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All the food tastes better when you are outdoor. Fresh air, a little bit of muscle spasm from all-day hiking, with just a few hiking snacks to eat every now and then.
You feel relaxed and tired at the same time, and you are hungry as a wolf. Time for some food. Now, you don’t go camping with a Rambo-style knife tucked in your boot.
It is silly, illegal, and dangerous. Not to mention unsanitary. No, you should always carry your camping knife set. This way, you will be prepared to make a gourmet meal even in the middle of the woods.
Can I carry a camping knife set in every state?
The USA knife laws are one of the most complicated ones. The laws differ from cities, counties, and states. Here is a handy map you should check before going camping.
Breaking the law on your camping trip surely is not one of your goals, right? Even if it’s just your camping knife set. Also, you should check your campground rules. Just to be safe.
What knives are in a camping knife set?
Different camping knife sets have a different approach to the problem. Some sets have only two knives, while others even have scissors, sporks, and wine bottle openers.
However, we made a list of the usual knives you should find in most camping knife sets.
A large, all-purpose knife you see in every TV food show. This knife is versatile and can be used for almost everything.
From chopping vegetables to slicing meat, it is the king of the knives, and hence the most important knife in your camping knife set. The chef’s knife can be 5 to 12 inches long.
A longer knife means more cutting space, but it also takes more luggage space.
This is a specialty knife with a long and sharp blade. Not the usual knife in many sets, and hardly a good choice if you are buying just one good knife.
But if you want to filet the fish or cut the meat like a professional, your camping knife set must have this knife.
Also known as the utility knife, this knife is usually 2 to 4 inches long. A paring knife is used for cutting small fruits or veggies, slicing cheese, or trimming the fat from the fresh meat.
The bread knife has a surprising purpose of slicing the bread. A serrated blade works as a small saw, which is more than useful when your food has a different texture.
So, besides bread, this knife is for cutting fruits and vegetables that have hard peel but a soft center, like tomatoes.
Read Also: Making Bannock Bread And Campfire Cooking
Santoku is an all-purpose knife, originated in Japan. It shares the versatility and a lot of other features with a chef’s knife. The word Santoku means chopping, dicing, and mincing.
Santoku is usually smaller than a chef’s knife and has a thinner blade, capable of much more precise slicing.
A steak knife is a small knife used for cutting steaks, chicken, and fish. Usually, your camping knife set either has six of these knives or none.
Steak knives can be serrated, semi-serrated, and non-serrated. Our opinion is you can survive your camping trip without the steak knives. Eating your food by hand is much more fun.
What makes a great camping knife set?
- Hardened stainless steel is one of our favorite choices when it comes to knives. Blades made from stainless steel are strong, durable, and won’t rust.
- Carbon steel is popular among knife aficionados, just for the durability and strength. However, carbon steel knives tend to rust. Also, some acidic food can cause a chemical reaction with carbon and discolor your food.
- High carbon stainless steel gives you the sturdiness of carbon steel and durability of stainless steel. However, their price might be higher than you expected.
- Ceramic knives are ultra-hard, lightweight, and insanely sharp. Their small weight makes them a perfect camping knife set. However, a ceramic knife will shatter into million pieces if you drop it on a rock.
You can hurt yourself more with a dull knife than with a sharp one, and everyone who got Totin’ Chip in boy scouts knows that.
And getting stuck with a camping set full of dull knives equals a bad camping experience. So, when choosing your camping knife set, make sure the knife sharpener is included.
Of course, except for the ceramic knife sets. Ceramic knives cannot be sharpened using usual methods.
Portable carrying case
The size of the case depends on the number of knives in your set. However, every case should be durable, lightweight, and easy to carry.
The knives inside the case should have enough dedicated space. Also, a safety zipper, handle, and carrying strap are perks of the best camping knife set carrying case.
One knife to rule them all. It is either a chef’s knife or a Santoku knife. Every camping knife set must have at least one of these knives.
If it has both, even better. Your multi-functional knife will probably be the one you will use the most, so take good care of it.
How to safely use a camping knife set?
Remember that knives are made just for cutting, nothing more. If you want to hammer a nail, use the hammer. If you improperly use your camping knife set, you will a) damage it and b) hurt yourself.
