CAMPING & HIKING

Camping Essentials: Finding The Best Folding Knife

Folding knives review
Mark Foster
Written by Mark Foster

There a plethora of tools and handy items that should be brought along with you to a campsite. Some of these items are just for fun! You might love playing catch around your campsite with your friends, or have your own personal marshmallow roasting spear.

However, there is one item that should be in every campers’ backpack, because of how useful, and lifesaving it can be: a foldable pocket knife. A pocket knife can be useful for many different camp tasks or problems you might come across.

You’ll find the uses to be endless, so having the best folding knife at your side will guarantee you’ll be using it for a very long time. Finding yourself in a situation that can be solved by using a pocket knife isn’t the hard part, it’s choosing one from the sea of foldable pocket knives that are manufactured by hundreds of different companies all over the world.

Don’t worry, we got your back. We did the hard part for you and found a few of the most popular knives on the market. We carefully researched and reviewed each knife, so that you can choose the best one to fit your needs.

Buck nobleman folding knife

Buying a knife can be serious business, especially if you’re a serious camper. If you’re only looking to do some casual camping over the holiday weekend, chances are you won’t need a beefed up tactical knife. However, there are still certain aspects of a knife that you should watch out for when you are purchasing a new knife:

Type of knife: little did you know that even folding knives have varieties. They come in single-blade, multi-blade, and Swiss Army knives.

  • Single-blade knives are exactly what they sound like: there is a single blade that folds into the handle of the knife for safekeeping. It’s the simplest to use and with very little moving parts, will last a long time. However, they do lack a bit in versatility.
  • Multi-blade knives usually have about two or three blades that can fulfill different functions, so the more blades you have, the more jobs you can take care of with one simple tool. Be aware that these blades tend to be smaller, however, and won’t be as durable as a single-blade knife so be careful with how you use them.
  • Swiss Army knives aren’t new to the camping scene, and have a multitude of tiny tools that you can use to get any job done. They’re very versatile, and the larger they are, the more tools they come equipped with.

Type of blade: the reason knives have so many purposes is because of the various ways they’ve been constructed. They come with plain edges, serrated edges, and partially-serrated.

  • A knife with a plain edge is good for push cuts, has more accuracy, and provides better control to the user. However, they’re not suited for any job that requires a sawing motion.
  • Serrated knives are much better at cutting harder materials, such as wood, but you do lose some of the control while using the blade. Serrated knives are also more difficult to keep sharpened because of all the small grooves.
  • Partially-serrated is an even balance between the two, where the front edge of the blade is plain, with a serrated edge towards the back. This way, you can accomplish more jobs with just one knife.

Length of the blade: knives come in a variety of sizes, from the very small to the very large. The size of the blade should be determined by the jobs you can foresee on your camping trip. Bigger isn’t always best, as the larger the folding knife, the heavier it will be in your gear.

folding knife size

Locking mechanism: in order to maintain safety, folding knives come with locking mechanisms to keep the blade in place so that you don’t accidentally cut yourself. These come in a variety of types:

  • Lock back knives are the oldest, and is considered to be the most durable. However, it does require both hands to deploy and close the blade. This is the most common kind you’ll see in the market, where the blade folds down into the handle.
  • Liner lock knives have spring tensions that lock into place with the knife is opened, and can be used with one hand. The liner within the body of the handle snaps into place once the blade is out, keeping it in place. Frame locks are similar, but the construction is a bit different. There is no liner to lock into place; instead, it’s the frame of the handle itself that locks into place to keep the knife out.
  • Axis locks and ball-bearing locks use a spring-tensioned bar to a ball to lock the knife open respectively. They slide into the groove at the back of the blade, and are kept in place by a tensioned spring.

Extra features: don’t confuse yourself with all the extra accessories a knife may come with. Focus on the ones that will be more beneficial to your experience. Look for features such as a belt clip or lanyard hole, a sheathe, a sharpening kit, and the warranty of your knife. As long as you use it correctly, your folding knife shouldn’t break too easily.

Camping folding knife on paracord

So now that you know what to look for in your hunt for the best folding knife, here are just a few recommendations to consider before you jump headfirst into the market.

