Update – January 2022 [We have added a new camping knife brand at #11 to make this list more up-to-date.]
If you’re looking for a quick verdict, here you go:
[It took us a good 12 hours to properly analyze the top 11 camping knives available in the market as of now. After this in-depth research, we can vouch for the quality and durability of the StatGear Surviv-All Fixed-Blade Bowie Knife with Sheath. It has a sleek matte finish and well-balanced structure wrapped in a highly useful sheath for your safety.
Then we have the Perkin Handmade Bushcraft Hunting Knife that closes the deal for you within the 19 dollars mark. It will bail you out of money and outdoor trouble if you ever get into either one of them with its attractive pricing.]
A camping or survival knife helps you do just that – survive whatever the camping might throw at you and come out victorious on the other side! Make it a habit to carry a good quality survival knife with you at all times. Life gets more unpredictable than the woods sometimes and you can never be too safe.
Main Factors To Consider Before Buying
Buying a survival knife need not be rocket science. But you still need to take it more seriously than buying a pair of gum! Keep in mind the following important considerations before making your next purchase:
Best way to make the right choice while shopping is to imagine yourself in the line of action. Most of your doubts and queries get resolved themselves leading you to the best option. When it comes to the handles, make it a point to avoid the ones that come with the storage option.
This is because, you are buying a survival knife, not a Tupperware! The hollow handle lacks strength since the blade is not present all the way until the end of the handle. It is prone to breaking when you apply greater pressure to the handle. Also, you might lose two vital items at once if you choose to store something important in the storage point on the handle.
You want a full tang in your survival knife. All quality survival knives come with a full tang which improves their utility even in challenging situations. The tang and the blade of the knife are one solid piece. The tang is just the piece of the knife’s blade that extends beyond the handle.
The full tang is the ideal situation which you should aim for in every survival knife you buy. The cheaper models have the blade extending just till the tip of the handle. They are a hazard in case you apply a bit too much pressure and the blade decides to break off.
It will leave you stranded in the woods without a proper tool that you can use to slice your way out of the dense green cover. Also, if you are not careful then you can hurt yourself badly at the moment when the blade breaks off. Your whole body is exposed to any kind of serious injury from the somersaulting blade hurling at you with the speed of light.
You don’t want to carry around a dull knife with you just so that you don’t get accidentally nicked by it. The best solution is to carry a good quality sheath to protect you from the razor-sharp survival knife of yours. There are a few things that a sheath must have for you to make the most out of it.
An ideal sheath must come with a proper lower attachment, lanyards loops, and secure closures. The sheath should also have proper attachments so that you can strap it onto your leg or with the backpack. A convenient loop for the belt or the lanyard can make it easily accessible at all times for you.
Lastly, make sure that the closure around the knife prevents it from sliding out. You don’t want to make the unpleasant discovery of a lost knife at the worst possible moment in a deserted location.
There is a reason that we have a survival knife and not a survival saw/axe. As much as a saw will be useful in chopping the wood, it just isn’t practical to carry it around with you on every single outdoor trip. You don’t want to give off the caveman vibe with every camping trip of yours.
Make sure your knife lies in the range of 6 to 12 inches. Anything shorter than that will just serve as memorabilia for that one terrible trip where you were left helpless without an adequate knife.
Similarly, if you decide to go bigger than 12 inches, you might start evolving backwards as you try to chop wood as well as the catch of the day in the stone age way!
The two main options for the metal in case of the survival knives are carbon and stainless steel. Both these metals come with their own pros and cons list. You cannot say one is better than the other since that judgement solely depends upon your usage.
The stainless steel blades are known to stay rust-free no matter what. This is a huge plus when you consider the unpredictable situations of the unexplored outdoors that you are about to venture into. They are almost indestructible and can endure a lot before finally giving up. However, they might not stay sharp for as long as the carbon steel knives.
You don’t get the useful indestructibility of the stainless steel knives with their carbon steel counterparts. They might be able to stay useful sharpness-wise for a long time but you have to make the trade-off with durability for that feature.
Thickness and Design
When it comes to thickness, you must stick within the range of 3/16 -4/16 of an inch. This will help you avoid the ones that might bend a bit too much to function in a harmless manner. The above-mentioned thickness range will also help you in dealing with all kinds of chopping, cutting and other survival chores that you decide to put the knife through.