Knives are not a toy. When you are finished with using your knives, clean them, dry them with a piece of damp cloth and store them in their case.
Do’s and don’t’s with a camping knife set
- Use your knives by applying force away from anyone
- Only use a knife where there is enough light
- Make sure your knives are always sharp
- Use your knives carefully
- Treat any cut immediately
- Always find a firm base to cut things
- Never run, climb or hike with a knife in your hand
- Don’t try to catch a falling knife
- Don’t leave your camping knife set unsupervised
- Never leave your camping knife set dirty
- Don’t cut anything in your lap
How to choose a camping knife set?
Normally, you won’t go into debt when buying a camping knife set. However, the good stuff will always cost more. But consider that you are paying for the top quality products here.
You don’t want to end up in the middle of the woods with a broken knife. Either buy a good camping knife set or just one good knife, if you can’t afford the whole set.
Ask yourself do you need the camping knife set. If your camping diet is canned food and marshmallows every time, you don’t need the whole set.
However, if you plan on making a larger amount of food, you will need the set. Especially if you are preparing fresh meat or fish. In fact, any gourmet dish will be at least better if you use the proper knife set.
You need to feel the knife in your hand before making the purchase. Logically, you can’t try the knife in the store, but you can make some slicing moves to get the feel of the weight and the balance.
Luckily, knives do come in different sizes, and everyone can find their perfect fit.
When buying a camping knife set online, obviously, you can’t try the knives. That’s why it’s essential to read the reviews of satisfied customers.
And even more important, you should only buy your camping knife set from renowned sellers.
How often should you sharpen your camping knife set?
The knives become dull the more you use them, and it all depends on how you use them. Storing your camping knife set in an original case is always recommended.
You should never cut anything on a stone, glass, or metal surface. Harder steel knives need less frequent sharpening. And the frequency of use is the most important factor when deciding on sharpening your knives.
The rule of the thumb for kitchen knives is they should be sharpened once every month to get the feeling of a new knife.
If you don’t go camping too frequently, even a couple of years can pass until your camping knife set becomes dull. However, to be 100% safe, you can take your camping knife set to a professional sharpener once every year.
Camping knife set FAQ
What is the hardest knife steel?
Vanadium carbide and chromium are the hardest material used for making knives. However, they are expensive.
And not just that, you don’t need your camping knife set to be made of chromium. Stainless steel is more than a great choice, with good durability and an acceptable price.
But, if you want your knives to be almost indestructible, we say go for it.
Can I open a can with my knife?
Yes, you can. Although, knives are not meant for opening the cans. So, you are putting yourself at risk. Knives can break and seriously injure you in the process.
Just buy a can opener, it is not that expensive. Or, watch in despair how your precious Santoku knife got damaged while trying to open a can of beans.
What kind of knife do I need for camping?
Besides your beloved camping knife set, you should also carry one for other purposes. After all, you are not going to cut a rope with a steak knife.
Your best choice would be getting one of the multitools, like a Swiss army knife. However, it all depends on what type of camping trip you are planning.
If you are backpacking, a multitool is the only good choice. But, if you are going camping in a car or an RV, it’s a whole different story.
Then you can bring all the tools necessary, including a hammer and a machete. Hence, you won’t be needing a specialized camping knife.
Read Also: Best Bushcraft Knives For Camping
Why is a dull knife more dangerous than a sharp one?
Dull knives are harder to control, as the edge doesn’t have a correct trajectory. Handling a dull knife requires much more force, so when it slips, the wound gets deeper.
With a sharp knife, you don’t need to use excessive force.
The sharp knife just slides where you want it. Dull knives are unpredictable, and if you cut yourself with one, the edge will rip and tear your skin, leaving a wound that‘s hard to heal.
All food on camping tastes delicious. It can be a plain canned soup or a multi-course meal, topped with the finest camping spices. Nature is the most important spice to your meal.
And a knife to a cook is the same as a pen to a writer. It’s something you can’t live without. So, get yourself the best camping knife set for the best camping memories that will last a lifetime. You earned it.
Continue Reading: How To Choose The Best Camping Cooking Utensils