Top Folding Knives

Chris Reeve Small Sebenza 21

Chris Reeve Small Sebenza 21

Weight: 3 ounces

Dimensions: The overall length of this knife is 6.87 inches, or 175 millimeters. The blade length is 2.94 inches or 75 millimeters

Design Features: Pocket clip, and a braided lanyard.

Best use: basic camping tasks

Description: Chris Reeve Small Sebenza 21 is a great product for campers that are just beginning their camping hobby, and won’t find themselves in too much trouble. It’s a small utility knife, coming in at three ounces, and is capable of doing very basic things. The overall length of this knife is 6.87 inches. The blade length is 2.94 inches.

This length is perfect for performing casual tasks around the campground, and should fit comfortably in your pocket. The most notable features include a pocket clip, a braided lanyard that can go around your wrist, and the fact that the knife is made out of titanium.

The pocket clip will ensure you don’t have to worry about the knife falling out of your pocket while you’re moving around your campsite. The braid, on the end of the knife, will secure to your wrist to make sure you don’t lose the knife.

Additionally, in emergency situations, the rope could be unknotted from the knife, and assist in getting out of sticky situations. Also, the knife is made out of an incredibly durable and lightweight titanium.

Related Items: This knife is for the camping beginner. It is very basic and yet still performs very well. The Gayle Bradley Plain Edge is a similar knife to this product. The Kershaw Skyline knife is also similar to the Chris Reeve Sebenza.

Guardian Tactical Deltrix Folder Knife

Guardian Tactical Deltrix Folder Knife

Weight: 4.5 ounces

Dimensions: 5 and ¼ inch

Design Features: Lanyard hook, stainless steel, carbon fiber casing,

Basic use: Day hiking

Description: The Guardian Tactical knife has many more capabilities than your average foldable knife. First, let’s note that it is an American made product, and so probably has some great guarantees from the company. This tactical knife is 5 and ¼ inches in length. Just long enough to fit comfortably in your pocket.

This knife has several specific features that sets it apart from the regular foldable knives you might find on the market. You’ll be happy to know that the blade is made of a virtually dull resistant stainless steel material, this material will also give the blade a nice shine. The sleek black and silver casing includes a carved out hand grip for increased comfort.

This carbon fiber knife also includes a lanyard hook on the end, if you like your knife readily available. This knife has a lot of different add ons and extra features, which means it has a lot of uses. The steel blade allows you to cut more heavy duty materials on the campsite.

This means less worry for you! Despite the various extra features this knife includes, the best thing the Guardian Tactical knife can offer is its superior blade. The material it is manufactured with will ensure you don’t have to worry at all about a broken blade on your trip. The carbon fiber casing is also extremely durable and helps keep this foldable knifes’ reputation intact.

Spyderco Gayle Bradley Folder Plain Edge Knife

Spyderco Gayle Bradley Folder Plain Edge Knife

Weight: 4.8 ounces

Dimensions: 6.5 inches long

Design Features: Reversible clip, sturdy blade

Best use: Casual camping

Description: This incredibly durable, carbon fiber camping knife is 6.5 inches long. It’s a little bigger than the last knife we went over, but it’s still a quality knife. The Gayle Bradley Spyderco knife weighs in at 4.8 ounces, which shouldn’t be uncomfortable at all. The key features on this knife are the clip on the back of the casing, added for extra security when carrying around.

The casing is also molded for better and a more comfortable grip. The Gayle Bradley foldable knife is one of the more basic knives that will be reviewed in this article, but that doesn’t mean that this isn’t a quality product.

This knife is best suited for light work around the campsite. The blade is sturdy, but there aren’t very many other features for added functionality. However, if you purchase this knife, you’ll sure to receive a camping knife that will last a lifetime.

Related Items: This knife by Gayle Bradley is a more basic knife, and one could probably find a similar one with ease. The only challenge that you might be up against is finding another company that produces knives the same quality as Gayle Bradley.

Spyderco Delica4 Lightweight Flat Ground Plain Edge Knife

Spyderco Delica4 Lightweight Flat Ground Plain Edge Knife

Weight: 2.5 ounces

Dimensions: 7 and ¼ inches. Blade length: 2.56 inches

Design Features: Reversible clip, bi directional texturing, and steel liners.

