By R. Maxine Lundquist
There are endless choices in the world of pocket knives, and you could go crazy trying to decide which one is best for camping. Over the years we’ve tested a lot of knives, and we have come to the conclusion that simple is best when it comes to camping. You really only want a blade that folds into itself safely, to be pulled out of your pocket for cutting rope, slicing stuff in food prep, maybe cleaning a fish or two and some good old fashioned whittling and the like. But there is another camp, you should pardon the expression, out there that feels that the more tools a pocket knife has, the more prepared you are for anything a camping trip will throw at you. So below you will find our choice for both sides. These knives came out ahead in versatility, blade sharpness, convenience and price. You may buy one as a beginner camping knife and never go on to another one.
Victorinox Swiss Army Huntsman II Knife
- Contains 14 different implements
- Large knife blade
- Small knife blade
- Can opener
- Bottle opener
- Wood saw
- Reamer (for punching holes in canvas, etc.)
- Small screwdriver
- Key ring
- Sewing eye
The Victorinox Swiss Army Knife has long been renowned for versatile knives, and this one is no exception. The long blade measures 3 1/2″ and all implements are stainless steel. It has a matte finish durable nylon handle and comes with a lifetime warranty against defects. Oddly enough we prefer this one over the Victorinox Swiss Army Champ, which has a few overkill issues, in our opinion. When you start adding too many features it becomes unwieldy.
- Tools cover just about any occasion camping may throw at it
- Folds down to the length of the longest blade–3 1/2″
- Stashes anywhere
- Sharp blade out of the box
- Tools are small and tightly packed–difficult to open for someone with large hands
- No little edge to pull the saw blade out with fingernail
- Matte finish not as popular as original smooth finish
Buck Knife 110 Folding Hunter Lock-Back
- Nail-notch lock-back design
- 3 3/4″ stainless-steel clip-blade
- Wood-grain handle
- Brass bolsters
- Weighs 11.2 oz.
Classic folding knife that will be around long after other knives come and go. This is my go-to pocket knife for camping. Does what I want it to, every time. Cuts, cleans fish, keeps a nice edge. Design is simple and handsome. Razor-sharp right out of the box. Comes with a black leather sheath and an unconditional lifetime warranty. Reasonably priced at around $48.00.
- Little to no play in the blade
- Opens and closes smoothly
- Locking mechanism is secure
- Nice sheath for storage
- Once sharpened it retains its edge
- Brass is soft, can nick
- Fairly large for a folding knife
- Difficult to open at first; may take two hands
- Can be difficult to sharpen
Finally, there is the Case Small Brown Stockman Pocket Knife:
- Clip, sheepfoot and pen blades
- Owned by Zippo Manufacturing Company
- Jigged brown synthetic handle
This solid little knife is a great all-purpose folding knife with three blades made of surgical stainless steel. At 4″ long (2.63 inches closed), this little knife is light and versatile. Very reasonably priced at just $31.00.
- Very well made, as all Case knives seem to be
- Opens and closes smoothly with no catching
- Tru-Sharp surgical stainless steel blades
- Versatile for all small jobs that need a blade
- Spring on the main clip blade can be weak
- Factory grind on blades are rough, needs sharpening before first use
- May feel too small for camp use for some; awkward in large hands.