Have you ever wondered what single item you want to have with you if you found yourself stranded in the wilderness or on a deserted island? A source of fire, shelter or a compass would be handy and nice to have, but with high quality knives for camping, you would have the ability to be able to get almost anything you could possibly need to survive.
Everybody is aware of the importance of having a sharp, durable knife on a camping trip. Most people use their knives while camping to prepare meals or cut a length of rope to prepare a shelter. If all else fails, a good knife is useful for hunting for food, fixing broken or damaged camping gear and even building a new shelter.
You can choose from a wide variety of knives in many sizes, weights and configurations. My partner KT inspired this post about the various types of knives available for camping. He is very knowledgeable about knives as well as the advantages and disadvantages associated with using different types of knives and shared this information.
Fixed Blade Knives
Fixed blade knives require a carrying case or sheath for safe transport since the blades do not fold. This adds weight to the load of gear you have to carry. This type of blade features a single piece of metal extending through the handle making it very strong and almost impossible to snap off.
The knife in the top photo looks sturdy with its clipped point tip and serrated edge but the thin top is at risk of breaking off if it is put under excess pressure. The blade in the bottom picture is a great deal stronger with its dropped point. Hollow blades save weight but the user has to be willing to sacrifice durability for the trade off in weight savings.
Single Blade Folding Knives
Folding blades are lightweight and easy to carry in a pocket. The hinge is obviously the weakest portion of the knife but a model similar to the one in the photo has a locking blade. This keeps it from folding while it is in use. Less expensive knives do not include this important safety feature.
The knives pictured have more substantial blades than those available on the average multitool. This makes them suitable for use while skinning wildlife, preparing fish and cutting branches. In an emergency, you would even have what you need to create a bone splint if someone was injured.
Leatherman is the most popular brand of available on the market today. These versatile tools can be used to perform a variety of tasks. They feature multiple blades of different sizes and other handy accessories including wire cutters, bottle openers and screwdrivers. They are not, however designed for camping. The blades are thin and suited only for light jobs. Other tools are not even helpful for most people during the average camping trip.
Multitools are more suited for situations where the user needs to repair equipment. They are helpful for long expeditions, cycling trips and mountaineering. They are not worth the added weight on the typical camping trip.
The Advantages of the Swiss Army Knife
I have always associated the Swiss Army knife with camping. You can choose from a wide array of accessories including USB drives and even magnifying lenses. The downside is the weight added with each additional accessory.
In my opinion, the only necessary tools for the typical camping trip are an awl for making holes and a blade strong enough to cut branches. The tweezers, can opener and corkscrew are also useful for many campers but would not be what I consider mandatory tools.
Swiss Army knives actually do not make the best survival tools because the blades dull quickly and are relatively weak. Their compact size and lightweight construction makes them popular with many hikers and campers despite their disadvantages.
No matter which type of knife you choose to carry with you on your next camping trip, you must make sure it is sharp or it will be useless to you. I will discuss sharpening knives in a future post.