Best Camping Knives of 2022

With so many variations of camping, from car camping and overlanding to survival camping and many more, the most critical aspect these all have in common is being equipped with a knife. There are a plethora of blades for different scenarios and occasions, and whether you are just starting your outdoor camping journey or are a pro, it is crucial that you pick the best knife to fit your camping lifestyle needs.

When considering a purchase, there are many aspects of a camping knife to consider: Will it help start a fire? Can a knife be too heavy for camping? How many knives do I need when camping? How much does a good camping knife cost? What brand is best? While most experienced campers have the answers to these questions, it is still essential to consider them when looking for that new blade to take with you on your next trip.

Your camping knife should be the essential item to bring with you for its countless uses and purposes other than just cutting. Such tasks might include fire starting, making tinder and kindling, whittling, constructing a shelter, preparing food, cleaning game, self-defense, creating a reflective signal, cutting and slicing, and most importantly to look cool.

When looking for your next camping knife, there are certain qualities of this knife you should consider. To say the knife is important is an understatement, but what comprises the knife is vital in creating a quality product that you can rely on. Check out our guides for a better understanding of blade steelhandle material, and knife types. Knowing the knife’s construction will give you the confidence you need to procure your next camping knife!

We’ve identified the three most common types of camping knives and their purposes. These types include Bushcraft Knives, Lightweight Knives, and Cooking Knives. We’ll dive into what makes these knives our go-to choices for 2022 and why we think you should invest in them for your next camping knife. In each section below, we’ve found the best options at three price points: budget-friendly, economical, and premium.

“The knife is the balance point for survival in the bush. Without it, you have to stay on the move. With it, you create the opportunity to rest.”

Mors Kochanski

Best Bushcraft Knives

So, what is bushcraft exactly? Simply put, it is the skills required to live in the bush, the bush being the wilderness, wild, or remote country. Bushcraft basics include building a shelter, building a fire, and finding/utilizing food and water. A few indicators exist when looking for the best knife to accomplish these tasks: knife construction, blade steel, and handle material.

Knife Construction: When looking for a bushcraft knife, you’ll want to be looking for a knife in the range of 8″-12″. This will allow for a long enough blade and handle to withstand shelter building, batoning (wood splitting), and fire starting. You’ll want a knife that has a full tang (the part of the blade that extends into the handle) that will bend less and have more stability in the long run. Most bushcraft knives come with a ferro rod for fire starting.

Blade Steel: Looking for tough steel that can handle the bush is easier than you think. You’ll most likely want to be in search of high-carbon steel or steel that won’t corrode or rust. You’ll also want to look for a scandi grind on the blade with a flat bevel that gives a lower profile to the knife, so there will be lower cutting resistance and a smoother transition from the primary edge to the back of it.

Handle Material: The main criteria for handle material are: durability, grip, feel, and beauty. A durable knife gives you less to worry about when working in nature’s environments. The grip on a knife is essential to provide you with the best handling of your blade. You do not want your knife slipping out of your hands when performing strenuous activities. The feel of the knife can be a bit more personal to each user, but simply put, you don’t want your knife to be uncomfortable when using it. Imagine wearing shoes that are just too tight or too big; it serves their purpose but isn’t comfortable. Lastly is beauty; though not a huge requirement, it is nice to have nice-looking equipment over a long period. If you’re using this knife as often as we think, you want it to look and feel its best for as long as possible. We recommend a synthetic, artificial, or natural handle to meet these requirements.

Now that we’ve better understood what to look for, let’s look at the top three knives we have chosen.

Morakniv Companion

Price Range: $15-$32

Specifications:

  • Overall Length: 8.875″
  • Blade Length: 4.00″
  • Blade Material: Stainless Steel
  • Blade Shape: Clip Point
  • Handle Material: Rubber
  • Sheath: Polymer
  • Weight: 3.60 oz.

