly choice for a folding knife.
  • Lightweight. Open frame design cuts down on weight.
  • Durable. Stainless steel handle is strong and reliable.

What We Don't Like

  • Sharpness issues. Stainless steel doesn’t hold an edge as well.

Spyderco Caribbean Folding Knife

Spyderco Caribbean Folding Camping Knives
Photo Credit : Spyderco
  • Length : 8.5”
  • Blade Material : Steel
  • Weight : 4.2oz / 119g

Spyderco is synonymous with quality in the knife world and the Caribbean folding knife is no exception. This knife has a leaf-shaped blade that is available either as a PlainEdge or as the fully serrated Spyder Edge to suit your needs.

The blade itself is made from nitrogen-based steel that is corrosion-resistant and holds an edge well. Meanwhile, the handle is crafted from durable G-10 that’s patterned with scales for a non-slip grip.

The Spyderco Caribbean Folding Knife packs down to a respectable 4.84” (12.3cm) and also has a reversible titanium clip for either right- or left-sided carry.

What We Like

  • Super sharp nitrogen-based steel can hold a sharp edge.
  • Blade options. Your choice between straight or serrated edge.
  • Grippy. Textured G-10 handle provides a great grip.

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive. Comes with Spyderco’s traditionally high price tag.
  • Gaudy color combination is not for everyone.

Zero Tolerance Sinkevich Knife

Zero Tolerance Sinkevich Camping Knives
Photo Credit : Zero Tolerance
  • Length : 7.4”
  • Blade Material : Steel
  • Weight : 2.9oz / 82g

Lightweight and compact, the Zero Tolerance Sinkevich is a great little pocket-friendly knife for backcountry adventures. The knife blade is made from CPM S35VN steel for durability and can be easily resharpened for years of regular use.

When folded, the overall length of the knife is just 4.1” (10.4cm), making it a highly portable option for remote trips in the mountains. It’s also easy to open and close the knife with one hand because of its KVT ball-bearing system.

Finally, the Zero Tolerance Sinkevich Knife is made in the USA and has a titanium handle for extreme ruggedness in a lightweight package.

What We Like

  • Compact. Folds down to 4.1” (10.4cm) to fit in a pocket.
  • Sharp. CPM S35VN steel holds an edge well and is easily resharpened.
  • Easy opening. KVT ball-bearing system allows for easier one-handed opening.

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive. One of the more expensive folding knives.
  • Slippery titanium handle doesn’t provide much grip in wet conditions.

Roark Cassius Knife

Roark Cassius Camping Knives
Photo Credit : Roark
  • Length : 6.8”
  • Blade Material : Stainless Steel
  • Weight : 4.5oz / 128g

Roark’s Cassius knife is a simple and effective folding knife for camping trips. It has a 7CR17 stainless steel blade, which provides good overall durability at an affordable price point.

Additionally, it has a stainless steel handle with a titanium coating that’s robust enough for frequent camping trips. For added grip, the handle on this knife is molded and shaped to comfortably fit your hand.

The Roark Cassius Knife’s ball-bearing opening mechanism and its flipper stud also allow for easy one-handed opening and better performance in the mountains.

What We Like

  • Durable steel handle and blade provide good durability
  • Easy opening. Ball-bearing mechanism and flipper stud provide for one-handed opening.
  • Affordable. Good price point for budget-conscious campers.

What We Don't Like

  • Carrying limitations. Doesn’t have a clip carry system for transportation on belt loops.
  • Difficult sharpening. Partially serrated edge is difficult to sharpen.

CRKT Homefront Tactical Knife

CRKT Homefront Tactical Knife Camping Knives
Photo Credit : Homefront
  • Length : 8.1”
  • Blade Material : Steel
  • Weight : 4.3oz / 122g

Designed by Ken Onion, one of the world’s leading knife designers, the CRKT Homefront Tactical Knife is crafted for maximum functionality. This knife has 1.4116 steel in its blade, which is easy to sharpen and bevel to create the perfect edge.

Moreover, the handle is glass-reinforced nylon, which provides a good mix of light weight and durability.

Perhaps the most unique feature of the CRKT Homefront Tactical Knife is its Field Strip technology. This allows you to fully disassemble the knife – without tools – for a simplified cleaning and maintenance process to extend the lifetime of your blade.