A serrated blade might be high maintenance but you will be able to chop or cut faster with its help. A straight blade is very easy to sharpen but you might also need to do that a lot for maintaining its performance. A special sharpener will fix the edge of a serrated blade for you in no time. And it will keep the edge for a good amount of time too.
These are few of the main factors that you need to take care of before buying a useful survival/camping knife.
Types of Locking Mechanisms
It only makes sense to have a trustworthy locking mechanism on a pocket knife. This way you can actually get some use out of it instead of just hurting yourself with it while transporting it from one place to another in your pocket.
Switchblades and other automatic knives are known to make the most use out of this lock system. It involves a pin that goes through the pivot bolster that is placed at bottom of the blade. Here it is fastened in a secure position until it is required for a task.
This pin ensured that the blade stays locked when the knife is open or closed. Unlock the pin to use it in a safe and easy manner whenever you need it.
The Opinel pocket knives are known for their ring locks. It is a simple, affordable and durable type of pocket knife lock. This involves a simple metallic ring with a single smooth break at a point. The blade stays locked because of the strategic metallic ring placement at the base of the blade.
Match the break in the ring to the side of the blade to use the knife. And then turn the ring again to keep the blade in a steady position. It couldn’t be simpler that this!
The frame lock is slightly more sophisticated version of the manual liner lock. It is one of those foldable knives that you can snap in someone’s face when they are really invading your personal space! The liner is hollowed out here to make space for the blade that fits perfectly into it when pushed from the blunt side of the blade.
You put pressure on the frame of the knife to snap open this blade. You need to close it back manually though. It makes for one of the safest and most compact camping knives out there.
As the name suggests, the mid lock have the release mechanism near the middle of the handle spine. These are pretty similar to the back lock knifes that have that fixture near the base of knife, as clear by the name. They have been claimed to be especially durable because of this arrangement.
Get one for yourself today to see how much that stands true for your camping requirements. In a lot of camping gear exhibitions, you might find one where they stay unbuckled even under hundreds of pounds of pressure.
The locking mechanism here does not have much to do with the slip joint part of the knife. It is actually a flat bar or the spring, as the case may be for different knives, that keeps the blade in place with the mechanical tension produced. You get this kind of knife to perform the lightweight everyday tasks.
It is one of the oldest kinds of locking mechanisms found in knives. In most countries where you will need an official permit to carry a knife with you in public places and rightly so, a Slipjoint knife will ruffle no feathers when it comes to the local authorities.
These locks keep the blade angled at a certain position within the knife frame. From there, the blade can only go inside into its place. So even by mistake, there is no scope of knife-related injuries here. It is one of the most common types of knife locks you will come across all over the world. And it reflects well in its easy pricing and global availability.
The bottom end of the liner lock keeps the blade under the pivot. Manual force is required to pull the blade out or keep it properly in its place. This gives you full control of the knife at all times in a simplistic manner.
These are the main types of knife lock mechanisms that you will currently come across in the market.
You literally cannot gamble on the handle material quality of your camping knife. It can turn into a matter of life and death at the worst possible time with even a single miss. Take a look at the best handle materials mentioned below:
Sometimes it is about aesthetics but in budget. Ad that is where this cellulose nitrate powerhouse comes into picture. It is a type of optimized plastic that can be converted into all kinds of textures and color with an astonishing success rate. It can easily be made to look like wood, pearl, tortoise shell, ivory and many other natural textures that will otherwise cost you an arm and a leg.
The rustic charm of a wooden camping knife is classic and unbeatable. That is why you will find premium quality camping knifes that come with handles made out of rosewood, thuyas, snakewood, blackwood, curly maple, elder and koa among others. Softer woods like burl and buckeye must go through a stabilization process to harden them up for a perfectly crafted stabilized wood knife handle.
The most practical knife material out there has to be aluminium. It is amazingly lightweight to keep your excess baggage to a minimum. You will mostly find these handles coated with a protective film that adds to its life and utility. It is best suited for usage in harsh climatic conditions. You get a good grip on the camping knife with this material.
Not everyone can afford ivory. The elephant population is on the brink of extinction because of it. So, it’s better to divide the load and go for a bone knife handle that includes other animals in the mix too. Generally, this is not the most practical material to be used.
But it can be carved out with relative ease. The bone material is consistent enough for carving out intricate patterns too. Smooth white bone, Giraffe, camel and stag bone are the few of the many options available in this category.
