Camping and hiking season is in full force right now and we couldn't be more stoked about it! Nothing beats getting into the outdoors, slowing down, and enjoying some time away from modern life. We also love the chance that it gives us to try a bunch of gear from other brands. Knives specifically!
So with that said...I wanted to compile a "Top 10 Best Camp Knives" article for you all. I have personally used each of these knives for at least 6 months on my outdoor ventures (most for as long as 4 or 5 years). I'll detail why each of them were selected for this list below.
Outdoor / "Camp Knives" are built for specific purposes that you will encounter while in the outdoors. And these are things that common pocket knives, or tactical blades won't excel at. So, I like directing people into picking the right tool for the job.
Generally, camp knives are fixed blades. They feature durable, yet easy to sharpen blade steels such as carbon steel, a variation of Sandvik steel, etc. The handles for camp knives are made to decrease "hot spots" which can fatigue/bother your hands during use. And they often feature a flat grind, or some form of a scandi grind which lends them to being better suited for wood working tasks/things around camp.
* This is not all encompassing of how I would describe a camp knife. But - That would take up a whole article...hit me up on social media or in the comments if you wanna know more ;)
Starting out simple. The Opinel No.8 is extremely lightweight. In fact, you will not feel this knife in your pocket.
The Opinel series of knives are excellent carving/whittling knives, and perform phenomenally around the campfire during dinner time. They also feature a 90° spine, which works in perfect unison with a ferro rod to make a fire.
I am a huge fan of Spyderco's full flat grind (FFG). The FFG is perfect during food prep - Such as cutting up veggies, cutting meat, etc. This knife is also a very handy one, due to it's extremely sharp/precise point. It's certainly one that I enjoy having in my pocket, to accommodate a larger fixed blade knife.
If a folding pocket knife isn't really your thing, I would whole heartedly recommend the Mora Eldris. It can be worn as a neck knife, or slipped into the pocket.
This knife features a 2.2" blade, with a full sized handle. And though it looks delicate, it is far from it. It is extremely sturdy. And an all around great work horse at camp.
The Condor Bushlore is one of the first knives that I recommend to people looking to get into bushcrafting, camping, or general outdoor activities. Probably because it was my first proper outdoors knife (along with a Mora "Classic") when I began my outdoor ventures.
The Bushlore isn't all sentiment to me though. It is a beefy full tang fixed blade, that is capable of some hard-use. Everything from fire making, to shelter construction, to food prep...This thing can do it. And it's one of those knives that gets better looking with age (especially it's beautiful leather sheath).
I have sang the praises of Mora for quite some time. It's because they offer knives to every budget. This little "511" model is around $8. And it is invaluable in the woods.
I personally love this knife for general camp chores, like opening mountain house meals, cutting cordage and wood working. In fact, it is my absolute favorite wood working knife (for making wooden spoons/bushcraft projects/etc).
I think every person who loves the outdoors should own one of these, especially at it's price point. It weighs nothing, so throw it in your pack and forget about it - Until you need it.
The Esee 4 is an all around awesome fixed blade knife. I can personally see it's value in tactical settings, everyday carry and in the outdoors. It's a great knife that is capable of doing a lot of things right. And taking a lot of abuse.
I personally use mine at camp for batoning kindling and heavier chores that I encounter.
This knife is honestly one that I bought because of the company. I find their backstory so interesting, and i'm extremely intrigued by all things Norway. So it's was my "living vicariously" opportunity, since I won't visit Norway anytime soon, lol.
Past that though - The Helle Gaupe is a fantastic blade for general work at camp. And it excels as a wood working blade. Additionally it is one of those beautiful heirloom items. This is the type of knife that I cannot wait to pass down to my boy one day...Then he can keep it going from there.
Before I used the Gerber Strongarm I would've scratched my head if I saw it included on a "camp knife" post. Sure it's not a traditional bushcrafting type of knife, but it actually does incredibly well for camp chores.
It is personally the knife I would consider bringing if I only had 1 knife to use from city, to backcountry.
The Esee 6 fills a very similar roll as my Esee 4. But I am a WHOLE LOT harder on the Esee 6. I pretty much treat it like a machete. I clear limbs with it, I beat it through hard wood for fires...You name it - I'll trust my Esee 6 to do it. This thing is just a beast.
Last but certainly not least is one of my all time favorite knives, the Condor Primitive Bushknife. I treat this knife very similarly to my Esee 6. But I do find myself slowing down a bit more with this knife. It's very capable of hard, intense use. But it is also phenomenal for delicate tasks as well. This would probably be my one-tool-option for a knife if I was forced to choose only 1 right now.
So there you have it folks! My Top 10 Best Camp Knives, based on my own personal experience with them. I'd love to hear your favorites! So please drop me a comment below. And as always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask!