Although you’ll be using your camping knife mostly around the campsite, it will need to perform tasks far beyond the capabilities of a household kitchen knife. Batoning wood for the fire, scaling fish for dinner and clearing branches around your tent are just a few of the many jobs your camping knife will have. Therefore it is important to select a knife you are confident in when camping and fishing.
That being said, it is still a good idea to have a set of knives exclusively used in the camp kitchen. The last thing you need is to be cutting up wood one minute, then needing to slice up your dinner the next with a dirty knife. Caravanners in particular, should consider bringing knives for indoor and outdoor use, so as not to contaminate their kitchen and food preparation areas.
Blade size determines how the knife handles and the tasks it can perform. As a general rule to follow, the bigger the blade, the heavier and harder it becomes to handle, but more force can be applied to the blade for batoning and cutting wood.
A small blade camping knife, typically below 13cm (5 inches) are typically only used for preparing food and scaling fish. Medium blade camping knives, between 15cm (6 inches) and 25cm (10 inches) offer the best of both worlds. They handle well while still being able to Baton small to medium-size firewood. Large blade camping knives, beyond 28cm (11 inches) in size are suited primarily for cutting timber. Their large size makes them difficult to use around the camp kitchen and they weigh far more than a small blade knife.
Back in the day, you would only find features such as sawbacks and serrations on top-of-the-line survivalist knives. Nowadays, these features are becoming more and more popular on a wide range of camping knives. A sawback, as the name suggests, is a saw blade on the spine of the knife used for cutting branches and small trees. The downside to having a sawback on your knife, is that it makes it hard to press down on the back of the blade with your hand or thumb. Serrations are usually found towards the handle-side of the blade and are used to cut rope and cord.
Blade thickness also differs from knife to knife. Thicker blades are better for cutting branches and batoning, while thinner blades are suited to food preparation and scaling fish. In most situations, a thicker blade knife can do most of the tasks a thinner bladed knife can – it just requires a little more finesse.
Once you have chosen your next camping knife, check out our range of camping tools for sale to fully kit yourself out before your next adventure!