Mother of Pearl
It is amazing to look at and is highly durable. And that is why it makes up for the premium section of the camping knives. This has a white iridescent appearance that is created by the natural deposits of molluscs. This material forms the outer shiny and tough coating of the pearls. It makes up for a perfect gifting material for a camping family that can pass this heirloom down for generations.
The grip and the waterproof nature of these knife handles is off the charts. This familiar material does not require you to learn much about its usage and maintenance. A lot of times, it can be used as an inlay for including other materials. Other synthetic materials might be more durable than rubber. But it is definitely affordable.
These handles are known for their superior performance and toughness There is only a couple of things stronger than titanium. You need something like this on a rugged camping trail, if you can afford. Corrosion and other kind of wear and tear doesn’t cause any noticeable damage to these handles.
Though, depending upon what aesthetics you like, they might not be the most personable item for you or others. So better get it customized.
There is something to be said about the uniformity here. Just like stainless steel knife blades, the handles made out of this material can be highly useful too. They are resistant to corrosion and can withstand the temper of the weather Gods with grace.
But, not so much the tension as compared to other materials. Again, they can look cold and might not be for everyone. But monochrome is very much in trend nowadays so you can follow that suite.
This looks like a supervillain with a similar origin story of its manufacturing process. And of course, like a classic villain, it comes mostly in black! Wet and cold weather seems very easy to tackle with these knife handles, at least for camping.
The material is made of fiberglass soaked in resin which is then compressed to be baked. It is durable, lightweight, corrosion and water resistant, so almost indestructible. And costs a pretty penny too but rightly so.
It is a soft and flexible thermoplastic. It is commonly wrapped around the tang of the knife or used for the inlay. The superior quality grip makes it a crowd favorite. It gives a sense of assurance to even the first-time campers or camping knife users. So altogether, a good starter knife material.
The US company DuPont developed this essentially unbreakable thermoplastic. And this one cost well within the average knife budget too. It scored off the charts in durability, resistance to abrasion and impact. The manufacturers add augmentation to it to offer better grip with their handle. It also has very slight texture on its own.
This wraps up our list of the top knife materials out there as of now.
Instructions for Safe Usage
Technically you don’t need a permit to use a knife at home or outside but it is a very efficient weapon. And you need to use it with care to use it in your favor. A lot of silly mistakes have happened with people over time that have proven to be lethal, just because they were too cavalier with the knife. Take a look at the following points to avoid them easily.
Always hand over the knife with handle first to the other person. It does not matter whether you have been using one for two years or twenty. If you pass it the wrong way you can and will hurt the recipient. Even if the knife is in a sheath, you are not allowed to just chuck it over. You don’t want that to be the time when you hit the dreadful bullseye and cause some serious damage to fellow campers.
Triangle of Death
This one is exactly as deadly as it sounds. So, the section from your knees to your crotch is known as the ‘triangle of death’. This is because even a seemingly minor injury in this reason can cause one to bleed out to death within minutes.
There are a lot of important major veins within this region. And on a camping site you don’t always have access to instant intensive care. Now before you panic, a simple bruise is fine and not much to worry about. But when dealing with knives, keep them away from this region for good measure.
Sharpness of Blade
You would think a blunt blade will make it less dangerous. But it’s actually the opposite. A sharp knife requires less effort and gives a clean cut. This means that at all times you are using minimal efforts and hence are free to monitor the situation in a much calm and relaxed manner. A blunt knife makes you use excessive force and if your hand slips in such a scenario then you are in a for a nasty cut that is going to cause some serious consequences.
Knife Matching the Task
You might have a multipurpose knife but its better to use it selectively. Apart from the obvious marketing gimmick, you practically can’t use a knife for multiple specialized purposes. So, you should not force your current knife into doing so and thus causing its blade to turn dull. Also, by sticking to just one knife per significant task you will be able to finish the said tasks in a timely and safe manner.
The Blood Bubble
You don’t want to be the one stabbing your best friend or camping buddy by mistake. So, take care of the blood bubble region and everything will be dandy. If you are out on a hunting or camping trip where all of you have intentionally loaded your bags with weapons to hunt/defend then make sure that its is not one of your friends becoming the unlikely victim.