What We Like

  • Easy sharpening. 1.4116 steel is durable and easy to sharpen.
  • Lightweight. Glass-reinforced nylon handle provides weight savings without sacrificing durability.
  • Simplified maintenance. Field Strip technology for quick cleaning and maintenance.

What We Don't Like

  • Blade limitations. No option for a straight-edge only knife.

Camping Knives Buying Guide

Finding a quality camping knife can be tricky, so it’s critical that you know what to look for when searching for your next blade.

Here are 4 of the most important things to keep in mind as you shop.

Fixed blade vs folding knife

You have two main options when buying a camping knife; fixed blade or folding.

Fixed blade knives

Fixed blade knives, such as the Gerber StrongArm Serrated or the Benchmade Saddle Mountain Skinner, are generally stronger than their folding counterparts. The fixed blade design makes them easier to maintain and more functional for tasks like chopping wood for kindling or building a shelter.

However, fixed blades are bulkier and generally heavier, which makes them more difficult to store and transport. You’ll also need to get a sheath for a fixed blade knife, which adds to the weight and bulk of these models.

Folding knives

Folding knives, like the Roark Cassius, are easier to transport and carry because they can fit in your pocket. This makes them a popular choice among backpackers, especially those that want a knife for back-up, rather than regular use.

That being said, folding knives have a natural weak point at the folding mechanism, so they’re less durable when it comes to tasks like chopping wood. They also tend to get dirty quickly, so an easy cleaning system, like what’s found on the CRKT Homefront Tactical Knife is ideal.

Blade design

Modern knives come with a variety of different blade designs, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages.

One of the most popular blade designs is the Scandi grind, which is found on a whole host of knives, including the ESEE RB3 Knife and the Morakniv Bushcraft Survival Knife.

The Scandi grind, which is better at holding an edge and is easier to sharpen in the field. This grind style also allows for increased cutting precision without sacrificing durability.

Meanwhile, the actual shape of the blade also makes a big difference when it comes to knife performance. Models like the Spyderco Caribbean Folding Knife that have a leaf-shaped blade allow for enough blade width to slice and chop food, in addition to a good tip for piercing.

Blade materials

Knife blades are traditionally made with steel, which is strong, durable, and easily sharpened.

There are hundreds of different steel compounds out there, so we couldn’t possibly talk about all of them, however, some types of knife blade materials stand above the rest.

In particular, high-carbon steel is ideal for knives because it holds an edge well, even after frequent use. As you can imagine, though, it is generally more expensive.

Stainless steel is usually a more affordable alternative to high-carbon steel but isn’t as strong, so it needs to be sharpened much more regularly.

Knife handle

While many people focus most of their efforts on choosing a knife with a durable blade, a quality handle is of the utmost importance. Since a knife handle is responsible for providing you with a secure grip, it’s critical that you have a knife that feels comfortable in your hands.

Here’s how different handle materials stack up :

  • Wood handles, such as what’s found on the Helle Eggen, are a beautiful, traditional option. Although they tend to be a bit heavier and slippery when wet, they provide a sturdy anchoring point for precision knifework.
  • Nylon handles, like what you see with the CRKT Homefront Tactical Knife, offer a good mix of weight savings and grip, but tend to be slightly less durable than the alternatives.
  • Steel. Knives with steel handles are generally more affordable, but unless they have an open frame design, such as the Gerber Paraframe I, they can be quite heavy.
  • Titanium. Titanium is known for being durable and lightweight, so it makes a great handle on knives, such as the Zero Tolerance. However, titanium is not very grippy, so it can feel quite slick when wet.

FAQ

What makes a good camping knife?

A good camping knife is durable, lightweight, and holds an edge well so it can be used on longer trips without needing to be resharpened.

Can I use a camping knife for splitting woods?

You can use a camping knife for splitting wood small pieces of wood for kindling. But if this is your main goal, a fixed blade is going to be more functional for wood splitting than a folding knife.

Are camping knives legal in the United States?

Knife laws vary from state to state, though most non-switchblade knives are legal to own. Check local laws before carrying a knife with a blade larger than 3” (7.62cm) to be safe.

Gaby Pilson

Gaby is a professional mountain guide with a master’s degree in outdoor education. She works primarily in the polar regions as an expedition guide, though she can be found hiking, climbing, skiing, sailing, or paddling in some of the world’s most amazing places when not at work.