Let’s talk about camping knives. Those small handy knives which you decide to take with you when you are going on a camping trip. You might not be certain if you should go camping with a knife since you are not going on a survival mission or a tactical mission which both have their types of knives. This article would put you through on the reasons to tag along with a camping knife on your camping expedition and the best camping knife which are perfect for beginners and pros alike.
So, what’s a good camping knife?
Camping knives differ from the tactical knife and survival knives in that they are crafted to tackle activities which take place in the camp. They are not built for stockpiling bodies of zombies or taking down an enemy soldier stealthily. Good camping knives are used for such camping activities as;
- Scrapping tree barks
- Hunting – could be added to a stick and used as a spear
- Fishing – same principle used in hunting
- They can be used in clearing pathways.
- Cutting and carving wood
- Snipping fishing lines
- Even making a quick meal over an open fire.
Now that we’ve cleared through the basics let’s talk about important factors to take into consideration before you go for any camping knife.
There are a lot of camping knives and so are there lots of tips for choosing the perfect camping knife. These are our five (5) tips to help every camper choose the fitting knife he desires and needs to use while camping especially in the wild.
Five (5) tips for selecting the ideal camping knife
1. Light: One key factor to consider when choosing the perfect camping knife is the weight. You don’t need a knife which weighs a ton. A blade that’s very heavy won’t be easy to carry about, and this could be a major inconvenience for you especially if you plan to hike or hunt. Also, the weight would limit your carrying capacity, and this would discomfort you if you want to pack a camera for sightseeing.
2. Small or medium scale blades would do: A camping knife is ideally meant to be small or medium. Large blades are of no use to anyone in the camp.
3. Type of steel: The type of blade steel is very important. High-grade stainless steel like 440C or high-grade carbon steel like 1095 or SK-5 is recommended. The stronger the steel, the better the blade. Avoid getting knives made of lesser steel as they could fail you when you least expect it.
4. Choose knives with the right scales: Select knives that are of appropriate scales like Aluminum, Micarta, G-10, Poly or better scales. Although you could make do with knives with broken scales, you are no fun and can be stressful.
5. Get several knives: It’s always a good choice to get several knives. Having more than one knife could come in very handy especially if you like to multi-task.
How sharp should a camping knife be?
One key question always asked is how sharp should a camping knife be? There’s no answer for this, but you need your knife razor sharp to take on most carving, bark cutting, and fire starting tasks.
To check just how sharp your knife is, take a sheet of paper, raise it to shoulder level and place your knife blade on the top of the raised paper at an inverted angle. A sharp knife would cut cleanly right through the paper while a dull knife won’t hold the paper edge nor cut through it cleanly but will instead tear the page off.
What are the types of camping knife?
There is an assortment of types of camping knives from the Swiss army knife, to clip holder, Bowie knife, multi-tool, daggers all branched into two main divisions – fixed blades and the folding knife.
The folding knives are those whose blades can be flipped close after use or when not in use. Such knives as those with assist opening, clip folder, and even Swiss army knives fall into this category.
Those with fixed blades are interesting to look at and can’t be flipped close or drawn out. They are just fixed, and some of them come with sheaths to tuck in after use – daggers and Bowie are typical examples of these types of knives.
Are large camp knives the best?
If you are not interested in small camp knives, then you can get a large camp knife. There are several great large machetes sized camp knives, and they could be very useful no matter the situation be it falling trees, performing emergency amputations, etc.
How to buy the right knife for camping?
Deciding to buy a camping knife is one thing; another is buying the right camping knife. There are criteria’s you’ll need to look out to determine if the camping knife is going to serve you well. Of course, things like the knife size, the strength of the knife, material the knife is made of amongst others.
Things to consider as a beginner looking for a good knife
As a beginner looking to explore the wild or go into the forest on a survival journey, your first step is to carefully plan your trip and your carry on properties like a great knife. For one, you should take into consideration the type of knife you would need based on the type of task you plan on undergoing.
For instance, the Mora Bushcraft survival knife would come in handy for a beginner taking on outdoor survival for the first time. It is relatively cheap and very efficient for snapping twigs, helping carve out barks from trees and make signs as well as other activities you undergo in the forest.
How to make a hunting knife?
While hunting knives are readily available in a stock purchase, if you plan on making your knife there are a few important things to consider before you begin your knife making process.
- The cost of making your knife may be more costly than just buying a piece for use. You should have it at the back of your mind that you would probably spend more to make your knife.
- The type of steel to be used in making your knife should be considered if you want to make the best knife which would last you.
The process of making your hunting knife can be tedious, but if you are cut out for the workload, you can go ahead to have your knife forged. You would require a high-grade steel to make a good hunting knife.