Best use: Cutting through tough materials

Description: Here we have another top notch product from Spyderco. Spyderco Delica4 Lightweight Flat Ground Plain Edge Knife is a little smaller than the ones we have discussed so far, but there are many advantages to this knife.

This latest knife by Spyderco weighs only 2.5 ounces. The Delica4 is 7 and ¼ inches, with the blade being 2.56 inches in total. This foldable knife features a four way clip. All you have to do is unscrew three little screws, and place the clip anywhere you feel is most comfortable to you.

The newest installment to the Spyderco line also includes, what has been dubbed, bi directional texturing. This feature adds to your ability to grip the knife, and keep it in place in your hands. The steel liners inside of the knife casing provides the extra support you’ll need when utilizing this knife.

By far, the bi directional grip on this knife is the best feature. This knife would be an excellent to have if you were going long term, lightweight hiking. The Delica4’s superior grip technology ensures that you’ll be able to cut, slice and tear through all kinds of weather conditions anytime of the day.

Just because it’s raining out, doesn’t mean you won’t need your utility knife! And what better knife to use than one that can brag about its’ incredible grip methods.

Related Items: The Spyderco Company is a bit of a legend in the knife making world. They are never in the middle of the spectrum. They either have very eye catching knives, or more practical knives. The most similar to this product would be the Rubicon Folding knife. This knife is also manufactured by Spyderco.

SOG Trident Assisted Folding Knife

SOG Trident Assisted Folding Knife

Weight: 2 and a half ounces

Dimensions: 8 and a half inches

Design Features: Partially serrated, ergonomically correct, TiNi coating.

Best use: Long term primitive camping, day hiking

Description: The Trident knife comes in at 8 and a half inches, and weighs only 2 and a half ounces. For its size, it’s comparably lightweight. The Trident Assisted Folding Knife comes with a plethora of extra features that could be useful to the everyday camper. For starters, the knife is partially serrated, which means cutting through rope or branches will be incredibly easy.

The blade handle was designed with ergonomics in mind, and is guaranteed to fit comfortably in your hand. The blade is coated in TiNi (titanium nitride) which makes it incredibly strong and durable.

When the knife is in the folded position, there is a little notch in the handle, where the blade folds into where you can place materials to cut. This makes cutting things like rope, much easier and faster! This knife is top quality, and features many different uses. However, the best thing you could do with this knife, is saw away at everything a normal knife wouldn’t allow you too.

The serrated edge, and titanium nitride coating makes for the perfect knife to saw away at rope, branches, or any other material you would need to cut. This knife is probably best suited for day hikes. The largeness of it could be cumbersome if you’re a lightweight hiker.

Benchmade Mini Griptilian Knife

Benchmade Mini Griptilian Knife

Weight: two ounces

Dimensions: Its’ length is around 6 inches, with the blade being about 3 inches.

Design Features: Quality made product, glass filled nylon case, thumb button release

Best use: Casual Camper

Description: The Mini Griptilian Knife by Benchmade is a good quality knife for any camper. Its’ length is around 6 inches, with the blade being about 3 inches. It is very lightweight, weighing in at around 2 ounces. The Mini Griptilian is a plain knife, with no crazy added features.

However, the manufacturer, Benchmade, prides themselves on making high quality products for a good price, and if you purchase the Mini Griptilian Knife that’s definitely what you would be getting. The Griptilian features a thumb button that will release the blade from the casing with ease. It also features a reversible pocket clip.

The casing of this knife is made with glass filled nylon, which adds to its durability. This knife is most suitable for the casual camper. There aren’t any crazy or out there features that makes this knife marketable to the specialized camper.

Spyderco Rubicon Folding Knife

Spyderco Rubicon Folding Knife

Weight: 6.4 ounces

Dimensions: The entire knife is 7.4 inches long. The blade is 1.5 inches long.

Design Features: Ergonomic handle

Best use: Casual camping

Description: The Spyderco Rubicon folding knife is definitely a unique looking knife. The entire knife measures 7.4 inches long, with the blade being 1.5 inches long. It’s a little heavier than most of the knives that we’ve talked about so far, but it makes up for this in quality and design. The most notable thing about this knife is its’ appearance!

