You just laid the tent out, but realized you left the tent stakes 6 miles back in the car, what do you do??
Too slow, next one. You just nabbed a fish with your bare hands (i.e. noodle style) down at the river near the campsite, but did not bring your tackle box (see here for what should be in there…), how do you clean the fish??
C’mon, try to keep up here. Last one, you have a campfire going, and skillet over top cooking a delicious meal and a member of the local large wildlife population approaches curiously, how do you react???
You animal, give the poor fella’ some food. I am sure your local wildlife officer would say the same thing. I suppose I understand if your answer was brandish your Camp Knife and wave it around vigorously. Actually, the answer to almost all of these situations is the Camp Knife, a versatile tool that any campsite leader would be remiss to establish a tent without. Luckily for you, The BladesWork Unlimited Forge team is once again back to lay out why you need a Camp Knife to run this side of the mountain… and the other, if you want.
Fact is, you need to have a good blade on hand for any camp scenario, or even day trip to the great Outdoors. Having a quality Camp Knife will be necessary for tasks from making s’mores to cutting rope, to small repairs around the campsite.
But what will make a good Camp Knife? Well, that’s actually fairly straightforward, like most things with bladed tools and cutlery. Or… straight edged. I digress. A good Camp Knife is most importantly going to be made from a quality steel that will resist corrosion from the elements, maintain a sharp edge under duress, and sharpen very easily in the field.
This can be easier said than done, however. A softer steel is going to resist corrosion and sharpen easily, but may lose its edge quicker. Something harder, such as stainless steel, is on the opposite end of the spectrum. The Forge Team here at BladesWork Unlimited typically recommends the trade-off on the softer steel, as packaging a Camp Knife with a field expedient sharpener is an easy combo to pack out into the woods.
What is a Camp Knife Best Used For?
That’s a great question, and the answer is simple: Darn near everything. A Camp Knife is a trusty tool for campsite activities such as splitting kindling, food preparation, fire starting and maintenance, whittling tent stakes and hammock pins, or even as an impromptu marshmallow stick. For those more advanced woodsmen and women, a Camp Knife serves as a great tool for cleaning fish, water rescue, rope cutting for survival situations, and warding off local wildlife.
However, like most knives, a Camp Knife does not come in one size, and understanding how to choose the proper Camp Knife for your task can pay big dividends behind the tree-line.
Choosing the Right One
Choosing the right knife is important, and the best way to do so in identify the most common purpose you will use it for. Once you have that, you use the below to whittle (heh!) down the choices:
Length: Keep the blade length 5 inches or under. The ideal blade length is around 4 inches. A bigger knife does not always mean better. Majority of the time, you will use for your knife for precision work, so you want a knife that is easy to maneuver and work with.
Weight: Lightweight is not helpful when choosing a knife, as weight will add more stability. Ideal weight for a knife is 4 ounces (before including the handle weight).
Full Tang: This describes blades that run from the blade tip all the way to the bottom the knifes’ handle. It gives the knife more strength and stability.
To make things even easier, and since we care so much about your wilderness success, we have included a Camp Knife as one of our premier Build-A-Blade templates! This will allow you to take the lessons from above and apply them to a tried and true blade design forged just for you! Similarly, you can take a look at what our Forge Team has to offer. Either way, don’t leave home without your Camp Knife!
Bo is the co-founder and Vice-President of Bladeswork.com. Most importantly, he is head of cutting things at BWU. Besides that, he does hunt, fish, watch Bruce lee movies, and a number of other activities that require large amounts of blade usage. Primarily, he handles numbers and tries to keep the Bladeswork.com staff from getting overexcited and attempt to cook lunch in the nearest company furnace.