There’s a whole universe of specialty hunting/camping knives and you could be forgiven if plowing through them all left you a little confused but if your just after a general knife things are a bit easier.
The basis of a working knife is a certain degree of quality when it comes to both the construction and materials used (especially the blade). Like those cheap and nasty budget tools most of us have been tempted to buy at least once, a knife blade made from a poor choice of metal will soon become utterly useless.
Remember although you can pick up a half decent knife cheaply, weeding out the really bad ones isn’t always that easy and saving an extra buck or two can be a serious false economy.
Normally when picking out knives I tend to stick with producers that have a proven track record no matter how shiny the new kid on the block looks.
Packing away to a neat size that’s less likely to do you accidental damage and can be carried easier on your person, folding knives are a popular option for a general camping blade. Any mechanical action is going to suffer from the elements, dirt and anything else the outdoors throws at it and this should be taken into account when choosing this type of knife.
Along with having to maintain the folding action the knife, its comprised of more pieces meaning its only going to take so much punishment before it falls apart. This is where the quality side comes into play and there’s no reason why a well made folding knife shouldn’t give years of service
Fixed Blade Knives
Unlike folding knives who’s design limits the length of the blade, the size of a fixed blade knife is all down to how big you need it and how comfortable it is to carry.
Unless you prepared to go into your kit every time the knife is needed it’s good to make sure the sheath is of a quality that’s going to stand up to a bit abuse. Sometimes the stock sheath that gets sold with a fixed blade knife can be unpractical, either because of quality or type and it’s a long term investment to replace it with something that’s comfortable and secure.
So Whats In My Camping Kit?
Taken on every outing for about 8 years now (can’t exactly remember when I bought it) is a solid Zepter folding knife.
The nice simple folding action and lock has got totally clogged more than a few time but a quick soak in water and a little bit of oil and its good as new.
Its had a beating over the years, being used as a handy small hammer and even had to rescue it from the bottom of a dirty stagnant pond (no way I was leaving it). Its due a meeting with a sharpening stone before our next trip out or its not going to be any help.
The only thing I would improve is add at least another inch to the existing 3 Inch blade. It’ll be a sad day when I have to replace this knife as its lasted longer then anything else that’s experienced the kind of misuse that years of wild camping can inflict.
A Quick Note On Knife Legality
Like many laws, different countries have their own way of dealing with those carrying a knife. I would love to believe the context in which the knife is being used (wild camping as opposed to carrying it around a city center) should alter how having the knife is viewed, but this isn’t always a given.
Make sure you know what your local laws are and above all don’t wave the knife around unnecessarily. Remember like other bits of your camping gear, it’s just a tool designed to do a specific set of tasks.