There are very many types of steel available, and all of them have varying carbon atoms (i.e. number of carbon molecules infused in them). Start off with finding steel which is readily available say railway spikes.
Your next step would be to anneal it. I.e. soften the steel without changing the form of the metal. You can anneal it by heating it up in a forge for several hours until it is glowing red then taking it out and leaving it to cool for several hours also.
The forging process: Once you’ve annealed your steel, it’s time for forging. You can take the forging process in two different ways; by forging and stock removal.
The forging process is most recommended. If you plan on forging, you would need a forge, a hammer, an anvil, and tongs or a rod of rebar that’s welded on the back of the piece.
Forging: Like we stated earlier that forging is a major process in making camping or hunting knife. Forging is a manufacturing process of heating up a piece of metal like steel till it is extremely hot, and then hammering, rolling, squeezing, pressing till it takes shape.
Once you are done with the forging process, use the tongs to take out the steel to steel to the machinery and grind until you are satisfied with the final shape. Once you’ve achieved your final shape, take the finished steel blade out to be hardened.
You can harden the steel knife by reheating the steel in the forge once again, this time till it is so hot that it loses its magnetic properties. Once this is achieved, quench in a liquid preferably oil so it can cool quickly. If you’d like, then feel free to add a handle to the knife.
What makes a good camping knife?
You should consider the camping knife you want to buy. Is it a good camping knife? You should first determine what makes a good camping knife? A good camping knife should be able to get the job done.
We are talking about a camping knife which is somewhat tame since we are not looking for tactical knives, but adequate to take up daily camping needs like snipping fishing lines, cutting wood, etc. It is expected to be sharp and made of high-quality steel.
How to use a survival knife
Survival knives are big straight knives. They are very important camping knives especially if you plan to engage in survival activities for specified duration of time. They are ideal for several tasks including;
- Picking up hot elements and food items. Due to their overly large blades, they can comfortably carry down items from fire and thus protect your hand.
- They can be used to start a fire. Your survival knife and a Ferro rod could be a source of endless sparks. Just have a few cotton balls soaked in Vaseline which could serve as tinder, and you are ready to go. You have your fire with you everywhere you go.
- A survival knife could come in handy in making tools which you could use in a survival scenario like making fishing spears. Instead of tying a knife to a long stick and using as a spear, you could make use of branches of thick trees. Splice them to a sharpened level using your knife and use the new spear to find fish, frogs and other small animals you can easily feed on to survive.
- You can also use your knife to process wood which is very useful in a survival environment. By placing your knife on any tree, you want to cut down, use another wood to hit the knife to cut down the tree. The Same process can be used on other logs to make firewood or small useable pieces of wood which you can use in camp.
How to clean a camping knife?
If you are planning on cleaning your camping knife just in time for a new expedition, then these useful tips to get you started could come in quite handy. You would need a few things to go about the cleaning process. Included in the list are;
- Rubber gloves
- Toothbrush or a soft brush
- Mild detergent
- Nylon pad
- Soft cloths
- Household oil
- Household lubricant (preferably WD-40)
The cleaning process is quite straight forward, put on the rubber gloves. Wet a soft cloth with some warm water and use the cloth to clean both sides of the knife blade. Once done, have the blade scrubbed using a soapy sponge. If you have a camping knife with serrated blades, make use of an old toothbrush to clean it instead of a sponge.
If the blades are rusted, use a lubricant, preferably WD-40 to spray the blade. Make sure all rusted spots are touched by the lubricant, after which let the lubricant eat into the spot for a minute.
Now you can use a nylon pad to scrub the blade and then rinse it. If the rusted spots are not getting cleaned, re-apply the WD-40 lubricant on the blade and keep idle for about 5 minutes after which you re-scrub.
That should completely get the rusts off the blade; now you can wash your knife, especially the blades with warm, soapy water. Once you are done, add a few drops of oil to the blade. This should prevent it from rusting.
Why bring a knife camping, and is it legal?
If you plan on backpacking or camping, then you would need to cut trees or make fire et al. Knives are very handy tools to do those and much more. If you are planning on undertaking a survival journey, then sure you would need a knife or knives too.
About the legality of carrying knives, it is legal although a few states have some certain rules about concealed blades.
Alright let’s go over the entire deal once again. These are the best camping knives which are perfect for beginners and every camping beginner should know about. We can’t stretch the fact that all the knives listed herein have all been tested and are recommended for any camper seeking the perfect camping tool.
The BlizeTec survival knife however stands out from the list in that it is a very versatile knife and can be used as a glass breaker, a seat belt cutter, has an LED flashlight making it the most suitable for any emergency and a useful camping tool. The SOG SEAL pup like the TAC Force and the BUCK knives are also worthy knives and all are priced reasonably making them fit for any low-budget camper or thrill seeker, or adventurer.