The Morakniv Companion is our pick for the best budget-friendly bushcraft knife. This knife has the perfect blade length, grind, and handle for the bush. Throw it in your bag or truck and you are set for the wilderness. The various price points are selected based on the different variations of the Companion. The model shown includes the fire starter, which puts it at around $30; the more basic models are priced at $15. Regardless, it makes them both incredibly affordable and reliable knives. Our only complaint about this line of Morakniv knives is that they are not full tang blades, but partial tang. We don’t see this as a significant issue since the Companion is incredibly solid, but it is good information. If you want to spend less than $50 on a bushcraft knife, you cannot go wrong with the Morakniv Companion.

Tops BOB Fieldcrafter

Price: $125

Specifications:

  • Overall Length: 8.125″
  • Blade Length: 3.75″
  • Blade Material: 1095
  • Blade Shape: Drop Point
  • Handle Material: Micarta
  • Sheath: Kydex
  • Weight: 5.53 oz.

The Tops BOB Fieldcrafter is our choice for the economic knife. With a significant handle and blade, there will be no shortage of knife here. Made from 1095 steel, makes it an excellent choice for long-term usage. We also love the unique look of the two-tone blade. With jimping on the spine, you’ll have a secure grip while using this knife and the bow drill divot in the handle makes firestarting a breeze. The micarta handle is solid and durable; it has an even better grip when wet. The only drawback to micarta is that it is recommended to keep it oiled to last longer. Priced at just $125, it makes the Tops BOB Fieldcrafter the perfect sturdy and durable knife you can trust and rely on at all times.

Fallkniven A1X

Price: $300

Specifications:

  • Overall Length: 11.25″
  • Blade Length: 6.50″
  • Blade Material: Lam CoS
  • Blade Shape: Drop Point
  • Handle Material: Thermorun
  • Sheath: Zytel
  • Weight: 13.04 oz.

The Fallkniven A1X is our pick for the premium knife category. Why pick this knife above the rest with a much higher price point and weight? With this knife, you get 6.50″ of Lam CoS steel to work with. Lam CoS steel is a laminate of a CoS steel core (a high-carbon cobalt special stainless steel) with 420J2 stainless steel on the outer layers to improve its toughness. 420J2 steel is aimed at enhancing the toughness of the blade steel. The handle is made from Thermorun, a sturdy plastic with rubber-like properties, and is relatively insensitive to heat, aging, water, weather, chemicals, and solvents. The size, blade steel, and handle material make the Fallkniven A1X an incredibly long-lasting and durable knife that you will have for many years. 

Best Lightweight Knives

While bushcraft knives are excellent for handling those more extensive projects, everyone should carry a lightweight knife when camping. The lightweight camping knives are much smaller, portable ones that are easier to have on your person. These knives are used for smaller projects or emergencies while hiking and camping. With various blade steels and handle materials, there are specific criteria to look after when searching for a lightweight camping knife.

Knife Construction: A complete construction that will give you the lightest weight while still maintaining a sense of durability is critical. The majority of the lightweight knives you want to seek out are folding knives so they can be stored away more easily. These knives can be anywhere from 3″-7.50″ in length.

Blade Steel: Since these knives get a lot of use out of them, it is vital to have a blade that will stay sharp for a long time. Having to resharpen your knife over and over again will get real annoying quickly. Finding steel that has high-wear resistance is pretty common to come by. We recommend most CPM steels as well as VG10 steel.

Handle Material: There are many handle materials to choose from when it comes to lightweight knives, and you can’t go wrong with any of them. You want a handle that will provide a good feel and grip. FRN, micarta, G-10, or any polymer handle will give you a stellar look and hold. Natural materials offer a classic look but should be used by more experienced knife wielders.

Now that we’ve better understood what to look for, let’s look at the top three knives we have chosen.