Spyderco brags that they always ensure that their knife handles are incredibly comfortable, so the handle design you are seeing isn’t a funky design, but an ergonomically correct handle.

This knife is perfect for the average camper. The handle is very comfortable, so your hand won’t get tired from using it over the duration of your trip. Additionally, every product from Spyderco has raving reviews, so you know you’re purchasing a top notch product, from a company that knows what they are doing.

Related items: Spyderco produces and distributes a wide variety of products. So you’re bound to find something similar to the product you’re viewing at that moment. The most similar to this product would be the Spyderco Titanium Plain Edge.

Boker Mokume Damascus Knife

Boker Mokume Damascus Knife

Weight: 4.3 ounces

Dimensions: The blade is 3 and 1/8th inch. The entire knife measures out at 7 inches.

Design Features: Imbuia wood handle, Careful craftsmanship, carefully crafted blade leaves a Damascus pattern

Best use: Very careful use and presentation

Description: The Boker Mokume Damascus knife is by far the most beautiful and pristine knife we will talk about in this article. Carefully crafted in Germany, this knife looks like no other. The manufacturing of the knife makes for the incredible “whirl pool” like pattern on the blade. The wooden handle is hand crafted out of the exotic Imbuia wood.

This knife is not a tool you would want to take to a campground, so you could cut dry branches down, or cut some rope to pitch a tent. This is the type of knife you invest in, because you admire the craftsmanship and history of knives. The beauty and durability of the knife is well worth the price.

Related Items: Nothing compares to the craftsmanship and design of the Boker Mokume Damascus knife. It’s one of a kind in its design and ornate patterns that appear on the blade.

Conclusion

In final analysis, having a knife in your store of tools when you go camping is of vital importance. They are useful to have around the campsite, and there is always the chance that you could find yourself in a sticky situation, and having that knife could help you get out of it.

Some campers don’t need a huge fancy knife, with all the bells and whistles. On the other hand, a camper might find that all of the added features to a certain knife could be incredibly useful, and solve various camping related issues.

Choosing your folding knife

Or maybe, you just really appreciate all of the problems that a pocket knife has solved for you in relation to camping, and you want a commemorative presentation piece. Whatever the case may be, all camping hobbyists alike need to realize the importance of this tool, and find the right fit for them to bring along on their next camping adventure.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Foster
Mark Foster

Mark Foster loves to push his limits when it comes to survival in the wilderness. He might go for a 30-days adventure without any food or equipment except for a survival kit and a knife. We should mention that his survival kit has 122 items in it, so he know what he is doing. Mark is working on his book to share with the world all his experience gained during those brave adventures.

  • Tyler Johnson

    The Gayle Bradley Spyderco knife looks fantastic, cuts great, and the fit and finish is excellent. That being said, it has some big drawbacks, The biggest being the ergonomics. The small and partially blocked thumbhole, while making the overall shape more sleek, makes it difficult to deploy. The liner lock is also a pain to disengage, since there is no cutout. In addition, the M4 is a bit of a pain. Most of you know that it isn’t rust-resistant. What some of you may not know is that the thumb hole will patina just from the moisture of your fingertips, making the blade unsightly (in my opinion anyway).

  • Walker John

    The Trident Assisted Folding Knife is one of my favorites. It has a very smooth spring-assist, the blade is an excellent size (unless you are looking for something more compact), the locking mechanism technology is a huge PLUS, and the cord/strap cutter is very sharp and functional, yet designed so there are no accidentally nicks when operating. Couldn’t be happier. I cannot attest to the longevity of this knife but my friends who have owned them say they are great and hold up very well. Definitely, recommend!

  • Mark Foster

    Try the Boker Mokume Damascus Knife and you won’t look for anything else. I have this terrific knife and I say, it’s quite perfect for me. It’s Germany-made so you can expect a lot detailed workmanship and of course, the perfect blade!

  • Mark Foster

    Have you tried cutting rope with this serrated knife? You won’t believe how easy it does the job. I do have a lot of knives in my collection and this one little one packs quite a punch. It’s also a hardy tool and very durable. You’ll enjoy taking this knife with you on your camping trips.

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