Camping Knife Comparison
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Camping Knife Buying Guide
What is a Camping Knife?
A camping knife is a knife that has been designed in a way that makes it tough and durable enough to be used for a multitude of camping activities. These include creating tinder, preparing food, cutting small branches and other outdoor jobs that are a regular part of camping.
There are several things that you want to look for and consider when choosing the right camping knife. We have outlined these important considerations below so you will know what to look for when you start researching and shopping for your own camping knife.
Top Considerations for a Great Camping Knife
Which is better, Full-tang or Folding? – When it comes to choosing a great quality camping knife, most people opt for a full tang blade but it can go either way. Some people choose to have both on hand for camping trips so you have a variety of knives available for different jobs. If you only want to carry one blade, it is recommended to go with the full tang, fixed blade knife because they are better at survival type activities if needed.
Making the Choice Between Serrated or Non-Serrated – Again this can be left up to personal preference as some camping enthusiasts prefer one over the other. The benefit to a non-serrated knife is that there is no worry over teeth chipping and they are much simpler to keep sharpened as it is easier to sharpen a non-serrated knife over a serrated one. While serrated edges can cut through dense, course material, if you’re smooth edge knife is high quality and sharpened properly, it will be able to cut through anything you need it to.
Is Blade Style Important? – When it comes to camping, unless you plan on doing skinning and hunting, you don’t have to worry too much about blade style. There are several different types of blade including:
- Clip point
- Trailing point
- Spear point
- Needle point
- Drop point
The most important characteristics for a blade include stainless steel construction, 3/4 to full tang for extra stability and a secure handle to grip, even if your hands are muddy or wet.
Why “Bulk” Knives are not Good for Camping – Even though the traditional Swiss Army style knives are cool to look at, they are not much use when it comes to useful activities. Things like toothpicks and corkscrews are more for novelty than actually used. When camping, you need a knife that is strong, durable, easy-to-hold and handle and that will perform the tasks you need it to, such as sawing branches and creating tender. Using a bulk knife to try and create tinder will only frustrate the outdoorsman.
Quality is Important – Poor quality knives are not worth the money spent on them. Cheaply made knives are not much good handling tough camping jobs such as cutting through branches and preparing camp food. Even if you’re buying a knife for a son who is in boy scouts, you will want to always choose quality over flashy and “shiny”. The cheap varieties break easily and can increase the likelihood of injury.
Set a Good Budget – Budgets are always a good idea when it comes to camping knives because it is very easy to spend lots of money on them. While you don’t need to spend a ton of money, you don’t want to go with the cheapest knife you can find either. Setting a decent budget will allow you to take a look at some good quality knives that will stand up to the rigors you will put it through while you are camping.
Blade Length – A good generalized blade length is about 3-4” or the width of the palm of the person who will be using the knife. While a 7” knife blade sounds impressive, it isn’t really necessary in most applications and a 4” inch blade can perform those jobs just as well. Construction and material is more important than the length. A 4” knife blade made of stainless steel is much better than a 7” knife blade made of cheap material.
Folding Knives that are Easy Open- If you prefer folding camping knives, you want to be certain that you don’t have to struggle to get them open. Spring assisted knives are never a good idea and are illegal in many states. Thumb assisted knives work just fine as a camping knife. This type of knife means that the knife will have a small knob near the base of the blade that your thumb will fit into perfectly to open the knife with. Read some reviews to see what customers have to say about ease of opening.
Made in the USA- Important? – American made knives are usually made with tough U.S steel that stays sharpened. Foreign made knives can be high quality as well including German, Solingen steel, Finnish and Swedish steel. You can usually look at the base of the blade to see where it came from if this is of importance to you.
Knife Care Tips
Once you have chosen your camping knife, it is important that you take care of it so it lasts a long time. When you take care of your camping knife, you will find that it performs much better as well which actually lessens the chance of injury from trying to cut with a dull blade. We have listed some tips for you that will help you take care of your camping knife.
- The tip of your knife blade is the most fragile part of the knife. You want to make sure that you are mindful of the tip and don’t use your knife for screwing and unscrewing things or prying things open. Aside from risking breaking the tip, you are also risking injury if the knife slips.
- Clean your knife after using it. Make sure that you wash off all dirt, grime and tree sap. It is important that you dry your knife thoroughly after washing it.
- Wipe down the blade of your knife with an oiled rag. As far as how often this needs to be done, a good suggestion is to do this after every camping excursion.
- If you have a folding camping knife, be certain that you oil the joints and springs to keep the folding mechanisms working properly. Just a drop or two of oil is plenty.
- Sharpen the blade of your knife on a regular basis. Having a good maintenance schedule is preferable. Smooth edge blades are much easier to sharpen than serrated blades.
- Do not store your knife and sheath in direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can damage the sheath and knife handle, especially if the handle is made of wood. The best place for knives is in a cool, dry place. Keeping the knife and sheath out of direct sunlight will prevent premature aging.
- Do not store the blade in a leather sheath because the leather will collect moisture inside and cause pits in the blade, ruining it.
- Keep your knife dry, especially folding knives so there is no chance of damage from rust.
- Do not throw your knife unless it is designed to be thrown. Doing so can break the tip of the knife or the whole blade itself.
A good camping knife is crucial when it comes to handling the tasks that you could end up needing a knife for while on these excursions. Jobs such as cutting small tree branches, scaling fish, creating tinder and much more are common camping jobs. You want to have a knife that is capable of handling these jobs easily.
The information provided in this buyer’s guide gives you the knowledge you need to choose the best knife for your needs and preferences. Having the right information means you can sort through all of the choices out there and choose the best knife you can afford that will meet all of your preferences.
- Morakniv – http://www.moraofsweden.se/morakniv/companion-mg-184.108.40.206
- Gerber Knives – http://www.gerbergear.com/
- MTech – https://www.swordsknivesanddaggers.com/m-tech-usa-knives.html