Spyderco Ladybug 3

Price Range: $47-$57

Specifications:

  • Overall Length: 4.375″
  • Blade Length: 1.94″
  • Blade Material: VG10
  • Blade Shape: Clip Point
  • Handle Material: FRN
  • Weight: 0.60 oz.

The Spyderco Ladybug 3 is our pick for the budget-friendly lightweight knife. This knife is technically classified as an ultralightweight knife, but it still serves the purposes of camping. This knife does offer variations in look and purpose with colors, serrations, and blade styles. Weighing in at 0.60 oz., this knife is extremely lightweight and will feel fragile, but we assure you this is not the case by any means. It is mighty and robust with a VG10 blade under 2″. You won’t have to sharpen this high-wear blade very often as it will hold its retention. The knife also is constructed with an FRN (Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon) handle that is practically indestructible. With the different variations, the Spyderco Ladybug 3 is priced between $47 and $57, making it the perfect price for a great knife. 

Benchmade Bugout

Price Range: $135-$280

Specifications:

  • Overall Length: 6.50″ / 7.46″
  • Blade Length: 2.875″ / 3.24″
  • Blade Material: CPM S30V, CPM 20CV
  • Blade Shape: Drop Point
  • Handle Material: Carbon Fiber, Grivory, Micarta, Polymer
  • Weight: 1.50 oz. / 1.85 oz.

The Benchmade Bugout is our pick for the economic knife category. The Bugout comes in a mini and a regular size that meets the less-than-three-ounce requirement. These blades come in so many combinations and variations that they are priced between $135 and $280 based on whatever you are looking for in a lightweight knife. The Bugout, in any size, has to be one of our favorite overall knives. CPM S30V and 20CV are excellent blade materials that are durable and lightweight. Having so many choices of handle materials makes this a knife that can feel more personal. The Benchmade Bugout’s versatility will make you feel confident on your next adventure. 

Argali Carbon

Price: $200

Specifications:

  • Overall Length: 7.50″
  • Blade Length: 3.65″
  • Blade Material: CPM S35VN
  • Blade Shape: Drop Point
  • Handle Material: G-10
  • Sheath: Kydex
  • Weight: 2.10 oz.

The Argali Carbon is our pick for the premium knife category. This American-made knife is priced at $200, for a good reason. The Carbon offers full-size fixed blade functionality while remaining ultralight. The CPM S35VN is exceptionally sharp and will hold its edge for any activity. Argali does offer free factory sharpening for as long as you own the knife. The handle scales are constructed with a G-10 handle; G-10 is woven fiberglass soaked in epoxy resin and then compressed and baked. It is very dense, lightweight, and impervious to water and makes for a very tough and durable handle material. The Argali Carbon is marketed more towards hunters, but we recommend this knife for those who want a seriously sharp, low maintenance, lightweight blade to have on them. 

Best Cooking Knives

Whether a beginner or professional at camping, food consumption and the ability to cook is an aspect of this lifestyle activity, the cooking knife you’ll need at your campsite needs a variety of functions. These include cleaning game, slicing meats, chopping vegetables, mincing, cleaving, peeling, and much more. Finding a knife that can do all of this might be difficult, but we have found the best knives that cover most of what you can do in your campsite kitchen. You want to keep an eye out for certain qualities that make for a great outdoor kitchen knife.

Knife Construction: Most outdoor cooking knives will be fixed blades and come with a protective sheath. These knives will be between 8″-12″ to offer the user enough blade length to manage any technique. Most cooking knives are constructed with a trailing point or drop point blade creating an oversized belly that makes for precise slicing, skinning, and filleting.

Blade Steel: When it comes to cooking blade steel, you want a high-carbon steel blade. High carbon steels are very hard, which makes them good at resisting abrasion and retaining shape. They can withstand significant force before deforming. The best choice will be CPM-made steel that will maintain sharpness and durability. Taking the best care for your blade steel will result in it lasting a long time. Neglect the blade, and it will fail you no matter the steel.