The 360 degrees area around you is known as the blood bubble. If you know at all times who among your group is or is not in this bubble then it will be really easy to avoid mishaps. Finally, never catch a falling knife. It’s made of steel. The ground is not lava. It is going to be fine. You on the other hand might not be if you decide to pull a Superman.
Take care of these simple instructions and you will have a fun time camping across the Andes with your favorite camping knife!
Take a look at the 10 best camping knives out there that can really make a difference for you in your next outdoor escapades.
1. Elk Ridge ER-555 Series Fixed Blade Knife with Survival Kit, 10.5-Inch Overall
You get a perfect knife for hunting, survival training and the outdoor activities with the Elk Ridge ER-555 Series Fixed Blade Knife. Priced just under the 35 dollars range, it stands tall at 10.5 inches to help you wield your way through the unknown. The bonus survival kit further sweetens the deal.
- The fire starter, 550 paracord, and nylon sheath are the complimentary accessories you get with its survival kit.
- This kit can be easily stored in the Pakkawood handle for safe and easy carrying.
- Its stainless steel safe blade will make things all that simpler and durable for you.
- The complimentary survival kit and its items might not be up to the mark.
2. Schrade SCHF36 Frontier 10.4in Stainless Steel Full Tang Fixed Blade Knife with 5in Drop Point and TPE Handle for Outdoor Survival, Camping, and Bushcraft
It belongs to the range of high-end knives that happen to be the affordable copies of the Chris Reeve Knives. Around 34 dollars is all you need to shell out for upgrading your outdoor game with these bad boys. The partial serration gives you the benefit of both straight and serrated blades in the same knife.
- The 1095 Powder Coated High Carbon Steel is used to create its high-performance blade.
- The ring textured and black thermoplastic elastomer handle adds sufficient strength and style to this weapon of survival.
- The ferro rod, sharpening stone and a lanyard hole present in it makes it truly prepared for any possible situation.
- You might get stuck with a substandard model if you don’t buy from reliable online or offline outlets.
3. Perkin Handmade Bushcraft Hunting Knife – Full Tang Hunting Knife with Sheath
People don’t expect much from an under 20 dollar knife but this one pleasantly surprises them. The sharp edge and well-designed body of the Perkin Handmade Bushcraft Hunting Knife stop them from equating quality to the price in every scenario.
- The 14 chrome stainless steel blade razor sharp blade makes you more able to take on the wild.
- Carry it around and keep it with you carefree with the accompanying Handmade Leather Sheath.
- Walnut wood handle of this full tang knife is completely dependable for almost all purposes.
- The specification of the knife might not meet the actual dimensions of the product.
4. Condor Tool & Knife Condor Tool and Knife CTK232-4.3HC Bushslore Survival Knife
The tried and tested technology has been used into the creation of Condor Tool & Knife Condor Tool and Knife CTK232-4.3HC Bushslore Survival Knife. With a price tag of 100 dollars, you can be rest assured that you get only the best in terms of quality and performance with this camping knife.
- The 1075 high carbon steel gives the blade ultimate strength to deal with tasks of all nature.
- Hardwood handle offers you the firm grip as you make your way through uncharted territories.
- Blasted satin blade finish adds the next level performance factor to this imported camping knife.
- The real product might not match the advertised description completely.
5. Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife with Carbon Steel Blade, 4.1-Inch, Military Green
The brand has been around since the 18th century. They have gained a lot of experience in understanding and catering to the needs of their customer during this time. You can get one of these quality knives at just around 20 dollars.
- The hard plastic and color matching sheath is provided with the knife to keep it safely with you at all times.
- The combination of the classic Scandi grind and high carbon steel make it exceptionally tough and easy to maintain.
- You get the best in both cold and wet conditions thanks to the patterned, high-friction grip of the knife.
- It might start to rust just a few months after the purchase.
6. Knives Of Alaska Suregrip Bush Camp Knife
This knife has been a popular choice among the taxidermists and the seasoned outdoor people alike. The almost 270 dollars price tag makes full sense when you consider its amazing features such as lifetime warranty among others.
- The cryogenic ‘deep freeze’ treatment as well as the double draw heat temper makes it an invincible camping knife.
- Its 440C Stainless Steel blade is around 2.4 inches in length and comes with the “Hunters Non-Glare” ceramic penned finish.
- You get a cowhide sheath which is split grained, oiled and vegetable tanned.
- The price and maintenance costs might make it an expensive deal for the buyers.
7. KA-BAR Becker BK2 Campanion Fixed Blade Knife
You can skin your catch of the day and the onions with the same ease when you are using the KA-BAR Becker BK2 Campanion Fixed Blade Knife. Well under the 100 dollars range, you will surely be able to retrieve your full money’s worth within a few months of use.
- It is an original creation of the legendary Ethan Becker.
- The hardshell black nylon sheath that comes with this purchase helps you carry the knife with you easily.
- All kinds of camping chores can be managed well with this heavy duty, full- tang field knife.
- Its warranty instructions offer you a replacement only in select usage scenarios.
8. Morakniv Bushcraft Carbon Steel Survival Knife with Fire Starter and Sheath, 4.3-Inch, Black
This multipurpose knife can prove to be of good use in both outdoor and everyday tasks. Made in Sweden, you get a quality imported product that utilizes the best of Swedish technology. Just don’t forget to properly clean and wipe it dry after every use. You can score this buy well under the 110 dollars price mark.
- Its anti-corrosive black coating on the carbon steel blade makes this knife highly durable.
- The complementary fire starter produces 7,000 strikes along with 3,000 Degree sparks and works well even when wet.
- High-friction rubber grip, ergonomic handle, integrated fire starter, and diamond sharpener makes its black plastic sheath all the more resourceful.
- The knife you receive might not be well worth the price and the claims made by the manufacturer.
9. Gerber LMF II Survival Knife, Black [22-01629]
The military veteran Jeff Freeman poured his years of experience and expertise into the Gerber LMF II Survival Knife. Designed originally to cut through a downed aircraft to free the aircrew, today you can put it to good use in its various outdoor applications. It is priced in a comfortable range of 70 dollars for providing easy access to everyone.
- The sheath is made out of ballistic nylon optimized with fire retardant coating.
- You get complete protection against the hammering shock and the stray wires with its purposeful break between the butt cap and tang.
- Its tough and solid handle is a combination of nylon filled with glass enveloped with the TPV overmold.
- You might get a defective or used product if you don’t go for a reliable point of purchase.
10. Buck Knives 539RWS Open Season Small Game Fixed Blade Knife
This knife is a part of the must-have Open Season Series from the house of Buck Knives. You can get one today if you are ready to invest around 178 dollars in this highly purposeful knife. This hunting companion will help you skin the hunt and march through the forest without any hassles.
- The blade’s top is dropped down to prevent accidental puncturing during skinning.
- Its rosewood handle offers a balanced and beautiful finish for a strong grip throughout your journey.
- S30V Steel has been used in the development of this 4-1/4″ Drop Point Blade.
- The ergonomics of the handle make it tough on you to clean and use it properly.
These were our top picks in terms of the best camping knives of the season. We hope it has helped you out in thinning your online research pile.
11. StatGear Surviv-All Fixed-Blade Bowie Knife with Sheath, Firestarter, Sharpener & Cord Cutter for Hunting Camping Outdoors Hiking EDC
This is a full tang with 440 stainless steel blade detail. The StatGear Surviv-All Fixed-Blade Bowie Knife with Sheath can help you in almost all kinds of camping and outdoor activities with its rust-resistant composition.
- It comes with an Integrated Cord Cutter to cut all kinds of lines without having to take the knife out of the sheath every single time.
- The Magnesium Fire Rod can be used to simply start a fire when you don’t have a match or the rain played spoilsport.
- Its integrated blade sharpening stone makes it easy and accessible for you to keep the blade sharp.
- The drop point blade is sturdy and safe to use.
- You get a heavy-duty belt sheath that comes with all the attachments to keep the knife and you safe at all times.
- The attachments might be missing in some cases.
- It can be heavier than usual knives with all its bells and whistles.
This wraps up our list of the top camping knives under 50 dollars for now.
The great outdoors is an adventure waiting to be explored. Make sure you walk into the unknown with a reliable and tough camping knife to come out victorious and thoroughly rejuvenated. The StatGear Surviv-All Fixed-Blade Bowie Knife with Sheath is the best camping knife according to us for the current season. It is very much affordable at 45 dollars, highly durable and comes with its very own sheath with tons of useful attachments to it. We highly recommend this one for 2022 Wishlist.
Let us know more about your favorites when it comes to the camping knives in the comment section below. Don’t forget to forward it on your socials and exchange the words of wisdom with your friends and family.