Handle Material: Most knife handles will be acceptable and great for cooking. Ultimately, you’ll want a knife that can handle being wet and still have a good grip. Materials like G-10 and micarta are perfect for these knives. Since you won’t be holding these knives nearly as often as a bushcraft or lightweight knife, the handle material won’t need to be a worrying aspect unless you’re picky.

Now that we’ve better understood what to look for let’s look at the top three knives we have chosen.

Spyderco Bow River

Price Range: $42-$47

Specifications:

  • Overall Length: 8.14″
  • Blade Length: 4.40″
  • Blade Material: 8Cr13MoV
  • Blade Shape: Trailing Point
  • Handle Material: G-10
  • Sheath: Leather
  • Weight: 3.90 oz.

The Spyderco Bow River is our pick for the budget-friendly knife. This knife, in particular, offers a lot of the qualities that have been previously mentioned. It is constructed with an almost 4.5″ blade equal to the handle. A knife with stature that is under 4 oz. is definitely one to look at. The variations of Bow River knives offer different blade finishes and handle colors. The trailing point blade is perfect for precise slicing, skinning, and filleting. G-10 handles provide grip, feel, and beauty to the knife. For under $50, this Spyderco Bow River should be a must-have for those who enjoy cooking outdoors. 

Condor Bush Slicer

Price: $110

Specifications:

  • Overall Length: 8.50″
  • Blade Length: 4.25″
  • Blade Material: 1095
  • Blade Shape: Drop Point
  • Handle Material: Micarta
  • Sheath: Kydex
  • Weight: 5.52 oz.

The Condor Bush Slicer is our pick for the economic knife category. This knife comes with a little more weight, but that can be good for having a solid hold on the blade so it won’t get away from you. With a two-tone drop point blade, the Bush Slicer is perfect for those precise cuts and chopping while looking extremely beautiful. 1095 steel offers excellent edge retention and toughness. The micarta handle construction provides the ideal handle and grip in any camping condition. The Condor Bush Slicer is a lot of knife for a reasonable price; at $110, this will make an excellent addition to your camping cook site. 

Benchmade Meatcrafter

Prices: $153 / $360

Specifications:

  • Overall Length: 11.08″
  • Blade Length: 6.09″
  • Blade Material: CPM 154 / CPM S45VN
  • Blade Shape: Trailing Point
  • Handle Material: Polymer / Carbon Fiber
  • Sheath: Boltaron
  • Weight: 3.24 oz. / 4.52 oz.

The Benchmade Meatcrafter is our top pick for the premium knife category. The Meatcrafter is offered in two variations and two price points. Both are constructed at the same length and provide different blade materials, handles, and weights. Both knives have a CPM-made blade that maintains high edge retention and wear. The trailing point style is excellent for precise slicing, skinning, and filleting. Another significant difference between the knives is the handles, one is polymer-made and ideal for use in any condition, and the other is carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is one of the most rigid materials used today for knife handles. It is much stiffer than steel and five times stronger. In terms of durability, it will last a lifetime of heavy use. Whether you’re looking to spend $153 or $360, the Benchmade Meatcrafter will satisfy all of your cooking needs. 

Honorable Mentions

We recognize that there are many knife enthusiasts out there with excellent and helpful opinions. Below are a list of knives we couldn’t dive into but should be recognized for their greatness and abilities they can serve you while camping, hiking, fishing, or any outdoor activity. Feel free to check out these additional knives that would look great in your collection! Be sure to check out our knife reviews and tests that offer an in-depth look at various knives.

Budget Friendly KnivesEconomical KnivesPremium Knives
Gerber LST UltralightMorakniv GarbergLionSteel M4
Schrade Large FrontierGerber StrongArmWhite River Backpacker
Cold Steel SRK Search & RescueLeatherman WaveESEE 5P
ESEE Izula Gray SurvivalBradford Guardian3Reiff F6